When you are looking to scale marketing efforts for your e-commerce business, there are many approaches to try. Specifically, when looking to get more work done in a shorter amount of time, often you need more hands. As e-commerce businesses are unique, following traditional routes will rarely apply to your situation. You need to get with the current trends, including a shift to hiring within the freelance economy.
Your business needs to be agile and keep up with current trends and technology. Businesses often fail to scale marketing because they are unable to keep up with changes in their industry. Selling products online requires very different strategies than selling in a brick-and-mortar store.
E-commerce companies have a different set of factors driving decisions. Often you can target customers that are outside of a local area, for instance. You can, in fact, target anyone worldwide. This also means that your competition is no longer limited to the sellers down the street.
Moreover, social media and customer reviews have drastically altered the customer buying experience. You must prove that you can offer a superior product that others already love.
Additionally, you need to respond quickly to customer inquiries. At one time, customers allowed days between a request and response. In our current consumer environment, however, customers are often looking for instant gratification. If they can’t get an answer from you quickly, they will just find another seller – because they can.
So how are you supposed to do it all?
What are your options to scale marketing efforts when you need more people?
Hiring new people can be time-consuming and stressful. E-commerce companies have three options: hire in-house, hire an agency or hire freelancers.
Depending on the situation you are in, hiring in-house might be the way to go. You get long-term employees who can grow with your business. Yet, when you are looking to scale up, and not prepared to hire on more permanent employees, consider hiring freelancers.
Hiring in-house often means posting a series of job descriptions, reviewing applications, holding interviews and carrying on several email chains back and forth. Then, once you finally find a hire, you often have to wait two weeks before they can even begin. Next, you focus on learning company culture, providing training and testing the new employee on a variety of tasks. Anyone can list something on a resume, so you need to give them projects to be sure they can do what they said and to know that you hired the right person for the job.
But you don’t have that kind of time. You are trying to scale marketing because you want to grow your business and get critical projects out there. Now. While the customers still have your name in mind. You know how the attention of a consumer can shift in a minute.
Why Hire a Freelancer?
Instead of going through the long hiring process, consider how different it is to have access to a pre-vetted freelancer with the exact skills you need for your current project.
When you have employees on staff or in-office, your projects are influenced by their attention and attendance. Family emergencies, vacations and unexpected surprises can completely derail the progress of a campaign. If your only programmer is out for two weeks, well, think about what stops getting done.
When you have some go-to freelancers, absences don’t have to ruin your forward progress. If one can’t get the project completed, another can pick up the slack. This also works for hiring while an employee is out.
2. Specific Skills
The website for an e-commerce company can make or break the success of the business. You need developers and programmers who can get you every feature that you need, who will keep it running smoothly, who can troubleshoot an issue quickly and anticipate how software changes will impact the customer experience. This is the only way you can effectively scale marketing so it makes a difference for your business. It can be pretty difficult to find one or two employees who will be able to stay on top of all of these issues while also getting their regular jobs done.
When you need someone with very specific skills and who is experienced with updated techniques, a freelancer could easily make for a good choice. Freelancers are often interested in continuous learning because they must keep their skills current to remain competitive. They can’t just coast after landing one gig. Therefore, you are more likely to get someone with great experience and updated skills.
What if you have a specific challenge that no one on staff is familiar with solving? You could spend your money and their time on training and research to solve it. Or, you could hire someone who already knows exactly what they are doing. Save yourself time, money and frustration by hiring someone who has the exact set of skills you need for each project.
By hiring a freelancer, you are saving your current, excellent employees from having to jump on something that is not their strength. People are most productive when working on the projects which they are passionate about and have experience with. Let them focus on what they are already great at.
3. Fast Turn-Around
Some projects wind up needing a fast turn-around time. This is an ideal time to use a freelancer. When an email campaign needs to get published quickly and there is a lot of content to write, you can split it up between multiple freelancers rather than switching a regular employee from their current workload and paying for overtime – and the resulting stress and fatigue.
To scale marketing efforts, you need to get your products mentioned in a popular blog so you can see an increase in sales. To keep up with the influx of orders, you need a project manager who can keep everything running smoothly. You may need landing pages written quickly with inspiring graphics. It is not realistic to stop progress on all of your other tasks in order to keep up with the new demands. Instead of worrying about where to allocate everyone’s time, freelancers can step in and create content, images and workflow easily. Often a freelancer can be hired within one business day.
4. Recurring Tasks
When you have a reliable set of tasks that must get done each week or each month, a freelancer can often complete these quickly and efficiently. Often, recurring projects can be completed by freelancers who are given clear instructions.
Staying on top of your social media presence, for example, is vital for e-commerce companies. Frequent posting and immediate customer responses are expected. Freelancers can create content and graphics as well as schedule these posts. You don’t have to rely on inspiration and creativity to show up each day in order to have a consistent social media presence.
All of your content should meet SEO best practices. You can stay informed and read about changes in algorithms. Or, you can hire an expert who is already staying on top of the most current and powerful approaches to getting your content seen. When a freelancer chooses an industry, they become an expert in that industry.
A freelancer has the advantage of using their skills across different companies, clients and situations. You will absolutely benefit from their experience and what they have learned from projects before yours.
5. Unconventional Approaches
Freelancers are not bound to work in the same city, state or even country as you and your products. A freelancer has maximum flexibility, allowing you to get exactly what you need, when you need it.
Do you determine projects late in the afternoon, but want them completed in the morning? Hire freelancers on the other side of the world who can work while you are sleeping to get your tasks finished. Imagine waking up every morning to an email that says the project is complete. This frees you up to build your business, instead of maintaining it.
You no longer have to hire based on who lives near your office or location. With remote freelancers, you can select the best talent with the experience and the personality you need to meet your business goals. With a wide range of potential freelancers, there is no shortage of individuals that can move your business forward. With a system of communicating over time zones and locations, you will be comfortable checking in on progress wherever you are.
6. Busy Season
Accountants are not the only ones who experience a busy season. Often there are times of the year when you need more content written, the website to be updated, new features to be installed, rebranding efforts have been agreed on or a new competitor starts to disrupt the market.
Keeping up with day-to-day operations is vital to continue to provide your customers with what they are expecting. You can effectively scale marketing efforts if you can’t even keep your head above water. Growing in this environment can be rough. Unless you have the people, experience and skills needed to keep up.
Freelancers can be used to pick up the extra tasks that come related to business growth. Perhaps your busy season only lasts a week. Hiring someone in-house for that kind of a role wouldn’t make sense for you or for them. Hiring a freelancer for those tasks can help fill the gap and get everything done on time.
Perhaps you have a month’s worth of work to get done, but that month is expected to be very busy. That is too long to pull your staff off of their regular tasks, and too long to wait. Something will fall through the cracks if everyone shifts projects at the same time. Freelancers could either write the new content or pick up some of the regular day-to-day tasks, allowing your staff to be creative and determine the best messaging for your busy season.
You have heard time and again that multitasking is bad for productivity. Such as when a staff member needs to recover from an interruption or get back into a flow of work. Add in the time it takes to switch from one project to another (including understanding the project requirements). Your employees are losing precious time that could be saved if they worked solely on one project at a time.
Other tasks will pop up each day, but your staff do not need to take that on themselves. When you have a go-to freelancer for things that come up, you will be more prepared. Have the freelancer complete an already started project. Or, assign the freelancer a brand-new project. Either way, your staff and the freelancer will be able to stay focused and complete all of the projects in your pipeline.
Set yourself up for success. As your business grows, your approach to work must also grow and develop. Keep up with your industry and do everything you can to enhance the customer experience. You’ll make your own experience better at the same time.