When I established my digital marketing agency, I was a team of one. However, I quickly realized that I could not handle everything myself. Expanding my service offerings was difficult due to two factors: 1) my limited knowledge, which prevented me from specializing in all areas that clients desired, and 2) the need to focus more on growing the business and less on client work.
My strategy was to establish strategic partnerships with freelancers that enabled us to extend our capabilities. In addition to the group of small, but mighty contractors that I built to support our core work, I needed to hire freelancers with specialized skills in social media, paid media, content development, web development, and front-end design.
However, I had concerns around:
- Ensuring that all clients received the same level of service and work quality.
- Integrating these services with larger projects. Clients would purchase these services as part of other services we provided. How could we ensure that these were tightly integrated?
- Preventing freelancers from establishing independent relationships with clients and “luring” them away.
I have built a trusted network of more than 50 preferred freelancers, each with specialized skills. Before being added to the network, each freelancer was pre-vetted, had a contractual agreement, and attended training. Below are some of the actions I took:
- Developed an operational model and process that included specialty freelancers. When there was a need for their specialized knowledge on a project that we were managing, we had a process for selecting and integrating them into the project. Instead of working independently with a client, they were part of the larger project team. They had access to project management and communication tools and interfaced with the client and the project manager just like any more permanent staff member would.
- Designed contractual agreements to protect my company while ensuring mutual benefits for all parties. Contracts addressed how freelancers would conduct themselves while working with clients, intellectual property matters, and non-solicitation specifics.
- Developed training for all staff, which included a code of conduct and shared values. We also provided training on how projects were managed and our approach to work.
VALUE TO BUSINESS
- Increased sales revenue
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Expanded service offering
VALUE TO CUSTOMER
- Access to professionals that have been pre-vetted.
- Access to professionals with specialized knowledge.
- Convenience. Many digital marketing services under the same roof.