March 11, 2020

Pros and Cons Of Hiring A Digital Marketing Agency


  • Small Business Marketing

  • Small Business Tips

What if you could turn your digital advertising efforts over to an expert? That’s where digital marketing agencies come in. Keep reading to learn about the benefits and downsides of working with an agency.

When Is It Time For a Digital Marketing Agency?

What is digital marketing? This term refers to any form of marketing that involves devices like computers, televisions, and mobile phones. Some popular forms of digital marketing include emails, SMS messages, content marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO). A digital marketing agency uses these strategies to help businesses build their brand and generate leads. They use channels like social media, videos, and blogs to reach potential clients. In 2020, many businesses have increased their online marketing budget by 50 percent compared to 2016. Some small businesses handle marketing tasks in-house, but others are turning to marketing and SEO agencies for help. It can be challenging to know when to enlist an agency’s services. For one thing, these services aren’t free. In addition, you may be hesitant to trust an outsider. Depending on your needs, though, you may find that working with a digital agency leads to new growth opportunities. It may also free up a considerable amount of your time to focus on other tasks. If you’ve been struggling to keep up with your company’s digital marketing needs, it’s time to explore your options.

Advantages of Hiring A Digital Marketing Agency

Over the past few years, the digital marketing industry has grown exponentially. In 2018, the market reached $192 billion worldwide. In the U.S. alone, it’s expected to reach $120 billion by 2021. There are now thousands of digital marketing jobs out there, with eager professionals waiting to fill them. This growth shows just how essential digital marketing is today. With something that important to your business’s success, there are several reasons you should consider hiring a pro.

Immediate Expertise from the Pros

As a business owner, you’re always learning new things. There’s a good chance that if you wanted to, you could become an expert on digital marketing. Doing so would require time, effort, and money, however, and there are already full service digital marketing agencies that can help. Agencies have whole teams of professionals who specialize in different strategies. They include designers, copywriters, and social media gurus. Each one of these experts has significant experiences with their specific job. They know what works and what doesn’t. Digital marketing specialists also have experience in different channels. They know what kind of tactics work best for a TV commercial, a social media post, or your business’s website. Learning all of these strategies yourself would take years, but with an agency you can instantly have access to a high level of expertise.  

A Fresh Perspective on Things

It’s hard to see your company from an outsider’s perspective. You deal with every aspect of your business every day, so it’s easy to get stuck on small details. An agency will bring in a new perspective and help you see your business’s strengths and weaknesses. No matter how creative you are, you may get burned out coming up with new campaigns for your business. Also, if you’ve had a successful strategy before, you may be hesitant to branch out. An agency can help you ensure that your next campaign is fresh and exciting. They’ll have data and statistics to back up their strategies, so you don’t have to rely on guesswork. For any existing marketing efforts you have in place, agencies can provide an objective viewpoint. They may be able to suggest small  adjustments that make a huge difference.

Shrinking Your Workload and Task Lists

One of the best things about working with a digital agency is all the time you’ll save. For many small businesses, marketing takes up a significant number of hours. Since you need to keep your campaigns up-to-date, there’s rarely any downtime. Some of the tasks involved in digital marketing can get tedious. Posting on social media regularly might be fun at first, but for many people, it gets old fast. An agency can take those boring duties off of your plate. By removing some smaller items from your to-do list, you’ll have a chance to focus on the big picture. You’ll get more time to think about where you want your business to go. It will also be easier to create a healthy work-life balance.

A Specialized Set of Tools

Digital technology is constantly evolving. For digital marketing agencies, keeping up with the latest tools is part of the job. They have the budget to purchase new software and hardware when they need it. For small businesses, on the other hand, buying those tools can easily overwhelm your budget. If you decide to purchase new marketing software, you’ll need to learn how it works. You might also have to train your employees. Agencies have the resources to ensure their teams are ready to use any new tools. Most marketing software aims to provide data about customer activity. These programs can show how many people visit your website and whether they click any links, for example. This is all valuable information,  but it’s useless if you don’t know how to interpret and apply it to your marketing strategies. An agency knows exactly how to use their tools for the best possible return on investment.

Potential Disadvantages of Hiring A Digital Marketing Agency

There are a few downsides you may encounter if you decide to hire an agency. It’s important to take these possible issues into account if you choose to proceed. Keep in mind that if one agency doesn’t work out, you don’t have to go back to doing everything yourself. It might take research and some trial-and-error to find the right fit.

Agencies May Lack Your Industry Knowledge

There are some agencies that focus on a particular industry or vertical. Most, however, work with clients in a variety of markets. That means that they won’t have the level of knowledge you have about your products or services. It’s also possible that a company hasn't worked in your field at all before. Even an agency that has worked with a variety of clients will need time to understand your customers’ needs. Each market is different, and what works well for one business could be a mistake for another. You don’t want to waste money on a campaign that ends up turning potential customers away. To counteract a lack of industry knowledge, you can hire a firm with proven results in your field. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to find one.

Familiarity Is Not A Quick Study

A reputable agency will ensure that it’s familiar with your clients and what they’re looking for. However, this process takes time. The agency also needs to be sure they understand your brand voice and image. When you first start working with a marketing firm, you won’t be able to hand over responsibilities immediately. You’ll need to take time to review your goals and previous marketing efforts with their team. It’s also crucial that you’re comfortable with the direction the agency is headed. That means open communication and frequent check-ins, which take time. Once a campaign has been completed, the agency will want your feedback. This is a crucial step so they can adjust and improve going forward. Again, it'll take some time, and a hands-off approach won’t generate the best results.

Digital Marketing Firms Have Other Customers, Too

If you handle your own marketing, your business is your only priority. Agencies, on the other hand, have several customers, often up to 20 clients at one time. A large agency might have more than that. Most marketing companies offer different levels of service. That means that another business that’s paying more than you might get better service. A quality marketing agency should make you feel valued and be easy to reach if you have questions. Ideally, you’ll never feel like a low priority, but you'll need to remember that you’re not the agency’s only client. If you do hire an agency and it's clear that you’re not their top concern, consider moving on.

Your Work Is Free, Their Work Isn't

Your time is valuable. Any hours you spend on marketing are hours that you’re not spending on other tasks. However, handling digital marketing in-house is usually cheaper than working with an agency full time. As you research agencies, look for one that's transparent about its fee structure. Find out if they charge a flat fee, an hourly rate, or an amount based on results. Digital marketing is one field where you get what you pay for. It can be tempting to cut corners or accept the cheapest offer you can get. However, that strategy might end up backfiring if an agency is unable to deliver results. While a reasonable price is essential, make sure to work with a firm that has an impressive portfolio. If you can, seek out testimonials from previous clients to see if they felt that they got their money’s worth. For more tips on marketing for small businesses, sign up for Fora Financial’s newsletter today. [cta-newsletter]