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Guest Post by John Desyllas Content marketing was more like a trending buzzword or an experimental strategy for digital marketers in the not so distant past. Now, things are entirely different. Content marketing has evolved into the most profitable channel in every business’s digital marketing plan with an ROI of $54 for every $1 you spend. In fact, content has become the foundation for building your brand, generating leads as well as creating effective sales campaigns. Companies around the globe now have dedicated teams for content creation with the aim to drive business growth and at the same time meet the rising consumer demand for content. Consequently, content marketing spend is showing an increase. This can be clearly seen in the graph below. Source However, content marketing is constantly changing, since it is people and their needs that are changing in the first place. That said, this blog post will explore the emerging B2C content marketing trends that you need to implement to your business in 2020. 1. Podcasts Podcasts have become increasingly popular during the last decade and today they are one of the most prominent content marketing trends. Great podcasters understand that their value lies mostly in the convenience they offer and their informative character. Now consider how mobile-friendly they are and how easy it is for someone to listen to one during his commute, for example, and it becomes apparent why they’re trending in 2020. Podcasts are generally simple to create as you can see in this guide and don’t require a big budget. They can help a business establish a strong bond with its audience, which is essential if you want to have loyal customers. Last but not least, this content form helps businesses solidify their credibility and establish themselves as though leaders in their niche. For example, that’s what McAfee does, informing people about cybersecurity and busting popular myths around the topic. 50 Source 2. Video and the rise of live video Video content marketing is still one of the most, if not the most, effective marketing methods today. While it is true that viewers don’t always watch a video with the intention of buying a product, they’re open to discovery, and it definitely incites their curiosity. Videos may not be an innovation, but they allow people to get informed about products and services in an engaging way, avoiding monotonous walls of text. Specifically: More than half of the shoppers claim that online video has helped them decide which brand or product to buy. Source According to Hubspot, 54% of people tend to watch videos from brands they trust and support. So, it’s certain that you need to incorporate videos into your marketing strategy in order to engage people and drive more conversions. Now, if you add live streaming to the mix, you have an explosive combo. The uniqueness of live streaming lies in that it is unscripted, ORIGINAL! The fact that it happens in real-time adds authenticity, which people clearly prefer. Companies can leverage live videos to host Q&As and interact with their audience in real-time or provide behind-the-scenes glimpses of the brand, such as how products are manufactured. 3. Sharing content on social media This is hardly a surprise since social media platforms have seen immense growth over the years. According to surveys, an estimated 3.6 billion people were using social media globally as of 2020, while this number is expected to rise to almost 4.41 billion by 2025. Regardless of the type of content you create, it is now vital to promote your content on social media. In this way not only do you interact with your existing followers but also you reach out to new ones. Through the shares, reposts, etc you gain massive reach to new possible customers, while at the same time you establish a brand identity through your content. It makes perfect sense to market your company’s products or services where your target audience is hanging out. Pro tip: Before you share your content on social media, be sure to check whether your content is free of grammatical errors and inconsistencies to avoid making a bad impression on your audience. 4. Dynamic, personalized content In 2020, if you want to stand out from the crowd and provide products or information that are relevant to your buyers’ interests, you’ll need to personalize your marketing. This is evident since 80 percent of consumers explain that they are more likely to do business with a company if it provides personalized experiences. There are many ways to pursue personalization, but since 2019, the most personalized channel is email. Best of all, the whole process can even be automated. Email marketing platforms such as Moosend, MailChimp and Constant Contact can help you nail personalization through advanced automation. For example, you can create weather-based campaigns to target your subscribers based on their location’s weather conditions. Source Personalization heavily depends on data, such as demographics, preferences and interests, so in 2020 we may see even the smaller B2Cs look at data as a central part of their content personalization strategy. 5. User-generated content (UGC) User-generated content has become the pillar of e-commerce content marketing in 2020. According to recent studies, 85% of people trust content made by other users more than brand content. So, it is crucial for companies to encourage their customers to create their own content and share it. UGC is hugely beneficial since it shows potential and existing customers how much a company values them. More than that, it helps create a community around the brand. When people share something and a discussion begins, it’s sure that they’ll be back to check how it progresses. Furthermore, by tapping into UGC businesses can reach Millennials and Gen Z people, who are heavily engaged in social media. Implementing user-generated content into your marketing strategy can quickly boost brand engagement and improve conversion rates, as more people will be discovering your brand. The cherry on top regarding UGC is its authenticity and the fact that it is free, engaging content that your team didn’t struggle to create. Take a look at how Harley Davidson has leveraged UGC to promote their brand. 6. Voice search optimized content Another content marketing trend on the rise is voice search. People have grown tired of typing and most importantly they are now more comfortable with using smart speakers like Alexa and Google Home. It is also estimated that by 2022 55% of all American homes will own a smart speaker, while voice shopping is bound to skyrocket to $40 billion in 2022, up from $2 billion today. So, companies will want to take advantage of that, meaning that they’ll need to optimize their content for voice searching. How? By adapting their content in a more conversational manner and getting it into Google’s Featured Snippets. To achieve this, one must use long-tail keywords and include full sentence questions that people are probably going to ask rather than write. Thus, ‘ultra-personalized’ content will be created in order to meet people’s needs. So, voice search optimization of content can be a great way for businesses to spread brand awareness. 7. Interactive content Consumers’ short attention span has made it more and more difficult for brands to reach and engage them. Therefore, brands have turned to interactive content and interactive marketing to make a strong impression on their target audience. Interactive content provides users with an immersive experience instead of the classic passive consumption of static content. It can take the form of quizzes, polls, augmented reality ads, 360-degree videos, etc. Being able to offer interactive content is an easy way to personalize your content, which is something that customers expect in 2020. Here is an interactive quiz example from Jarlsberg that leverages the power of contests. Source Conclusion There are obviously many other trends concerning content marketing in 2020 but in this blog post, we’ve discussed the seven most important ones. One thing is for sure. Implementing these tips and trends into your content marketing strategy will ensure both business growth and a competitive advantage over other brands. Looking to outsource your content marketing? We've analyzed hundreds of digital marketing agencies to help you find the right fit for your business. Start Your Search John Desyllas works as a Content Writer for email marketing automation software Moosend. He is very passionate about marketing and business translation. In his free time, he enjoys searching for new technology gadgets to experiment with.
Fred Ryder, CEO of Secure Site Digital advises, "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if your business has reached a plateau or suffered a loss in visibility, sales, or client base, and you want to get it growing again." If the growth of your previously successful marketing efforts has been slowing down, or hit a plateau, it might be time to get some help. Not making milestones All businesses with a proper plan have growth milestones that they are waiting to reach (and celebrate). However, what if you aren't reaching them? "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if you find that you're not hitting your growth milestones," advises Sean Dudayev, Business Growth Expert and Founder of Frootful Marketing. What's the possible reason? "Over the years of providing companies with a marketing strategy," shares Dudayev, "I find that many overestimate how many resources they can allocate to digital marketing every month and end up falling behind or abandoning their digital marketing efforts altogether." Abandoning your marketing efforts can certainly lead to you falling short of your milestones. You've hit the ceiling For other companies, even following through on marketing tasks can eventually lead to a growth plateau. As Ben Taylor, Founder of HomeWorkingClub.com puts it, "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if you've reached the limits of what you and your internal team can achieve on your own." "There's plenty that people can achieve in marketing by themselves — even people without that much experience," he adds. "You can pitch to journalists, produce articles that go viral, and have lots of small victories. But sooner or later you hit a ceiling — one that you may be able to break through much more easily with the help of an agency's expertise and contacts." Cariad Marketing SEO/PPC Manager Jamie Burgess helps to explain why your internal team might be reaching its limits: "As awareness of the importance of digital marketing has grown, many companies — particularly small businesses — have been relying on in-house resources to cover their online marketing. In the best cases, this responsibility usually falls to someone in the marketing team, but usually, this person will be a generalist in terms of their knowledge and abilities." More than just a generalist If your team has a generalized knowledge of digital marketing, rather than in-depth specialized skills, an agency can help overcome your plateau, says Warren Diggles, President of Diggles Creative. He adds, "90 percent of businesses cited outsourcing as crucial to their growth and is considered the 'growth hack' for most small companies and startups." Adding advanced skillsets and tools "While [an in-house marketing generalist] is fine to an extent," says Burgess, "many of the different areas of digital marketing are very specialist skills that require both experience and ongoing learning to carry out effectively. While a novice learning on the job may be able to gain some results, they will both take longer to do so and at some point hit a barrier where they are unable to take it further. A digital marketing agency will have specialists in all of the key disciplines who will be able to assess the current efforts and quickly identify the issues and opportunities. As an example, an SEO specialist will be able to quickly find any technical issues that could be holding back progress, prioritize changes that will have the greatest effect, and highlight quick wins such as overlooked keywords or missed link opportunities." "Perhaps the primary benefit of working with an agency," suggests Diggles, "is that marketing is their 'bread and butter' so to speak. They can bring to the table highly advanced digital marketing skill sets, knowledge of what works, and already have all of the tools you might need (e.g., specialized software)." Access to these advanced skillsets comes "without the cost of hiring full- or part-time people in-house," says Ryder. In addition to the lower cost, Dudayev emphasizes that agencies already "have the systems and know-how in place, which results in less trial and error. When you hire a marketing agency, they are required to deliver with deadlines in place. This ends up being a more disciplined marketing approach, rather than trying to do it all yourself." Not only will hiring a digital agency add specialist skillsets to your marketing efforts, but it can cost less than hiring in-house specialists, and take less time to see results, but you get to let the agency worry about meeting deadlines. Focused strategies help drive growth Another way that an agency can help your business to overcome stagnation is by helping to focus and hone strategies. As Diggles says, "A digital marketing agency is more like a strategic partner — your marketing will have direction and purpose behind it in such a way that it provides just what you need to get your business growing again." When it comes to marketing efforts, many companies see the internet as a deluxe Vegas-style buffet where no choices are wrong. Where do you start? What are your goals? How is there any way to lose? Just being here is awesome, no matter what I eat. Just like a day at the Bellagio, you need a plan, or you are just going to eat a bunch of low-cost entrees, not worth your investment, and you will probably feel sick. "The internet provides one of the biggest marketing offerings to all companies, big or small, with the ability to access your customer base and potential clients globally within their own home or mobile device," explains Ryder. "In our experience, what businesses that need digital marketing agencies struggle with is understanding how the internet and search engines work, how to make their company stand out from all the others — unpicking analytics, making a voice on social media, working out current trends, and how to market to not only people but an algorithm — is a skill that doesn't come from simply throwing money at an unfocused Adwords campaign, as this will often cause disappointment and frustration…. Digital marketing has the capability to be more targeted, personalized and adaptable than traditional forms of marketing. Because of this, a digital marketing agency will push you to think carefully about what you do, who your clients are, and what you are looking to achieve, honing your messaging in order to get genuine results In our experience, through this process of honing a company's messaging and goals, we are able to get tangible results. Furthermore, using analytics to complement our campaigns means we can understand and share the results of our work with our clients in tangible ways. We can show that we are building the company, sales, and audience that they are hoping to achieve. As such, we look to not only increase our client's digital reach, but also to help them use the data from this to grow their company in the most effective way. The best part, from both our perspective and the client's perspective, is that digital marketing results are quantifiable. They are measurable, tracked and data-driven. It's a discipline that's not about design-based whims, it's about raw, hard data — hypotheses, tests, conversions, results, measurable ROIs." Agency leadership drives consistent momentum If "consistent momentum in revenue, sales, leads, or awareness" sounds like the answer to your slump, says Aalap Shah, founder of 1o8 digital marketing agency, an agency might be your best bet. "I've found time and time again, and with my insights from reviewing hundreds of Google Analytics accounts, that fast-growing businesses cannot consistently sustain (digital) revenue growth if the leadership team is responsible for marketing efforts," says Shah. "Why? There are too many balls in the air for such teams, and it's hard to keep up with the latest innovations, opportunities, and tactics while staying focused on delivering product or maintaining customer service. A digital agency can help be another seat at the leadership table, providing opportunities, working through challenges, and helping find that next phase of growth."
Social media is an increasingly more important pillar of digital marketing. Don't believe me? Check out these stats: More than three billion people around the world are on social media. On average, people use social media for 15 minutes longer daily than watching television. One out of four social media users are following brands that they might make a purchase from. Over 40% of digital consumers use social to research new products or brands. Brands that embrace social media as a marketing and lead generation tool are more likely to grow their online presence and bring in new customers. Check out this advice from marketing experts about how a digital marketing agency can help your company get in on the game. The importance of social media "If you don't think being on social media is important for your business," says Amie Simon, Director of Marketing at SmarthouseCreative, it might be time to hire an agency. She adds, "Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter — your business needs to have a presence on all of these sites. Yes, social media is growing and changing every day, but these top three networks are the go-to for people killing time, checking news stories, and just trying to find some gorgeous photos or funny memes to take their mind off of heavier things. You're gonna need someone to setup and manage those accounts and also, if you have the budget (and you should), run some targeted ads on them. That's where hiring an agency already well-versed in these things comes in." Developing and implementing a social strategy Dai Baker, Founder and Lead Strategist at Dai Baker Creative Group explains, "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if your are handling your own social media profiles with no strategy. Social media requires strategy in order to see a successful engagement rate and increase in followers. Often those who are not experienced or educated in social media marketing do not realize that there should be a strategy in place. The individual may have created a content calendar with their images and captions for the week but they did not use any strategy to create it. Without a strategic game plan you are just posting on social media and wondering why you are not seeing growth. Some things to consider when establishing a strategy is ensuring you are on the right platforms for your audience. You want to create captions in your brand's voice and with information that your audience wants to read. Your pictures should be attention capturing and relevant to your business and post. Hashtags are your friends when used strategically. Do not just add hashtags because they are popular; instead, research which hashtags will help you be seen. I recommend hiring a digital marketing agency to help strengthen your social media presence and efforts." Converting customers from social media "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if you're struggling to convert new customers via social media or your website," advises Alex Onaindia, CEO of Distinction Agency. He continues, "Many businesses are using antiquated forms of marketing and need to catch up with the business landscape in 2019. For example, our agency has closed numerous deals with businesses through Instagram direct messages. It is easier to reach a majority of millennials and Gen Z through social than email, phone, or any other method. According to Instagram, 80 percent of accounts follow a business and 68 percent of them interact with brands on a regular basis. That's nearly 10 times more than with Facebook and the highest of any social media platform." If your brand isn't leveraging social media to convert social media users into valuable customers, you are missing out. Getting competitive on social Raleigh Kung, Digital Marketing Manager at Burns 360 brings up another sign that an agency could be of help. It might be time to look for a digital marketing agency when "you start seeing your competitor's brand pop up on your personal social media profiles." Kung explains, "this is the most "close-to-home" indicator that your competitors are starting to conduct their own digital campaigns. Since many people conduct their work while also on their social media sites, the SM sites will pick up the industry search terms/activities you type in during your normal business tasks — and will then show you related ads. Seeing competitors' ads means they're starting to capitalize on online channels, while your company is not." Getting help from a digital marketing agency can help you get your social media and social ads up and running, "but will also allow you to assess what your competitors are doing first. Then, you can use the appropriate tactics to either match or exceed what your competitors are already doing." Get a social media specialist without hiring in-house "You may need to hire a digital marketing agency if you realize your people lack a variety of skills," explains Igor Mitic, Co-Founder, Fortunly.com. He explains, "It would be great if you could hire an entire marketing team and fill in every specific position with a senior, experienced marketer. However, this is usually not possible, especially for small businesses. Oftentimes, marketers get overloaded and they may lack specific skills. For instance, we had a great team of content writers who have all been familiarized with SEO criteria and created quality articles. However, our social media presence was very weak, so we decided to boost those accounts. Since we couldn't afford to hire several social media experts, content writers jumped in and covered social networks for a while. Now imagine content writers inserting primary keywords and meta titles in a tweet. Or them describing photos on Instagram. Needless to say, we had very quality content on social media and 0 followers who were ready to read lengthy threads on top 10 financial hacks for saving money. At this time, we realized our team didn't have enough skills to cover both social media and our blog, which meant we would need to hire an entirely new team just for social media. Moreover, this would have happened with every new thing we'd try to implement. For this reason, hiring a digital marketing agency seemed like a much better solution." You get the advantage of specialty social media skills without having to hire another team member — the best of both worlds. View Best Digital Marketing Agencies and Reviews
In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective classic A Scandal in Bohemia (1892), Sherlock Holmes says, "It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts." Although most things have changed since the data-science-lover Mr. Holmes said this, his statement still holds true, especially when it comes to digital marketing. Data-driven decision making is key to success in online marketing. What happens if you don’t measure your marketing efforts? Angie Yarbrough, principal and co-founder of Stratistry, shares an example of a customer who needed to use data in his marketing: "As the CEO of a mid-sized engineering firm, he had been trying to run his own Google Ads campaigns, spending a substantial amount of money every month. However, he wasn't sure how to track the effectiveness of the ads, and hadn’t had the time to update his company website in more than five years. He hired us to help refine his brand positioning, update his website, implement tracking for his GoogleAds campaigns, and improve his marketing ROI." If you aren’t properly measuring your digital marketing budget, basically, you are wasting time and money. You may be getting results, i.e. customers or sales, but you could still be wasting money. Yarbrough concludes, "At the end of the day, I believe that's the ultimate benefit of hiring a digital marketing firm — they have the expertise and ability to drive measurable and profitable results." Apply method to the madness Hannah Dixon, Marketing Director of Davines North America suggests, "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if you're just boosting adverts and seeing what happens or if you have an e-commerce channel in your business, and you don't see a positive ROI on your ad spend."Just seeing what happens is using guesswork instead of data. "[I]f you are looking to properly measure your marketing efforts and ROI," says Furqan Tafseer, CMO of Stratigia, it might be time for some help. "It is often a big challenge for many companies to properly gauge the results of their marketing efforts and ROI. The best approach for this is to identify the right marketing attribution model. Many of the decent marketing agencies understand this well and have experience in working with various attribution models. I think this should be one of the most important reasons why you should hire a decent digital marketing agency." Set measurable goals If you are having trouble figuring out how you would measure your marketing success, you aren’t alone. Yarbrough advises, "First, your strategy should be firmly rooted in the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you are hoping to measure." After setting KPIs, she says, "Then, that strategy should be continually put to the test and evaluated on a monthly basis. A monthly review of those KPIs should be provided through the tracking and reporting of the right metrics and data." Nikki Bisel, owner and founder of Seafoam Media, "[I]if you're having trouble setting meaningful goals and KPIs, a digital marketing agency can help you tie goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics together. This ensures that work done on marketing is making meaningful change to your top and bottom lines." Yarbrough says, "A good digital marketing agency helps you test, learn, and refine your marketing plan based on the results it garners." Measure and maximize returns "The online ecosystem is constantly evolving and new platforms or avenues for digital marketing emerge daily," says Devon McCrossin, Director of Marketing at Boomtown Internet Group. "This can make it challenging for a company to decide where and how to spend their digital marketing dollars to receive the highest return on investment." "When your business decides to turn toward digital marketing agencies, you are able to see your ROI in real-time," explains Lauren Reed, Marketer, Sixth City Marketing. With an agency helping to make clear where your money is going, when, and why, opportunities for improvement are clear. "You want to maximize your return on investment," explains digital marketer David Kranker. "When you pay month to month for your digital marketing services, the agency is held accountable for consistently delivering results. Because agencies are held responsible for maximizing ROI, they dedicate time and resources to streamlining and improving processes, figuring out where costs can be cut, and exploring new technologies and strategies that could increase conversions." While internal marketing teams "may not have the same incentive or know-how to improve processes," says Kranker, "Improving ROI is an agency's bread and butter." Improve paid advertising One thing you are likely already measuring is how much money you are spending on your marketing budget, including staff and paid advertisements, pay-per-click advertising (PPC), which includes the cost per click (CPC), cost per acquisition (CPA) and many more statistics. If you don’t keep track of your cost per click and cost per acquisition, how can you improve them? "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if you don't know what your actual cost-per-acquisition is," says Chris Barr, Director of Marketing for Taradel. "This is particularly true with paid search and social media ads. I see it all the time. Business owners think they're making money because they're seeing engagement through clicks, likes, shares, and even leads that come through the door. But in reality, they're losing money on each and every sale they make." "[If] you need to drive down your CPC (Cost Per Click) and quickly identify qualified leads," says Bethany Spence, CM Specialist at Exposure Ninja, it might be time for help. "Digital marketing agencies often have in-house experts that specialize in areas such as PPC. These teams are able to craft engaging ads and deliver them to the right audience." Stop wasting money "An agency will often discuss with you a concrete strategy for ad campaigns so that you never have to waste money on ineffective online ads again," says Spence. Yarbrough adds, "The best agencies will partner with their clients to build strategies that are both measurable and allow for this continued refinement and collaboration." As an illustration of just what an agency can do, Kranker shares this example: "I once took on a PPC account from an internal marketing team in a competitive market. Their cost per acquisition coming in was $1,500–$2,000 per month on average. By utilizing proven strategies I learned from testing in other markets, I was able to reduce their CPA down to $400–$500 on average. That's a reduction of over 50 percent in costs for them!" Is it time that you started measuring your marketing efforts to end wasteful, ineffectual spending? Check out our best-rated digital marketing agencies.
In the film Glengarry Glen Ross, salesman Shelley Levene, as played by Jack Lemmon, complains that "The leads are weak" during a demeaning sales speech from Alec Baldwin's character. Baldwin's reaction: "You're weak." What a bully. Do you feel like your business has weak leads? Do you feel bullied about bringing in sales and customers? If your business has weak leads or NO leads, you probably have trouble bringing in customers and making sales. You may be experiencing one or more of these problems: Customers are only word of mouth "[If] you find that your only customers are only from references," says Raleigh Kung, Digital Marketing Manager at Burns360, "your primary source of leads is word of mouth. That's not a bad thing, but that also means you're simply not tapping into your online channels yet." If this is the case, you probably need some help. Kung advises, "A digital program will get you on search engines, essentially aiming for your organic search channels to become statistically significant in driving traffic to your site/leads to your sales funnel." Not generating leads "There is no point having a beautiful website that no one visits," says SEO consultant Clare Lankester, from Boutique Digital Media. "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if you have a beautiful website but no leads." Devon McCrossin, Director of Marketing at Boomtown Internet Group adds, "Some companies have invested time and energy into their online presence and marketing efforts, yet they are not generating leads through these sources." Lead generation expert Nico Vargas from Media Services Hawaii explains, "The singular MOST important thing to your business is QUALIFIED LEADS that are ready to move forward. You can have the best-looking feed, first page results, beautiful website, thousands of followers; however without leads you are left to sink or swim." Hunting down your own leads Content strategist Mackenzie Deater at Evenbound puts it this way, "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if you're still hunting down your own leads. If a company is still going out to find leads, rather than drawing them into their own sales funnel with great, informational content and exceptional customer service, then they need a digital marketing agency." If these examples sound like your company, a digital marketing agency can help boost your lead generation, customers, and sales by focusing on the following: Organic traffic "A successful website should give you an inbox full of qualified online leads," says Lankester. "Potential customers who are searching for your product or service online should see your website at the top of their search results. "If you aren't on the first page of Google for your industry keywords," says Lankester, "then the likelihood is [consumers] don't know you exist," and your competitors are on that first page. Search Engine Optimization (SEO), a primary service offered by digital marketing agencies, can move you to page one of those search results. "SEO gives a greater return on investment than most other forms of advertising and should be part of any organization's long-term strategy. If you don't have the skills to manage your own SEO strategy you need a digital marketing agency to manage it for you." Paid traffic leads On the flip side, many businesses use paid ads in addition to organic SEO to bring in customers. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, like Google Ads, is huge in digital marketing, but not easily mastered. Digital marketer Samantha Cox from Beanstalk Web Solutions advises, "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if you've tried running your own Google Ads before, and you aren't getting the qualified leads you had hoped for." Most digital marketing agencies offer some sort of PPC service. PPC campaigns have many moving parts. Hence, says Cox, "There are so many reasons why your pay per click ad campaign might not be bringing in quality leads. You could be using the wrong keywords, you could have your conversion tracking set up incorrectly, you could be using the wrong tone, you could be showing your ads at the wrong time of day. And even if you get all of these things right, it's important to continue to optimize regularly to keep leads coming in over a longer period of time. It's kind of like a full-time job, and for digital marketers, it is their full-time job!" When it comes to PPC, you don't want to waste money. You literally pay for the ads, so each keyword, etc. is an investment, and you don't just want leads. You want qualified leads. "A digital marketing agency has the tools and knowledge to create Google Ads campaigns that bring in the most qualified leads," says Cox. When you pay to play, you definitely want to get the best bang for your buck. Leads vs. qualified leads To illustrate the difference between weak leads and qualified leads, let's look at this scenario provided by Cox: "Our own digital marketing agency worked with a client that had been running ads for years on a single keyword that was pretty broad and brought in a good number of conversions, but also a lot of errant clicks from people who were looking for other things. With the help of our digital marketing agency, we were able to research which keywords would bring in the most qualified clicks and create a campaign that cost the client a lot less per conversion, while bringing in better leads. A digital marketing agency can do more than just take work off of your plate. Digital marketers have the skills to strategize new approaches that get you the leads you desire as cheaply as possible." Lead generation specialists Some digital marketing agencies even offer specialized lead generation services and solutions, through several contact channels. Lead generation expert Vargas says this on the subject: "You can even generate leads for your business in various ways from social media or boosting posts; however, how do you then convert that lead to a paying customer so you can get a return on your investment? The answer is a lead support specialist or a concierge that can follow-up with ALL of your leads consistently and with proper tracking and reminders so your business can be top of mind when they're ready to move forward. For example, say you get five leads today. You call all of them — two are wrong contact numbers, the other you leave a voicemail, and the other two answer and want you to follow up next month. Ok great! You now have two leads added to your busy schedule for follow up. Now the next day, you get five more leads and repeat the process. Pretty soon, you are going to find yourself missing out on opportunities or spending too much time chasing a lead that you're unsure if they're ready to move forward. What's the solution? A digital marketing agency specialized in lead generation! Beyond the lead generation though, ensure that the agency is also able to facilitate the follow-up so that instead of you getting 50 leads per month that have yet to be contacted. You only get 5–10+ QUALIFIED LEADS that have been verified and contacted prior to being sent to you. So now you are spending your time with ready-to-go leads that are hot and with correct contact information, as well as a CRM provided to you to see the activity and the lead information. Many companies can generate leads, however, very few can facilitate the follow-up properly and do it all for you so that you can focus on what you enjoy most without adding more to your plate and busy schedule. " Gain control over leads Joe Goldstein, Director of SEO and Operations at Contractor Calls brings us a step further. He says, "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if you want more control over your lead volume, timing, and market penetration." Goldstein gives an example of when this would come in handy: "In California's central valley, where summer temperatures can top 110 degrees, there is plenty of demand for a good HVAC contractor. Irish Heating and Air's strong offline reputation means they could survive by word of mouth alone, but there are limits to those leads. Word-of-mouth lead volume plummets during the summer months, grows in small geographic clusters, and strongly prioritizes repair work. Digital marketing has offered Irish Heating and Air several distinct benefits: Facebook ads and remarketing ads allow them to push discounted services and special offers during the off months, smoothing out demand. SEO and content marketing lets them reach wealthier markets and develop new markets faster. It has especially helped them establish a foundation for their satellite location in Modesto. Content marketing and on-site cues help them sell services like 5-year maintenance plans, which can greatly boost customer lifetime value. It can also educate customers about the benefits of premium equipment, such as Mitsubishi ductless heating and air systems. Digital marketing also helps the business get more out of their offline reputation and investments. Each membership and sponsorship is another opportunity for a link that grows brand authority. Each happy customer is another opportunity for a five-star review. And each supporter can become a follower that boosts Irish's brand and content to other local homeowners." Converting leads into customers "Today's consumer seriously dislikes being sold to in the traditional style of "push" marketing," says Deater. "They prefer relevant, personalized ad experiences, and content that helps them make informed decisions about the products and services they're considering buying." Is your content strategized to appeal to today's consumer? SEO specialist Derrick Rehn from Integritive, offers, "Anyone can write a blog post, share a picture on Facebook, or create website content. But is that website content written with keyword searches in mind? Have you considered how you will funnel users on your website to making a purchase or submitting a form?" Once you are organically bringing traffic into your website, you need to make sure that you are guiding customers through your marketing funnel: generating awareness, helping them see the benefits of your product, and converting them into customers. For businesses that haven't created a marketing funnel or used one in the past, this structure can seem kind of nebulous. "A digital marketing agency can help you develop content that will speak to just your ideal audience in a genuine, personal way," explains Deater. "With content development like that spanning across your website, your blog, your paid search, and your social media ads, you'll start drawing in qualified leads. Rather than pounding pavement, your sales team can focus on providing those qualified leads with the information and experience they need to close. And when you're closing more deals with qualified leads, you're growing your business." Trouble with conversions If your site is having trouble turning traffic and leads into conversions (customers), again, a digital marketing agency can help. "Digital marketing agencies have the expertise and access to the best set of tools to conduct an in-depth analysis on why a site is not converting and make recommendations to improve the site," says McCrossin. "The issues are oftentimes unique and the solutions are not a one-size-fits-all. For example, if your site is suffering from a slow speed score, the effects are a lower search engine ranking, higher bounce rate, and shorter sessions. Together all of these issues result in low conversions. The solutions to improve site speed are vastly different and range from as simple as scaling some images to as complex as redesigning your entire site. Another example is site layout and design. Site layout and design can be very personal and challenging to sway a decision maker's opinion. By using a heat mapping software, digital marketing agencies can analyze how customers are interacting with a site and make recommendations backed by data on how to improve your site design and layout to increase conversions and generate more leads." When it comes to internet commerce. You need leads to convert into customers. Get more leads How much can a marketing firm help? Lauren Reed from Sixth City Marketing shares an example: “With our efforts at Sixth City, we have multiple case studies where the results speak for themselves. Some of these results include a 300 percent increase of inbound leads, new user rate increasing by 58 percent, paid leads increasing by 148 percent and more.” Remember, Alec Baldwin may have played a terrible boss in Glengarry Glen Ross, but he was right about one thing: "A-B-C = Always Be Closing." Or maybe digital marketing style: A-B-C = Always Be Converting Leads into Customers. Hint: It's easier if you actually have more leads. It's even easier if you have qualified ones.
Ignoring online marketing is like opening a business but not telling anyone.– KB Marketing Agency It's common for small business owners to ask, "What is online marketing going to cost me?" It's a fair question. Proper budgeting is crucial for any business, but especially for small businesses. Half of small businesses fail within the first five years, and poor money management is one of the leading causes of businesses going under. Business owners should be concerned about the price tag associated with marketing efforts. Small Business Trends reports that the average small business dedicates only 1.08 percent of its revenue to marketing. However, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recommends that businesses making less than $5 million in revenues should dedicate 7–8 percent of their revenue to marketing. Increasing the amount you spend on marketing can seem daunting. However, it’s important for small business owners to consider what choosing not to invest in online marketing is going to cost them in the long run. Roughly 83 percent of Americans who visited a store said they searched online first. So, by choosing not to market your business online, you are actually decreasing your ability to generate revenue for your business. As a small business owner, the question you should be asking is not “What is online marketing going to cost me?” but rather “How can I get the best ROI for my online marketing efforts.” If your business is just getting started, you can do a few easy things on your own for little to no extra cost, like writing blog posts, creating social media accounts, etc. However, if you’re looking for ways to grow your business, it’s time to bring in the professionals. Here are four reasons you should consider hiring a digital marketing agency: 1. Immediately gain an experienced team In order to execute an effective marketing strategy, you need the creative ability to produce content that captures attention, the analytical ability to track and measure the effectiveness of that content, and the determination to refine and/or revamp your content over and over and over, until you reach your goals. If you’re considering hiring a marketer, you should know it’s rare to find one person with an equal balance of all these qualities. Most professional marketers will gain experience in multiple areas of the field throughout their careers. However, most marketers also develop a niche or specialty. They may say they can do everything, but in reality they are better at one aspect than the others. Even if you are able to find the perfectly balanced marketer, there is a limit to what one person is able to accomplish. There are only so many hours in a day and it takes a lot of work to produce a full-fledged marketing strategy. Freelancers will often take on more than one client at a time as well, so you’re only getting a fraction of their time. If your goal is to rapidly expand your marketing efforts to increase your client base and grow your business, a single employee or freelancer is not going to cut it. A digital marketing agency, on the other hand, instantly gives you access to a full team of professional marketers. Once you set project parameters, goals, and timelines, your new team immediately starts working. If you’re not exactly sure what your strategy should be, your team can provide guidance and help you set the right goals to get your business where you want it to be. Hiring a digital marketing agency is one of the fastest ways to expand your marketing efforts. 2. Focus on running your business Digital marketing is a unique blend of art and science. The science aspect involves correctly understanding and utilizing the algorithms of the internet to get eyeballs in front of your business’s digital assets (website, social media profiles, etc.). The art aspect involves turning those eyeballs into loyal, paying customers. Marketing is a skillset that must be developed. It takes time to gain the knowledge and experience necessary to maximize the ROI for your marketing campaigns. Time is not a commodity most small businesses owners have. Hiring a digital marketing agency minimizes the time you need to spend on marketing and allows you to focus on running your business. You will need to meet with your marketing agency to provide direction, review results, etc., but the time you’ll spend in meetings is minimal when compared to the time it takes to plan, create, and execute different marketing projects. You can even appoint a different member of your team to be the point of contact for the agency so you can focus on what you do best. 3. Develop a big picture strategy Each facet of digital marketing — SEO, PPC, social media, videos, infographics, blog posts, etc. — acts like a cog in a giant machine. It’s easy to get hyper-focused on the individual cogs, spending hours making sure they turn as efficiently as possible. But when you’re too focused on the cogs, you forget they’re supposed to be moving the machine. A marketing strategy acts like a blueprint to the machine. It helps you know which cogs need to go in first. It gives insight on which cogs can be integrated later. Most importantly, it reminds you of the big picture. You’re not just working on the cogs, you’re building a machine. A good digital marketing agency will help you develop a marketing strategy that not only works within your business’s current capabilities, but also helps you grow to what you ultimately want to become. It keeps you from being distracted by trends, buzzwords, and short-term fixes. It also reminds you that the ultimate goal of likes, pageviews, and search rankings is to increase revenue and grow your business. 4. Measure and maximize your results In God we trust, all others must bring data.— W. Edwards Deming A lot of people talk about marketing as if it’s solely about creativity. They assume the more creative an ad is, the better it performs. The truth requires much less imagination. Data and analytics is what makes the marketing world go round. Good digital marketing agencies track everything they create, so they can tell you exactly what is or isn’t working. They run test after test, constantly trying to improve results. It will amaze you how simple things, like the color of a button, will drastically impact click-through rates. Digital marketing agencies can utilize analytics to figure out what time of day to post on social media to get the most interaction, what messaging and keywords are most appealing to your audience, and so much more. If something isn’t generating the results you want, they can also use analytics to make adjustments and improvements. Accurate analytics are the only way to calculate the ROI for your marketing campaigns. Is hiring a digital marketing agency the right choice for your business? Consider these three priorities when hiring a digital marketing agency: Speed — Time is money. The faster a marketing strategy is developed and executed, the faster you start attracting leads and increasing revenue. Quality — The quality of your marketing is a reflection of the quality of your business. Your audience will see the difference. Price — ROI is everything. The less money business owners spend on an effective marketing campaign, the higher their gross income. Many people incorrectly assume you can manage all three priorities and quickly create a high quality marketing strategy and/or campaign that costs you next to nothing. But in reality, you can only choose two priorities. If you want something quick and cheap, the quality is going to suffer. If you want something high quality and affordable, it’s going to take time to create. If you want something high quality developed quickly, it will be expensive. Hiring a digital marketing agency is one of the fastest ways to enhance your marketing efforts, and it’s often not as expensive as many small business owners think. However, if you’re zealously pinching pennies and willing to wait a little longer for results, hiring a freelancer may better fit your needs. The vast majority of digital marketing agencies offer free quotes and/or consultations. Our advice is to contact a few agencies you’re interested in hiring and get their perspective. Be candid about your goals and budget. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and take your time making a decision. If you’re not confident that hiring a digital marketing agency will achieve the best ROI for your business’s marketing efforts, look into other options. Ready to hire a digital marketing agency? Not all digital marketing agencies are created equal. Compare top customer-rated agencies to find the right fit for your business. Search Digital Marketing Agencies
As the proverb goes: A goal without a plan is just a wish. Success in digital marketing is all about planning your strategy. Without a plan, how will you reach your goal? "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if you need insight into your marketing strategy," says Derrick Rehn an SEO Specialist at Integritive. He continues, "Anyone can write a blog post, share a picture on Facebook, or create website content. But is that website content written with keyword searches in mind? Have you considered how you will funnel users on your website to making a purchase or submitting a form?" If the answer is "no," or "what is that?" your website could probably use a little strategy. When you have finished reading this article, you should have a broader perspective on how hiring a digital marketing firm can help hone your sense of direction, develop a plan, and partner with you to carry it out until you have the desired results. Find a clear sense of direction Jessica Herbine, SEO Manager at Trinity Insight explains, "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if . . . you don't have the capacity to carry out — or even dream up! — the plans that will grow your business." She adds, "The majority of our eCommerce partners are well-versed in a particular marketing channel or niche, but do not have the in-house resources needed to further expand their online presence and test new platforms and trends." Handling your own marketing without coordinated, strategic plans can lead to inconsistency. Herbine says, "If you or your team are frequently putting out fires and jumping from project to project, a digital marketing agency can offer a clear plan and sense of direction." Incite competitor jealousy "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if . . . you want to be found online and beat your competition in sales," says Robin Rucinsky, Media Director and President of Thrive Advertising. Even when your end goal is put this plainly, your business goal still needs a plan. According to Rucinsky, "Your digital advertising plan, when executed properly, should make all of your competitors fearful and jealous at the same time. They'll feel it when your digital marketing plans are done right, and when they start copying you, which I promise you they'll try, you'll know you've knocked it out of the park! I've seen this over and over again! You don't do your own business taxes, why would you do your own digital marketing if that's not your area of expertise?" Coordinate your brand efforts "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if you are having problems scaling your initiatives — both vertically and horizontally, advises Rich Anand, Founder and COO of Evolvez Agency. "It is easy for companies to adopt a few channels (like Instagram, Facebook, etc.), but creating cross-marketing flows where all outlets work in sync takes time and effort." If your content planning, social media strategies, and other customer outreach like marketing automation, email marketing, and text campaigns aren’t aligned with each other, you may benefit from an agency’s ability to help develop a plan that incorporates production and distribution into the most cohesive plan. Anand adds, "Plus, you have to ensure that your digital activations are also coordinating with any offline activations that may be taking place. It is usually best if one entity can house both digital and off-line activations to ensure that 1) it gets done, and 2) the messaging is synchronous." You want to present a planned, professional interaction with your customers. Overcome short-term thinking Lisa Barone, Chief Marketing Officer at Overit suggests that "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if . . . you have a mouth full of Thanksgiving Day turkey before you think about Cyber Monday." If this sounds like you, or your company, you are not alone. "When you are laser-focused on your day-to-day, you become a friend to short-term thinking," says Barone. "You prep Monday’s email campaign on Saturday night and forget about those big holiday marketing campaigns until your customers are already decking the halls." If you are in a situation where you are so busy with the day-to-day, you would benefit greatly from a digital marketing agency’s ability to develop a game plan, looking forward. As Barone says, "Partnering with a creative agency gives you the benefit of long-term strategy." She adds, "Tapping an agency allows your business to think three, six or twelve months in advance. It ensures all efforts are moving in a unified direction, that nothing is falling through the cracks, and that the many facets of an integrated marketing campaign are talking to one another. It makes the brand look smarter." Gain a strategic partner What’s holding you back from establishing a clear sense of direction for your company or brand?Sometimes, it is a lack of resources at your disposal, like time, in-house staff, or knowledge. Quentin Aisbett, Founder of Pocket Insights says, "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if . . . you don't have the resources to develop and execute a digital strategy to build your brand, attract and engage your audience, nurture your visitors until they become customers, and finally empower your audience to advocate on your behalf." Although this series of events seems hard to contemplate for people less-versed in the online marketing world, this is #goals. "I highlight the resources for a digital strategy," says Aisbett, "because this is often what is lacking when things go wrong or things just don't go. Even for companies that have a full-time digital marketing person, it's incredibly difficult for them to find the time to concentrate on the strategy when they have so many day-to-day tactics to manage." Digital marketing agencies not only consult with your business to make battle plans and clear the path ahead, but they can then take up the reins or partner with your in-house team. "When you have partners who act as an extension of your team," says Herbine, "you can rely on channel experts to do the heavy lifting and take the work off of your plate to achieve bigger and better goals. Sometimes, a little extra man or woman power is what's needed to take your business to the next level." As a strategic partner, Aisbett explains, "A digital marketing agency can bring all this to you as well as access to more intimate knowledge of the varying channels such as search, email, social, content, and the list goes on." With all of these channels covered and plans coordinated, you will have a better idea of both the big picture and day-to-day needs and goals of your marketing efforts. Strategy. So, what are you waiting for? Check out our digital marketing agency reviews or read more reasons to hire an internet marketing agency from our blog.
DIY digital marketing is not sustainable for most small businesses; however, it's estimated that more than 70 percent of small businesses are handing their own digital marketing, but this might not be the most effective use of their time. "You typically have three choices of who to go with for marketing," says Josh Dean, Digital Marketing Executive at Kubix Media, "hire somebody in-house, get a freelancer or use a digital marketing agency." He continues: "Hiring somebody in-house is often the most expensive option of the three. Finding an individual with a broad enough marketing skill set and knowledge of your industry can take a lot of time to find and a large salary to pull. Getting a freelancer is generally, but their time is split between several clients." When you use a digital marketing agency, you have a team of specialists in their respective fields covering design, social media, content, SEO, PPC etc. at your disposal. A good digital marketing agency will be able to plan an effective strategy using the most appropriate channels in order to achieve your business objectives. The team can then work together to roll out the campaign. You will have a dedicated account manager who is just a call or email away to give you updates and advice about performance." We asked experts to help understand key circumstances that indicate you might need to look into hiring a digital marketing agency. Here’s what they said: You’re spending too much time As a business owner, your time is valuable. You have expertise in your area or a product or service that you are passionate about. For some, DIY online marketing is a good way to get things started and find your first new clients or customers. However, at a certain point, it may be time to get help. "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if you find you're spending too much of your time trying to establish your business' digital presence," says Sammi Caramela, Content Manager at Lightning Media Partners. Your time is money. Spending it your time and money wisely can make or break your SMB. Warren Diggles, President of Diggles Creative suggests that whether your business is growing too quickly, too slowly, or has reached a plateau, "you know that your time is best spent working on your business, not managing the day to day aspects of your marketing." Losing focus is costing you Kaisa Suojanen, Digital Marketer, Upgrow explains, "Managing digital marketing on your own is a complex task and business owners often forget about the opportunity cost of dedicating time managing their digital strategy. Rather than managing digital marketing in-house, you should hire a digital marketing agency to maximize your marketing ROI and let yourself focus on other important business activities such as customers, relationship, and retention." David Blacker, Managing Principal at Venerate Media Group says, "hiring a digital marketing agency allows you to keep the focus on running your business. Digital marketers will handle all of your marketing needs, freeing up your time as a business owner to tend to other important aspects of the company." Ian Lurie, Founder and CEO of Portent, Inc., a Clearlink Digital Agency shares an example of just how losing focus can affect your business: "The worst marketing outcomes I see happen because the CEO/CMO/leadership thinks they know marketing, but they don’t. They don’t hire a team. Instead, they do it themselves. It costs them hard dollars wasted on advertising and tools. It costs them far more in soft dollars. Leadership spends time away from their product or service, trying to learn marketing channels overnight, and trying to reconcile results with effort. Years ago, I talked to a business owner who introduced a new safety product — a great product — just as worldwide attention focused on the hazard his product addressed. A journalist heard about his company and interviewed him. It was picked up by a global media outlet. Links, shares, buzz, rankings, and direct traffic all skyrocketed. So did sales. He earned this success — really earned it — without an agency. But his lucky break convinced him he knew marketing. As the buzz around his product died down, he started creating content. That went well. But then he invested in paid search and display. He blew tens of thousands of dollars on one display ad before he realized he was paying by impression with no budget. He turned to SEO, taking advice he found online. He bought links and got penalized. He hired a friend to rebuild his site and shopping cart, which was a disaster. Even worse: He spent 10–15 hours a week working on marketing. He lost focus on his business, and it suffered. He turned it around, though. He never worked with us, but he found an agency that fit his budget and got things turned around. That agency then helped him hire an internal team. He’s still thriving today. Beware: If you think you know marketing, you probably don’t. Focus on your business. Focus on your product. Delegate the marketing. If you don’t hire an agency, hire a team. But I recommend hiring an agency. A good one will get marketing off your plate and, when you’re ready, help you build your team." It's time to do what you do best "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if you don't have enough time to spend on it yourself," says marketer Jeff Moriarty. "This is a common reason I work with companies. They cannot afford a full time person, and they have to run everything else in their business." To illustrate, Moriarty shares an example, "I had a one-man-show client, and he was killing it with customers. He knew he needed to do more online, but he handled everything and couldn't take on any more work. So, he hired me for just one day a week. It made such a vast improvement online with that little time that was spent, and he was able to continue to focus on what he was best at." Your time is valuable. Veronica Batista, Social Media Manager at OnPoint Internet Marketing says that hiring an agency is a great way to increase your productivity. "By hiring a digital marketing agency, your company can focus on putting more time and effort into other areas that will make the business grow even more." Experts are more effective While you will have more time to do what you do best, your marketing dollars can be spent on experts whose results can be more efficient and effective. Dean explains, "Ideally, [business owners] need to remain focused on the day to day operations of your business. Outsourcing your marketing makes sense not just because you don't have the time to do it, but others can do it more effectively." Outsourcing is beneficial "Outsourcing your digital marketing allows you to focus on your most important priorities," says Diggles. "Even by slowly outsourcing different parts, you can slowly alleviate the pressure on your own team so they can focus on becoming more efficient at the activities that bring in the most profit for your business." If you hire an agency to help with your digital marketing, not only are you free to focus on the things that you do best, but Diggles says, "According to a study by the economist Michael F. Corbett, "outsourcing can increase productivity and competitiveness 10- to 100-fold". There are too many digital channels to focus on There are so many digital media channels and digital marketing strategies, and the usefulness of each varies, depending on your business niche. With so many channels to keep track of, you might consider focusing on those where you shine, while getting an agency to help with others. Caramela explains, "Today, developing an online marketing strategy is crucial to success; but as a business owner, you have limited time to spend on tasks like social media management, content creation, SEO and more. When you outsource these efforts to experts, you cultivate the best opportunities to attract consumers while still allowing yourself ample time to develop your business and focus on the areas you know best."Becky Beach is an eCommerce owner and business coach at Mom Beach LLC. Her story illustrates the benefits of hiring an agency when you need help with a specific media channel: "As a small business owner, I was doing everything myself, even marketing. I decided to outsource to an agency for my Pinterest marketing to save time. When a small business grows larger, the owner needs to see what is the best ROI for their time and money. It was a positive ROI for me to invest in a digital marketing agency so I could focus time elsewhere on my business." It's all about focusing your efforts and expertise to get the best ROI. Sometimes paying someone else to help you is more cost-effective and just plain effective than relying on your own skills, especially when you are a business owner pulled in multiple different directions. Focusing on your highest priorities and strengths are key to business success. "Forming connections with prospective clients and customers requires commitment at the highest level," says Caramela. "If you feel you're not meeting your digital marketing goals, don't be afraid to ask for help."
"You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if you're looking to save money wherever you can," says Lucy Rendler-Kaplan, from Arkay Marketing & PR. Whether you can't afford an in-house team, your budget doesn't allow for multi-skilled new hires, you want cheaper access to tools, or need a more scalable workforce, hiring an agency can help you save money in more ways than one. In this article, our experts will highlight the various ways that hiring a digital marketing agency can help your company save money. In-house teams are expensive "There is always the option to build your own digital marketing team (or even hire one single expert) …" explains Steve Kurniawan, Content Specialist and Growth Strategist at Marketing Unfolded. "However, talents aren't always affordable or they can be very expensive rather than outsourcing to an agency." Adam Gingery, Digital Strategy Manager at Majux Marketing says, "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if it would be more expensive to bring talented digital marketers in-house." Costs make the difference How exactly would you be saving money with an agency, compared to having your own in-house employees? Your costs are more than just a salary. Devon McCrossin, Director of Marketing at Boomtown Internet Group lays out the costs: "When you hire an in-house digital marketing expert, you have to provide them benefits and other incremental costs on top of their salary. When you hire a digital marketing agency, you only pay for the services that they provide." When you hire an agency, you save money on "payroll taxes, benefits, and overhead," explains Rendler-Kaplan. For these reasons, McCrossin says, "Agencies are more cost-effective than hiring in-house." Finding a unicorn candidate can be tough "Many businesses try to handle their marketing efforts internally, fearful of the cost to hire an outside agency," says Angie Yarbrough, Principal and Co-founder of Stratistry. "However, the cost to hire an in-house marketing professional can be even more substantial." Why does an in-house hire cost so much? Finding the right person for the job requires mastery of a variety of skills. "They have to be able to research, develop, write, monitor, and even analyze your marketing plan," says Yarbrough. An outside agency should be able to provide all of these services for a fraction of the cost you would pay for a qualified candidate." Gingery helps us understand the situation. "Let's say that bringing someone who can actually do SEO, manage an inbound content strategy, and run PPC campaigns only costs you $60,000 per year. That would be an absolute bargain if they are even remotely good at that job. Hiring two $40,000 per year people to split those responsibilities is even more expensive." "When you put it into perspective, says Gingery, "paying a marketing agency $3,000, $4,000, or even $5,000 per month is a no-brainer! You'll get higher quality work, and that agency has experts in SEO, PPC, and content, respectively." All of your bases will be covered, but it doesn't have to be the task of just one overworked internal employee. Diversify your budget What if you need to hire multiple specialists for your in-house team, but your budget can only afford one? "Sometimes," says Paul Farmer, VP of Marketing at Woodtex, "as much as you might wish, the company's budget simply isn't enough to hire two to three full-time specialist employees, each of whom can tackle a different set of tasks. You might need PPC help, an SEO wizard, a compelling content creator, and a social media star. But, you can only afford the equivalent of one new full-time team member." When that happens, says Farmer, "That's where digital marketing agencies come into play; because they have everything under one roof, you can diversify what your budget is spent on, while still getting the services of experts." "If you are looking to save money, there's nothing better than hiring a digital marketing agency," says Veronica Batista, Social Media Manager at OnPoint Internet Marketing. That rings true, especially when you are looking to spend your marketing budget on specific services. Batista adds, "By hiring a digital marketing agency, you only choose what services are right for you…" So, you can get expert help, with a variety of marketing services, while paying for work, not individual employees' salaries. Enhance scalability and stability What happens when you have seasonal marketing needs? "You can also scale up or down your digital marketing seasonally with an agency," says McCrossin. "With an in-house employee, you cannot cut them to part-time after the holiday season is over." He says that this scalability can help you save money in the long-run. It will also help with employee morale and turnover. Even agencies outsource to save money Christina Brodzky, Founder of mediasesh says, "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if there isn't enough budget to hire a full-time specialist." She explains, "For the majority of our client base, they are other marketing agencies that want to provide SEO support to their clients, but they don't have enough budget to hire a full-time specialist or enough knowledge/experience on the subject. So they outsource their SEO work to us and white label our services. That way they're able to have an expert subject matter on their team and continue to say yes to their clients." In a world where even digital marketing agencies are taking advantage of outsourced SEO work to save money and benefit their clients, it's no wonder that this strategy can be leveraged by everyday companies. Bonus benefit — saving time In this article we mostly talked about how hiring a digital marketing firm can help your company to save money. In another sense, outsourcing to an agency can be a time-saver. Gingery explains, "The added bonus is that you'll save tons of time by not hiring, training, and managing the in-house talent."