Why should you hire a Digital Marketing Agency?

Why should you hire a Digital Marketing Agency?

As we enter into the year 2021, I can’t help but wonder how businesses would allocate their digital marketing spend this year.

Are you as a business owner still thinking – why you should hire a digital marketing agency for your business and get serious about digital marketing, or are you still planning to rely on traditional marketing methods?

Why I ask this question is because of how the world has changed after COVID-19.

Today, we all spend the majority of our time glued to our Laptop or mobile screen.

Even meetings have gone virtual.

I would not be wrong in saying that COVID has changed the way businesses were marketed earlier.

We are in the era of digital marketing.

It is the year when businesses start getting more serious about digital marketing as their customers won’t be coming to their brick and motor store so easily. Instead, the customers would order online or decide on buying by reading internet reviews.

You don’t believe me?

Here is a stat for you – November 2020 was Australia’s largest sho[pping month ever (source: AusPost).

No wonder, Online shopping is an industry that is growing in Australia at an average of 13% per annum (source: IBISWorld)

It is the right time for every business to get serious about digital marketing.

Not that businesses are not serious about it. It’s just that many brick and motor businesses are not used to the idea of increasing their digital spend and think beyond spending a few bucks on digital marketing to maintain their social media presence.

A habit that will hurt them in 2021.

If the stats are to be believed, Digital marketing has already eaten into a substantial budget, earlier allocated to traditional marketing methods such as TV, Newspaper, etc.

If trends follow the path defined in this graph, by 2023, the digital ad spending would be 60.3% of the total media spend across the globe.
global-marketing-budget-948x1024

Source: https://www.emarketer.com/content/global-digital-ad-spending-2019

Country-wise budget
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The above graphs give us an overview of how marketing spending has changed over the years.

We now have industries allocating more than 60% of their marketing budget on the internet or mobile marketing – all part of Digital Marketing.

Digital advertisement growth has been in double digits in all the major countries around the world, reaching as high as 5.6% in Australia.

You are living under the rock if your Business is not using Internet Marketing to its advantage.

As per Search Engine Land, ‘On average, SMBs spend 46% of their marketing budget on digital marketing.’

Digital marketing is a trend you cannot ignore. It is the present and future of marketing and promotion.

Today, most companies in the business world do in-house digital marketing or contract internet marketing work to an Internet Marketing Company.

Though companies have gotten some small work done in-house, they have preferred to outsource Internet Marketing work to professional Companies.

However, there is always the risk of settling on a wrong digital marketing agency that may not deliver the expected results.

It is always a daunting task to find the right internet marketing company as there are many options available in the market.

I have been helping small businesses succeed on the internet for years.

One of the crucial aspects of helping them succeed was finding the right digital marketing agency for their online campaigns.

I have dealt with the good, bad, and ugly in the world of digital marketing.

The one question I get a lot from clients is ‘Why do we need a digital marketing agency and How to find the right digital marketing agency?’

I usually ask them to search on google.

Well! Most of the times – Google deceives them 🙂

I mean – let’s accept it. Google is prone to manipulation. (All DM companies have a team of ORM experts to paint them as the best in the Business).

However, there is a way to differentiate the good ones from the dodgy ones.

Why should you hire a Digital Marketing Agency?


I have covered a lot of the information around digital growth in the introduction and how COVID has changed the way businesses approach their customers in the introduction section.

Let’s look at the specific reasons why you should hire a digital marketing agency

  1. Digital Marketing Agencies are the present and future:

Gone is the day when your business could rely on traditional methods of marketing to succeed.

I know that’s a very bold statement to make. But hear me out – what is the first thing you do if you have to buy a new product?

Your search on the web for the company or product and read google reviews or reviews on other websites.

We live in a digital era, from finding the direction to stores to reading reviews about a business, we rely on the internet to tell us everything.

How do you ensure that your business is coming on top for the right keywords on the internet?

Or How do you respond to all reviews (bad or good) on the internet?

You do it through digital marketing.

In 2021, your business needs a digital marketing presence to help you succeed. There is nothing better than taking the help of a professional digital marketing agency to help you succeed.

  1. Digital Marketing Agencies help you run cost-effective campaigns:

When was the last time you hired a marketing agency and they gave you a budget of AUD 2000 to AUD 3000/month to run a marketing campaign?

Marketing campaigns (usually) comprise newspapers, TV and channels that are ridiculously expensive and, worst – do not provide measurable results.

By running a traditional marketing campaign, you either make it or break it and when you break it, your small business suffers heavily.

On the other hand, we can efficiently run a  digital marketing campaign for a small business at an affordable cost of 2K to 3K AUD/ month and then give clients measurable results.

Again, it would be best to have a digital marketing agency to help run a professional campaign.

  1. Digital marketing agencies help you focus on your business

After running a series of businesses over the years, I have learned to leave it to the experts if there is one thing that I have learned.

I like to outsource anything that does not form a part of my core business to other companies (for them, it should be a core business).

For example, when I ran my IT Service business – we outsourced our recruitment, accounting, and development work to other companies.

It would cost us extra to outsource this stuff, but it was worth it as it helped us focus on the core aspects of running and growing our business.

To elaborate on what I wrote further – setting up an in-house digital marketing team for a company is not easy.

You need a proper structure comprising team lead and SEO experts, SMM, PPC, and Content space to run a sound digital marketing campaign.

First of all, until and unless you are a multi-million dollar enterprise – you would never have enough work to keep all of these professionals occupied.

Secondly, in addition to hiring the team, you also buy many tools to run the campaigns.

As a small business owner, I would refrain from taking any of the costs as mentioned earlier.

Instead, I would go to a professional digital marketing agency where I would probably use 20% of their capacity and not pay for the tools to share between their different clients.

Also, by outsourcing the work – we contribute to small businesses’ growth that further contributes to a country’s economy.

 

Steps to help you find the right Digital Marketing Agency

Where to “Search” Them?

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I know it’s a dumb question to ask. You have search engines, yellow pages, search engines.

How difficult would it be to find the right internet marketing company on internet? (irony)

To start with, most of the small businesses are as lost as I was, when I started my Business.

Here is how you can use the “already known” methods to better find how to find internet marketing companies for your Business.

  • Search Engine: In the modern digital world, you can actually find an agency of your choice by make good use of the search engine. It is advisable to be more specific in your searches to avoid wasting a lot of time going through thousands of results. You can minimise the number of results by including your location in the quest to find agencies near your area. Some of the best agencies that can meet your needs can be found at the top of the results lists.So, how do you do that?The first step is to prioritise your search by identifying the factors which are vital for you to select a internet marketing company.Few of them which comes to my mind when I think of finding a internet marketing company using Search Engine are:

  • Cost: Keywords like Affordable should be of help (Do not use cheap. I hate to use the word, and most of the businesses who have used the keyword to find the digital marketing agencies using the keyword have actually found “cheap” agencies in a literal sense. As they say “If you pay peanuts, you will only get monkeys)

  • Type of Business (small Business, startup)

  • Industry experience (this details the type of industry your Business belongs to – Pharma, healthcare, hotel, etc.)

  • Location: If you hate to communicate via internet and want someone you can meet face to face – Location should be a criterion for you to find the right agency.

  • Referrals: The good old referral method still works wonders. You reduce the risk of failure by working with someone who has worked with an acquaintance and has done an excellent job for them.

Your acquaintance might tell you beforehand about all the advantages and disadvantages of working with a particular internet marketing company based on their own experience.

Referrals provide you with an opportunity to see beyond the salesmanship and marketing of various digital marketing agencies.

In short, you get to see the True Picture, which is not possible – if you are finding the agency via the web.

Google Partners:

google-partner-digital-marketing-agency

Reputable search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing have partner agencies that can come in handy when searching for a internet marketing company.

This method is quite successful when you are looking for specific services like Google PPC, Facebook Ads, etc.

A certified preferred partner from Google definitely has the edge over others when it comes to running a PPC Campaign for your agency.

In addition to the above, Google has a database of digital marketing agencies arranged in different digital marketing categories such as Shopping and Google Analytics IQ, video ads, mobile advertising, display advertising, and search advertising.

You can get the expected budgetary requirements for working with various agencies.

The trust factor and legitimacy of Google makes it a useful tool for finding a competent internet marketing company for your company.

What to consider while selecting them?

By now, you have your list of Digital Marketing Agencies shortlisted for your Business, and now you want to filter them in order of your preferences.
They all look equally good, but you cannot hire them all. Right?
Here are a few points to help you shortlist the ones matching your criteria.

  • Credibility: This is the most important thing to consider when looking for a internet marketing company. Any credible agency should have a decent website that provides necessary information about its ownership, location, and services.

    An online marketing agency that does not have a website should be avoided as this is a major red flag.You must be wondering “How is it possible that a internet marketing company does not have an internet presence?

Let’s go a step further than “having a website”. A right internet marketing company must have a website that reflects their brand professionally.

Few important points to help you with the process are:

  • The website must be developed as per the latest standards. I’m not too fond of tacky websites with a lot of flash, JavaScript and popups in them. The newest standard is all about Simplicity. You will know what I mean when you look at a good website which communicates its services without pushing them on your face. Another critical point is the responsiveness of the website on all devices and the latest browsers.
  • The website must have a blog which is regularly updated and helps websites visitors learn something about the industry. Now, this is a must. We are in 2021 and if you find the blog of a website was last updated three months back, take a step back and think “If they do not update their blog, how will they update mine?” The bottom line is “You should not preach what you do not practice”.
  • Once you are done checking the basic stuff, time to move to Testimonials and Clients section. You should check whether the website has testimonials and client logos or not. In addition to that, you should also find out if the reviews are from genuine clients or not. I always ask my clients to dig out a bit of history of names, companies posted in the testimonial section.
  • I ask them to take that extra pain of going to LinkedIn and find the name of the person whose name is displayed on the website and if you are at the last stage of shortlisting, how about you drop them a LinkedIn message and ask them about their experience? You will have the real authentic feedback from someone who has had first-hand experience with the internet marketing company you are considering.

Few more additions to the website which should help you give that extra point to the agency are:

  • Have they published any case studies on the website?
  • Any experience from a similar business as your Business should be awesome.
  • It would be amazing if content creators in the company are published on some other websites too (remember, digital marketing is now turning into content marketing. The more the content they have published on other publications, the more is the expertise level of their team)
  • Check the variety of industries they have worked in and how comfortable they will be in developing content for your industry.

Vibe
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You should take the time to visit the agency’s physical office to determine it’s vibe. In this case, you should engage in casual conversation with some of the company’s employees and study the mood at the office to understand the agency’s vibe.

Find out if the team members are friendly, good communicators, and helpful.
Most people ignore such intangibles and end up hiring agencies that cannot deliver the expected results.

Team members that appear frustrated and annoyed may not do a good job as marketing requires a positive vibe. And check their comfort level in working with your industry.

Trust me, the most difficult part of running a Digital Agency is producing engaging content for fields which are considered boring in the market.

You need a passionate team. The word passion has lost its power because of being overused but is still important when it comes to marketing.

The agency should tell you what excites them about your company and how they feel working for you.

In addition, you should ask them about their favourite industry innovation and what they find fascinating about the industry.

You should avoid a team that is only excited about the money, ego, and awards as this means that they have no passion for what they do.

It is advisable to consider a team that is excited about innovation and has a genuine interest in your Business, as this indicates that they are driven by passion.

What Should You Ask?

  • Audit: There is a need for an agency to prove itself as competent and asking for an audit of your Business’s current Digital presence is a good start.I know of a company which got a paid audit done by three companies and selected the one which really understood what they wanted.

    They would rather spend money on three companies now than get stuck with a wrong partner and suffer later.

    Do you know which internet marketing company they selected?

    They selected an agency which did the current audit to perfection and laid out a perfect beautiful plan for the future of their Business.

In the process, they also did some free sample content for clients.

The business owner was really impressed with what he saw. Most importantly, he appreciated the fact that this agency understood his Business better than others.

An audit helps in identifying areas that need improvements when it comes to digital marketing.

Through an audit, a internet marketing company is able to uncover some of the failures in your current system and in the process increase their chances of working with you.

A proper audit will help the new internet marketing company to do a better job as compared to their predecessors when you eventually hire them.

  • Their logic of going for a paid audit from 3 companies made a lot of sense to me. As per them, this is a long-term relationship and requires a lot of close interactions and planning to make the project success.

  • Experience: For me, the biggest challenge a internet marketing company can take is to set the client’s expectations right and then meet those expectations.

For example, not all businesses will get leads from the internet. Some businesses need digital marketing for exposure.

Your experience should help you set the expectations clear with clients.

A good internet marketing company should have some outside experience as this is very critical in the modern business world that is very competitive.

Previous experience sparks innovation, and that is why it is important to consider diversity when selecting a digital marketing company.
An agency can only provide valuable solutions after they develop empathy from outside empathy.

Another important point while looking at the experience is what is the kind of experience the agency has.

To make a sound judgment, you should know what you want from Digital marketing because Digital marketing is a very loosely used term.

If you look at the offerings in Digital marketing, you will notice Digital marketing comprises of:

  • For example, our agency has good experience in Content Marketing, but we are rate ourselves 5 out of 10 (self-criticism) when it comes to running PPC Campaigns.

  • An experienced agency has a solid understanding of the daily challenges that organisations face in digital marketing. The need for digital marketing agencies to provide real-life solutions makes it necessary for marketing agencies to have some experience as an agency and client.

  • SEO

  • Social Media Marketing

  • Email Marketing

  • Paid Marketing

Make it a point to ask the internet marketing company, which of the above will hey use to meet your expectations.

This is where the experience of an agency will come into the picture. For example, I ask B2B Companies to focus more of LinkedIn and Quora than Facebook, and I tell them, you should focus more on SEO than social media marketing because that is where you will find your clients.

And before I end, do not forget to map your budget with what they can deliver. The word affordable has a different meaning for everyone in the service industry.

Ensure, you have your expectations set straight from day one in terms of deliverable, money and timeline.

It is important to look for a internet marketing company that suits your specific marketing needs.

I might have missed few points in my blog to help you select the right internet marketing company, but overall the blog has all that I have learned working with a variety of clients and helping them succeed on the internet.

In 10 Minutes, I’ll give you the truth about digital marketing consulting.

digital marketing consulting
Business investment modern flat design concept. Money and people concept. Landing page template. Conceptual flat vector illustration for web page, website and mobile website.

A few years back, a client hired me to help with their digital a client hired me to help them with their digital marketing campaign.

Now – I like to consider myself as a digital marketing consultant who loves to streamline marketing…sorry – digital marketing for my clients by reviewing their businesses.

And that pretty much defines my simple approach to digital marketing consulting.

I know my approach sounds boring on the face and at times, I do feel like a dull clerk sitting in a government office.

But once I have all the information I asked from the client with me – the boring makes way for enjoyable.

Coming back to the story – so I ask my clients to send me all the information about their business, their marketing objectives and what is it they expect from digital marketing.

The in-house marketing division of client politely declined my request with a not so polite email clear lt starting that they are ‘not entertaining my long list of demands’.

Rather than entertaining my demand for information – they intend to tell me what they want from me and will provide me with selective information.

So, again I was back to my clerical job twisting my thumbs – waiting for ‘the selective information’ to come from the client.

And then on a dull Tuesday, came an exciting email with what my client wanted.

They wanted to get started with PPC Campaigns and compliment it with a bit of SEO & SMM.

It seems – before approaching me to streamline their digital marketing campaigns, they had already met a few digital marketing agencies and by now, they had learned enough to lead their digital marketing campaigns.

All they wanted was some expert digital marketing consulting to show them the way.

I refused the job.

Some of you might call me arrogant or stupid for refusing a business.

But hear me out – I wasn’t any of the ‘glorified’ words I used above.

Instead, I was wise in refusing a client that anyways (after a few months), would have parted ways with me on bad terms.

After years of working with digital marketing clients across the globe, one clear sign of a failed project for me is when clients want wrong digital marketing consulting.

For them, Digital Marketing is required because the organisation is willing to pay for one.

Rather than use the expertise of the Consultant – they decide what they want and use the Consultant to validate their plans or put a ‘Good to go’ rubber stamp on the project.

Why do you need digital marketing consulting?

Why do you need a digital marketing consultant?

Let me answer the question by asking you another question – what do consultants do?

Now – don’t roll your eyes.

I know all the Consultant jokes you guys crack behind our back and they are not funny.

Well – some are.

Here is a funny one that I love to tell my clients before they hire me a consultant to help them with their digital marketing consulting job.

Question: How many senior consultants does it take to change a lightbulb?

Answer: Just one.

Why? : He holds up the bulb and waits for the world to revolve around him.

Jokes apart – you need a digital marketing consultant to help you spend your money wisely in reaching your goals.

In layman language, a digital marketing consulting helps up avoid some simple mistakes like choosing the wrong medium to promote your brand or paying a fee equivalent to the PPC campaign budget to a digital marketing agency.

Yeah – it happens.

A friend’s company recently found out that a company got them into a 2-year contract a year back by contractually paying them a dollar for every dollar spent on the advertisement with a min spends of 20K $ every month.

Please go ahead and take out the calculator – do the maths.

This is the deal of the century where the client told the vendor ‘I would make you an offer you won’t be able to refuse’.

And the vendor said – yes ?.

Those are the kind of digital marketing mistakes organisations make.

They sign one-sided contracts or sign contracts for services that their organisation does not need.

Let me elaborate more on how digital marketing consultants can help you.

How about a simple question ‘What do you think is the ideal length of a blog post?’

Articles that are >3,000 words get 3x more traffic, 4x more shares, and 3.5x more backlinks than shorter articles. (SEMrush, 2019) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

Now that’s my answer to everyone who has loved to write 600 to 800-word thin content blogs on their website, waiting for google to consider them as authority websites.

Imagine stuck with a digital agency that did not even take into consideration a simple statistic like this before designing your blogging strategy.

This is where smarty pants – digital marketing consultants like me come in and help you align your digital marketing strategy to your goal.

You need to hire a digital marketing consultant to:

  • Plan a new digital marketing strategy to optimally spend the money or get the best ROI.
  • Oversee the work done by different agencies. It’s a common sight to see companies work with multiple agencies that work in isolation and the internal marketing team is inexperienced in connecting the work done by all agencies. The digital marketing consultant helps you connect the dots.
  • Make sense of numbers. Digital Marketing reports can be a challenge for a lot of us. It is not easy to make sense of numbers. It is where a digital marketing consultant can tell you the hidden opportunities, the future course of action and the pages/content that is wasted on the website.
  • Help set up short term and long term goals mapped to the budget or better – help set up a short and long term digital marketing budget

Once your mind is made up about hiring a digital marketing consultant, it’s time to move to the next stage of hiring a digital marketing consultant.

Tips for hiring a digital marketing consultant :

How to hire a digital marketing consultant?
  • Look for a Problem Solver

A few years back, no one had thought that digital marketing would be the next big thing in marketing.

Today, Digital Marketing is an integral part of every marketing strategy.

It is a place where the internet and marketing come together to create magic.

As a client, you want a digital marketing consultant who can explain to you the best approach for your brand in layman language and can quickly dive into complex concepts as and when the project requires.

One of the biggest challenges I have personally seen as a digital marketing consultant is clients getting overwhelmed with so many ways of doing digital marketing.

There is SEO, Paid Ads, Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing and a new way to promote coming every day.

When I meet clients, the initial set of question thrown at me are

‘How are we going to distribute our budget?’

‘Are we going to use all digital marketing methods or only one of them?’

 ‘What according to you is the best way to move our digital marketing strategy?’

Problems Galore!

What is the answer to the above question?

Well – it depends on who you are asking thins question ?.

If you are talking to an SEO Agency, the answer is SEO and predictably, PPC it is for a certified Google partner.

Pay them the money for PPC ads and google rewards them for meeting targets – at your expense ?.

Jokes apart – the answer to these questions lies in the ability of the digital marketing consultant to wear the thinking hat and use the experience to come back with a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.

You need someone who can easily explain you the best strategy for your business

  • Let’s talk past case studies

I prefer a digital marketing consultant who has past case studies where they can relate to my problem.

As a client, nothing would satisfy me more than hiring a digital marketing consultant who can listen to my problem and can confidently say ‘Been there. Done that and Nailed it’.

Note – please do not get stuck to industry level experience.

I know it helps to hire consultants who have a business domain knowledge of your industry but it gets really annoying when clients ask ‘How many companies similar to ours have you worked with?’

Being a digital marketing consultant, I hate to pick up more than a few clients from the same industry and run their parallel campaigns.

For me, it is a simple conflict of interest.

Imagine me running two campaigns for two travel agencies vying for a top spot on google for the keyword’ best travel agency in Melbourne’.

Who do I get to rank first?

The one who pays me more or the one who is nicer to me?

Baffles me – when clients expect you to have worked with ten same types of businesses in the past.

  • Is the Consultant credible?

The word ‘credible’ means – do you have 1 or 2 past clients of the Consultant to speak with.

Suppose the digital marketing consultant is a new vendor in the market but comes with tones of experience from the corporate world. In that case, you can very well skip the question and instead focus on their expertise and how aligned it is to your business’s pain points.

Steps to proceed, when you have hired a digital marketing consultant:

Steps to hire a digital marketing consultant

You do not want to come unprepared while explaining your requirements to a digital marketing consultant.

A bit of a preparedness always helps to tell the digital marketing consultant about the challenges your organisation faces and then, hear their response and experiences to understand – how can they help you in the journey?

Alrighty, then – let’s get started.

The first thing they would want to know is some information about your project. I usually give my clients four questions when we meet for the first time digital marketing consultation.

The points are:

  • Brief about what the organisation does.

Think of it as a warm-up where you give a brief about your organisation and what it does.

Please do not tell the Consultant that your website has all the information.

I have had a few clients tell me that and as soon as they get lazy with discussions, I get more sluggish with my answers ?.

Always remember, getting a consultant on board will cost you money. You do not want to come across as someone unprepared to spend money wisely. Please do your homework.

  • What all digital presence does your organisation have?

Remember the long-dead Twitter account your company set up a few years back and then; no one tweeted on it.

It is a digital presence that your organisation has.

Please add it to your list and also add everything that your company uses to interact with everyone on the internet – including email newsletters, social media accounts, websites, etc.

  • Have they ever done a digital marketing campaign? If yes, what challenges did they face with the campaign

Campaign discussion is the most critical part of your conversation.

You, my friend, are meeting a digital marketing consultant because something, somewhere in your company’s digital world did not go right.

Time to discuss – the good, the bad, the ugly.

I usually prefer to answer coming in reverse order ?.

The Ugly – You company spent a lot of money last year only to get zero results.

The bad – You got into a three-year contract with a digital marketing agency without knowing what you wanted and now you are stuck

The good – despite all the mess, the positive is – the board or the executives in the organisation understand that without digital marketing, the marketing will eventually fail.

  • Lastly, What is it that the client expects from a digital marketing consultant?

By now, a smart digital marketing consultant would have figured out your pain points.

The Consultant would know what did not go right for you and how the consulting (whether a one-off arrangement or an ongoing arrangement) can help your organisation use your digital marketing spent – optimally.

And – that’s it from my side.

Before I end, a quick question and answer to help you make an informed decision of hiring a digital marketing consultant.

Why do all the digital marketing agencies not start with a digital marketing consulting?

Why digital marketing consulting?

They do not talk about digital marketing consulting because that involves building a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.

A strategy that might involve services that their company does not sell and then, there is the impatient client who wants quick results.

So, what is sold to the client is one of the lines of work in digital marketing:

  • SEO
  • SMM
  • Paid ads
  • Content marketing

No one connects the dots or probably, does not want to connect the dots.