eConfused? How Marketers Can Leverage Freelancing Sites

By Matt PerlMay 26, 2015

There are millions of articles out there on how to use freelancing websites like Elance, Fiverr and others to help sell your goods and services. The articles detail how a freelancer can offer his or her services online and set a bid price for the work they promise to do. We’ve seen this model executed a million ways. What this brief aims to offer is a roadmap on how marketers of any shape and size can utilize these freelancers for particular services that might be of use. From a simple logo, to a 3-D rendering, to a voiceover, to a website design—it is clear there is a lot out there and understanding how to navigate these waters is vital for the success of any marketer willing to dip into this pool of talent.

Who They Are

Elance has been at the game the longest—started in 1999 in Silicon Valley and ranking globally by Alexa at 616. Currently, Elance states they have “3.6 million registered freelancers who have earned over $1.4 billion from the service.” In 2013, Elance acquired one of the other dominant forces in this space, oDesk, which has helped propel the company to new heights.

Freelancer, which started in 2009, has truly focused on the international market as their founding in Australia suggested. Currently they rank globally at 1103 on Alexa and have a limited footprint domestically.

Fiverr is another newcomer to the space, but has grown the fastest. Since launching in 2009, the company has experienced rapid growth—with the transaction volume growing 600% since 2011. Additionally, has been “ranked among the top 100 most popular sites in the U.S. and top 150 in the world since the beginning of 2013.”

Services Offered

Pretty much anything you want can be done. From the short, one-off graphic to a more complex website buildout and everything in between. Regardless, a brief list may help here:

  • Graphics & Design
  • Online Marketing
  • Writing & Translation
  • Video & Animation
  • Music & Audio
  • Programming & Tech
  • Advertising
  • Business
  • Data Entry
  • Sourcing & Manufacturing
  • Legal
  • Data Science
  • Admin
  • Engineering & Architecture

It goes without saying that if you need something else that isn’t on this list, you can still probably find it Top of Formon these sites.

Understanding the Process

One of the trickier parts of these services that makes it tough for a marketer is there is very limited feedback and traditionally each step of the feedback process costs money. For example—you might give a voiceover artist some notes and obviously the script to start—but if you have changes that need to be made after the first go-around, it is going to cost you. Same thing goes for design—changes? Gonna cost you. That is why internally for the lending customers we serve, we have stuck to some simple and definable outputs in this space because the feedback loop needs to be limited. If you are designing a full, interactive website on one of these services—good luck. Not to say it can’t be great, but I would probably quote the adage, “you get what you pay for” on one of those. For us, our products are a bit more definable: here is a small business loan and here is how it works. If I got into the complexities of the entire product it would make this a much more difficult proposition.

Language and Regional Concerns

One other note I would leave for the marketer who is thinking about using these services to create materials is the very slight—but highly-impactful shift—that occurs regionally. By this, I mean that the slight changes in language, usage and even graphics can have a gigantic impact on these products. For example, if you are contracting with a nice young lady in Manchester, England, her creative collateral pieces may say, “Colourful Designs” when talking about a boutique retailer. She didn’t make a mistake—she just used the Queen’s English. Same goes for a voiceover or even a legal document.

Quite simply, just be cautious and clear. There are great and quick services here and they can help anyone drive great content to their customers. But the prices are low for a reason—so just be smart about it!

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