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Agency vs Freelancer: Who wins with your marketing?


This is a question that I’ve been hearing since I first started in marketing: should we hire an agency or hire a freelancer? It’s a great question. Both have strengths and both have weaknesses. The key lies in answering questions about what your business needs. Those answers should help you understand which group works best in your specific situation. 

Now, you might read this and ask, “Shouldn’t you be steering folks to an agency since that’s what Engenius is?” The answer: Sure, we’d love to work with you – but only if it’s the right fit for both of us. Truth be told: sometimes a freelancer might actually be a better fit for your needs. At the end of the day, we want you to work with the group (or person) best suited to your project’s requirements. We also want to do the work that is the best fit for us. We’ve found that, ultimately, matching well with our partners leads to a better experience for us and a better client experience overall. 

While our list of questions isn’t exhaustive, it should give you a running start at determining who can best help your business with your next marketing initiative.

How urgently do I need this done? Be honest.

You have to start this evaluation by being honest with how soon you really need your project done. We all generally want things done as soon as possible, but when do you really need it? 

Agencies are typically process-oriented and have a system they use to get the job done. That process comes with an established time frame that’s hard to flex and still get solid results. Because they have a team, they’re better suited to handle an increase in workload as they can distribute it among more people. 

Freelancers can be more flexible on timelines in certain seasons. If you’ve asked for some work in what is a slow time for them, they may be able to steer more of their resources to your project and get it done very quickly. Likewise, if they’re busy, they have fewer colleagues (sometimes none) to lean on which could extend out the life of your project longer than you hoped. 

If you truly need it fast, reach out to a few freelancers – and maybe even your agency – and just ask how soon they can get it done without sacrificing quality. 

 

Do you need high-quality work?

This is actually a trick question. You should always expect high-quality work – whether it’s from an agency or a freelancer. Before you work with either, check out their work product (See the Engenius portfolio here). Ask to talk to some of their clients (especially if you’re looking for a long-term relationship). There is too much noise in the digital world today to settle for subpar quality in your marketing. Bad work will get looked over by your audience faster than a snowflake melts on a hot summer’s day. Expect high quality. In fact, demand it of your agency and freelancer alike.

Is it a one-time project or something that will need recurring attention?

Agencies, by design, have a benefit that freelancers, also by design, simply don’t have: a team. When you hire a freelancer, you’re dependent upon that individual person’s capacity and longevity. Some freelancers are short-term and in between working with teams. Some have been freelancers for a long while and have more staying power. You should investigate this. 

Generally, agencies are made up of a team of people so that, even if something happens to one person, the agency can still get the work done. Smaller agencies may have key people and be more susceptible to turnover or unplanned outages. For long-term projects or something requiring recurring attention, an agency may be a safer bet as you manage your risks. There are certainly a lot of questions to ask here – but all are important to consider as you weigh which is a better fit for you.

Does your project require a specific specialty or a range of talents?

No matter who does the work for you, think through what skills are needed. Just need SEO? Make sure your freelancer or agency has SEO experience. Just need web design? Make sure that skill is present.

There are some freelancers that are multi-talented. Some, however, are single-focus and really good at one thing. A freelancer, for instance, may be excellent at content strategy and content creation, but may not be as talented at web development. The same can be true of agencies. Just because it’s an agency team with multiple people doesn’t mean there are a variety of skills present. It is always prudent to ask the questions and do your homework to see if the team or individual you’re working with has the talent(s) you need. Some teams have all of the skills you need. Some freelancers might have them too. Regardless of agency or freelancer, make sure who you’re working with has the experience necessary to handle your specific project. 

Do you trust them?

There are so many factors that should determine who you work with, but one of the most important is trust. Do you trust the individual or the team you’re considering working with? Have they been honest? Are they seeking to help you understand the strategy and bigger picture? Are they helping guide you in what you need vs what you don’t? Trust is key.

As you explore who to work with, ask lots of questions. Develop a relationship. The questions above will help guide you – but ultimately it’s up to you. As I tell folks often, “make good choices.” The success of your marketing depends on it.



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Internet Businesses Tips

Want a new website before 2022?


Most of us start the year with goals: those things we hope to accomplish between each year’s New Years’ party. For some, it’s a company mandate. For others, it’s self-driven. No matter the root of your goals, the 2021 calendar indicates that we’re halfway to the end-of-year deadline. 

I’ve heard from several folks who said they want a new website before the end of the year. One of them said, “Yeah – I’ll start looking into it in the fall.” While his intentions were good, his timeline was anything but.

Understanding how long it takes to complete a project is vital to setting deadlines for your goals. Over the years, I’ve often had conversations with executives who believe a professional, high-quality new website can be created in three or four weeks. While that may be true in some situations, my experience of watching and being a part of hundreds of website builds tells me it is a misguided assumption. 

There are several key things to consider when sketching out your new website timeline:

First – what is the caliber of website you are expecting?

Do you want it to be a strategic marketing vehicle that generates new business leads and reassures prospective customers? Strategy takes time to develop if it is based on data. Pouring over analytics reports, potential keywords to employ, and user data is not an overnight task.  Do you desire quality content? Great copywriters can work quickly – but if they don’t have time to properly research your brand and your industry, the words on the page may not motivate customers to buy from you. 

Great websites are built using a proven process. In fact, the process Engenius uses has undergone a decade of refinement and now has over one hundred fifty steps to ensure that every website produced achieves a minimum level of quality. High-quality websites that achieve revenue-based results are not built in a day. (Interested in learning more? Start the conversation.)

Second – how much preparation have you given to the process?

Have you considered a list of competitor websites that appear to be successful? Have you taken time to understand your own brand enough to articulate it well to a marketing firm? Have you documented your sales process and how you hope to receive leads from your new website? 

It is not vital to do all of these things before talking to a web design firm; in fact, they may be able to help you answer these questions. It is important, however, to realize that answering these questions takes time.

Third – how much time and what level of priority can you devote to your new website?

If you are thinking you can hand a pile of paper to your website company and walk away, you are mistaken. In our modern world, your website is the hub of your entire marketing strategy. Devoting time to the scheduled review checkpoints with your website team will ultimately determine the success of the project. 

Only you work in your business day-in and day-out, meeting with customers, understanding the needs of those you work with. Your website team should be experts in developing great websites – but you cannot expect them to know every nuance of your company, your brand, and your approach to sales and marketing. Put succinctly: you must make time to be available to your website team throughout the process.

Determining how much time you have to devote to the website build process is vital for setting your own expectations. If you are going to let weeks elapse between giving content, reviewing, giving feedback, and approval to your website team, then expect the project to last a while. If you have the flexibility to review and give approval within two days, expect the project to move along at a more normal pace.

My experience tells me that a great modern website takes about three months to build, from the day the contract is signed to the day it launches – IF everything is optimal, the client doesn’t take a vacation in the middle of the project, and the client responds within two business days to all requests. However, because many clients have multiple priorities to juggle and the new website is merely one of them, most great website projects take between four and five months to realistically get from contract to launch.

Is a new website a goal you set for 2021?

If launching before the ball drops on New Year’s is a priority, now is the time to get your ducks in a row and begin the process. Waiting until fall to even start talking about it will only lead to one of two things: sacrificing quality or missing your deadline. 



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Internet Businesses Tips

How To Make Money Writing and Selling Your EBooks Online


Today, the popularity of eBooks has opened up opportunities to both writers and non-writers. You can make money writing and selling your ebooks online as a freelance writer or by hiring a ghostwriter to do it for you.

The EASIEST Ways To Earn Extra Cash Online…

It doesn’t matter whether you are an experienced wordsmith or a newbie writer, you can make money writing fiction or non-fiction ebooks. Still curious on how you can make money writing ebooks? This article will fill you in with all the details so read on.

How To Start Writing eBooks

1. Choose a Topic 

The first step to making money writing and selling ebooks is to find a topic you want to write about. If you have a blog, you can write an ebook on the topic of your blog. If not, you can write on any topic once you can provide valuable content.

Have you already written articles and blog posts for others on a niche topic? Then you’re already in the perfect position to write ebooks on that topic for you to sell to potential customers. 

Have a think about what subjects you enjoy writing about. Once you’ve chosen your topic, what’s next!

2. Write Your eBook

Now that you know what topic you wish to focus on, start writing a helpful ebook that you know will solve a problem for your readers, something they will need, want and love. 

You can easily do this in Microsoft Word and Google Docs in the first instance before converting and making your ebook compatible with a number of online ebook platforms. Go here for a tutorial.

3. Design Your eBook

The next step is to make sure that your eBook stands out from the crowd by designing a great cover with a professional and attractive look. 

You can do this yourself using an application like Canva which has great templates that can be easily updated, or you can choose to pay someone to design your ebook for you. 

Fiverr is a great place to find a graphic designer if you don’t have the design experience. With a stunning cover design, your ebook can grab the attention of your ideal target readers.

4. Upload Your EBook

Once you are happy with the content and design of your ebook you can upload or publish your book online. There are several places where you can upload your ebook and they are as follows:

You can upload your ebook to your very own blog or site. You can add payment buttons by selling your digital products through a third party provider like Gumroad, Sendowl, Easy Digital Downloads, Shopify Lite, Payhip, or Woocommerce and quickly collect your payments through PayPal, Stripe and other payment gateways.

Amazon has a worldwide audience, so uploading your book to their site can attract a huge number of buyers. You can upload the Amazon link of your ebook to your own blog or site and it’s both FREE and easy to get started!

  • iBooks is another which is a part of the Apple ebook platform similar to Kindle publishing.
  • You can self-publish your ebooks via Smashwords another reputable platform. Smashwords allows you to distribute your e-books to the Apple iBookstore, the Sony Reader Store, Kobo, and more distributors.
  • Blurb.com works in a similar way to Smashwords and allows you to sell your ebook on the Blurb bookstore and connect to other online stores such as Amazon, iBooksstore. 

4. Promote Your eBook

Once you have done steps one through three how are you going to promote your book to get those sales? 

Writing an attention grabbing description of your ebook with useful keywords will help to sell it quicker. You can use any of the social media platforms to promote and market your ebook such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and, of course if you already have a blog or site you can definitely promote it there too. 

You can use additional incentives such as coupon codes for introductory price reductions that can be redeemed at checkout.

You can also use other promoting strategies such as offering a giveaway, writing guest posts on other bloggers sites promoting your ebook, taking part in podcast interviews and even doing paid ads.

Another great method to promote your ebook is to share testimonials. You can get a small number of beta testers to review your ebook, use their positive reviews and share it on your blog or site and all relevant social media platforms.

Now that you’ve done the planning, creation and promoting, it’s time to sell your books. Continue reading to find out the best places to sell your ebooks,

Where Should I Sell My EBook?

Once you have published your ebooks online the aim is to earn money each time a copy is sold. Here are the best places to sell your ebook online:

1. Your Blog

As mentioned before, you can sell your ebooks directly on your own blog, keeping the majority of the profits. Keep in mind that the more traffic you generate on your blog the more money you can earn from the sale of your ebook. 

If you want the best results when selling on your blog make sure to write about the topics you blog about in a friendly and informative tone. That way, you will have an audience that is interested in your niche. The more readers that go to your blog will increase your chances of selling more ebooks.

Again, continue to promote your blog and ebooks through article marketing, social media networks, writing guest posts, and the many other methods.

2. Affiliate Programs

If you have been receiving a positive number of monthly sales and a lot of inquiries, you can set up an affiliate program for interested bloggers, writers, or anyone that wants to promote your ebooks. 

This is an excellent way for others to promote your ebook to a new audience and for you to make more money, gain new followers and help others promoting your ebook to earn money as well.

So how does it work? Your affiliate partners will do all the marketing of your books online via their own blogs, sites, social networks, or other channels and you will pay them an agreed amount of money for each sale brought about by their marketing effort. 

I recommend using SendOwl. With this platform you can provide each person with a unique affiliate link that they will share with their followers. This is one of the easiest ways to sell your ebooks online.

3. Online Platforms

There are a variety of other places on the internet where you can publish and sell your ebooks to make money every month. Here are a few more online platforms you can use to sell your ebooks to your targeted audience: 

4. Amazon

If you want to sell your books online, Amazon is the best place to get the exposure your online book needs to get sold. You can list your ebooks on Amazon paying a fixed amount as service fees. When a copy of your ebook is sold, you earn 70% of the sale. Amazon is a great selling platform that allows you to reach a much larger audience.

5. Kindle Store

With the Amazon Kindle store, you can publish ebooks on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) to make money online. Publishing on the Amazon Kindle store is a lucrative way to earn money from your ebook. The Kindle app can be used on almost any device such as iPads, smartphones with the advantage of reaching a global audience.

6. Google Play Books

Beside downloading apps on Google Play, a great place that you may not have thought of is Google Play Books. You will earn a 70% split on any ebook sold. It’s very simple to sign up to.

7. eBay

Although it’s not the first place you would think of, you can list your ebooks on eBay and sell them online. You pay a cut of the sale price for each transaction to eBay.

Tips on Making Money Selling eBooks

  • Content: The key to making money by writing and selling ebooks online is to write well-researched and informative content that provides a solution to a common problem people may have.
  • Non-Fiction: If you are writing non-fiction, make sure you write valuable, in-depth content that your readers will find helpful as there may be similar ebooks on that topic online already.
  • Cover: Have a great cover design that looks eye-catching and grabs the readers’ attention.
  • Reviews: If you are selling through Amazon, encourage buyers to leave an honest review. Getting reviews will help your ebook rank higher in search results on Google and other search engines so more prospective buyers can find and buy it.

Final Thoughts on Writing eBooks to Sell

Hopefully you’ve been inspired by the information to write and sell ebooks. Why not start writing a useful digital book? The positives of this profitable online business is that all age groups; teens, stay at home moms, and retirees are able to create, design and publish online books. 

To be successful as an ebook writer and seller, you must write great content on a desirable topic, have a well-designed cover, promote it on social media once it is published, and sell it via the various online platforms. Now is the time for you to enter this lucrative business and share this idea with others!

You May Also Like:

Make Money Writing and Selling Your E-books Online: 7 Ways To Earn

 



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