What Does a Digital Marketing Company Do?

For so many businesses today, the internet is the main playing field. Even for brick-and-mortar stores and local businesses, the digital world is where customer relationships are nurtured and developed. Maintaining a solid and engaging online presence is essential, and who better to do that for you than a digital marketing company?

Only 35% of businesses handle their digital marketing with an in-house team, which means there is plenty of work available for digital agencies. In 2022, there were more than 9100 digital marketing companies in the US, an increase of 20% compared to the previous year. 

But what do these digital marketing companies or agencies actually do? Let’s take a look.

What Is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is a broad term used to describe a wide range of online marketing functions, from SEO to PPC, content marketing, social media, online lead generation, email marketing, customer funnel planning and execution, and more.

The primary responsibilities of a digital marketing company will depend on the client’s goals. For example:

  1. Increase online visibility and build organic brand awareness.
  2. Generate leads from online marketing funnels.
  3. Perform market research and analysis of competitors’ digital landscape.

Digital Marketing Strategies & Tactics

So what exactly does a digital marketing company do? There are several strategies and tactics that digital agencies employ to achieve the three goals mentioned above. While you may not require all of these from an external provider, or for your business, here are the main digital marketing strategies and tactics that agencies offer: 

  • Website design
  • Website optimization
  • Content creation & optimization
  • Content curation & distribution
  • SEO
  • Search engine marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Mobile marketing and advertising
  • Paid advertising strategies and campaigns
  • Email marketing
  • Online branding
  • Reporting the ROAS of digital campaigns

When choosing an external digital marketing company to partner with, take a look at their case studies and previous customer campaigns. Check whether they are familiar with your industry or niche, and if they have worked with businesses of similar size and budget to your business. Does their creative “vibe” match with yours? Remember to ask for marketing data from previous customers and campaigns too – what kind of marketing ROI can they generate for your business? All these are vital questions to consider before signing on with a digital marketing agency.

Can You Do Some Digital Marketing In-House?

The answer is “definitely”. Many companies do some of their digital marketing in-house while outsourcing other tasks or campaigns to an external agency. If you want to blend your digital efforts with a mix of internal and external resources, then you first have to determine which digital marketing strategies your employees have the skill set to accomplish successfully. 

Small businesses don’t necessarily have a full-time digital marketer on their payroll. It is more likely that digital marketing tasks are done by someone else, perhaps the administrative assistant, salesperson, or even the business owner. It is also possible to hire someone to do digital marketing on a part-time basis.

If you choose to perform part of your digital marketing in-house, here are some of the ways you might combine your internal staffing with an outsourced digital agency:

  • Have an outside company design and build your website, but update pages, content, and blog posts in-house.
  • You manage organic social media posts and respond to DMs and comments internally, but a PPC agency manages your paid social marketing.
  • You create your press releases, blog content, and articles, but have an outside company syndicate and distribute your online content.
  • Hire an outside company to create professional marketing videos, but you promote them on your website, social media, and other online channels.
  • Hire an outside company to create your email marketing content or other online content, but you manage the distribution.
  • Use an SEO agency to research and develop an organic content strategy, and the content is produced and distributed by your in-house team or marketing employee.
  • Outsourcing market research to a digital agency, such as:
    • The most relevant keywords this quarter.
    • The social media platforms your target audience uses.
    • Researching niches within your target audience.

What you choose to do in-house is entirely up to you. Just make sure that you have a measurable plan in place, with a clear timeline and KPIs.  Some business owners place their digital marketing entirely in the hands of an external agency so that they can invest all of their time and resources in building client relationships. Whichever route you choose, you or one of your team members must familiarize yourself with the basics and terminology of digital marketing so you have a full understanding of the agency’s activities and the ROI of your marketing activities with them.

How Does Social Media Fit into the Picture?

When asking the question, “What does a digital marketing company do?”, “social media marketing” is one of the most common answers. It’s no surprise, considering that 91% of businesses are using social media in one form or another as part of their marketing strategy.

Having active profiles on all the social media platforms where your target audience spends their time is fundamental to your online presence and relevancy. However, success on social media takes time and consistency. Building a community of followers and engaging with them effectively does not happen overnight. A lot of ongoing effort is required to generate leads and ROI from social media campaigns. 

Many companies manage their day-to-day interactions on social media internally and also take on the responsibilities of creating and uploading organic posts. By managing queries, comments, and DMs in-house, you can interact quickly with up-to-date information, far better than an agency could. An external agency will manage the paid advertising component of your social strategy, and can also provide expert assistance with optimizing posts to get more reach and engagement.

If you decide to outsource all of your social media tasks, consider how you will manage customer questions and inquiries. While an external company may do an exceptional job of driving new likes, fans, and followers, they will not be able to answer specific questions about your products or business. Since customers use social media as a form of online customer service and support, you must have a plan in place to respond to direct queries on social media, whether it be human-driven or with the help of automated chatbots.

Digital Marketing Never Stands Still

When considering the services of a digital marketing agency, there is another factor that makes it more appealing – digital marketing is always changing and evolving with new tools and tactics, and digital marketing agencies are the first to know about them.

Even if you can do a lot of your digital marketing in-house, digital marketing companies are up to date about the most current and effective ways to promote your business online. Changes to Google algorithms, social media advertising trends, the latest native advertising formats, and campaign benchmarks – all demand a certain level of insider knowledge that digital agencies can provide.

Tap into the expertise of digital marketing companies, and you will save precious time and energy in trying to keep up with the most industry-current trends. Build a strong relationship with your digital partners, and you can build your target audience, customer base, and get a worthwhile ROI from your outsourced marketing efforts, all at once.

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