What Are Digital Marketing Agencies and How Do They Work?

What Are Digital Marketing Agencies and How Do They Work?

Digital marketing agencies are organizations that use a range of digital-focused marketing tactics to increase clients’ digital engagement and discoverability on the internet—ultimately helping them make more sales.

A recent study found that around 31% of American adults are “almost constantly” online. This means that to expand reach and generate more sales, business owners must look beyond traditional marketing strategies and target the right digital audience with an online presence.

If you find the world of digital marketing complex to navigate on your own, you can seek the help of a digital marketing agency. This article highlights the basics of digital marketing agencies, their scope, know-how, and what you can expect.

What is a digital marketing agency?

A digital marketing agency comprises website designers, graphic designers, marketing consultants, writers, social media marketing managers, digital strategists, and other specialists who work with clients to create successful digital marketing campaigns catered to their needs.

Many businesses with no or limited in-house internet marketing expertise choose to outsource their digital marketing efforts to a full-service digital marketing agency. These organizations help create a multichannel marketing strategy to build awareness, attract new customers, and increase sales.

Digital marketing agency services

A digital marketing agency provides several services to its clients. You can choose to contract for some or all of these services to help meet your business’s online marketing goals.

  • Google Ad management
  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Content marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • SEO (search engine optimization)
  • Website development

Google Ad management

Google Ad Manager is an all-in-one platform that enables the buying and selling of ads across different ad networks and locations. This service allows businesses to target a wider audience by providing an in-depth targeted ad reporting option.

The most important effect to track when running an ad is the number of impressions. This metric determines how many people have viewed your ad and shows its performance among your target audience.

Setting up an ad, tracking it, analyzing the data, and determining which ad to run can be overwhelming. This is where a digital marketing company can help; they take care of the process from start to finish.

Email marketing campaigns

The main aim of an email marketing campaign is to send emails to existing and potential customers or business clients. An email marketing sales funnel is designed with catchy content that nudges the recipient to take action—whether to fill out a survey, buy a product, or register for a free trial.

A good email marketing campaign can help you engage with your customers, conduct lead generation, create awareness, and boost sales. Investing in email marketing can be very profitable: On average, businesses can earn $44 for every dollar spent on email marketing efforts.

To run an email marketing campaign, you need a database, a creative team for design and content creation for the emailer, and a manager who knows the software and can track analytics.

A digital marketing agency has all these professionals on its payroll and can help you reach your targets efficiently while avoiding common email marketing mistakes.

Content marketing

Content marketing is a strategic approach that involves consistently creating and distributing high-quality content. This content helps attract and retain your target audience, resulting in increased revenue. Content marketing campaigns can be of three types: online, offline, or hybrid.

A digital marketing agency can leverage its resources to help you create valuable content that resonates with your audience—including developing a content strategy, producing content, and analyzing results.

Social media marketing

Social media has revolutionized the world of marketing. Social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok have made reaching new audiences and promoting your products easier than traditional methods.

However, you need a clear digital marketing strategy rather than simply bombarding your accounts with all the possible content you can churn out. While various apps have different content forms that work well, you’ll also need to consider evaluating the best posting times and generating analytic reports.

Over 1.93 billion people use Facebook daily, making it one of the most used apps globally and a great platform for brands to showcase their products and expand their reach. Facebook ad management allows big and small businesses to create, run, and analyze paid online advertising on its platforms.

However, not all Facebook ads are effective. Digital marketing professionals know the tips and tricks to create an ad that will create more impressions at a lower cost.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization is the process of making changes to your website and content to become more visible in organic results when someone searches for a relevant keyword.

One key to improving your SEO ranking is using a set of keywords based on keyword research and carefully curated content that users are highly likely to search.

Website development

When you set up Facebook and Google Ads for search engine marketing (SEM), SEO, and email marketing campaigns, one of the first things a potential customer will do is check your website.

Web development involves creating web pages about your business that give viewers a detailed understanding of your products or services, contact information, and other vital details. A user-friendly website makes the business more trustworthy and credible.

Moreover, you should optimize websites for mobile devices: More than 50% of internet users worldwide use their smartphones to make online purchases.

Benefits of working with a digital marketing agency

Many businesses often opt for digital marketing agencies to handle their marketing needs because agencies provide their clients with the following advantages.

  • Save time and money. Employing an in-house digital marketing team with designers, writers, copywriters, marketing specialists, and strategists can cost you a lot of money. Hiring a digital marketing agency is cost-effective since you don’t have to spend resources on talent acquisition. You also don’t bear the risk of full-time employees leaving their jobs.
  • Create valuable strategies for your online presence. When you hire a digital marketing agency, you have complete access to all resources and digital advertising tools needed to push your business further. For instance, you can make your website more user-friendly, start running ads across digital platforms, and upgrade your content and design language.
  • Manage your marketing campaigns. When you hire an entire agency for your marketing purposes, you have a whole team who are experts at their job. This means they understand the different strategies to bump up sales for your business and attract more customers. They can also manage your marketing campaigns and take action based on their previous experience working with similar clients.
  • Boost organic traffic to your website. A marketing agency can help you boost organic traffic to your website through search engine optimization and social media marketing. An agency can help you create content that drives your audience without having to use paid ads.
  • Increase revenue. Since marketing agencies work to optimize all your marketing efforts, the natural result is that they can deliver increased revenue for your business. They drive traffic to your website through organic search, paid ads, and email campaigns. They also optimize your website to ensure visitors convert into paying customers, leading to increased revenue.
  • Ability to focus on other business activities. When an agency takes care of your marketing needs, you can focus your time on other business operations that need your attention. You don’t have to look at minute details, but instead simply suggest tweaked changes once presented with the final deliverables.

How external agencies differ from in-house marketing

When a business hires employees to work in their marketing department, it’s called in-house marketing. In this case, the employees work solely for the business and focus all their time on achieving targets and driving sales for the business.

In-house marketing allows the marketing department to understand the product or service in-depth and market it to potential customers in a nuanced way. These team members are involved in the company and are up-to-date with new information regarding the product or service.

Having in-house staff can also make communication levels easier and clearer. Employees feel a sense of trust since they belong to the same company and, therefore, consider the product or service as their own.

Explore a side-by-side analysis of the features of a contracted marketing agency and an in-house marketing team.

Marketing agency In-house marketing team
Nature of staffing Hiring a market agency allows you to hire marketing teams on a need-to-work basis using short contracts. In-house marketing teams usually consist of permanent employees that work with the parent organization.
Technological tools Marketing agencies are more likely to have access to state-of-the art automation and CRM technologies. In-house marketing agencies require prior approval and appropriate budgeting before investing in new software.
Communication style Often limited points of contact—a handful of representatives that are assigned to a client. More open and direct communication with the marketing team. Executives can routinely drop in on conversations to monitor progress.
Employee expertise All employees are marketing specialists. In-house employees might or might not be special marketing specialists.

Finding the best digital marketing agencies

With the rise of consumer online activity, you need a strategy and resources for successful digital marketing. Contracting with an external digital marketing agency may be the right choice. However, with the large numbers of digital marketing agencies across the world, this process can be daunting. That’s where Upwork comes in!

You can use Project Catalog™ to find talented freelancers and agencies for your requirements. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to Project Catalog:

  1. Browse. First, you’ll browse through the different services available, narrow your requirements, define them clearly, and then get started looking for the best match.
  2. Buy. You can then purchase and share your specific requirements. This is when the work starts.
  3. Approve. You have the opportunity to review the project. Once you approve the project, the professional is paid for their service.

Project Catalog helps you find talented individuals or teams who can help you with many services, including logo design, WordPress, blogs, video editing, illustration, SEO, translation, data entry, architecture, interior design, voice-over recording services, and website solutions.

When hiring a digital marketing agency, remember a few important points. Once you’ve determined your business’s marketing needs and target goals, it’s time to do background research. Try to reach out to the potential agency’s current client base and enquire about their user experience. Find out the methods and processes they follow and if they match your business philosophy.

Once you meet with the agency, evaluate the fit. A few questions can help.

  • What are the services the agency offers?
  • What successful campaigns can you share?
  • What kind of impressions did the campaigns create?
  • What was the clients’ feedback on the campaigns?
  • Who ideated the campaigns?
  • How long did it take to create and execute the campaigns?
  • What’s needed from my end?
  • What relevant business results can I expect in 90 days?
  • How long will it take to achieve the overall results I’m looking for?
  • What is the budget I should aim for?
  • How long will the retainer be for?
  • Who will be handling my project on your end?
  • What online and software tools do you use?
  • What is  your specific proposal for my project?
  • Will you complete a small paid task so that I can assess whether we’re on the same page?

With many businesses investing in marketing campaigns, ensure your brand doesn’t get lost in the crowd. If you’re new to this particular field, start by understanding the basic concepts of digital marketing and work out a plan to hire an agency or invest in services that suit the needs of your business.


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What Are Digital Marketing Agencies and How Do They Work?
The Upwork Team

Upwork is the world’s work marketplace that connects businesses with independent talent from across the globe. We serve everyone from one-person startups to large, Fortune 100 enterprises with a powerful, trust-driven platform that enables companies and talent to work together in new ways that unlock their potential.

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