If you’re still navigating through economically challenging times, chances are you’re feeling overwhelmed. With promises of a recession looming large, businesses are facing financial difficulties and looking for ways to cut costs while operating efficiently.
As business owners ourselves, we understand what you’re going through. And we’re here to help. One solution we see companies turn to: outsourcing their creative services department as an effective way to save money while still getting the quality work you need.
And the return pays dividends. After all:
The benefits of outsourcing creative support
Cost-cutting: outsourcing saves you expenses and headaches
Cost savings is one of the most significant (among many) benefits of external creative services. Outsourcing creative and design work can be significantly less expensive than hiring in-house designers, particularly for small to medium-sized businesses. By outsourcing, you’ll access a vast talent pool at a fraction of the cost or HR headache of hiring full-time employees.
Doesn’t that sound like a dream? You’re spared all that paperwork, all that time sunk, and HR costs. No HR hassles. No interviews.
No timely, draining, expensive hiring processes.
Just a cup of coffee with good, talented people. If you’re already feeling lighter, that’s the point. And, as you can see below, this investment is worth it.
Resting easy: specialized talent frees you up
Another benefit of outsourcing design and creative support is access to specialized skills and expertise. On our team, we have people who specialize in everything from UX and UI to brand and content strategy.
When we meet a client who needs additional adjacent services — paid media or web and app development, for example — we bolster our team with our partners. Easy-peasy, and no work for you. No additional contracts or relationships to manage.
This level of ease and flexibility lets you access a broader range of expertise than you’d have access to with in-house creative services. These measures can be especially beneficial when you need specialized design work, such as branding or packaging design.
Flexibility & scalability: support that adapts to your ever-changing needs
When finding the right external creative team, you get to steer the ship while we serve as your dedicated first mate.
You can adjust the levels of support you need as your business changes. This capability is especially beneficial when your company experiences fluctuations in demand or unstable market conditions.
For example, when starting out with a new client, we might do some initial design work to address any preliminary holes. Then, we might step back and start the long-term project planning.
Or, when we’re just starting out, we’ll probably get knee-deep in strategy and figuring out the long-term why behind the project before execution. As time goes on, we’ll delve into design execution, then content management, although these focuses are always involved throughout the process to some extent.
By hiring an external team to do your creative work, not only will they pivot and adapt along with you, but you’ll also free up your time so you can focus on what you’re good at - running your business. And research shows that the benefits are well worth it, especially when it comes to having a team of talented designers.
Finding the one: how do you know which creative service department is right for you?
Talk to me: communication is key
A good outsourcing partner should be an active listener, taking the time to understand your company’s goals, target audience, and creative needs. Effective communication is crucial so you and your external team can create a clear system for providing feedback and revisions and easily discuss any changes or concerns.
The creative services department should set up regular check-ins, have a point person handle all meetings, and welcome authentic feedback, which is essential to ensure the work is on track and meeting your expectations.
From there, your partner should be open to feedback and set up active solicitation. No project is perfect, so you’re within your right to offer ideas, insights, and changes. A good creative services department team shouldn’t always agree, but they must present compelling evidence and the latest industry evidence to back their argument.
To make the most of outsourcing design and creative support, it’s crucial to establish a good working relationship and clear guidelines for communication and revisions with the outsourcing partner. This includes regular communication — check-ins, progress reports, and a system for providing feedback and exchanges — and a clear understanding of the role of each party.
Background checks: references matter
Another important factor to consider is the partner’s portfolio and references. Look at their previous work and ask for references from their previous clients. Even better is a word-of-mouth recommendation from someone you trust or a solid series of reliable, third-party reviews (Clutch is great for this). These insights will give you an idea of the team’s level of skill and experience and the quality of work they produce.
We’re big believers, finally, that the right creative agency puts your needs over their ego. They aren’t focused on their next big break or trying to build up their client list. The right team cares about what you need over what they’re good at or what they think will look great in their portfolio. Empathy and selflessness are critical to ensure that your partner’s work aligns with your brand, resonates with your target audience, and supersedes their ego.
Checks & balances: finding financial compatibility
Make sure you understand the pricing structure and that it fits within your budget. We personally like to provide our starting rates, then describe approximately how much you’ll save, as you can see here.
You should also work with the team to set up clear payment terms and deadlines upfront. That way, you’ll avoid misunderstandings or delays. Your partner should be happy to jump in and collaborate on this process and adapt to your changing monthly needs.
Best practices for outsourcing design support
When outsourcing design and creative support, if you don’t yet have clear goals, then it’s time to start. A solid team will work with you on ROI and an adaptable roadmap. This practice will help ensure that the work produced by the outsourcing partner aligns with your company’s needs and goals.
One straightforward way to do this is to set clear performance metrics and deliverables for the outsourcing partner.
These goals can include specific design elements and timelines for completion, a certain number of social media engagements and followers, or a specific metric of leads you want to gain by next year. Again, your partner should come to the table with ideas on all of these.
It’s worth admitting that, as a design and creative agency, we might be biased toward outsourcing support.
However, the benefits and suggestions are widely recognized in the industry.
Lastly, we hold fast to the fact that you should be able to take your eyes off your creative agency partnership and focus on other essential aspects of your business. Outsourcing support can be an effective solution when you’re looking to cut costs and improve your design, brand, and marketing work during tough economic times.
We understand that things can’t always be smooth sailing, but when you’ve got the right external creative team, you should feel like your tiller is pointed in the right direction.
If you’d like to grab a cup of joe virtually or in person, we’d love that. We’re here to discuss all things design and creative so you and your business can enjoy a headache-free existence while we sweat the details. Get in touch with us.