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What Should You Know Before Hiring an Agency or Freelancer for SEM

Julia McCoy
Friday, 12th Jan 2024
Julia McCoy
5 min read · Jan 11 2022
What should you know before hiring an agency or freelancer for SEM

PPC traffic converts 50% better than organic traffic, making SEM a powerful tool for generating leads, increasing conversions, and growing revenue. But SEM requires expertise and experience, which is why many businesses turn to digital marketing agencies or freelancers for help. What should you know before hiring an agency or freelancer for SEM?

A good SEM digital marketing agency or freelancer will have years of experience working with different types of online marketing campaigns, platforms, budgets, and industries, giving them a deep understanding of what works best in each situation. They know how much budget should be allocated per online marketing campaign and how to optimize them for maximum ROI.

To help you find the right digital marketing agency or freelancer, we’ll discuss what should you know before hiring an agency or freelancer for SEM — including what to look for in potential candidates, evaluating their skills, and doing the actual interview.

Table of Contents

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Digital Marketing Agencies vs. Freelancers for SEM

If you do not have an in-house marketing team, then you could hire someone to help you with SEM. Digital marketing agencies and search engine marketing consultants are popular options.

When looking to outsource your SEM, you will need to consider three things:

1. Expertise

Digital agencies tend to specialize in certain areas of expertise such as content marketing, SEO, or SEM while freelance digital marketers often focus on one specific skill set such as web design or copywriting.

2. Time Commitment

If time is of the essence, then working with an agency could save you valuable hours since they already have teams dedicated to individual projects whereas freelance digital marketers may take longer due to their limited availability and resources.

If you are not in a rush, then working with a search engine marketing expert can provide more flexibility when it comes to scheduling tasks around your needs rather than having everything done within strict deadlines imposed by an agency.

3. Cost

If you are working with a tight budget, freelancers are the more affordable option. This is because they don’t have the overhead costs associated with running an agency like rent, office equipment, and staff salaries.

However, this doesn’t mean that you will always get a better deal from a freelancer. Sometimes agencies can offer discounts or packages that make them just as competitive in terms of price.

What should you know before hiring an agency or freelancer for SEM? Let’s compare both options.

Pros and Cons of Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency For SEM

There are many benefits to hiring an agency but you should also consider its pitfalls. Let’s take a look at what agencies have to offer and what you should be wary of.

Pros of Hiring an Agency

1. Access to Resources – An agency will have access to more resources than a freelancer so they can handle more projects.

2. Team of Specialists – Agencies employ marketing specialists with diverse skill sets that allow them to handle complex projects.

3. Faster Completion Time – With the right professionals assigned by the agency and managed in-house, projects can be completed much faster than if you hire a freelancer alone.

4. Regular Communication and Support – You don’t need to worry about managing anyone when working with an agency as they provide regular check-in meetings. It’s also easy to communicate with them and get support throughout the duration of the project.

What should you know before hiring an agency or freelancer for SEM

Cons of Hiring an Agency

1. Costly – Agencies tend to charge higher rates compared to freelance services since they employ experienced professionals who require higher salaries for their expertise.

2. Less Flexible – When working with a digital marketing agency, there is typically less room for negotiation on pricing or terms due to its established structure.

Now let’s look at what freelancers can offer your business.

Pros and Cons of Hiring a Freelancer for SEM

A freelancer is an individual who is paid per project or per task. Why should you choose a freelancer?

Pros of Hiring Freelancers

1. Specializes in One Area – Freelancers often specialize in a particular skill such as web design/development, email marketing, social media marketing, or copywriting. If you need help with these types of tasks, then you can easily outsource them to a freelancer. This makes it easier to complete small projects without having to search through multiple agencies or job postings.

2. Lower Fees – Freelancers typically charge less than professional agencies due to their lower overhead costs. Since they don’t need to pay full-time salaries to employees, they can offer competitive rates while still maintaining high-quality work standards.

3. Flexible – Because SEM freelancers work on their own time schedule, freelancers tend to be more productive than in-house marketers which helps keep deadlines in check.

What should you know before hiring an agency or freelancer for SEM

Cons of Hiring Freelancers

1. Lack of Communication – Since most SEM freelancers work remotely, communication may not always be as clear or consistent.

2. Lack of Oversight – Working in different time zones makes supervision difficult, which could result in poor output quality. To mitigate this risk, make sure you thoroughly review past work samples prior to onboarding any new hires.

3. Short-Term Commitment – If you require ongoing support after the completion of the project, then working with an agency might be better suited for your needs since many freelance professionals prefer one-off projects over long-term commitments.

What Should You Know Before Hiring an Agency or Freelancer for SEM?

Before selecting an agency or freelancer for SEM services, take some time to define what you want to achieve with this project — both short-term and long-term.

It’s also important to think about how these goals fit into your overall business strategy so that you can ensure they are realistic and achievable.

Once you have identified your goals, set a budget. Keep in mind that SEM is an ongoing program so make sure that your budget reflects that.

In addition to setting a budget for the project, assess what resources you already have available such as staff members who can help manage the process or existing tools like analytics software that could complement the strategies developed by an outside consultant. Knowing what assets are at your disposal will enable you to determine which type of professional would be best suited for helping meet your objectives.

Before hiring an agency or freelancer, define your goals, determine a budget, and assess available resources. #ContentMarketing #SEO #DigitalMarketing Click to Tweet

Research Potential SEM Freelancers

When it comes to researching potential candidates for SEM, referrals from colleagues or friends can be an invaluable resource. Ask around in your network to see if anyone has worked with freelance marketers or a digital agency they would recommend.

You can search popular freelancer platforms and look for providers with excellent reviews and high ratings.

Look at the portfolio of any prospective candidate you are considering hiring. Review their past projects and read through any case studies that may be available on their website or LinkedIn account.

Finally, take into account the experience level of each candidate when making your selection. An experienced professional will likely have more knowledge about industry trends and techniques which could prove beneficial when it comes time to implement your strategy.

Hiring an agency or freelancer for SEM? Make sure to check their portfolio, experience level, and reviews from past clients before making a decision. #ContentMarketing #SEO” Click to Tweet

Interview Prospective SEM Experts

What should you know before hiring an agency or freelancer for SEM?

Prepare Questions in Advance

Before the interview, prepare a list of questions to test their knowledge and evaluate their skill set. Ask about the candidate’s experience with SEM, content marketing, keyword research, link-building strategies, website optimization techniques, and other relevant topics.

Inquire about any success stories they have achieved for previous clients or employers to get an idea of how well they can handle your project.

Evaluate Their Knowledge and Skillset

During the interview process, pay close attention to how the candidate answers your questions. Do they provide detailed responses or do they seem unsure? Are their explanations clear and concise?

Evaluating their knowledge and skillset is essential for determining if this person has what it takes to be successful on your team.

Ask them to explain specific concepts related to SEM so you can get a better understanding of their expertise level.

After assessing the candidate’s knowledge base, ask them about their SEM approach when it comes to achieving results. What strategies do they typically use? How do they measure success?

Wrap up these questions before making a hiring decision.

Making the Final Decision

Making the final decision about who to hire for SEM can be difficult. It is important to compare quotes from different candidates, consider their availability and flexibility, and review contract terms carefully before making a commitment.

When comparing quotes from different candidates, look at more than just the cost of services. Consider factors such as experience level, quality of work, turnaround time, customer service policies, payment terms, and any additional fees that may apply. Ask questions if there are any areas you don’t understand or need clarification on.

It is also important to consider an SEM expert’s availability and flexibility when making your decision. Make sure they are willing to deliver on your deadlines.

Finally, review all contract terms carefully before signing anything. Make sure everything discussed during interviews is included in writing so there are no surprises regarding pricing or deliverables expectations. Read through each section thoroughly to ensure you fully understand what both parties have agreed upon prior to signing any legal document.

Ready to hire an SEM expert or agency? Make sure you compare quotes, consider availability and flexibility, and review contract terms carefully before signing. #ContentMarketing #SEO Click to Tweet


If you don’t have an in-house marketing team, then you could hire SEO agencies or experienced professionals. You need to understand the difference between a digital agency and freelance marketers, identify your needs, research potential candidates, and interview prospective experts.

Take the time to find the right person or agency that can meet your SEM requirements and deliver results so that you can get maximum value from their services.

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Written by Julia McCoy

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