The COVID Downturn Is Now Bouncing Back: Is Your Business Doing The Same?

Has your organization downsized during the Covid-19 outbreak? Temporary or permanent layoffs of marketing or design talent, while necessary, can cripple marketing for your organization at a time when it’s needed most. Maybe you need to make more happen with fewer hands on deck. Maybe you’re looking for more efficient ways to accomplish your design projects. Or maybe you need professional expertise to bring your new marketing campaign together. Now is the time to consider outsourcing your graphic design work. 

In the current age of social media and all-pervasive digital presence, the importance of visual strategies to boost brand awareness and attract new customers is greater than ever before. Images are processed 60,000 times faster than text and people tend to spend 10% more time on website images than text.  

These stats alone are enough to tell you why good design matters when it comes to scaling and leveling up your game. And businesses need the help of talented graphic designers to do this. A skilled designer knows how and where to hit the audience with their designs to achieve the desired results. 

Whether you retail delicious dog treats, offer robust real estate data analytics, manufacture mattresses and bedding, service industrial machines, or even treat patients, you focus on what you’re good at, and that’s why you’re so successful. While some companies of scale do maintain in-house design departments, it’s usually not all wine and roses. There are plenty of sour grapes and thorns along the way—managing creative talent and a complex design and production process aren’t part of many companies’ DNA. And few in-house design departments can match the skill, efficiency, and effectiveness of outside professional design shops. 

For most companies, the results can never justify the expense. Outsourcing your graphic design work means that you get all of the design power, without the design problems. Even those firms with some internal design talent still often outsource production-driven projects like collateral conversions, sales materials updates, sizing and resizing ads for campaigns, social media graphics, wayfinding signage, point-of-purchase materials, and small digital projects like website landing pages.

There’s always a silver lining to every cloud—even coronavirus-shaped ones. Now is the perfect time to explore the opportunities to lower your costs while raising the bar of your marketing design. Outsourced graphic design gives you five transformative factors that can make you more competitive, and more efficient so you can win more than ever.

  1. You get enormous flexibility. Scale up the services you need as you need them, and then scale down again once you don’t. No obligations, and no pressure.
  2. You don’t pay for talent you don’t need, nor all of the overhead that goes along with it. Labor costs are extraordinarily lower compared to in-house designers, and professional design shops are already maximized for efficiency to lower your costs.
  3. You’ll have easy access to a much wider range of specialized talents with experience and expertise tackling the complex design tasks you need to accomplish smoothly.
  4. You get fresh eyes and fresh ideas that can give you better ways to make your marketing assets connect with your customers and make it feel like magic.
  5. You’ll just get to market much faster. Your outsourced design team can move much more quickly than in-house teams, pushing projects to completion with urgency while still delivering the highest quality possible.

The flexibility and savings that come with outsourcing can make it an attractive option, but don’t let them eclipse the importance of delivering quality work that meets your client’s specifications. This should always be your priority when you decide which projects to outsource and how to handle outsourcing them.

One option is to hire an in-house designer or design manager who creates relationships with freelancers to complete projects. The individual in this role should have the background to effectively vet potential freelancers and do some of the design work themselves, which can mean creating high-level design concepts, tweaking freelancers’ work, and/or maintaining your company’s style standards to ensure that all graphic work conforms to your style and standard.

If you’re a smaller agency, you might have to be the one in this role. You can find quality work and talented designers through online freelancers and contests. If you aren’t confident in your design skills and ability to vet freelancers, consider choosing a freelance creative director you trust to take on all or part of this role. Companies like Flocksy can also make this easier as they hand-pick the best creative talent. They offer graphic design and other services for a flat, monthly rate and produce results quickly.

Five years down the road, your company’s graphic design needs could be a lot different from its needs today. And that’s normal. You might find that by that point, your cashflow and work volume make it economically feasible to buy “white glove service” from a design agency.

Or you might find that you were able to do the outsourcing yourself in the agency’s early days, but later, you’re too busy to continue giving this aspect of the business the attention it needs. When it comes to that point, it’s time to hire somebody. Whatever decisions you make regarding your company’s graphic work, always ask yourself how the decision will positively impact the company and its ability to serve its clients. If a decision won’t save money, make your workflow more efficient, save time, or result in a better product, it’s probably not a good decision.Graphic design firms that are rewarded with outsourced work are great communicators who understand the needs of their clients. They save their clients time and money in a myriad of ways.  If you want to get the results you’re capable of, then you should consider outsourcing to the experts.

Annika Bansal

Annika "The Chick Geek" is the founder of Small Business Sense shares small business ideas, tips and resources for independent Entrepreneurs and Small Business owners.