[Beginner - 101] What Does a Digital Marketing Company Do?

To stay competitive in today’s electronically savvy world, you must create and maintain a solid online presence. This requires much more than launching a website and profiles on social media platforms—because competition in the online world is fierce.

Every single one of your competitors has added online marketing to their marketing strategy—many of whom turn to a digital marketing company for assistance. If you have ever wondered what exactly a digital marketing company does, you have come to the right place.

What Is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is a broad term used to describe a wide range of online marketing functions. As a whole, the primary goal of a digital marketing company is to do 3 things:
  1. Increase your online presence.
  2. Perform market research.
  3. Integrate your online profiles and platforms.

What Does a Digital Marketing Company Do?

So what exactly does a digital marketing company do? Within the 3 primary goals mentioned above, falls a multitude of avenues. While you may not require all of these from an outside company—or all of these for your business, they include functions such as:
  • Website Design
  • Website Optimization
  • Content Optimization
  • Content Curation
  • App Development
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing and Integration
  • Placement of Online Ads
  • Cross Platform Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Online Branding
  • Reporting The ROI of Digital Strategies and Tactics
These are just a handful of the reasons you may turn to an outside marketing company. When selecting an outside company to partner with, it is essential that you review what they create and distribute online. There is no one who knows your company and brand better than you, and you do not want to run the risk of inaccurate information being generated on your behalf. In fact, inaccurate online data has a negative impact on the bottom line of 88% of all companies—even if the inaccurate data was an honest mistake. That being said, the value of outsourcing digital projects is so high, that digital agencies within the UK are expected to grow 30% in 2014—so it is essential that you find a balance between outsourcing and your in-house participation

Can You Do Some Of Your Digital Marketing In-House?

You absolutely can do some of your digital marketing in-house, you just have to determine which part of your digital marketing strategies your employees have the skill set to successfully accomplish. As a small business owner you may not be large enough to have a full-time marketing position, or a full-time digital marketing position. You are likely more focused on staffing individuals with experience related more directly to your industry. However, you may have someone whose part-time role is to execute some of your digital marketing—even though they may spend most of their time performing other job duties. Here are a few examples of tasks you may be able to keep in-house.
  • Have an outside company design your website, but update pages, content, and blog posts in-house.
  • To ensure all communication is crafted in a manner that best represents your brand, you manage your social media posts—but have an outside company manage your paid social marketing.
  • You create your press releases, blog content, and online articles—but have an outside company distribute your online content.
  • Hire an outside company to create professional marketing videos, but you place them on your website, social media, and online profiles.
  • Hire an outside company to create your email marketing content or other online content, but you manage the distribution.
  • Your in-house marketing team creates your marketing themes and materials, but you rely on an outside company to manage and implement the online and cross-platform marketing.
  • Have an outside company perform your market research, 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 a method of accountability. Some business owners place their digital marketing entirely in the hands of an outside company—so that they can invest all of their time and energy in building client relationships. If you opt to go that route, keep in close touch with your outside company to ensure that you fully understand where their focus is, and your ROI.

Whichever route you choose, you or one of your team members will need to familiarize yourself with the terminology and basics of digital marketing to ensure a full understanding of all that is being accomplished.

How Does Social Media Fit Into The Picture?

Social media always comes to mind when asking the question, “What does a digital marketing company do?” With 52% of all businesses having secured at least one new client on Facebook during 2013, and most social media platforms offering new methods for marketing your business—this number has the potential to significantly increase. Social media budgets for small and large businesses alike, are expected to at least double within the next 5 years.

Where social media gets tricky, is that it is designed to engage with friends, fans, and followers—which takes time and consistency. It is unlikely that social media will generate leads overnight, and ROI is somewhat difficult to measure. Nonetheless, having profiles on the social media platforms your target audience is active on is essential for your online relevancy.

Most companies manage their day-to-day customer interactions on their social media platforms, and some (if not all) of their social media posts. By managing questions, comments, and private messages in-house, an outside company can manage paid advertising, driving traffic to your social media platforms, and can provide assistance with optimizing posts.

If you outsource all of your social media responsibilities, consider how you will manage customer questions and inquires. While an outside company may do an exceptional job of driving new likes, fans, and followers—they will not be able to answer your specific questions. Since customers utilize social media as a form of online customer service, you must have a plan in place to respond to direct questions. Currently only 39 out of every 100 companies in the UK answer consumer questions directly—meaning that far too many prospective client inquiries are falling through the cracks. You wouldn’t allow your digital marketing company to answer your phones, so don’t allow them to answer your social media correspondence either.

Digital Marketing Is Always Changing And Evolving

Now that you can answer the general aspect of what a digital marketing company does, there is an additional factor you must take into consideration—digital marketing is always changing and evolving.

Even if you are able to complete a large amount of your marketing strategies and tactics in-house, digital marketing companies are always the first to know what the most cutting edge, current, and effective ways to promote your business online are. Search engine algorithms are always changing, methods of social marketing are always changing, and new formats of online and mobile advertising are always being developed. Digital companies will always know more about creating and promoting digital media—and will save you time and energy in trying to keep up with the most industry current trends.

While it is essential to build a solid relationship with a third-party digital marketing company, or a handful of third-party contractors, it is always essential to understand what you are paying for—and how you can measure success in quantifiable bottom line dollars.

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