Should I Hire a Digital Agency?

Today’s guest post was written by Robert Rand.

When designing, maintaining, or marketing an eCommerce website, you have many choices for who to turn to for help and results. Each option will come at a different cost, and provide a different experience for you and your business.

1. Do It Yourself (DIY)

Like most things in life, if you have the time, ambition, and versatility, chances are you can master the new skills necessary to be a web designer and internet marketer. However, your time and energy may be better spent on other tasks. Many of us don’t service our own cars, not because we’re incapable, but rather, because we’ve got bigger fish to fry than changing our own oil. For that matter, you might make an excellent Hibachi Chef, but chances are, if you’re in the mood for a fun Japanese dinner, you’ll visit a local restaurant.

Many do-it-yourselfers will eventually seek out help, especially as their businesses grow. That doesn’t mean that you have to give up all control, or have others do everything, but you’ll get to a point where it makes sense to bring in experts to assist.

2. Hire Staff

While we’re big fans of being “job creators,” in many cases, this won’t make sense since your needs may not warrant the expense. Even if it does, you’ll have to strongly consider if one person will meet your varied needs. It’s rare to find someone who’s creative and produces great designs, is a technical wiz at technical setup, and understands the in’s and out’s of marketing campaigns, analytics, and conversion optimization.

Even if you do hire someone, you may find yourself in a position of needing to supplement their expertise with other vendors. You may also find yourself in a tough spot to manage them if you don’t have good metrics to judge the quality and quantity of that person’s work. You’ll also be subject to that person’s availability. If they take vacation, or quit, where will that leave your business?

3. Hire Freelancers

This is like hiring a handyman to come help out. You may pay this person more than you would have paid an employee, but it’s a short-term contract and you don’t need to provide a freelancer with office space, a computer, software, benefits, paid vacation time, or any of the other overhead of having someone join your staff.

On the other hand, you’re very much subject to this person’s availability, and what other projects they take on, as well as their range of expertise. You may find that when you need your freelancer the most, he or she is unavailable, or not versatile enough to meet all of your needs.

4. Outsource Work

Outsourcing became popular because there is labor available around the world that can be cost effective, and highly available. There’s no doubt that there are top-notch vendors in all corners of the globe. On the other hand, we’ve all called an outsourced support center and been disappointed with the results.

Outsourcing has evolved over the years; the traditional mindset when outsourcing is discussed is of an outsourced team in another country, like India, but outsourcing has increasingly broadened to also include U.S. based outsourcing options as well. The cost will vary based on location, meaning there’s a full array of potential depending on what you want for your business.

Be prepared for time delays, as outsourced teams are often working in different time zones or with multiple clients concurrently. Also expect some communication challenges, as there may be language or cultural differences that make it harder to communicate and arrive at the final product that you’re looking for, especially if you’re working with an overseas team. When outsourcing work and the firm appears to be local, you should confirm if the team is also local, or overseas.

5. Hire an Agency

You can also hire a domestic agency. Much like hiring others in the service industries, such as accountants, or general contractors, you can find an agency with a solid track record of success, dependable staff, good communication skills, and the varied in-house expertise that your business needs in order to meet your goals. An agency should be able to act as your advisors and consultants to steer you in the right direction based upon their amassed experience, rather than simply fulfilling requests.

Whether it’s trying to understand how to cost-effectively drive more targeted traffic to your website, or which technologies may help you convert your website visitors into customers, an agency can be your long-term source for design, development, and marketing direction and services. They’ll be there to review reports with you, and even train you on what you and your team can do on your end. They’ll also be likely to recommend 3rd parties, like Apps, to help your store.

An agency will typically cost more than a freelancer or outsourcing, and can experience slowdowns and other issues (it is possible for an office to come down with the flu, or affected by inclement weather), but overall, an agency will provide a more predictable and professional product, and will be a good fit for you as your business continues to grow.

Work with a Digital Agency

A digital agency can help you get up and running quickly on Zoey. Zoey works with a variety of agencies for those who wish to have outside help, or simply don’t feel comfortable taking things on themselves. To find out how Zoey can help your business, and how a digital agency can support that goal, contact us to start a conversation:

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