How to Hire a Digital Marketing Agency
Digital marketing is the new traditional marketing, and companies are recruiting top talent to accomplish their digital goals. Read on to find out more about hiring the right digital agency for your business.
In the past 10 to 15 years, traditional marketing has transitioned into digital marketing. So much so that when your business looks for a marketing expert, that person or agency will primarily focus on digital marketing needs.
Everything is online now—whether that is information, communication channels, or even data storage, everything is found online. This is also true for businesses. You do not have to own an eCommerce site, to have a presence online.
Whether you are producing clothing or running a dentist’s office, your audience and potential clients will be looking you up online. This is where your digital marketing comes in.
What is Digital Marketing?
We established that digital marketing is focused online, but what does that mean exactly? Neil Patel breaks down the different types of digital marketing to consider for your business:
When people think about digital marketing, they often associate it with social media marketing. Social media is very important for a business; however, it goes far beyond simply creating posts for social channels and responding to comments.
A good digital marketer must have a strategic and integrated approach with everything in your business. The information must be timely, up-to-date, and relevant. If a customer comes to a social channel and notices that a post is “old” (which could mean up to even a few days ago), they may be deterred.
Pay-per-click (or PPC) also uses search engine optimization so that your customers can find you. However, in this case, your business may be a paid advertisement that pops up or a higher listed result that comes up during the search.
It is called pay-per-click because you only pay for the advertisement if someone clicks on this. This is a short-term form of digital marketing, meaning that once you are no longer paying, the ad no longer exists.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (most commonly referred to as SEO), ensures that your audience can find you on the web. By using keywords and phrases that target specific audiences and relate to your business, good SEO will ensure that your customers will find you when doing an online (primarily Google) search. SEO is a booming digital marketing industry. Check out our detailed beginner’s guide to SEO basics to learn more.
Content marketing uses storytelling and information sharing to increase brand awareness. This is done through email newsletters, blogs, or videos. Ultimately, the goal is to have the reader take an action towards becoming a customer, such as requesting more information, signing up for an email list, or making a purchase. Content marketing is indirect marketing—asking the customer to trust you, building a relationship with them.
Analytical marketing is the specialty of tracking and measuring marketing efforts across all online platforms, devices, and strategies. Those who specialize in analytics will be asking for data about your targeted audience on the front end and then evaluating the effectiveness of your marketing efforts throughout the implementation of your business’s strategy.
Once, the only trackable marketing pieces were coupons and similar direct mail offers. If a customer used the coupon, you knew the message resonated. Today, analytics allow marketers to track user behavior at a highly detailed level: how many times they click on a link, how much time they spend on a web page, how often they open emails, and much more.
Mobile marketing uses all other forms of digital marketing but delivers it via your mobile devices (smartphones or tablets). Your target audience can receive alerts via social, email, and websites through notifications or text messages on their phone. According to this TechCrunch article, consumers in the United States now spend five hours a day on their phones. As a result, this form of marketing maximizes your marketing efforts through the tool that all people use—their phones.
Surprisingly, email is still one of the most effective marketing techniques. According to a survey completed by Litmus, email marketing has a $42 ROI for every dollar spent.
Email marketing is great because it provides indirect marketing. Like content marketing, it allows you to build trust and relationships with your customers over time, but it also keeps your customers in the know of what is going on with you as a business. It is information that lands in their inbox without them having to search for it.
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What Type of Digital Marketing Do I Need?
So, we just gave you a lot of information about what types of digital marketing are out there, but you may be asking—great! But what type do I need?
The honest answer is that businesses should invest in all types of digital marketing. When you are looking to hire someone to take care of digital marketing, you should find someone who has a firm understanding of all types. However, here is a way to break it down:
I need to build trust and relationships with my clients.
We suggest investing in content and email marketing. This would ensure that you are sending relevant information to your clients and gain a better understanding of your values and customer support. This does not directly lead to direct sales, but it will gain you loyal customers who will provide referrals.
I need to find new customers quickly.
We suggest investing in SEO, PPC, and social marketing. Through optimization of search results and paid advertising, new customers will find you quickly. What will get them to buy from you is a robust social presence. Most people now who find a new business will immediately go to their social site to see how active, relevant, and genuine they present themselves. If you need new business fast, this strategy would work for you.
However, no matter the need, if you want your business to get ahead, you will always need to focus on your analytics and mobile marketing. If you have a great content and email marketing campaign, but it is not easy to read on a mobile device, then your customers will lose interest.
If you are spending money on SEO, PPC, and social, but your keywords are wrong, you will not be attracting the right audience who will buy from you. In the end, businesses should have a good mix of all types.
Should I Hire an Agency or Handle Digital Marketing In-House?
Now that you have a good grasp of what digital marketing is, you need to decide who to hire to take care of all of that for you. For some, that may mean an in-house team, for others that may mean hiring an agency.
Positives and Negatives of In-House
According to First Page Sage, here are some positives and negatives to consider when deciding to hire an in-house marketer:
Experts on your business
This person or people will know your business inside and out.
Greater control over messaging
There is no third party who is creating content or messaging, so you can say whatever you want.
Dedicated solely to your company
There are no distractions or priorities other than what your business needs
Can adjust messaging in real-time
If there is a change in business or need to comment, you will have control of making the change quickly.
It costs more money
To have a successful in-house team, it would cost more money than hiring an outside agency.
Hiring/training takes longer initially
With a person there to support your business fully, it means that more time will be dedicated to understanding your business, sometimes unnecessarily.
A full-time team or staff member can tend to get caught in the middle of office politics vs just the task at hand
Are costly in slow times/offseason
You may have slow times at your business, but you would still have to pay for your marketing team.
Why You Should Hire a Digital Marketing Agency
All business owners go through a period where you need an additional hand for your digital marketing campaigns. Bringing a digital marketing agency on will ensure that you can achieve the results you wish both in the short and long term. Most agencies offer support for the following services:
- Marketing and branding strategies
- Assisting with ad spend, budgeting, and marketing costs.
- Business development
- Project management
- Ongoing training modules and consulting
- Digital marketing services, such as SEO, social media marketing, content marketing, and pay-per-click advertising.
- What they offer or can assist with conclusively affects the final cost of the service. Depending on what they propose in terms of packages, deals and services will affect their offers.
Not only does an agency take care of the details and expertise of all digital marketing for your business, on average, they are much cheaper!
Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency
You may have decided that you are ready to hire a digital marketing agency. Now here are some questions and answers that will help guide you with your search:
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Digital Marketing Agency?
Cost depends on the size, specialty, and location of the agency. However, here is a general breakdown:
Full-service technical SEO, research, content strategy, and writing:
- $120,000 – $150,000
Content marketing agency + SEO agency:
- $50,000-$80,000 for a content marketing agency.
- $20,000-$30,000 for a SEO agency
Ad-hoc, monthly services: This varies by specialty and location. For considerations of cost, check out this article by Tarek Mohajer.
When comparing the cost of an agency to an in-house team, note that an in-house team on average costs $261,500 per year.
How to Find a Digital Marketing Partner
UpCity has this taken care of for you. Whether you are looking for a digital marketer in the United States or Canada, we have curated a list of agencies that will fit your needs. If you are looking for an award-winning agency, you can also find them here.
Skills to Look for in a Digital Marketing Partner
First and foremost, finding a digital marketing partner that is results-driven is key.
As Josh Mangum states: “While confidence and reputation are certainly important, none of these things tell companies about the agency’s ability to drive meaningful results. […] However, by working with a results-driven agency that’s unafraid to disclose the data behind their work, companies have a better shot at rising through the ranks and achieving their business objectives.”
Whether you are focusing on SEO or mobile marketing, you need an agency that can track success. You will be paying this agency to boost customer loyalty and ultimately revenue for your business. The strategy and efforts that they implement need to work for you and they need to be able to prove it to you.
Questions to Ask When Choosing a Digital Marketing Agency
In general, here are some questions you should ask when looking for an agency:
- What is your specialty?
- Are you a full-service agency or do you specialize?
- What is your pricing structure?
Not all digital marketing agencies are the same. Some specialize in a certain type (e.g., SEO), some may specialize in a certain industry (e.g., health care), and many have different price points and packages (monthly, yearly, ad hoc). Before asking these questions of the agency, go through this exercise yourself:
- First, do you prefer working with an agency that specializes in your type of business? This could be small business, a type of practice, or even a region that you live in.
- Second, what is your budget? If your price point is lower than an agency’s fee then there is no need to even take time to talk to them. Know how much you are willing to invest on the front end before you reach out.
- Third, decide what type of digital marketing you would like to focus on. By the time you get this question, you will have already narrowed the scope quite a bit and you can then choose an agency that specializes in what you believe you need. When talking to agencies that have a specialty, you may find that you need to widen the scope of skills needed or narrow.
If you have already decided to hire a digital marketing agency, you can expect them to gather information, identify key opportunities, and use the information collected to build out the deliverables.
After signing with an agency, you can expect: