When you’re looking to grow your real estate agency, brokerage, or property management company to the next level, you know that investing in marketing is key.
The question then becomes, is it better to hire a real estate marketing agency, hire a general digital marketing agency, or to hire an in-house marketing director or marketing manager?
Let’s break this down good ol’ features and benefits style.
Hiring a Marketing Agency
EMPLOYEE TAXES AND INCENTIVES
Your real estate marketing agency will work as a subcontractor or vendor.
You don’t pay employee taxes (FUTA taxes at 6% on the first $7,000 of earnings, unemployment taxes, and Employee taxes at 7.65%).
You also don’t pay worker’s compensation, benefits, vacation pay, paid family leave, 401K contributions, healthcare, and more.
According to Salary.com, for a general Marketing Director position, this could save you $15,000+ a year in incentives alone, not including the tax savings.
An agency might charge more on a per hour basis than an in-house employee, or charge by the project.
The median pay range + benefits for a skilled Digital Marketing Director with a minimum of 10 years experience, comes to around $182,000 per year.
Even a Marketing Manager, with less experience and less authority (you do more work and invest more time in approving campaigns, etc.) can ring in to the national average of $108,000 per year.
Let’s break that down on a per hour basis.
In-House Digital Marketing Director
Annual Salary (not including employee taxes): $182,000
Employee Taxes at 7.65% based on base rate of $158k (not including bonus cash incentives): $12,087
$194k divided by 52 weeks = $3730/week
$3730/week divided by 40 hour workweek: $93.25/hour
Real Estate Marketing Agency
By contrast, a real estate digital marketing agency may charge a flat fee for package services that you can easily budget for. If things are tight, you can pause or slow down your campaign or service level. No need to deal with an unemployment claim.
DIVERSIFICATION OF SKILL-SETS
A diverse team to help you reach your goals VS. all your eggs (marketing dollars) in one basket (employee).
You can pay $150-$200k to get a dedicated marketing director (or even $100k for a dedicated marketing manager) and you get all of their strengths all for yourself!
Yes, you get all of their strengths dedicated to you and only you – but you also get all of their weaknesses as well.
If they’re not strong in a certain area, your results will not be strong in that area.
Depending on your overall marketing budget, you may need to hire an additional person or contractor to fill in the gaps.
As you are committed to this person on your team, you marketing budget is also tied up to that one person – limiting the fluidity you have in your business to pivot and take advantage of market trends.
Hiring a real estate marketing agency allows you to access a full team of experts in various fields with specializations to get you where you need to go.
Because a real estate marketing agency may work with dedicated employees or subcontractors themselves, they can be fluid in plugging and playing the right person, at the right time, to que results and maintain or gain ROI, perhaps for around the same price you would pay for one person on your team.
EMOTIONAL INVESTMENTS AND TIES TO DEDICATED EMPLOYEES
Hiring a dedicated team member allows for more personal relationships.
Play your cards right and you’ll have not just an employee, but an avid fan, a base-builder, a “go all in” person for your business.
As a former dedicated employee, this one is hard for me to right about, because I know the value of building relationships.
The scenario is too familiar – a CEO or COO of an office, tucked away in their office, crying because they have to do the hard job of laying off their friends – people they have worked with for 5, 10, 15 years.
Working with a dedicated real estate marketing agency can have the same feel – you can develop those deep bonds – but with the added protection and professional understanding that comes in working with a B2B company.
Additionally, if things do get tight (as they can in the fluctuating real estate industry), you may not need to cut your marketing efforts entirely (as you would cut an employee), but simply adjust your strategy and budget – still maintaining momentum in your business.
REDUCED PHYSICAL OVERHEAD
Lower overhead costs mean you save more money!
While an employee needs a dedicated workspace (be that office or, Lord forbid, a cubicle for your Marketing Manager or Marketing Director), your real estate marketing agency does not a physical space in your building.
Consequently, you can maintain a smaller office space with less rent/lease and utilities cost, lowering your overall overhead.
There really isn’t much of one, as long as you are working with a professional real estate marketing agency and not a few people you found on a freelance service provider website.
- Flighty or new freelancers may not have the experience you’re looking for (for one) or the business experience to run a successful business – let alone commit to running successful campaigns for you.
- They may find themselves in far-off exotic places with little to no internet/phone services (I certainly have!)
- But if you’re working with a dedicated real estate marketing agency, that business will have systems/processes/planning in place to help ensure that your marketing campaign doesn’t take a nose dive because it’s someone’s vacation time.
- Running a business that meets the needs of customers is a skill in itself – whether you’re in an office, or on a beach in Mexico.
SPECIALIZED SERVICE PROVIDER
Working with a real estate marketing agency gives you access to a team that was built for the exclusive purpose of serving the real estate industry.
I was sitting down with a top-performing realtor the other day at breakfast. We reviewed the strategy for his business.
He said, “The difference with you, is that you know my business. You know my clientele. You understand the market, projections, and industry. These other guys (non-industry specific digital marketing agencies) don’t. They can’t give me a solid strategy based on what’s going on now.”
Just as when you go to see your healthcare specialist, versus your family doctor, expect to pay more for specialized service.
Results and returns are better and come back to you faster, with quicker returns on your investment.