The best digital marketing agency can provide a big boost to your business. Statistics show that 78% of internet users research products and services online before buying. With help from an agency, you can ensure that your business gets seen online.
Digital marketing agencies can help grow your business by:
- Identifying the best online platforms to utilize for your digital marketing
- Creating a strong social media presence for your brand
- Developing a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy
- Creating powerful content, including blogs and videos, to help sell your product or service
So how do you select the best digital marketing agency for your company? How can you tell if an agency does good work? Is it better to hire an agency or create an in-house digital marketing team?
Whether you’re interested in expanding a traditional marketing campaign to new digital spaces or starting from scratch, there are many important factors to consider.
What Makes Digital Marketing Unique?
First, you need to understand what you’re up against. Although anyone can create a blog or pay to promote a post on Facebook, digital marketing isn’t easy. Compared to traditional marketing like print, radio, and television, marketing online has many unique features — and unique challenges.
Customers Are (Almost) Always Plugged In
Since the advent of smartphones and cellular data plans, we’re always online. According to ZDNet, the average American spends 5.4 hours a day on their phone.
Most of this time is spent on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. In general, online screen time is expected to keep rising, especially with more people working from home and students remote-learning.
This means digital marketing reaches more people than ever before. Unfortunately, it also means more competition. However, the right digital marketing agency can set your business apart.
Digital Marketing Tactics are Constantly Changing
Although all marketing tactics evolve over time, digital marketing tactics change much more rapidly than traditional media. Whenever technology changes, your digital marketing campaign needs to adapt.
For example, SEO tactics rely on search engine algorithms, terms of service, and other factors. Whenever Google releases an update, your digital marketing plan will need to take these changes into consideration.
Digital marketing also needs to keep up with new apps and updates to existing platforms. When the TikTok craze exploded, it changed how many brands utilize video content. A digital marketing strategy can be perfect for a few months, then lose relevance once the online landscape changes. Your tactics need to be nimble.
Brands Need to Keep Up with Trends
Because digital marketing can move so fast, it also needs to keep up with pop culture and social trends as well as current events. The COVID-19 pandemic is a prime example of this.
When the pandemic began, many “business as usual” marketing campaigns no longer felt relevant to consumers. In fact, some content marketing may have felt insensitive or even offensive. As a result, most companies quickly changed their messaging to reflect the current state of affairs.
Many consumers also expect brands to actively comment on trends via social media. This alone can be a full-time job! However, when your business’ digital marketing can successfully overcome these challenges, you’ll rise above the competition.
Services Provided by a Digital Marketing Agency
No two digital marketing agencies are exactly alike. As with other types of businesses, you’ll find digital marketing agencies in a wide range of sizes and specialties.
Some agencies employ hundreds of people and work with large corporate accounts. Others are small teams with boutique marketing services aimed at specific industries. You can work with digital marketing agencies for shorter campaigns or contract their services for ongoing, long-term work.
While some agencies focus on certain specialties, such as SEO or social media, a good agency will take a holistic approach to digital marketing. Almost all digital marketing agencies offer the services below:
In a branding audit, a digital agency will review your company’s current marketing strategy. They will also review your website, social media profiles, and search engine ranking. Agencies then compare these assets with your competitors.
After a branding audit, your agency can develop a well-rounded digital marketing strategy that considers your business’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as the online habits of your customer base. If needed, many digital marketing agencies can also create a new look and feel for your brand.
Marketing and SEO are like peanut butter and jelly. SEO is so vital that many agencies focus on this service almost exclusively. Depending on your company’s needs, an SEO agency may be the best firm for you.
For some businesses, SEO is the most powerful digital marketing tactic for reaching new customers. When a customer Googles a product or service, the first five search results receive almost 70% of all clicks. SEO tactics help your company become one of those top results.
Social media includes platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok. Depending on your business and your customer demographics, you may need to focus specifically on two or three of these platforms. However, it helps to have at least some social media presence on all of them.
Digital marketing agencies can set up your business’ social media accounts, then create and publish content that’s unique to your brand. Many agencies also offer community management services. This means they will moderate comments, direct messages, and other activity on your social media accounts.
Have you ever heard the phrase “content is king”? Content marketing is a broad term that refers to any creative material developed for a brand. This can include blog posts, custom graphics, video production, and more.
With content marketing, you can connect with consumers on a deeper level. It tells the story of your brand. Content marketing also ties into SEO, social media, and other facets of your digital marketing campaign. For example, blog content is one of the most important tools for SEO.
Email marketing is useful for converting new customers and engaging more with existing ones. It’s an effective way to offer promotions and announce new products or services. Even with the rise in social media, email marketing is still one of the greatest ROIs (returns on investment) for digital marketing.
Digital marketing agencies can help you create and manage email lists. They can also analyze the data from your email campaigns and create segmented lists targeting specific customers.
Paid Media and Digital Ads
While many digital marketing agencies emphasize organic strategies, paid media is still a valuable tactic. Some of the most effective digital ads include Google AdWords, promoted content on social media, and video ads on platforms like YouTube.
Some marketing agencies specialize in paid media and digital ads. They can help your business grow by creating an ad campaign that reaches specific audiences and gets results.
Agencies Vs. In-House Marketing
When you’re looking for marketing services, you may wonder if it’s better to hire an agency or create an in-house marketing department.
An in-house team will be dedicated to your company instead of multiple clients. They’ll get to know your brand inside and out. However, creating an effective, comprehensive marketing department can be costly. Hiring even one employee to do in-house marketing is often far more expensive than a full-service agency.
When you contract with an agency, you’ll have multiple experts at your immediate disposal. You won’t need to train or manage anyone directly. Marketing agencies are also able to provide a wide range of specialty services. They understand the digital marketing space and know what it takes for your business to succeed.
Questions To Ask Yourself
When selecting the best agency, start by assessing your company’s needs. Ask yourself:
- What are my marketing goals?
- How do I want to measure success?
- What new audiences do I want to reach?
- What are my competitors doing?
- Do I need a new website?
- How do I want to utilize social media?
- Do I want to hire a company for ongoing services or a shorter, one-time marketing campaign?
- What’s my budget?
Additionally, if your business already has a marketing department, consider their performance. Where are the “gaps”?
Often, in-house teams are great at certain marketing services but may lack experience in specific niche areas like SEO or social media. You can still benefit by hiring an agency to provide services your team doesn’t cover.
Questions To Ask An Agency
Before you approach an agency for digital marketing, do some homework. Most agencies have a client list on their website. This will allow you to review the work they have done for other companies. You can also look at the agency’s own social media channels.
Then, ask questions. Get as specific as possible, but start with the basics, such as:
- What are the agency’s specialties?
- Do they have experience working in your industry?
- What are their KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)?
- How do they handle problems?
- Do their brand values align with yours?
- Who will be your main point of contact in the agency, and how often will you communicate with this person?
When you’re selecting an agency for digital marketing, it’s important to feel like you have a great relationship. In many ways, hiring an agency is like hiring a new partner. If possible, you may wish to consider a trial period before signing a longer contract.
To learn more about digital marketing services and for help choosing the best agency for your needs, contact us today.