For small businesses, hiring a freelance marketer to help with promotion and sales is a popular option.
Mainly because working with a freelancer is generally more cost-effective, compared to hiring an internal recruit whose salary requires a long-term commitment. It also allows for flexibility of budget as you pay for set hours or projects, depending on the marketing activity.
Plus, given that your freelancer is likely well experienced, it’s the quickest route to bringing expertise to your business without the stumbling blocks of rookie mistakes.
Occasionally though, freelancers might provide inadequate service levels or results, which damages both small businesses and the reputation of all freelancers!
To help you avoid working with a marketing freelancer who isn’t dedicated and passionate about really supporting your small business, here’s what I believe you should expect.
A reliable partner
The best freelancers are those that count themselves as part of your team and make every effort to deliver business success.
If your freelancer regularly takes days to respond to emails or return your phone calls, or tells you they’ll do a task but fails to follow through with action, they are unreliable.
I’m sorry to say that there are freelancers out there who will drop clients if a bigger contract comes through the door, and these are definitely not freelancers I wish to be associated with.
Working with an unreliable freelancer who you feel might desert you, does not result in a healthy working relationship or tangible results from your marketing.
If you don’t trust your freelancer as a reliable partner, perhaps consider a new one with a proven track record.
Focus on your business objectives
When you invest in an online marketing expert, you do so for one reason – to make money.
The right freelancer will not only understand this, but they will also actively focus their attention on your core business KPIs and objectives; new business, repeat sales, average order value, return on advertising spend, return on investment – whichever outcomes you want to measure success by.
When working with a marketing freelancer, don’t settle for fluffy marketing results like social media follows and brand presence. These are important, yes, but they are not the end result you desire.
Work with freelancers who hold themselves accountable for ROI.
The bonus of bringing a marketing expert on board as your freelancer is the experience, knowledge and advice they can provide thanks to working across a variety of campaigns and industries.
Naturally then, your freelancer should be proactively adding value to your business by giving feedback and identifying opportunities to improve your online marketing – even when you haven’t specifically asked for it.
The best freelancers will always be thinking about how you could do better, not simply doing what’s instructed of them.
As a client, you should completely welcome constructive feedback given in the interest of your business success.
The ability to turn down work
It sounds strange, I know, but if your freelancer turns down work because it is not their area of expertise, this is a great thing.
It means they are only willing to produce the highest quality of work for you.
For example, my online marketing services don’t include logo design, so when a client comes to me and asks for a logo refresh, I politely decline.
However, a good freelancer won’t simply leave you at a loose end with a task that can’t be completed. They should offer you an alternate solution, such as a contact that can complete the work, or recommendations for websites where you can secure the freelance skills you need.
It’s sometimes the case that a small business owner partners with a freelancer, passing the overall responsibility for online marketing and advertising on, and in doing so, feels as though they no longer need to be involved at all.
This is not true.
A good working relationship with a freelance marketer means consistent communication from both parties.
The marketer should be sharing actions, progress and ideas, whilst the business owner should be providing business metrics, feedback and sales success or failure stories.
Whilst an expert freelancer will take charge of your marketing, the best results happen when there is great communication from both parties.
After all, your freelancer might be a specialist in his or her field, but nobody knows your business better than you.
How to ensure you choose a freelancer with these qualities
It’s one thing to say your freelancer should do or be all of the above points, but how do you know whether they’re a great partner until you start working with them?
- Track record – read and assess their client testimonials
- Ask for case studies – use these to see the types of ‘results’ they attribute as being exemplary
- Have a ‘feeler’ phone call – arrange a thirty-minute call where you can ask questions about their approach and attitude towards your business
- Consider the length of contract – if you’re wary about a freelancer, agree on a short-term contract, to begin with
Ultimately, you can’t know everything about how a person works before you actually start collaborating, but if you know what you are looking for, it’s fairly easy to identify those who will offer the best marketing support to your small business, right from the start.
As a freelance online marketing specialist myself, I think it’s important that clients receive the highest service standards from our industry.
I hope this article helps you to find a trusted freelancer, whether you choose to work with me or not!
To have a chat about my Virtual Marketer or Marketing Coach services, get in touch.
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