As a busy marketing director you may be wondering why you need to work with freelancers at all.
You need to turn out quality results for your company, and you already have an in-house marketing and writing staff.
Or possibly you are the owner of a small business and you are handling all of your own work.
Either way, you’ve already got your bases covered…Right?
Yet you can’t quite escape the feeling – probably inspired by some troubling statistics – that you are missing something.
You have a new project coming up and you’re not sure your current team can handle it. Or…
…You just finished a project and it isn’t performing like expected…
Past results have shown that you are definitely missing something…
Your copy & content has fallen flat…
Your company is stuck in a rut – not failing but not expanding…
Traditional advertising just isn’t producing for you…
Your direct-response campaigns aren’t generating any response…
Does this mean that you are missing the real value available in working with freelancers? Possibly.
First, let’s define what professional freelancers are and how they might be able to help you.
What Are Freelancers?
The top definition of the word freelancer at Dictionary.com is:
“A person who works as a writer, designer, performer, or the like, selling work or services by the hour, day, job, etc., rather than working on a regular salary basis for one employer.”
As a marketer you probably aren’t looking for performers – so we will be considering writers and marketers, photographers and designers.
Fitz’n’Jammer’s definition of a freelancer is “someone who helps their clients to succeed.”
Which is the #1 reason to work with a freelancer.
Every success for our clients is a success for us. Every win in your book is a win in ours.
Freelance Value Breakdown:
Still not convinced? Here are the next four top reasons to work with a top-notch freelancer.
Are you too close to your project?
Obviously you deeply care about your product or service, and you have put in the work necessary to build a business and market it.
Yet your projects and campaigns just aren’t performing like expected…
…And in business, if you’re not moving forward, you may be close to failing.
A freelancer can see the bigger picture in light of experience with other companies – maybe even your competition
A freelancer doesn’t have the same heart-and-soul vested interest in your company that you do.
A freelancer isn’t burned out on the project at hand
A freelancer brings fresh, positive perspective – and a certain detached professionalism – that you may not be able to provide
A freelancer cares about you – as a client – more than he will care about your project
Current Best Practices
Traditional advertising – TV, magazine, newspaper ads – are still held up as the first, best, and only way to market a company.
Yet you may have noticed that:
Your traditional advertising campaigns just aren’t performing as expected
It is incredibly difficult to track what is and isn’t working about various ad elements
The direct-response advertising field is a fairly new technique pioneered by visionaries like David Ogilvy, which has pretty much rendered the old advertising platforms obsolete.
Long-form copy letters bring in more of a response…and are vastly more trackable.
Best online practices can and will elevate your website from an online vending shack to a fiercely competitive destination.
Social media will help you to reach a wider audience at a tenth of the cost.
Not all freelancers are involved in this field – but the best ones will be. And the terrific thing about us is that we are always learning the newest, best techniques in our part of this vibrant and growing field.
A long-form direct-response expert studies latest best practices, trends, market responses, and headline lead generation.
A web writer will understand ease-of-use, current SEO guidelines, and customer needs.
A social media expert will already be immersed in the field of sharable content, conversation starters, instant response, and daily innovations.
A graphic designer understands that there’s always something new and changing about the graphic business, and may already be planning to bring out the next big thing.
Defined Job Description & Pricing
An in-house professional may be trying to do a lot of things for you. One marketer may be handling multiple campaigns, and one designer may be responsible for various levels of visual appeal.
Or they may be in a very tightly defined scope – an SEO specialist who has no regard for the human readability quality of your content.
On the other hand, most freelancers work within defined project scopes.
They also work for a specific goal: i.e. “I will write this sales letter in the hopes of generating X amount of responses, give or take a few thousand.” Or: “I will create this web page and see what the result is – hopefully best practices will elevate your visits and sales conversion.”
You define what you need to achieve
The freelancer will tell you what projects you need to achieve those goals, and which projects they provide
Then they will tell you their prices
You will agree to a final price and payment schedule
The freelancer will do the work
You will approve it & finish payment
After that you can re-evaluate and re-negotiate.
The best freelancers don’t come cheap, and the more you need them the more they’re going to cost you. But there are advantages on both sides.
A freelancer gets value from you in the form of currency and references.
You get value in the achievement of your best goals; which means that you should be seeing a pretty definite monetary return as well.
With a freelancer you are paying on a per-project basis…
You don’t have to provide work perks like insurance and health benefits…
A freelancer is less likely to sue you if you don’t live up to your end of the bargain…
Also, if a freelancer turns out to be a disappointment, you don’t have to fire them.
You simply don’t have to work with them again. And you will already have some work done – so the next freelancer won’t have to start from scratch, and you can negotiate a lower rate.
Freelance Jobs – Definition & Finding
Once you know what the best freelancers do and what they offer, the next step is to find and hire one so you can get these amazing results for yourself.
The process of finding one specific freelancer out of hundreds will be a lot smoother if you already understand what we want to know from you.
Here are the basic items that I (as a freelancer) would want to know about you (as a hiring business):
What is your industry?
What does your company specialize in?
What are you offering and what is your USP?
Why do you feel the need for a freelancer?
What have your marketing efforts been in the past?
Where have you had your greatest successes and worst failures?
Who is your competition and what are they up to?
What are your best goals and how do you expect that I can help you meet them?
These questions are just the tip of the iceberg. Ideally, you should have this structure in place if you are posting on job boards like Upwork.com.
These guidelines will tell a good freelancer if you are in their niche…if you are serious about the work…if you value the services they can provide…etc.
Also, the best freelancers are looking to be valued, which means that you’ll get the value you’re willing to pay for.
Of course, some of the most experienced and established freelancers will be out of your league. And that’s alright because there are plenty of newer freelancers with top skills who are eager for a chance to prove themselves.
Finding freelancers is easy once you have these guidelines in place. You can search for them online – most pros will have either websites or LinkedIn profiles, or both. You can post on job boards like Upwork.com, or you can look for industry professionals.
I, personally, would recommend posting on the Direct Response Job Board at American Writers & Artists Inc.
AWAI trains some of the very best freelancers – writers, designers, and marketers – available. And they provide the job board as a courtesy to the pros they have been busy training. So when you post on the DRJB you aren’t skimming the cream from the milk…you are skimming from the top of the cream.
When Freelancers Are Necessary
If you’ve gotten this far then you probably do want or need to work with a freelancer. But do you need a freelancer right now?
Maybe the investment would make more sense in the future, when your product is more established, or your service has grown to its potential.
But here’s a pretty serious consideration…
Hiring a freelancer to do a job – especially a big project – is a little bit like scheduling a hair appointment with the most popular stylist (barber) in town. There’s no guarantee that you’re going to get the slot you want.
Some freelancers may be booked as much as a year in advance. Others may be available to start next week – but they will be finishing other projects at the same time.
The fastest way that you are going to get results is to start now!
Finally, when you contact a top-grade, professional freelancer, you can expect to get a lot of value from the initial conversation.
Imagine, for example, that you call me because you need to optimize your online marketing via your website.
Here is a brief transcript of what that conversation may look like – using a fictitious client, (and false links, as well.)
You: Hello, this is Daniel Steele, Marketing Director @ Your Dream Client Publishing. I’ve been looking at the website for Fitz’n’Jammer: Online Marketing & Design. I’d really like to speak to the marketer in charge.
Me: Hello Mr. Steele! I’m so honored you called. This is Suzanna Fitzgerald, I handle all the marketing and writing here at Fitz’n’Jammer. How can I help?
You: We’ve had our website up for about a year now – and we aren’t getting the results that we want. Our search engine rankings are not even close to our competitors, and our views are only holding – if not going down. Plus, more than half of the views that we do get aren’t converting to sales.
Me: I’m sorry to hear that. (I do mean that, by the way. I’ve been there myself, and I want to help you get out of it.) I have a few minutes free right now – do you want to show me your website??
You: Yes, the address is https://www.yourdreamclientpublishing.com.
Me: Alright, I’ve got it up. Hmm…
…Well, it looks like you have a very nice site. I’m seeing some bold titles, a half-page picture header, and a video. The video’s not loading though; I think it’s slowing my engine down. I’m going to have to pause it.
Me: Well, I’m seeing some things off the top that might be slowing you down. Your video plays by itself – which is slowing down your loading engine and probably annoying viewers. Also I see this sliding header about halfway down the first page. It’s making me a little dizzy.
Have you customized the Meta-tags for your keywords on this and other pages?
You: I’m not sure. I know we did some SEO at the beginning.
Me: You have some nice content from what I can see here – but I’m not seeing many direct-response elements, click-through buttons, sales-conversion headings, organized subheads…
Tell you what, would it help if I could go through your website for you and do a thorough performance diagnostic?
You: Yes! That would be great.
Me: Alright. I have some initial questions for you so that I can get started.
(Questions like ‘what are you trying to achieve,’ ‘what are your best results,’ ‘where have you seen some real success,’ ‘what do you see as your greatest weakness?’)
OK – so I can take some time tomorrow (or possibly first thing next week) and do an initial overview of your site. Then I’ll send you a proposal for the performance diagnostic, which I also call a Strategic Site Audit. Will that work for you?
(Wrapping it up)
Now, the terrific thing is that even if you don’t want to get a strategic performance review of your site – you already have a few pointers.
If you do request the proposal, you’ll get a few more details. Not enough to fix your site, but enough to start fooling with some things.
This initial phone call and the proposal for the strategic diagnostic, is 100% FREE and you get a ton of value from it.
You’re looking at spending a couple of months with a professional freelancer you haven’t worked with before. You’re looking at a significant monetary investment… not to mention that no freelancer can actually guarantee the exact results – we can only apply best practices.
Is it worth it…?
…When the result is an optimized platform?
…When the result is a professional website with SEO that’s not annoying and direct-response copy content that converts to sales?
…Or when you’re getting images and graphics that are optimized to viewer preference and usefulness?
…When you can be building a really great business relationship with a writer, designer, or marketer who may be able to help you for years in the future?
When your direct response platforms work?
When the result is the achievement of your best results?