Digital marketing; the industry that probably has the most grey areas when it comes to the understanding of what it actually is (and the hardest to explain when asked what it is you do). With such a wide variety of digital services, activities and marketing methods, simply knowing what “digital marketing” comprises of is actually a difficult task in itself, never mind trying to implement it yourself.
Perhaps you don’t work in the industry and find yourself wondering what we do, or maybe as a business, you might have been advised to hire an agency. You might have read about how important it is, and how it can really help your business grow. But why? Why is digital marketing so important? Will it actually garner results? And why can’t you do it yourself, rather than ask an external company to do it for you?
One things for sure, your competitors - you know, the ones that grind your gears because they seem to be outperforming you day in day out - well, it’s safe to say they have asked themselves the above questions and 90% of them will have sought professional help. So if you don’t want to get left behind, we’d advise reading up a bit more on the subject, and putting together plans to outsource your digital marketing. But to get a head start and put your mind at a little more ease, we have aimed to answer most of the preliminary questions that may be eating at you:
Simply put; digital marketing is entirety of marketing you do online.
It comes in many different forms. There are lots of different ways to market yourself online and choosing the right method is essential for success. If you use the internet (who doesn’t, these days?) then you’ll be aware of how advertising works on this particular platform.
Seen an ad on Facebook? That’s digital marketing. Maybe someone has popped into your LinkedIn Inbox, that’s digital marketing. Heck, even the order in which your google search for “funky and mildly offensive Halloween costume ideas” appears is a big part of digital marketing.
And it isn’t only the strategy and paid placement of the adverts you see, it is the sales copy, the digital imagery / motion graphics, the structure of the URL – all designed to compel you to buy that item. We could go for days describing the intricacies of digital, but to summarise, digital marketing is essentially a way to sell products and services online. The digital age is not just upon us - it’s in full flow, meaning most businesses will find their target audience online, and if they ignore this, they’re missing out on a major source of revenue.
As a small/medium business owner, sure, you may be thinking “I can do this myself, it’s only social media, I use Facebook all the time” - with the greatest amount of respect, oh how wrong you are.
Digital marketing is not easy and, depending on the size of your business, can not be handled by a single person, or even a few people. That’s because there are many different disciplines within digital marketing – and you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who can cover everything.
You need someone familiar with paid media. Another who can focus on organic search. Another that is a copy writing Guru, and another who can turn words into inspiring and engaging imagery. Perhaps you want an on network app designing, well you’ll need a developer/designer for that, and hey, who is even coming up with all of these campaign ideas, oh yes, you’ll definitely need a digital strategist.
Full disclosure, to be successful at digital inhouse, you’re looking at hiring 5-6 people if you want to cover all services. And don’t get us wrong, if you have the budget to do so, the time to hire and the expertise to figure out who’s bluffing in the interview (believe us, there’s a lot of that in this industry), then by all means hire an inhouse team.
On the flip side, if you’re an SME that has limited but enough budget, it makes much more sense to pay an agency, which tend to be stocked with experienced individuals across all areas. Mainly because it’s a lot cheaper, but also because it means you don’t have to worry about doing the work yourself. Leave it to the experts.
So down to the nitty gritty, what service do you even need? Time after time, we have experienced clients adamant they want a “social media strategy” to generate more leads to their business” as one of their friends has said “social media is the way forward”. And while social media is most definitely a great service, it is not necessarily the be all and end all of digital - and this is where another benefit of an agency comes in. A good agency will drill down and ask you questions about everything you want to achieve. Only from there will we then recommend what service / mix of services to use. If you had come to an agency asking for social, but they don’t believe that particular channel will convert, but instead Google advertising will, then a good and worthwhile agency will tell you that straight up. After all, they’re the experts in this field, not your friend who told you posting 5 times a day on social will generate you thousands of new leads!
You might just want to focus on one or two, or you might want the full service approach.
As mentioned, agencies will typically help you decide which areas to focus on. Good agencies won’t force you to buy services you won’t need – as it will look bad on them when they don’t deliver results. To give you a brief overview, we have listed the core services you might find in digital marketing below:
PPC – Also known as Search Engine Marketing. A solid PPC expert will produce Google ads for your business that appear at the top of those search results pages. Your ads will be competing against the ads of your competitors. PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click – and the idea is that you pay a small fee every time somebody clicks on your ad and is directed to your website.
SEO – Also known as Organic Search, is the process of trying to get your business to appear in the top/higher positions of a Google search. For example, say you’re selling blue shoes. If somebody searches for ‘buy blue shoes’ – you want your website to appear first – or second, if not. This is where SEO comes in. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It involves making sure your website is sound from a technical perspective, has useful, relevant content, and is considered to be an authority by other websites.
Content Marketing – Content is essentially all marketing, due to every aspect of marketing needing some form of content - It can be a blog post, an infographic, a video, an animation, an interactive web page, or even a quiz. A piece of content that people want to read or watch, or play around with, and then share with their friends and colleagues.
Social Media – There are two sides to social media, paid and organic. Paid is when you pay to push adverts for your business to people’s feeds, whether that’s on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram. Organic is when you simply post things on your social accounts for your followers to read, with the aim of gaining even more followers. A good social media strategy will feature both paid and organic elements.
As with any high involvement transaction, before settling on a digital marketing agency, most businesses tend to seek a proposal from a selection. And rightly so! You may want to judge agencies based on experience, cost, ideas, transparency and sometimes even location. It’s worth taking the time to research a few different companies, and ask them if they’d like to submit a proposal. What you need to look out for is quality over quick selling. Many agencies will take advantage of your lack of digital knowledge, sell you fluff and in the end not deliver on their promises. It is essential that you pick an agency as transparent, honest and as realistic as possible.
Also make sure the agency has a full grasp of your business ideals, morals and overall aim. There is nothing worse than a working relationship whereby either party is on two different wavelengths!
How Do I Know I’ve Chosen the Right Agency?
Ultimately, it's up to your agency to demonstrate the work they’re doing is producing results, meaning you won’t really know 100% until the working relationship has started. Monthly / quarterly reports are typical – you should be sent information regarding your campaign, how its going, what results have been achieved etc. You generally should also be able to call or email your contact at the agency to ask questions, or request an update at any time. A worthwhile agency will keep you in the loop, inform you of any major developments and explain what they’re doing to improve performance.
At least, that’s how we do things here at Tuskany!
If you’re ready to hire a digital marketing agency, or even just want to know a little more and understand how it may benefit you, we’d be delighted to hear from you. Give us a call on 07 577 1630 or email firstname.lastname@example.org