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By the year 2021, U.S. companies will spend an estimated $120 billion on digital marketing services. The industry now threatens to overtake traditional advertising as a whole, as search engine marketing, social media management and the like continue to drive highly qualified leads for businesses of all kinds—including B2B and B2C.
As technology becomes more and more integrated into our everyday lives, digital marketing will only become more commonplace. As a refresher, digital marketing refers to the marketing of products and services on the internet. Traditional advertising, on the other hand, uses newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, direct mail, billboards, and more to market a product or service. Finally, public relations agencies work with the media to help companies generate brand awareness and maintain a positive public image.
Whether you’re a startup or an established corporation, hiring a digital marketing agency is arguably one of the most important things you can do for your company. Startups and scaleups in particular can benefit from the cost-effective strategies offered in a typical digital marketing plan—services like email marketing and search engine optimization (SEO), for example, have an incredibly high return on investment.
Most entrepreneurs understand the growing importance of digital marketing. But navigating this increasingly complex landscape to find the right digital marketing agency for you is easier said than done. Considering that there are agencies specializing in branding, graphic design, web design, SEM, social media, email marketing, influencer marketing, and all of the above, selecting one that will successfully and thoughtfully address all of your digital needs can be daunting. Below, find a comprehensive guide to finding the right digital marketing agency for your business.
You can’t hope to find the right agency without first taking a full inventory of your company’s digital needs. While an agency can help you determine and prioritize those exact needs, it’s important to come to the conversation with a general idea of what you’re looking for. For example, are you a startup with an established Instagram presence, but want to grow your company blog? You’ll need to find an agency with a proven track record in content marketing. Or, are you an established company that wants to rank higher on Google? You’ll need to work with a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) agency. If you have multiple digital marketing needs, you can work with a full-service agency that can help you across the board. Refer to the below digital marketing checklist when identifying your company’s needs:
If you have one main digital marketing objective, it could make sense to work with an agency that specializes in that exact need. For example, if you’re looking to build a new website for your brand, it makes sense to work with an established web development agency with a proven track record for developing beautiful, user-friendly websites. Alternatively, you can work with a full-service digital agency for a comprehensive digital tune up. Some agencies offer an exhaustive list of digital services, including content marketing, SEO optimization, social media management, social advertising, search engine marketing, email marketing, graphic design, web design, and more. You can find one that’s a one-stop shop for all of your digital marketing needs.
This step is critically important. Be sure to do your due diligence when selecting a digital marketing agency to work with. Take a close look at their customer testimonials, client list, and case studies to assess the quality of their work. You can even do a little investigating to see their work firsthand—social media posts and advertisements, company blogs, and email newsletters are all meant for public consumption and are easily accessible. If you want to work with someone local, ask around to get a sense of their reputation in the community. Be sure to check Google or Yelp reviews, or check an agency review site like Clutch.co for the inside scoop.
While agencies should address the important questions during your initial consultation, make a list of your own questions and concerns. To start, reach out to a few digital marketing agencies to get information on plans and pricing. Once you’ve found a few agencies that fit your budget, ask them about their overall process, how you’ll be involved, the programs they use, and how you’ll measure the success of your marketing campaigns. Discuss meeting cadence and reporting to ensure that the partnership works on both ends. From there, you can select an agency and start improving the digital health of your company.
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