When developing a digital marketing strategy for your business, there are several different options you have when deciding how to execute this strategy and what is best for your business and its growth.
- Do it yourself
- Hire an Agency
Generally, it’s almost always cheaper to outsource your project than to hire your team or do it yourself. However, having your own team (insourcing) is a great approach, but finding talented people who aren’t already employed, or fit in your budget, are hard to come by.
Insourcing is also going to cost you a pretty penny. This new employee will need a salary and benefits. If you do your research, you’ll find the average salary for a Marketing Manager is anywhere from the mid $40ks to well over a six-figure salary. Even if your company pays towards the lower end of the spectrum, you’re still paying more than you would if you hired a freelancer or a digital agency.
Another thing to consider is how much work is going to be thrown at your new marketing manager. Much like with hiring a freelancer, expecting a single person to handle all the aspects of marketing it risky. With a digital agency, you get a team of people that are skilled in all aspects of marketing.
Doing your marketing yourself is always an option, but only if you have the talent or time to learn and do everything required to effectively execute your digital marketing strategy.
So that brings you back to two options, outsourcing or hiring an agency. What’s the difference between outsourcing and hiring an agency? Technically they are the same concept; however, in terms of execution, strategy, and support, they are vastly different.
Outsourcing would primarily be hiring a freelancer or an individual who does not do this type of work full-time but has the skills and time to work on your project part-time. Depending on your digital marketing strategy, this could lead to hiring multiple freelancers, depending on their skill set.
You can find freelancers that do project base work as their full-time job, but then you have to consider them having multiple projects, how much time will be dedicated to yours, and will it be quality work.
When looking to outsource, you have to ask yourself… if he/she is qualified or talented in the first place, why are they not doing this full time and how much time will they actually dedicate to your project. For some, it could just be that freelancing is a hobby to them, and they enjoy doing it in their free time. Also, according to WebsitePlanet, 52% of freelancers are under the age of 29, which means the chances of you getting someone new to the industry are high.
These are very important things to consider because a digital marketing strategy isn’t a short-term project, and there are multiple factors to consider. The initial “launch” of a strategy might not take very long to set up, but then who is going to analyze all the pieces and make sure they are working together, and who is going to keep it going?
Having a team who is always “in the know” and available to work on your project is crucial to long-term success. If the person who is working on your project is only doing this in their spare time or working on multiple projects at a time, they may fall out of touch with best practices.
More importantly, will the individual be available when you need to make changes to your strategy? Based on the scope of work on what you hire them for, they may not consistently be available to work on your project and make changes when you need them to.
These situations can be avoided by choosing the right digital agency.
Since 2014, the annual growth of the marketing agency industry has grown 4% to a total of 71,131 agencies in the US alone. When you hire a digital agency, you are hiring an entire team of experts in their field, rather than just one person. Agencies also offer stability. When you hire an agency, you can be confident that they will be there when you need them and adhere to a set schedule.
Most companies and brands who outsource their digital marketing, trust that an established agency can effectively work on their projects. An agency that has a track record of delivering results, meeting deadlines, and providing satisfaction to their clients for long-term success and support.
Which Digital Agency Do You Go With?
There is no shortage of digital agencies, and what worked for someone else may not always work for you. Here are some things to consider to help you narrow down your options.
The location of the digital agency could be a huge deciding factor. Depending on the location, the prices could be higher or lower. An agency on the East or West coast could cost more than an agency in the Midwest.
As you shop around, also consider the culture of where the agency is located. If you are from the Midwest talking to an East Coast digital agency, they may look at things differently or not understand how you do things. The same goes for if you’re on the West Coast and working with a digital agency in the Midwest, the tone and culture across different regions are going to be different, so just take that into consideration.
However, when it comes down to it, working with a local digital agency is going to be your best choice. Typically, you’re going to be meeting once a month or at the very least once a quarter. So location can be an important factor to consider depending on how many times you’ll be meeting. If you expect to be frequently meeting, then choose a digital agency that is located in your area, so meetings will be more convenient.
If you choose a digital agency that isn’t local, luckily, we have today’s technology that truly makes the world a little bit smaller and more connected. Video calls will be your best friend and the best option to hold your meetings, and it’s the next best way to get to know the people you are working with.
Make sure you find a digital agency that matches your budget. Inquire about what types of contracts they offer. Is it month-to-month or long-term contact? Do they offer multiple service packages or at least check to see if they’ll negotiate by removing the services you don’t need. If they aren’t willing to negotiate or their main focus is what works best for them, then they may not be the best option. Ideally, you need a partner that has your business in their best interest as well.
You’ll be building a relationship with whomever you decide to go with, so interaction is very important. How do they talk to you when you approach them? Does it seem like they are using a lot of technical jargon to make themselves look knowledgeable? Or do they still use technical terms but take the time to explain what these “everyday” words mean? An agency that takes time to explain their knowledge to you is generally going to be worth working with.
4. Quality of work:
You might find a digital agency with lower prices, but what is the quality of their work? It’s safe to say in the end, the quality of the work is what’s most important. Look at their website, search them on Google, and visit their social profiles…now some agencies don’t focus too much on their own marketing materials, which may seem odd since they are experts in the field. To be completely honest, it all comes down to having time to do it, most will have their marketing strategies just good enough to be active, but their main focus is their clients, so you might want to take a look at their portfolio.
Ask if they have clients who are in the same industry as your business. They may not be able to disclose the client’s name, but they may be able to provide work examples or provide scenarios where a certain type of campaign worked. Plus, if they do have clients in the same industry as your business, then it shows they already have knowledge in that line of work. You can also ask if they have worked with any major companies, this is another plus, it shows these major players trusted this agency with their marketing strategy.
Feel free to come up with questions and ask them about certain scenarios about client work, but don’t be put off if they can’t disclose certain information, they are just protecting that client.
The digital marketing industry is constantly changing. Many of the strategies within digital marketing are still fairly new concepts, or they have expanded within the last few years.
In your search for a digital partner, you may find that a lot of these digital agencies haven’t been around that long. This isn’t a bad thing, but it’s also important to differentiate the good ones from the not so great ones. One way you can do that is by looking at the ages and experience of the key personnel associated with the agency. How long have they been in the industry, what is their “niche” within this industry, and do they have the knowledge and skills that will execute your project?
While you are talking with them, keep in mind how they answer questions and if they suggest better ways of accomplishing something you had in mind. This is also where age/experience comes into play as well. Are they just saying, “yes, we can do that” to everything, or are they giving you different options to succeed? A team that isn’t just saying yes to everything is going to be a team you can count on to find better ways to help you reach your goals.
As you talk to them, try asking questions like these:
- Who will be working on your project?
- What kind of team structure will be in place for the project?
- What are the roles of the team members?
- What kind of experience do they have?
- Who reports to whom?
- Who will be the primary contact with your own company, and what is his/her role in the structure?
8. Create a Project Timeline and Goals:
This is a way to make sure everyone is on the same page and is on track. They will need certain assets from you, so this also keeps you accountable for providing these assets to help them meet deadlines. Together, you can also discuss when you want to have a progress report on the overall project and when you want a report on the data.
9. Visit Their Office in Person:
While you’re there, be aware of the general tone of the office. Are the employees crabby or happy? Unhappy employees tend to leave, and that could affect your project if they don’t have a replacement or if the new hire isn’t as skilled.
10. Shop around:
Talk to multiple digital agencies, no two companies are ever alike. Each one has their own unique way of doing things and their own perspective, by talking to them and interacting with them, you can get a better idea of what you are looking for and honestly, what type of people you would rather work with.
However, it’s essential to keep this in mind. When asking for a Proposal to see what the digital agency can do for you, be mindful of their time. Most agencies don’t mind drafting up a proposal, and many do it for free; however, some may charge a small fee. Also, don’t ask about what competitors are doing compared to what they are doing, what may work for a competitor may not work for them, so it’s hard to compare the outcome.
If you’re not sure about what exactly you need for your digital marketing strategy, try to at least have a budget in mind. If they are worth working with, they will at least tell you if they can work around your budget or what they can do with that budget. Depending on your budget, some may even say it’s not big enough to give you the best Return on Investment (ROI). If they are that transparent, thank them for being honest and ask them what they think a reasonable starting budget will be, they’ll at least give you their best advice, and in the long run, you found a good honest company.
About Jubilant Digital Marketing
The owner of Jubilant Digital Marketing, Josh Eliseuson, has many years of experience in the paid search field and has worked for reputable agencies here in Kansas City. He took his passion for paid search and created his own digital agency, which has grown from there to provide services in paid search management, programmatic display, social media management, content creation, marketing automation, SEO, and web development services.
One of the things we really try to stay true to is our transparency with our clients. We have no hidden agendas here at Jubilant. We promise our clients will receive full transparency when it comes to collaborative efforts across the board. Our expert staff is honest and hard-working, promising to be transparent throughout the entire process. We also know that marketing isn’t a “one size fits all” approach. We’ll work with you to identify your company’s needs to ensure you’re getting real results and tailor your marketing strategy to what is best for your company.
With no contracts, we’re easy to work with. Our team wants to see your business succeed, with total transparency and thorough analytics, we’re always on the same page. If you are looking for a digital marketing partner, feel free to contact us. We would love to see what we can do for you!