As the world of technology advances, it is drastically changing the way we do business, the way we search for products and services, get information, form relationships, and engage with our customers. The old ways are being changed and upgraded into a more modern style. Since the rise of the Internet, it has become a go-to tool for many businesses to invest in building their online presences and maximize their brand visibility, ultimately reaching new heights of sales.
Now, with all the new terms popping up every day, like influencer marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC), and more, I could go on with this forever. It can be a bit confusing which digital strategy is best for your business, with all of these marketing strategies falling into the digital marketing arena.
Today, we are going to go over why digital marketing agencies were created, what they do, and how they can help your business reach its next marketing milestone.
Why were digital marketing agencies created?
As I mentioned earlier, the world of technology moves fast, and, sometimes, it’s hard to keep up with everything. There are so many different variables to digital marketing, and it’s taken years of experience creating different split tests, keeping up with online trends and strategies designed to put your business ahead of your competitors. It takes a lot of effort and, often, multiple experts to go at it.
Some businesses do not have time or the resources to hire their own in-house digital marketing team. So people who work in this field and have years of experience create agencies where experts focus on different fields. Business owners hire a full agency, stay up-to-date with everything instead of having to learn it themselves or hire a team, and invest in them to make mistakes.
More and more companies have wanted to outsource their digital marketing work to third party agencies, with these firms becoming increasingly popular in the United States and worldwide.
What are the most common digital marketing services?
While there are hundreds of different marketing strategies your business can utilize when it comes to digital marketing, here are some of the most commonly used digital marketing services by businesses and brands people are most familiar with.
- Search Engine Optimization—commonly known as SEO—if you haven’t heard of this one yet, you might be living in a cave. By now, almost every business or professional who works at a business has heard of this term. It is a method of helping search engines show your product or service to those who are searching for specific terms related to your goods.
- Social Media Marketing: This strategy utilizes all the necessary social media channels where potential customers are in order to promote your products or services.
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Have you ever searched for something on the Internet and seen some advertisement, whether you are visiting a website or simply doing a search through your favorite search engine? Those are PPC ads. This is a method of driving relevant traffic to your website by paying for every click your target audience makes on your advertisement.
- Content marketing is one of the oldest digital marketing methods that involves creating strategic content to get visitors interested through interesting content. This could be an article, photo, infographic, video, or copywriting. Normally, this type of marketing requires strategic integration of a product or service into content targeting relevant audiences who can potentially become customers.
- Email Marketing: Do you ever get promotions from your favorite brands in your inbox? That is email marketing. This strategy involves you giving something for free in return for collecting an email address. After you have given value to your potential customer, you can start sending them promotional emails where they can bite on an offer.
How does digital marketing agencies operate?
A strong digital marketing agency has different departments to handle different responsibilities, so one person is not focused on 10 clients in 10 different industries. Instead, one expert focuses on one industry, while dealing with multiple different clients that fall under that industry.
They make your life easier when it comes to building your online presence. They carefully analyze what your business needs and what the right digital strategy is for you.
Social Media Marketing
You might ask what the roles of the departments inside the agency are. So, for example, let’s take social media marketing as an example. And let’s say you own a restaurant. An agency that has in-house photographers and videographers will come out to your restaurant and take photos of all your food, the environment, and the general culture of your business. They will also create videos that can inspire others who watch them to take action and check out your business, in the future.
They bring their photos and videos back to the office, edit them, and pass them down to the social media department, whose responsibilities are to build your social media presence effectively. They take the images and start sharing them on your Facebook, LinkedIn, Google My Business, Instagram, and Twitter, in order to gain more exposure by targeting locals to ultimately visit your restaurant.
They track the performance and engagement, applying improvements as they go to strengthen your social strategy. They then provide performance reports to the marketing manager, adding them to your weekly report.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Now, let’s take another scenario: let’s say this marketing agency is doing the search engine optimization for you along with social media marketing. Their SEO experts will optimize your website and start ranking it for relevant keywords so your website can show up when your customers are looking for it. For example, let’s say your restaurant is located in Miami FL. SEO experts would focus on ranking your website on the first page of Google for the following terms:
- “Restaurants In Miami”
- “Best Restaurant In Miami”
- “Where to eat in Miami,” etc.
While they are busy ranking your website, they will also be focusing on ranking your Google My Business, which is your online business search identity. So, when people search for the same keywords, your profile comes up in the top-three listings, also known as the local pack.
The SEO team tracks the performance of their campaign. For example, how many people visited the website, how many called, what the bounce rate is, how many people found their Google My Business, how many requested directions, and how many actually called, as well as what keywords they used to find your business online.
They combine this in-depth report and all the implementations they have made that week, giving this data to the marketing manager, who then combines it with social media reports.
An additional service this agency provides for your business is email marketing. Basically, they have masterminded a plan for you to collect your customer emails, whether it requires you to give free appetizers, 10% off, or free drinks. The end goal is to get your customer’s email, so you can establish a connection by personally emailing them as a business.
So, now, the email marketing department focuses on creating strategic email campaigns that work for your business. This could be by designing flyers to promote something new, designing menus to showcase your specials, making reservations, updating your customers, hosting a contest, or promoting holiday events.
Your email experts will be sending out email campaigns every week and tracking their performance, providing marketing managers with the data. That marketing manager combines social media, SEO, and email marketing data into one report, which they send back to you.
Pay-Per-Click PPC Advertising
You can do this right now. Search for any service or product online, and you will be presented with advertisements from Google or other search engines before you get to the organic listings.
Let’s say you are also doing PPC for your restaurant. The PPC experts will set up a campaign that outranks your competition and converts more than what you are spending. Their job is to minimize your ad budget and maximize your return on your investment.
Let’s say your business offers catering services. PPC teams will set up a catering campaign targeting those who are searching for catering services for events in your local area. You approve a budget of, let’s say, $500 a month, and an expert’s job is to make sure you are getting back your $500 plus an additional return on your investment.
They gather data on how much money you’ve spent, how many calls you got, and of those calls, how many people actually converted and ordered your services. PPC experts then give this data to marketing managers, who combine it with social media, SEO, email marketing, and PPC for your weekly report.
Big agencies have many content creators. For example, writers would be creating articles like the following:
- Top 10 Best Restaurants For Date Night In Miami
- Which restaurant has the best wine in Miami?
- Which restaurants are best for families in Miami?
Or you you would be creating videos like:
- Why you should visit X restaurant in Miami
- 10 foods to eat from X restaurant in Miami
They would basically show the culture of your restaurant and try to take the audience on a journey, inspiring them to take action, invite their friends and family, and come through.
Content marketing creates amazing content that builds the image of your company and connects locals to your brand. Whatever content they create, they track the performance of that content and provide that data to the marketing manager for the final weekly update.
Now, on the weekly report, we have social media, SEO, email marketing, PPC and now content marketing. By now, your report should look amazing with some truly great data.
This same process is applied every week. They’ll send you weekly records and analyze what type of work they are doing for you. From here, the next step is for a digital marketing agency to send out one of their highly-trained experts who understands everyone’s job to present you with the data. How much money you have paid the agency, what they have done so far and where you are with what they promised you are all topics for discussion.
What is covered in digital marketing reports?
Where your business was when they first started working on your project. How many social media followers your business has gained. How your social engagement has improved and how many people you have converted through your social media channels.
Moving on to SEO, we see data like how many keywords you ranked for and where. How many keywords you are ranking for now and on which page of the search engine. How much traffic you used to get vs how much traffic you are getting now. Out of those visitors, how many people gave their emails, called your business or actually visited your location.
The same process applies to Google My Business reports, which are part of the Local SEO process. Moving onto email marketing, how many emails you had before, how many you have now, and how many people are converting through your marketing efforts. On content creation, expect to learn how much content the agency created in a month and which type of content performed the best.
Moving onto PPC advertising, how much money did you allocate to your PPC budget? Out of that, how many clicks did you get on your special offer? Out of those clicks, how many people actually converted?
Well-established marketing agencies provide this data every single month to all their clients. They try to be your business partner more than just some outsourced service. They are careful about the way they build a relationship with you and do everything in their power to exceed your expectations. They learn your business better than you know. They analyze every implementation they make, learning from every campaign and applying their lessons to your next campaign so they can consistently improve their work while optimizing everything for maximum visibility, more conversions and better ROI.
Now, remember this: good agencies don’t force you to be in contracts. They perform the work as you pay. If you analyze the agency’s performance and it’s not translating into dollars for you, you have to either crack the whip on them or hire a new agency. At the end of the day you are hiring them, so they are basically your employees. That gives you the right to crack the whip and make them operate the way you want.
What are the benefits of hiring a digital marketing agency?
This is the question of the year. Should you hire an agency or do it yourself?
If you have no marketing team in-house for your business it might be a cheaper option to hire an agency full of experts instead of having to hire your own team, which could take time to blend together and see if they have what it takes to make things happen for you.
If you have time and money for this, then go ahead and invest into your own team. If you don’t, work with an agency that does. You can always ask for case studies and if they have worked with similar businesses in your industry, as well as what they have done for those businesses.
Like I said earlier, it takes eyes, ears and many different split tests to keep up with this fast-moving world of digital marketing. It is better for you to focus on growing your business while experts who have knowledge, experience and know what works and what doesn’t help you grow the digital side of your business. This will give you the money and time you need to take your business to the next level.
Another great benefit is that you will always be up-to-date with digital trends. It will take the pressure off your shoulders. You won’t have to consistently pay attention and search for what’s trending, new tactics and all the search algorithm changes. The best part is working with smart professionals, who you can gain new perspectives from. It’s beneficial to hire experts who know their field better than anyone. Instead of putting so much effort and time into training and developing your team, you have full access to trained and developed professionals.
Oftentimes, digital marketing agencies have their own proprietary tools or pay for expensive custom tools that allow them to spy on your competitors and their strategies, allowing them to analyze your current state and effectively track your digital performance across all sources. You have to consider this, because digital marketing requires one to use different tools in order to run appropriate campaigns and there is no such thing as an “all-in-one” tool, at least not yet. Until then, let an agency take care of the cost of these tools so you can direct them for your own benefit.
Every business owner knows that running a business takes time, effort and focus. It’s a full-time job and it’s time consuming. For business owners, business is not a 9-to-5 – it’s more like 24/7. The fact that you can only get so much done within 24 hours makes it almost impossible to focus on your own digital marketing.
So just like you would hire an accountant to handle your business taxes or, better, waiters to serve in your restaurant, you need to hire a digital marketing agency to build your online presence and market your business.
Before you hire an agency to handle marketing your business, consider all the points we talked about earlier. Ask them how they operate. Are they going to provide you with weekly reports and monthly debrief sessions? Also, make sure to ask them whether they have any case studies to show you, especially from work within your own industry.
You might have to go through the process of speaking with a few of them before finding the right agency for you. But, hey, finding a quality agency is a lot like finding quality employees – you go through the same hiring process to find the right one that meets your needs.