Top tips for agencies looking to outsource

Top tips for agencies looking to outsource

Written on: 03/02/2023

Many PR, Marketing and Advertising agencies won’t have web design or development resources in house. They might have a designer who knows their way around Photoshop (bad idea, by the way, to design sites in Photoshop!) – but on the whole, they don’t tend to have experts in UX (User Experience), UI (User Interface), nor do they have a handful of web developers on hand to build out the sites their clients might need. But, it would be a mistake to not take that work on, right? You’re missing a trick if you don’t design and build the website as well as doing all of your other work.

Usually a website is one of the first things a client asks for as part of a wider package. Having a rebrand? We need a new website. Launching a new business? New website. Had your existing website for 3 or more years? New website. It comes up all the time, especially as part of PR, Marketing or Advertising strategy. It might not even be the main website, it could be a micro-site to support a campaign. But there is always a need for digital resources.

As an agency, you might have a freelancer or two that you always use. But, if you don’t, and you are looking to dip your toe into the world of outsourcing your web design and development work, then I have 5 tips for you.

Web design is still a little bit like the Wild West, there is no regulation as such, and you’ll get prices from £250 up to £25k for the same site, depending on who you speak to. Budgets aren’t something I cover here, but you should definitely have an idea of why those two figures could be worlds apart, and understand where your budget needs to sit.

I will go into more detail about freelancer day-rates in a future blog-post, but for now, let’s not worry about budget too much. Let’s focus on the things you need to do, to ensure that your project is a success.

1. Clearly define your project requirements.

Before outsourcing any work, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve. You should have a detailed project brief that outlines your objectives, timelines, budget, and other essential requirements. This will help ensure that the outsourced team has a clear understanding of your expectations and can deliver the project accordingly.

2. Research potential outsourcing partners

It’s crucial to do your due diligence when selecting an outsourcing partner. Research potential partners thoroughly to ensure that they have the necessary skills, experience, and reputation to deliver quality work. Check their portfolio, reviews, testimonials, and case studies. You can also ask for referrals from colleagues or other trusted sources.

3. Establish clear communication channels

Communication is key to successful outsourcing. Establish clear communication channels with your outsourcing partner from the outset. This includes setting up regular check-ins, using project management tools to track progress, and being available to answer any questions or concerns that may arise. Clear communication will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the project runs smoothly. Slack is a great way to keep in touch with the team. Trello is a great platform for tracking bugs, changes, fixes etc… and ensuring the project stays on track.

4. Define project milestones and deliverables

To keep the project on track, it’s important to define project milestones and deliverables. This will help you and your outsourcing partner track progress and ensure that the project stays within budget and timeline. You should also establish a process for reviewing and approving deliverables to ensure that they meet your expectations.

5. Consider cultural and language differences

When outsourcing work, you may be working with a team from a different country or culture. It’s important to consider these differences and make adjustments as needed. For example, you may need to adjust communication style or use translation services. You should also be aware of any holidays or cultural norms that may impact the project timeline. Taking these factors into account will help ensure smooth communication and collaboration with your outsourcing partner.

I really hope these five tips help you when you are looking for an outsourcing partner. Some agencies will get a freelancer in, some will outsource to a company. There is no right or wrong here, you need to do what fits your agency best, and make it work for your clients.

One final point, which is like a bonus tip – and you can take it onboard if you wish. Be transparent. I’ve worked with agencies all over the world, and I always hate having to pretend like I am part of the agency, like I work there full time. It is so easy for your end client to check up and find that I don’t in fact work there, and I am a successful freelancer. So by being transparent, calling me (or your outsource partner) a trusted resource who you’ve worked with for years, you keep things nice and clean, and honest.

Good luck. It can be a minefield out there, but these tips will hopefully help you to navigate that.

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