The days of billboard hoardings pulling in customers are long gone. Digital marketing is the name of the game now, and to stay in business in the current economic climate, you have to master it.
But what exactly is digital marketing? Can you do it yourself? If not, how do you choose the right digital marketing agency?
Let’s find out.
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing, simply put, is the art and science of marketing a brand or its products via digital channels. Many people think that digital marketing begins and ends with a well-designed website, but they are wrong.
A savvy digital marketer leverages every tool in his arsenal, from social media campaigns and email marketing to informative blog posts and an SEO optimized website.
The goal in digital marketing is not simply to drum up interest – as in traditional marketing – but rather engage the customer directly through digital tools.
The paradigms that define digital marketing are quite different from what you may be used to in traditional media, owing to the more dynamic and ephemeral nature of the web. Marketing in the virtual world needs to be sharp and focused, as opposed to doing a lot of things and hoping that something ‘sticks’.
Do You Need to Hire a Digital Marketing Agency?
Technically, you don’t need anyone else to do your digital marketing for you. You can write the blog, design the website, take care of SEO, establish a social media presence, reach out to your online clientele… all by yourself.
In reality, however, no one person has the time or the right skill set to be able to do justice to all these roles along with leading their company at the same time.
A professional digital marketing agency is necessary to manage your brand’s virtual presence to its full potential. Not only is their experience instrumental in designing an efficient road map to reach your marketing goals, but their dedicated approach helps in executing it perfectly as well.
How to Choose a Digital Marketing Agency?
Don’t just look up an agency online and jump on the first name you find. There are many factors you must consider before selecting a digital marketing agency.
Know what you need
Many entrepreneurs head into a meeting with a prospective digital marketing agency without fully understanding the needs of their company. Before you start identifying the right partner for your brand, ask yourself: what is it that you want out of this partnership?
Are planning to break into a new market? Launching a new product? Or perhaps you are just looking to take your existing marketing efforts to the next level.
Understanding what your company needs from a digital marketing agency helps you clearly lay out your expectations and zero in on the right candidate.
Transparency is the key
Digital marketing is not rocket science. If an agency is vague about their plan of action, chances are that they do not really know what they are talking about.
A good marketing agency is going to be upfront about how they are going to contribute to your brand’s virtual awareness. Ask for rough figures, and work out if the projected result is worth what it is costing you.
Even more importantly, study their history a bit. A marketing agency with a good track record is a must before you can trust them with your company’s future. It can be testimonials or references, but the crucial aspect is to ensure that the agency has successfully handled clients of a similar level in the past.
Look beyond the present
It can be tempting to hire an agency offering you very cheap rates for a quick social media campaign or two. But short term digital marketing efforts do more harm than good unless they are backed up with a more long-term plan.
Reputed digital marketing agencies believe in building a framework that lasts, bringing in returns for your brand long after a specific campaign has run its course.
Part of it is website design. An optimized website with good SEO naturally climbs in search rankings over time.
The other part is the content. If your content – both on your website and social media channels – is informative and useful, people will be drawn in despite a relatively poorer SEO. Search engines (and people) prioritize information that actually helps them, giving the word of mouth publicity in the virtual domain.
This is why the best digital marketing agencies have comparatively higher rates; you are paying for an enduring digital presence, not a short-lived viral campaign that fizzles out in a week.
Build a relationship
While you can contract an agency for a one-off project, the best results are obtained by a long term engagement. There is such a thing as a marketing style, and if you switch agencies for the launch of every new product, there will be little tying together your brand identity.
In contrast, working with a tried and tested partner helps develop a distinct style of marketing that remains cohesive across different campaigns and products. Moreover, it helps both you and the agency understand each other better, ironing out the little kinks for a more perfected end result.
This also keeps the agency more invested in the success of the campaign, as they are tasked with the responsibility of building your brand value in the long term rather than just immediate gains.
In this digital age, marketing in the virtual world is one of the best ways to boost brand reputation and sales. A great digital marketing agency will not just increase your outreach in the short term, but help establish your brand’s image for posterity.
This is why you must be careful when choosing an agency to partner with your brand. Do your homework, and research every aspect of your decision thoroughly, from understanding the unique needs of your brand to taking a look at the past work handled by the agency.
At Diamond SEO, for example, we provide case studies drawn from our past projects to give an insight into how we solve the problems faced by our clients. You can also check out our FAQ for informative answers to any questions you might have.
For a more nuanced discussion of your business needs and ideas, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to turn your vision into reality!