Industry Insights, Trends, and Best Practices (written by our Flexperts)

Finding the Perfect Marketing Freelancer

Mar 26, 2019 Emily Brungard

Finding the right freelancer can sometimes feel like an endless game of match-making. Sifting through experts with acute knowledge in the right niche or industry can take far too long. However, finding the right marketer can make all the difference and open up new avenues for campaigns, growth, and opportunities. But you can’t just add anyone to your roster — it has to be the right partnership. Freelancers vs. In-House vs. Agencies Finding the right marketing solution and partnership for your business is a comparison game. You’re likely trying to weigh the pros and cons of hiring a freelancer, a new team member or partnering with an agency. You’re not alone. The changing tides of business have created new avenues for productivity and it is now possible to succeed without a physical location or a comprehensive in-house team. Project-based teams, freelancers, specialized agencies and white-label partners have opened up the doors for new business opportunities. But there are certainly pros and cons for each of these options. Cost Effectiveness Agencies Agencies often offer project-based or retainer based partnerships. These are more expensive than freelancers but less expensive than hiring a new employee (at least over time). In-House The cost of an in-house employee is often underestimated. This option seems attractive because building an in-house team is great for collaboration and culture, but the overall costs can come back in droves. Taking into consideration factors like training, salary, benefits, PTO and possibly turnover — the expenses start adding up quick. Freelancer Hiring a freelancer is the most affordable option (by far). Professional freelancers come equipped with the right skills, resources, and tools to do their job efficiently. Vetting and selecting an expert in your niche is really the only hidden cost. Expertise Agencies Agencies are typically specialized and have team members that reflect that particular niche. Design agencies have designers and web-design agencies have developers...so on and so forth. While these are typically good options for specific expertise, the very best talent typically prefers to work as a freelancer or in an actual operational role within an existing company. In-House Finding in-house talent is a game of cat and mouse. The shifting landscape of marketing has created new specializations left and right. Social media coordinators, PPC managers, SEO experts — these are all necessary components of a successful digital campaign, but one person can rarely do them all. This means you will be hiring a lot of employees. Freelancer Freelancers are great for expertise because you can pick and choose exactly what you need. This widens the scope of any project your client may need because you can hire a freelancer to complete tasks you don’t have the capacity for. Manually searching for freelancers is a headache, but that’s what an on-demand expert marketplace is for! Communication Agencies Depending on the particular agency, this one is a coin-toss. Some agencies pride themselves on constant communication while others are overloaded with work and may take longer to respond. You are also limited to one or two points of contact and work on a delivery, review, revision, delivery schedule. In-House As you may have guessed, communication with an in-house hire is almost flawless. The ease of having someone in person without having to worry about alternative means of communication or even time zones makes this one a breeze. Freelancers This is something you can’t really control unless you have done your due diligence during the vetting process. If communication is a make-or-break factor for you, it should be discussed as an expectation from the start. On the positive side, freelancers rarely put aside a set time to respond, which means you can sometimes converse outside of a strict 9-5. Quick Freelancer Checklist If you have decided to go the freelance route, there are some things you should consider before selecting your expert. Here are the basics: Full-Time Professionals You want to look for freelancers that are professionals in their own right. What do we mean by this? You’re looking for full-time freelancers. This is a big one because professional freelancers have mastered the craft of handling multiple clients, projects, and deadlines simultaneously. Yes, it’s important that the freelancers you choose are well-versed in the field you’re looking for. But it’s equally important that they are vetted for their expertise in the freelance field. Google Check This is a given, but it can easily shine a light on any red flags that may be looming in the background. It can also show you a lot about a freelancer’s qualifications, past work and how they market themselves (the proof is in the pudding). What to look for: Do they have a website? Do they have an LLC? Do they have social media accounts? While all of these aren’t a necessity for whether or not you should hire a specific freelancer, they will give you some insights for what you are getting into. Get References and Evidence Any freelancer you are considering should have no issues giving you references or past work examples for you to evaluate. Past work can really help narrow down your search for a freelancer by illustrating the style and diligence they convey through their career. Verify Their Skills This can be done a few ways, but it's definitely worth doing before hiring a new freelancer. Verifying their skills with any tools or software in question is never out of the question. Ask about any certifications they may have or courses they have completed. Depending on the type of expert you are looking for, you may want to test out their skills with a small test project. Once you have gone through this checklist you’re ready to start interviewing or selecting the perfect freelancer match. Asking The Right Questions First things first, remember that you are looking for help because you are lacking the time, resources or expertise to complete a necessary project or campaign. Start your search by evaluating the holes that you are trying to fill. This will help you narrow down exactly what kind of freelancer you are looking for and the expectations you have for them once they get started. Next, you should ask these 8 questions to assist in the match-making process. There is no such thing as a shortage in preparation when it comes to finding the perfect freelancer — especially if you want results. Are they taking a holistic approach to understanding my problem? Do they have the strengths and expertise needed to achieve my marketing goals? Do they understand my brand and messaging? How will they communicate and collaborate with my in-house team? Will I have the visibility to track projects and approvals on a frequent basis How and how often will they report on the performance and results of their marketing efforts? Can I seamlessly modify my marketing plan and add or change project experts as my needs change, or will I need to find a new partner? What can I expect from the first 90 days of this partnership? Setting expectations is a two-way street. Not only is this important for your own project transparency but also for your freelance partner. Creating clear expectations frees up freelance talent to creating the very best result within the scope of their own multi-client workload. Working with someone who shares your values and will execute your vision is what you want. At the end of the day, you’re looking for a trustworthy partner who will help your team succeed. Project Transparency One big hurdle that we often see companies trying to overcome with freelancers is project transparency and setting expectations. It’s a big deal so we understand why it’s a topic of discussion. Businesses are reluctant to utilize freelancers for a few reasons. They don’t trust people that they haven’t worked with before They have been burned by a freelancer in the past They think it reflects poorly on their business to utilize outside help The truth about these three reasons is that the freelancer could certainly be to blame — but more often than most people would like to admit, the fault is double-sided. Relaying project expectations is 100% the responsibility of the person hiring the freelancer. If you have been burned in the past by a freelancer underdelivering or missing a deadline, it could have been a bad hire. Not your fault. But it may be worth revisiting whether or not your company relayed the necessary information to the talent. Hesitating to hire a freelancer because you aren’t sure whether or not they have what it takes is certainly a concern we understand. That’s why expert marketplaces like ours take pride in finding experienced, skilled and passionate freelancers to offer their clients. Freelancer Time Management As we mentioned, your first step in the vetting process is to find a professional freelancer. Not only is this to ensure that the talent you have acquired is official, but also experienced in handling multiple projects. Now, you’re not going to be able to manage your freelancers time for them. This is entirely up to their process. But we may have some freelancers out there that are reading this article, so this part is just for you! If you’re not a freelancer, feel free to skip this section. Learn to say no This is something that many freelancers learn the hard way over time. Freelancers want to get hired again, especially if they have built a good rapport with a client. Because of this, it’s often difficult to say no even if you know you’re going to be overloaded with work. But this is something you have to nip in the bud early. Just like it’s important for you client to relay expectations effectively to you, it’s equally important for you to relay your availability to them. Get rid of distractions This is a tough one. Productivity is your currency and you will go broke if you have too many distractions limiting your time. Email, funny YouTube videos — even your cell phone can take away from your workday. Try to segment your day so that you check in on important contact platforms at certain times, that way you’re not distracted by requests Treat it like a job You may be thinking “Well it is my job!”. We know, but creating your own work schedule, routines, and limitations are how you can remain happy while doing freelance work. Trying to adopt the workstyles of all your clients can scramble your brain. You definitely want to work as an extension of their team, but you may need to communicate some boundaries as to how you prefer to work. Freelance Cost Effectiveness Our marketing team has saved more than a quarter million dollars over the last year by leveraging our own business model. By harnessing the power of the Torchlite Marketplace, we throttle our marketing team when and where we need it, allowing us to create the output of a larger organization with more resources. Onboarding a new employee costs, on average, $4,000 and takes between three and four weeks. When you factor in all of the costs and the time it takes for your new hire to reach peak productivity, you might ask yourself if it’s all worth it. Freelancers can be productive immediately, and they’re only paid when you need specific work done. There’s no need to hire a full-time web developer, for example, if you only need occasional work done on your website. Companies that use freelancers also save on benefits like insurance, retirement contributions and PTO—freelancers aren’t employees, after all. This saves companies an average of $4,708 per employee per year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. If a company can hire ten freelancers instead of ten employees, that adds up to $47,000 in annual savings on healthcare alone (that means an entire additional employee!). Add to your bottom line without adding to your headcount. Reach out today to find your project's perfect match!

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Beat Marketing Overload With On-Demand "Flexperts"

Mar 06, 2019 Emily Brungard

“I need help yesterday.” It’s an all-too-familiar situation for busy marketers. A big client has been slow to respond to emails, but now they’re back and pushing for results ASAP. Another just signed on. Yet another is adding on an extra project that requires specialized help. Your team is bogged down with both client and internal requests, and they just keep coming. What if you could get ahead of these capacity shortfalls before they ever happen? You have options: Outsource to another agency Let’s say you work for an agency that specializes in Salesforce Marketing Cloud services. You’ve got a bunch of competitors, and your team’s capacity is filled to the brim. Do you outsource to a competitor? And who’s to say that your project is going to take priority ahead of higher-dollar campaigns? The price is usually steep regardless and oft-times they want to make the decisions instead of just doing as you’ve asked. Find your own freelancer The marketing industry is small. If you ask around, you’ll find someone who knows someone who can vouch for someone who’s used a rockstar freelancer in the past. Word of mouth and peer reviews are great, but the risk often comes with getting on his or her docket — getting your job to the top of the heap — and making sure that their skills line up with your needs. If you need help now, you’ll need to make sure that hour requirements and schedules are set well ahead of time. Plus, paying an independent contractor through PayPal can sometimes raise eyebrows in accounting. Tap an online flexpert service The modern marketer knows that the rise of the gig economy has done more than just made hailing a cab easier. Online talent marketplaces of specialized experts have transformed the way marketing is getting done. These marketplaces consist of what we call technical “flexperts” — or flexible experts — who can take your projects and get them done when you need them most. Web-based services like Torchlite provide an easy way to find a flexpert with the skills, background, and availability to support your projects. Plus, the service does the dirty work of vetting them for know-how and quality, so you can rest assured you get the right fit.

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Why “Right People at the Right Time” is Critical to Company Success

Jan 23, 2019 Susan Marshall

I’m lucky to work with a team that embodies the Torchlite mission and vision. Our team has taken the “3 Cs” (our core values — communication, collaboration, curiosity) to heart, and they demonstrate them every day. Building a team of customer success, marketing, sales, development, and professional services experts that share our mission of helping customers achieve their goals has been both challenging and rewarding. Building a team has taught me the value of having the right people at the right time. In a startup, it is difficult to know exactly when you’ll need an extra set of hands. It could be the difference between a successful product launch and missed deadlines. It’s also taught me the importance of asking for help when you don’t have the expertise you need. With the right team and the right resources, marketing results are sure to follow. The Right People: Your Internal Team Our people are critical to our growth. At the core, culture is all about people, and we’ve built a team of driven contributors who share our company’s core values. You can hire a team of A-players, but if you don’t give them the tools and support they need, what’s the point? Before we bring anyone on board at Torchlite, we ask them what they need to be successful. Equipping our team with the right tools (including access to on-demand experts) and lines of communication, allows them to focus on their goals and get more done. The Right Time: Highly Skilled Technical Experts With the right people on your team, you can weather any storm. That’s not to say that your team has to be perfect — you must have the right mixture of people, processes, and technology. But sometimes you can’t deny that you need an extra hand. In fact, the best leaders recognize when they (or someone on their team) needs help, and they facilitate getting that help. The first step in recognizing that you need an expert to fill a gap is understanding that you don’t know it all, and that you don’t have to. With so many tools and technologies available, no one person can be an expert in everything. Why settle for piecemeal marketing results when you could test, change and analyze your marketing techniques more efficiently and effectively with the help of an expert? The type of expert you choose to work with depends on your marketing team’s goals, but making sure that you have your “bread and butter” marketing tactics down pat is a good place to start. An on-demand workforce can increase the efficiency and quality of content produced to meet market demands. If you want to implement a new channel or campaign, freelance experts can be onboarded to help you prove revenue potential before hiring permanent employees for long-term execution. And when your team is occupied with more pressing projects, a bench of on-demand digital experts can make sure that all of the pieces of your marketing puzzle stay together. Since independent contractors tend to focus on a specific platform or skill, they tend to be more up-to-date with the latest product releases, trends, and “must haves” in their field. That means they’re efficient, results-driven, and that they can save you money. Our own marketing team is made up of event and digital marketers, product marketers, and designers. They’re pros at what they do, but sometimes we need an extra set of hands. That’s why they use Torchlite’s marketplace of digital experts to fill the gaps. For our team, that means working with technical experts who have a deep knowledge of Salesforce and Pardot, as well as a digital advertising whiz who helps us target the right people at the right time. From Pardot implementation and support to lead generation campaigns, our own solution has helped us scale our marketing team without increasing our headcount. It’s not just our team that has realized the value of on-demand experts — we’ve worked with hundreds of brands to help them unlock the value of their marketing technology. It's more than building another software solution. It's about bringing people and technology together to create an agile and tech-enabled approach so marketers can get more done and compete in a digital world. Need an extra set of hands? Contact us today and we'll connect you with the top 4% of digital experts.

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7 Signs It’s Time to Hire On-Demand Digital Talent

Jan 09, 2019 Emily Brungard

It’s 11 a.m. and your office is buzzing with energy. You’ve got a product release around the corner, updates to roll out, and a team to take care of. You’re in heads-down mode trying to get everything done. Copious amounts of coffee have been consumed. Lunch? You don’t have time for that — there are deadlines to make. But what about your day-to-day work? While your team has been laser-focused on a few short-term projects, have others fallen by the wayside? In a perfect world, all of your marketing work would be perfectly balanced, but let’s be real — that just doesn’t happen. And what about that new tool you bought last month but haven’t had time to implement? If this sounds like you, it may be time to add a support system to your team in the way of on-demand, specialized talent. These are seven ways to know you need an extra layer of support: 1. Your team doesn’t have the expertise Sometimes you need a specialist to get a project done. Maybe your team has been using piecemeal technology to get projects done because it’s too difficult to switch over to a new platform. Maybe you’re implementing a new channel and you don’t know where to start. On-demand digital experts bring you the right expertise at the right time, so you can drive results. Freelancers tend to focus on one or two things they master and continue to obtain training for over the years, which allows you to reap the benefit of a true expert without the expense of hiring a full-time employee or paying for new or ongoing training. 2. Your team is always busy but it's not all getting done If your team is constantly working late nights or missing deadlines, chances are you need some extra help. We can all agree that the work needs to get done and budgets are limited, but make sure to consider how current workload affects employee morale. What are your turnaround times for deliverables? Outsourcing allows you to unlock multiple marketing channels with ease and avoid employee burnout. 3. Your team can do it, but it’s not the best use of their time or talent Let’s say you want to implement the Salesforce marketing platform, but you don’t have a Salesforce Marketing expert on your team. Instead of using your copywriter or designer’s time (who already have work and don't have the training) to set up and optimize the tool, you could hire a vetted technical expert to get the tool up and running in less time with more experience. You hired each person for their specific skill set. So why pull an employee off more important tasks if a freelancer can get it done on a project basis? 4. You’re losing out on opportunities If you’re losing opportunities to build brand awareness because you’re too busy to respond to outreach, it’s definitely time to outsource some work. Are you being invited to speak at conferences or participate on panels only to decline because your workload is too heavy? Is your competition catching up to you? Consider the cost of falling behind. 5. Your top objectives need more time and attention from your team Do you have an expensive initiative in the works or a quarterly goal that you’re struggling to meet? You don't have to drop the ball on other tasks to focus on the ones that need more of your time. It’s time to hire a freelancer if your team is being pulled to dedicate more time to a select few projects. Outsourcing tasks to on-demand experts is one solution that can help you check more off your to-do list without getting behind on your biggest priorities. 6. You want to increase output without increasing head count There's a place for reasonable increased demands on your team, but if they're feeling like they were hired with one set of expectations and you keep adding to their plate, you're going to have very unhappy employees who aren't able to dedicate their own expertise and attention to the projects they already have. If it's feeling like they're being asked to do the job of 2 employees, adding a short-term freelancer can ease that burden, keep your employees happy and productive (read retention and better bottom lines), and the additional work will be getting done by an expert. 7. You're experiencing a transition Maybe your company was acquired, a full-time employee is on parental leave, or your team has been assigned a new project and they're not entirely equipped to handle it. Regardless of the circumstances, freelance digital experts are trained to fill a temporary gap for you or someone on your team. Even during a period of change, the show must go on. On-demand digital experts can fill technical and creative skills gaps across a variety of channels. If your team is overwhelmed with work and you need an extra set of hands, reach out today to find your project's perfect match!

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Unlocking Salesforce: A Q&A with Marketing Cloud Expert Sean H.

Dec 12, 2018 Emily Brungard

Research from Salesforce suggests that customers now expect a more connected and personalized experience delivered to them in real time. In fact, 70% of customers say connected processes — like seamless handoffs or contextualized engagement based on earlier interactions — are key to winning their business. Marketers are expected to take data and transform it into an experience for customers. With tools like Marketing Cloud, the possibilities are endless, but if you’re not dedicated to learning the latest features of the platform, you’re only beginning to scratch the surface. That’s where Salesforce experts come in. One of the top benefits of working with an on-demand Salesforce specialist is that they’re true experts who obtain certifications, read the latest product release notes for fun, and are dedicated to unlocking the platform’s value. We sat down with Sean H., one of Torchlite’s on-demand Marketing Cloud experts, to talk about getting the most from Salesforce, and how experts can help marketers do more with the platform. What is the most common problem you see when working with Marketing Cloud customers? Underutilization. The marketing cloud is a powerful platform, but that can also make it seem overwhelming. Many clients don’t use newer features designed to make their lives easier and campaigns more impactful because there’s a learning curve associated, and they don’t have the bandwidth or the in-house knowledge to invest to really make the most of the platform. What do you predict will be a bigger problem in 2019 for Marketing Cloud customers? “Personalization” became a marketing buzzword a few years ago, and, at that time, many people didn’t understand how the idea of personalization applied to their businesses. Fast forward to now, though, and the best businesses are figuring out how to segment, target, and develop personalized content that is really driving results. For SFMC customers that haven’t taken the time over the past few years to dig into the platform and figure out how to put it to work to personalize the marketing experience, they may find themselves losing market share to competitors that are staying in front of the curve. They may find that the “batch and blast” strategy that served them well for many years just isn’t resonating any longer because Competitor B’s personalized multichannel campaign met their customer’s expectations that much better. What is your best tip for using Salesforce? How do you eat an elephant? A bite at a time. With a powerful platform, sophisticated data management, and a number of different ways to effectively execute each campaign you’ve envisioned, it’s easy to be intimidated by the Marketing Cloud. By breaking it down – Who do I want to reach with this? How do I want to reach them? When and how often should we talk to them? – you’ll find the right features and tools for the job, whether it’s a simple Guided Send or a cross-channel journey. What is your proudest Salesforce project? It seems quaint now, but when Journey Builder was still new several years ago, it was a really big deal to successfully build and begin firing those more personalized marketing experiences to customers. It’s not that we couldn’t execute similar campaigns at the time with available tools within SFMC, but the interface and experience was such a departure, really just the beginning of things to come, that you couldn’t help but be a little proud to be one of the pioneers. Why are cross-channel integrations so important for Salesforce customers? Cross-channel integrations are one of the biggest advantages of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud compared to some of the other platforms out there. In today’s information-overloaded, short-attention-span world, repetition is just as important as serving content appropriate to the channel. If you truly want your message to reach and resonate with customers, you have to be willing to take your message to where they are, whether they’re on email, social media, SMS or all of the above. Why is having an on-demand Marketing Cloud expert necessary? Because the SFMC platform is so powerful, and constantly evolving to boot, having an on-demand SFMC expert can be like having an on-call problem solver – you know that you want to reach high-value customers who bought Widget X the last time 12 months ago, for example, but you just don’t how to get there easily without a lot of trial and error. SFMC experts have taken the time to learn the ins and outs of the platform, know the shortcuts and the pitfalls, and can look at your problem and tell you, “This is the best route to get there.” In the end, this saves you time and money on internal resources and allows you to drive revenue on your new campaign that much more quickly. Have more questions about hiring an on-demand Salesforce Marketing Cloud expert? Tweet us, or request the help of a Salesforce expert today.

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Use It or Lose It: How to Invest in 2019 With Your 2018 Marketing Budget

Dec 05, 2018 Emily Brungard

You’ve worked hard to win your marketing dollars — so make them work for you. Effectively managing your digital marketing budget is like an Olympic balancing act. Spend too much too early in the year and you risk falling short of your goals. Spend too little and you may lose those dollars at year’s end, potentially missing an opportunity to try a new tactic that could be your new bread and butter. If you’re in a “use it or lose it” position, use it! There are several ways to make the most of your surplus, and build end-of-year momentum to propel yourself into early 2019 success. Invest in People Instead of buying stuff, consider allocating your leftover budget to access and engage flexible experts who can help you make the most of the tools you already have with their skills and knowledge. Most marketing budgets either allow for hiring contractors with people dollars (AKA the money you’d use to hire a new employee), or with program budgets (that you’d use for ad campaigns or printing). The biggest advantage to investing in on-demand experts? When your marketing team’s internal workload increases, you can tap your bench of vetted freelancers to take on projects. Test a New Channel or Tool There are many marketing formats that provide good return with a little investment: think motion graphics, live video, a podcast, or infographics. These scalable projects allow you to squeeze some additional budget out of the quarter’s final days. Plus, they let you test initiatives you want to implement in the new year. The end of the year is also an opportunity for marketers to test out new tools and services or upgrade their current setups. Because many marketing tools require upfront subscription payments for the year rather than recurring monthly payments, they’re convenient places to stash your budget surplus. You may even get discounted rates if you pay up-front. Hire a Salesforce Marketing Cloud expert, experts to optimize your technology investment. Promote Your Best Content A little extra firepower via digital promotion, new targeting, influencer partnerships, or other channels can give your content the traction it needs to generate last-minute leads to add to your Q4 tally. An on-demand paid advertising expert can help you reach the right people, with the right content, at the right time. This is especially smart for gated content like e-books or videos. Want to get even more from your best content? Try spinning it into a new format, like an infographic, webinar, or a series of blog posts. Use It or Lose It Are you one of the lucky few with leftover cash at the end of the year? Use it to get ahead in 2019 by tapping a vetted expert who can optimize your current programs or implement a new one — whether that’s a using new martech tool or beginning a creative campaign. This is your golden opportunity to test new tactics and supplement your team with top talent. Don’t let your surplus go to waste.

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Hiring On-Demand Marketers: 7 Pros and Cons

Nov 21, 2018 Emily Brungard

In today's competitive, evolving marketplace, an agile methodology could mean the difference between becoming a booming business or closing your doors. With more than 41.8 million independent workers in America, hiring freelancers is one of the most effective solutions to securing top talent without going over budget — and there are plenty to choose from. Yet, like everything in business and in life, there are pros and cons to hiring freelancers. By taking the time to do your homework, you’ll save time, money, and headaches. Read on for seven pros and cons of hiring independent contractors. Pro: The Cost When you factor in the cost of recruiting, salary, benefits and company perks, and desk space taken up in the office, hiring a full-time employee can become pretty costly. The average employee hiring process costs $4,129 and takes 42 days. Who needs to spend that much extra time and money? Companies save, on average, between 20 and 30 percent annually by hiring an independent contractor. Going along with cost, the risk associated with hiring freelancers is lower, because you only need to hire and pay freelancers when there's work to be done. Because you work with them on a project-by-project basis, the worry of digging yourself into a payroll hole during downtimes is lessened. Con: Less Face-to-Face Interaction Given that most freelance work is done remotely, you shouldn’t expect to see your freelancer every day. Clear communication is essential in any working relationship, but it’s especially paramount when working with freelancers. Your freelancer isn’t in the office every day so they’re not privy to water cooler convos or even major announcements unless you share the news with them. You are their primary source of information on all things related to your business and your marketing initiatives. Don’t assume they have any insight into changes, progress, setbacks, or glitches, and always err on the side of over-communicating to prevent misunderstandings. See 8 ways to work better with your freelancers. Pro: Marketplaces Make Hiring Easier Than Ever Marketplaces like Torchlite facilitate long-term relationships between full-time freelance experts and marketers so that you can unlock the value of your marketing technology, get more done and compete in a digital world. We only connect you with the best freelancers (check out our vetting process here) — so you can rest easy knowing that the marketers you’re trusting with work will follow through. Marketplaces like Torchlite give you a full view of the experts you can access at any time, and facilitate the onboarding process. Con: Less Consistency With a freelancer, you have a specialist — but the tradeoff is that they may not have the historical knowledge that a full-time employee would have. Your independent contractor has the know-how to get the tasks you assign done, but they won’t be as familiar with your organization’s marketing strategies, what has been tried, and what direction to take things in the future. However, freelancers offer unmatched flexibility and can come on to a project whenever the need arises. Pro: You’re Not Limited to Local Talent Companies look to freelancers to find talent outside their current location. Expansion or an understanding of new markets can be made without onboarding a full-time employee. This allows you to bring new perspectives to your team. Con: You’re Not the Only Client An independent contractor’s job is to make clients happy and provide business results. The reality is that a freelancer is likely working on making several clients happy at a time. However, it’s also in the best interest of an independent contractor to get results for their client in order to build up clientele as well as reputation. This means that the freelancer’s time isn’t dedicated solely to you — they’re juggling many different requests, one-time projects, and strategies. A freelancer might also choose to perform the work outside of normal business hours, making immediate contact difficult without prior planning. Pro: Access to Specialized Talent Freelancers tend to focus on just one or two things that they’ve gained complete mastery of over the years. If you want to hire a content marketer, then you’ll get someone who specializes in content marketing and little else. This is far better than forcing someone from business development to make an attempt at content marketing because you simply can’t afford to hire another full-time employee. As a third party, a freelancer will be able to work on your campaign from a point of view that you may not have previously considered. Hiring isn’t something that should be done lightly, no matter if you’re searching for a full-time employee or a freelancer to complete a one-off project. It’s not always easy to find top talent, which is why Torchlite exists. We make it easier to connect with the top four percent of specialists to get more work done without breaking your budget. Connect with an expert today.

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Torchlite Secures Funding to Scale Marketplace of Certified Digital Marketing Experts

Oct 03, 2018 Susan Marshall

Today, we are pleased to announce a $3M strategic funding round that includes new investor Salesforce Ventures. In 2017, Torchlite doubled revenue, demonstrating a massive need in the market for certified digital marketing experts. In the past year, we've transformed Torchlite into an enterprise platform that helps customers access and manage a private marketplace of on-demand experts so they can dramatically improve the performance of their digital marketing campaigns. With this new platform, customers can also make those resources available to their entire enterprise, across business units and franchisees. Marketing departments who were once overwhelmed and understaffed can now tap into their own bench of experts to improve their performance of online ads, email, social campaigns, and customer journeys. Our platform is squarely focused on unlocking the value of Marketing Clouds with certified experts and data-driven playbooks that are focused on results. With this funding, we're excited to make it even better and can't thank our community of customers, investors, and supporters enough! Here's to an even bigger and better Torchlite. Press Release

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Press Release: Torchlite Raises $3M to Expand Marketplace of Certified Digital Marketing Experts

Oct 02, 2018 Torchlite

INDIANAPOLIS (October 2, 2018) -- Torchlite, the platform for finding and managing on-demand digital marketing talent, announced today it attracted $3 million in funding to expand its tech-enabled network of digital marketing freelancers. The funding round includes funding from existing investors, including Scott McCorkle, a technology investor and advisor, and new investor Salesforce Ventures. “Torchlite was created to enable every company to unlock the value of its marketing technology by making it simple to manage highly sought after certified freelance digital marketing experts.” said Susan Marshall, Torchlite’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “We are excited to welcome Salesforce Ventures as an investor.” Torchlite’s platform provides large organizations with a private marketplace of pre-approved, on-demand experts, from technical architects to content creators and writers - assembled to meet the needs of the enterprise. By accessing their own network of specialists, businesses can extend their marketing teams, fill critical gaps and transform their digital marketing. “Torchlite’s on-demand freelance approach empowers us to swiftly flex to meet the demands in our marketplace,” said Carole Casto, Vice President, Marketing and Communications at Cummins Inc. "The ability to access a pre-approved roster of creative experts provides tremendous value as we plan and execute our digital marketing strategy.” According to Forrester Consulting, 66% of business leaders say that the primary barrier to long term success is talent, and only 3% of marketers feel that they are getting the full value of their marketing technology*. “As digital marketing becomes increasingly specialized, many companies are turning to on-demand, independent consultants to fill gaps on their teams,” Marshall said. Edelman Research reports that over half of the workforce is expected to be freelance in the next ten years, and 57% of companies are using freelancers regularly. Since its launch in late 2015, Torchlite has raised a total of $5.5M, doubled revenue from 2016 to 2017, demonstrating a massive need in the market for certified experts and a more effective way to manage those resources to build complex digital marketing campaigns. About Torchlite Founded in 2015, Torchlite provides businesses with access to a private marketplace of certified, on-demand digital marketing experts. Torchlite helps enterprise companies fill in critical gaps and transform their digital marketing. With Torchlite's platform, organizations can easily manage highly sought after freelance experts with a variety of skill sets, from writers to designers to digital strategists and more. Check us out at torchlite.com. Salesforce Ventures Salesforce is the fastest growing top five enterprise software company and the #1 CRM provider globally. Salesforce Ventures—the company’s corporate investment group—invests in the next generation of enterprise technology that extends the power of the Salesforce Customer Success Platform, helping companies connect with their customers in entirely new ways. Portfolio companies receive funding as well as access to the world’s largest cloud ecosystem and the guidance of Salesforce’s innovators and executives. With Salesforce Ventures, portfolio companies can also leverage Salesforce's expertise in corporate philanthropy by joining Pledge 1% to make giving back part of their business model. Salesforce Ventures has invested in more than 275 enterprise cloud startups in 17 different countries since 2009. For more information, please visit www.salesforce.com/ventures. *Source: A commissioned study, conducted by Forrester Consulting July, 2017. ** Source: Freelancing in America Survey, 2017

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Retaining Top Freelance Talent: It’s Like Dating

Jul 18, 2018 Emily Brungard

When you find top freelance talent, you don't want to lose them. It's hard enough to find a full-time employee, let alone an amazing freelancer who understands your industry and your specific business. In that way, it’s a little like dating—you have to learn someone’s preferences, talents and expectations in order to click. And for freelancers, there are plenty of fish in the sea. Deloitte Insights’ research suggests that employee retention and engagement are the number two concern in the minds of business leaders, second only to the challenge of building global leadership. This statistic isn’t just relevant to full-time employees—it’s a trend that has made its way into the 1099 workforce. Workers are more like free agents than ever before. So how do you keep them engaged? Allow Ramp Up Time Hiring a freelancer helps you save on recruiting costs by getting to work sooner, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need ramp up time. If you truly want the best quality work from your on-demand help, give them a chance to learn your preferences and learn about your brand. If you routinely switch freelancers after just one project, they may not have the chance to ramp up properly. After your first project, be sure to set a meeting to provide feedback, review expectations and see how you can work better together. It can be as simple as spending five minutes at the end of an engagement discussing what went right and what went wrong, but more frequent feedback is even better. Set Expectations Early Consider offering your freelancers a fixed monthly retainer if you like their work and plan to keep sending projects their way. Include a set amount of work in the monthly retainer, and get their rates for any work that falls outside of it, so they can bill you the extra as needed. Don’t fall into the trap of making your relationship with freelancers purely transactional. If you want to get to work with them again in the future, make sure to treat your freelancer like they’re a true extension of your internal team. Communicate Frequently Treat them like they’re a part of your team, even if they’re not in the office next to you every day. Don’t just rely on written text. Schedule a video or voice call to convey more details. While it might seem like it takes too much time, doing this up front can actually improve clarity, prevent misunderstandings, and save time later on. This also helps you establish a closer connection. Don’t limit interactions with freelancers to just your own. Connect them to more team members to help them learn about your projects and business. Understand You’re Not Their Only Client Because you’re likely not your freelancer’s only client, you have an opportunity. When was the last time you asked for their advice? With a diverse portfolio of work, it’s likely that the freelancer(s) you work with can provide a unique perspective on the content you’re putting out. In the same vein, remember that the freelancers you work with could be working with several clients at the same time, including you. One of the advantages of freelancing is flexibility, so if a client frequently shoots over urgent last-minute projects or expects the freelancer to be available 24/7 (unless specific times of availability were agreed upon), chances are that freelancer will look for work elsewhere. Pay on Time The best freelancers are in very high demand. They can pick and choose their clients. In fact, freelancers might decide to stop working with you entirely if you don’t treat them well. More than 70 percent of freelancers have trouble getting paid at some point in their careers, and 29 percent of freelance invoices are paid late. It’s not difficult to get ahead of this problem: be transparent with your freelancers about how your company’s fiscal year runs, how long it typically takes to process invoices and how it pays its contract workers. The keys to successful freelance relationships are a lot like what it takes to be successful in any other relationship: transparency and communication are key. By setting expectations early and reviewing those expectations often, you set yourself and your freelancer up for success.  Implementing these tips may nurture what could ultimately become mission-critical relationships for you and your company. It could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Are you a freelancer looking for your next gig? Sign up and join Torchlite today.  

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