As business owners, we know how hard it is to be a master of everything – especially when it comes to marketing. Who really knows the difference between IGTV and reels? Is Linkedin the new Facebook? Does the topic of SEO go in one ear and out the other? How did the ice bucket challenge take off? (I mean, who would really want to pour a bucket of ice over their head?)
The good news is marketing agencies provide this know how to kickstart your business in the right direction. Like most services however, each have their own speciality. There are many different types of creative agencies. Throughout this series we will look at each of them and uncover their similarities and differences.
Today it’s the turn of ‘The Digital Marketing Agency’. It is no surprise that the world of digital has become part of our everyday. The landscape of digital marketing is vast, and ever increasing with new technology and platforms including streaming to virtual reality.
Throughout this article we will answer: What is a digital marketing agency? What services do they provide? And one of the most important questions – pricing.
So without further ado let’s get into it…
So, What is a digital marketing agency?
A Digital Marketing Agency is type of creative agency that specialises in providing marketing services across the digital landscape. With roots within the ‘advertising agency family’, their role is to keep up with the ever-evolving landscape of technology and consumer trends.
Working with various sized businesses providing services that they may not have in-house. This creates a roadmap to the ultimate goal of the agency, which is to increase sales for their clients.
The history of the digital marketing agency is an interesting one. Owing their experience to a British scientist who gave his great invention away to the world for free.
Where do they come from? The Dawn of Digital Marketing
This ushered in a new era of internet-based businesses such as Google, Yahoo and Amazon. Specialised agencies soon sprang up offering email and early SEO (search engine optimization) marketing services. These early SEO tactics included excessive tagging, backlink generation, and keyword stuffing which would all generally be considered “black hat” by today’s standards. One of the earliest digital marketing agencies was Razorfish which was founded in 1995 (which is still going strong today).
Originally seen as a breakaway from traditional marketing, these agencies dealt in the physical world of print. Yet, nowadays you’ll find that marketing agencies as a whole will have a foot in both of these worlds. It is also critical that as technology and times change then so must the role of the marketing agency.
Now that we have had that quick history lesson, time to see what businesses choose to work with digital marketing agencies.
Who Do Digital Marketing Agencies Work With?
Like all agencies they primarily work with businesses to achieve their goals and objectives. Varying from business to business, these objectives can also vary. Including raising awareness, sales, engagement and building a brand.
While agencies can work with any business, they usually specialize in helping a particular niche. Includes specialising in a particular service like an e-commerce business reach sales. This could also be providing only one specialist service like SEO.
So now we have some idea of who a digital marketing agency would work with the next question is ’ why would you hire one?
Why hire a digital marketing agency?
There are a number of reasons why you would hire a digital marketing agency, let’s get stuck in:
Sometimes you simply do not have enough resources to get a piece of marketing work done on time to meet your deadline. This is where a digital marketing agency can swoop in and save the day.
A digital marketing agency provides all the benefit of having a team at your disposal rather than having to hire in various individuals/ experts which can end up being more costly.
Speaking of costs, how does pricing work?
The All Important Pricing…
Agency charges need not be confusing. There are two main types of charges, these can either be billable hours or work on a retainer. So, let’s look at the difference…
This is basically ‘an hour worked is an hour paid’. In the UK prices can range from £30 to over £200 / hour. This naturally depends on the job and skill level required. Most agencies that operate this way will use a “rate card” which sets out what people and services are charged out at. Kind of like an old takeaway menu – only less sticky!
They are usually a monthly or quarterly fee paid by the client. The fee is to keep the agency’s services. This fee depends on whether the agency operates as a contractor or a consultant. When they operate as contractors then the fees are transferred towards billable hours. If they operate as consultants, the client is paying to access the agency’s knowledge. This includes expertise, to help them with questions and provide advice and support. In the latter case, deliverables are charged separately.
On the topic of deliverables, what services do digital agencies provide?
What services do they provide?
By now you may be thinking, this is all well and good but, what does a digital marketing agency do? Let’s give you a run down on the basic services and what they entail.
Marketing strategy put simply, this process contains the marketing approach to support the business objectives. This holy grail of a document details the high-level aspects of the business. Considered fundamental, the marketing plan-contains areas of the business such as value proposition, target customers, and competitors.
The marketing strategy is the foundation to then build up your marketing plans. It provides key indicators of where you see the business going which can stay in place for many years compared to a marketing plan which can be yearly, quarterly, or even monthly.
Content marketing- sometimes called ‘Inbound Marketing’ is a strategy to produce content that will be relevant and provide value to your customers. (Kind of like this blog post).
The grand idea behind content marketing is very simple. When you help people and provide value, they are more likely to become your customers. Proven with 78% of businesses say that content marketing is effective. From that, 51% of businesses dedicate more than 60% of their total marketing budget to content marketing. (source: University of Milan-Bicocca).
Content marketing should be part of any marketing plan. It is the best way to communicate the marketing message which can then be used in various areas of the business. Content planning can include the following; social media content, blogs, newsletters, videos, infographics, e-books, research reports, webinars, and podcasts.
Now you have a plan, it’s time to start dishing out content, first up the world of social media.
Having a social media presence for a business is a must have. Used right it allows you a vast audience to market to. However, due to the scope of social media, a content plan needs to be carefully curated that fits with the target market, user needs and most importantly utilise those online algorithms. This is where having the agency ‘know-how’ can really help.
If utilised, social media can drive more traffic, increase engagement, and brand awareness. This in turn will build a following of business advocates. Each channel has it’s own ways of reaching these goals, understanding this is key. Some platforms rely on visual content, and this is the case with Instagram. Other platforms need to be more educational or network focussed like LinkedIn.
It is important to iron out your business plan with clear objectives so you can marry this up with your marketing strategy and plan. An agency gives you a helping hand to navigate through this world so you can focus on what you do best- your business.
Digital marketing doesn’t only indulge in the world of social media, it taps into sending out email marketing to your all important database.
Email marketing is what it says on the tin – using email to promote your business to your current and prospective customers. While it may have been new in the 1990s, today email marketing is so ubiquitous it can be difficult to get through the noise and avoid the dreaded spam filter.
A marketing agency will help boost your email campaigns by creating solutions, to increase engagement and sales. They can craft your email, so it lands in your customers’ inbox with eager eyes.
Another way to drive traffic and sales is through PPC, let’s find out more…
Pay Per Click
PPC or Pay Per Click is a form of online advertising that drives traffic to your website. As the name suggests you pay to have an ad on another website and then pay more when someone actually clicks on it.
Without a clear strategy and careful optimisation PPC can be an absolute money pit. This is where a digital marketing agency can help you to get the most out of your advertising budget and deliver a better return on investment.
Don’t you wish there was a way to track the effectiveness of PPC – queue Analytics.
Analytics & Data Analysis
It is important to ensure that all this hard work is going in the right direction to reaching those all important business goals. How better to do that than to review, analyse and assess.
Analytics & data analysis can help show you where you’ve been and how your marketing is performing. This is vital for a business to be able to see that their capital is being used effectively.
Analytics can also help to show you areas for improvement. For example, Google search console can show you what customers are searching for. The search can also highlight if your content is showing up, as well as keywords. This insight can then be used to develop new content or, improving on what you already have.
Analytics go hand-in-hand with SEO efforts
SEO Search Engine Optimisation
What good is a beautifully crafted website if you are unable to get that footfall, introducing SEO!
SEO is the process of making the content on your website discoverable in search engines. Enabling potential customers to find your business in their search for the solution. As search engines have become smarter the good old days of keyword stuffing and backlink spam are gone – in favour of creating valuable content for your customers.
SEO is now both simpler and more complex. The game has changed as more and more businesses compete for the same keywords. The challenge is to find opportunities for niche subjects and search phrases that are relevant to what your business can offer.
There are over 200 ranking factors which Google acknowledges that can influence your appearance in search results. Having experts who can help optimise your website with these factors in mind could be the difference between securing your next client or them going to your competitor.
Phew! Well that’s all the most common services offered by digital marketing agencies. Keep an eye out for a future blog on specialist and emerging marketing technologies.”
So we’ve given you a breakdown on what a Digital Marketing Agency, it’s history and it’s role within the growth of a business. There are lots of different services and tools at a digital marketeers disposal which are all designed to be that helping hand for any business.