Types of digital marketing agency
Many businesses operate as a digital marketing agency, and it can be difficult to figure out what services they provide. The purpose of this article is to provide you with an understanding of the different types and what they do, so you can pick the one best suited to help you reach your marketing and sales goals!
So what are the various types of digital marketing agencies out there, and what do they do? Generally speaking, agencies mirror the different disciplines of digital marketing. These include (but are not limited to):
- Social media
- Search engine optimisation
- Google Ads/PPC
- Website design, build and management
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
So what does each do?
Social media marketing agency
While the name is pretty descriptive, it is still an umbrella term. In reality, there is a good chance that they will focus on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter. You will often find that social media agencies are either a one-person operation or a small team of collaborators. They may provide content, or you will have to supply it and they will act as curators.
Questions to ask a social media agency:
- Which social platforms do you specialise in/manage the most?
- How many hours will you spend on my social media accounts per week?
- What content do you require from me?
How to know if your social media marketing is working »
Search Engine Optimisation agency
An SEO agency is likely to have a defined team and can manage your website's on-page optimisation as well as ensuring your site complies with changing algorithms and standards. They will often conduct a weaknesses audit as a starting point and create a plan for improvement. This can either be implemented by them if they have access to your website, or it can be passed to your web design agency (see below).
Questions to ask an SEO agency:
- How do you report on progress and what does it look like?
- How long will it be until we can expect to see results?
- How should SEO incorporate with our overall marketing strategy?
- Will you do the updates that you recommend for our website?
Download our free SEO hacks guide »
If you’re considering running paid advertising, a Google Ads agency will help you spend your budget effectively. If you're already running paid advertising that you manage yourself, you're likely wasting some of your advertising spend if you haven't engaged a specialist. In some cases, it will cost the same as what you're losing in inefficiency if you go with an agency, but they will optimise and take the workload from you. Many will be fully trained in Google's programmes and will ensure you comply with best practices.
Questions to ask a Google Ads agency:
- Do you have a monthly minimum ad spend?
- How are your management fees structured?
- Are we able to see actual spend within Google, or do we pay you and you pay the ad bill?
Learn how to rank higher in search »
Website design agency
Generally, you’ll find two major camps here: design and/or build. Some agencies will specialise in just one of these areas, while other agencies will provide both. It’s important to note there are often trade-offs between the design of a website (how it looks) and how it is built (the backend system). A website focused solely on design is likely to have a clunky back-end system that is difficult to self-manage and make ongoing updates to, likewise, a website with a more user-friendly and easier to self-manage back-end might require some design compromises.
Questions to ask a website agency:
- How will you optimize my website for page speed and search engines?
- How do you ensure a consistent and usable experience on all devices?
- What content management system do you recommend and why? Can you show us a demonstration?
Discover our website services »
Content marketing agency
Content marketing is the creation and distribution of videos, graphics, and written materials. Content marketing agencies assist businesses with the creation and distribution of these materials in order to generate leads and boost sales. In this industry, you'll find some one-man-band style specialists (such as a copywriter or videographers) as well as entire teams dedicated to this speciality.
Questions to ask a content marketing agency:
- What content specialists do you have?
- What kind of analytics do you pull and why? How do you measure success?
- Do you have case studies showcasing success from previous work with other clients?
Learn the basics of content marketing »
Email marketing agencies
It's rare to find an email marketing agency that doesn't also do content marketing. This is because email marketing is often more effective if it's driving traffic to a content gateway or offer. However, if you want to simply outsource your email marketing, then this could be the agency for you. Although, you might not see excellent results if it's not built into a bigger strategy.
Questions to ask an email marketing agency:
- How will the email strategy align with my goals?
- Does your email platform integrate with my CRM?
- How will they segment your contact list and manage unsubscribes?
Download the ultimate guide to email marketing »
Are there agencies that provide multiple services?
Absolutely! There are agencies that will provide many of the above services in combination with one another. This is because a multichannel approach to marketing is the most effective way to see results.
Through search engine optimization, Google Ads and social media you’re able to bring visitors to your website. Your website (when designed effectively) and your content marketing can then convert visitors into new contacts. Email marketing can nurture those contacts into becoming new leads for your sales team, and so on.
A full-service digital marketing agency needs to take care of every aspect of the above in order to create campaigns that generate leads. This means they'll generally have a team of specialists assigned to each project.
What are the benefits of outsourced marketing?
Marketing is often the first thing to take the back seat when a company gets busy. Especially since marketing tends to increase both business and busyness. However, your business growth will slow down if your marketing efforts pause while you're swamped with work.
Marketing needs to stay a priority and you must be consistent with it if you’re aiming to maintain your current level of business or pursue further growth. This is when outsourcing your marketing to a digital marketing agency can be pivotal to your business. As well as gaining a dedicated team of experts in all fields of the digital realm, you’ll also gain more time to focus on other important areas of your business.
There are numerous benefits to be had from outsourcing your digital marketing including (but not limited to):
- Having more time to focus on the company's core competencies and high-level functions
- Reduce your fixed costs by saving on salaries
- Having a team of experts to conduct your marketing activities
- Gaining fresh insights and unique perspectives on marketing trends
- Maintaining consistency of marketing activity
- Accessing the latest technology and resources
- Accountability to provide measurable results
Outsourcing gives you the luxury of more time while having a vast range of expertise at your disposal.
Understanding which type of marketing agency you need relies on you having clear objectives they can help deliver upon. But you can also see the value a full-service marketing agency brings by viewing the services one offers to see if it's what you need.
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