Top Digital Marketing Strategies To Invest In
Top-level digital marketing agencies can not only craft engaging welcome emails to new customers -- which can increase revenue by 320 percent alone! -- but digital marketing firms can also develop regular newsletter strategies that complement other initiatives such as product launches, rebrandings, and content marketing schedules.
And although we live in the age of social media, the importance of email marketing is alive and stronger than ever. Eighty percent of retail companies say the email marketing drives the highest consumer retention rates. In addition, every dollar spent on email marketing can create a return on investment of up to $38.
Search Engine Optimization
Digital marketing is a vast business growth arena, but the top marketing agencies understand that optimizing a brand website for search engines is arguably the most important strategy for meaningful business growth. In fact, 93 percent of online experiences originate from a search engine, according to Search Engine Journal.
The top digital marketing agencies around the world have the tools and expertise to audit websites, analyze traffic, and tailor everything from title tags and code to content marketing around carefully chosen keywords that consumers are searching for online. By investing in search engine optimization(SEO), websites become much more discoverable to their target audience, which increases valuable traffic and, ultimately, revenue.
Top digital marketing agencies have teams of content experts who brainstorm, develop, write and publish long-form articles and blog posts that increase brand awareness. These team members also work collaboratively to determine who will create the content and how it will be effectively promoted to your existing audience as well as new potential consumers.
Content marketing is a simple and effective way to foster a strong brand identity, organically promote products and services, generate content for social media platforms and email marketing campaigns, and increase revenue. In fact, according to Hubspot, the more you invest in content marketing, the better your bottom line looks. B2C companies that increased monthly blogging from four to five times each month to 11 or more saw four times more leads. Businesses looking to grow online should search for a partner agency that can create an effective content marketing strategy.
Social Media Marketing
Unsurprisingly, every brand should invest time and energy into proper social media marketing. Seventy percent of the U.S. population alone has at least one profile on a social media website. Plus, social media marketing (both organic and paid) is relatively low-cost, particularly when compared to traditional advertising, yet provides a strong return on investment. And the best digital agencies understand the value of social media for expanding brands.
Allowing the top digital marketing firms to handle your social media campaigns is wise -- especially if they are already managing other forms of online marketing for you, too. By outsourcing social media to a great partner agency, you’re allowing top-level marketing experts to create an effective omnichannel strategy that promotes your business on multiple channels without detrimental overlap or confusion. Plus, the best digital marketing companies can look at analytics, determine your demographic, focus on the most valuable social networks, and adjust the strategy as needed.
Forty-six percent of search engine marketing experts believe that retargeting is the most underused yet valuable digital marketing strategy -- but the best digital marketing companies understand how to integrate this tactic into an overarching initiative.
Essentially, retargeting drops cookies on a visitors browser when they land on your website. If they leave, those cookies will serve them ads for your brand as they peruse other sites, imploring them to click and revisit your digital destination. Great digital marketing agencies have dedicated teams, designers and programs in place to effectively facilitate this dynamic form of advertising (along with its email-centric cousin, remarketing), which perform up to 10 times better than regular banner ads.
Questions To Ask A Digital Marketing Company
When you pay a digital marketing firm to help grow your brand, you’re really paying for the expertise of the professionals working on your account. After all, they will be the individuals representing your brand on several different platforms across the internet. Take the time to learn each person on your team and ensure you trust them with growing your business.
- Who will be working on our project and what will their role be?
- What expertise do they have?
- What successful projects have they worked on and what was their role?
- Tell us about an unsuccessful project and what you learned from that experience.
- How dedicated will they be to growing our brand? Will they be working on other businesses too?
- Do they have experience in our industry or solving business growth/marketing problems that are similar to ours?
The best digital marketing companies have access to the latest and greatest software and resources that streamline all processes. This enables marketing experts to gather more accurate data, draw stronger conclusions, target more valuable audiences, and ultimately grow your business. Ask the following questions to ensure you understand how a top digital agency will integrate proper tools and resources into your marketing initiatives.
- How will you audit our current marketing campaigns, initiatives, and online presence?
- How do you stay on top of the latest trends?
- What tools, programs or resources will you use to identify, execute or track valuable strategies that our brand should implement?
- Will we have access to these tools?
- Will we need to pay extra for the resources needed?
Digital marketing isn’t just one action -- it’s a comprehensive strategy comprised of many areas, team members, and smaller projects, all of which work together to promote your brand. Because digital marketing IS so complicated, make sure you ask the following questions to understand how a top-level digital marketing agency plans to formulate a strategy, facilitate communication, and ensure results.
- What digital marketing tactics do you think are the most valuable and why?
- How will you create and prioritize our marketing strategy?
- What information or deliverables will you need from our team?
- How often will we meet to discuss marketing strategy?
- Who will our point of contact be?
- How will you ensure the project is on track?
- What programs or process do you use to streamline communication between teams?
- How do you plan to integrate all digital marketing initiatives into one comprehensive strategy?
At the end of the day, clients aren’t paying for deliverables or ideas or meetings with their partner agency -- they are paying for business growth results. Therefore, it is imperative that businesses find the best digital marketing company with the track record and expertise to reach those goals -- and the questions below will help you find it!
- How will you track results?
- What analytics or metrics do you track? Why are them important and/or how do they show business growth?
- How often will you report on them?
- How do you plan to use data and analytics to continually inform the marketing strategy?
- What results can you guarantee for each digital marketing service or campaign?
Of course, the cost of services is an important conversation for any business to have with a top marketing agency before they begin a partnership. Ask the following questions to gain a full understanding of exactly who you are paying for, what services you will receive, and any additional fees that may pop up down the road.
- What is your pricing structure? Do you charge by the hour, a flat fee, or per results achieved?
- What services are included in your fee?
- Are there any services, programs, etc. that may cost extra?
- Which team members are my fee “paying” for?
- Do you require a time commitment from us?
- How much will it cost to add additional marketing services during the project?
- Are you willing to sign a formal contract with these items detailed inside?
How To Choose The Best Digital Marketing Firm
Brands who are searching for the best digital marketing company to grow their brand should, first and foremost, search for top marketing agencies around the world with strong expertise in several marketing areas.
Not sure where to start? Take a look at your current marketing plan and research what your competitors are investing in. That will give you a baseline guide of what services you should be searching for in an agency partner.
Digital marketing isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach -- and the best local and global marketing companies understand that. What’s more, not every digital marketing agency offers every available online marketing service -- and that’s okay! However, brands DO need to find a company that offers solutions to their marketing needs.
To get the best value and return on investment from a top digital marketing company, take stock of your own requirements and vision first. Then, as you meet with various digital marketing firms to find the perfect fit, ask them what they think the most valuable tactics are, where they see the industry going in the next few years, and what services they both currently offer or plan to offer shortly.
The best digital marketing agencies have a streamlined process from start to finish. This empowers them to create a comprehensive (and often multichannel) marketing strategy, complete with due dates, drafts, and deliverables, and desired outcomes.
How a digital agency creates a strategy, ensures deadlines are being met and facilitates follow-through is what takes a marketing company from good to great. Thus, it’s imperative to find a marketing partner that gives you the level of attention, organization, and communication you need to achieve your goals. After all, if you don’t reach your objectives, what’s the point?
The top digital marketing companies have robust client lists and detailed portfolios filled with successful projects. These prior campaigns are telling signs if an agency can deliver for you, too.
However, don’t just take them at their word. Do your own research and ask to speak to one or two of their clients to get an unbiased opinion on their professional work. Then, ask them even more detailed questions about these projects, such as what were the exact results and how were they achieved. Plus, don’t forget to ask potential partner agencies about their missteps, too -- everyone has them, but the best marketing firms will recognize projects that didn’t go as planned and tell you what they learned, while lesser quality companies will skirt over the details and brush them under the rug.
Once you’ve determined if a marketing company is the right fit to grow your brand online, take the time to cement the services you will receive, results you can expect, and associated fees. Just remember -- sometimes a higher upfront cost can culminate in a stronger return on investment later, so weigh all the pros and cons.
Then, the final step is then to document everything in a formal, comprehensive and legally binding contract. Although this step can be daunting, it is important -- and top agencies won’t balk at the task, either. A contract eliminates any confusion, solidifies a process, and ultimately protects digital agencies and clients throughout a project. Bonus: Don’t forget to include and non-disclosure clauses within your contract if a great digital marketing agency is dealing with sensitive information that you don’t want to be leaked to the public, other agencies, or your competitors.
Top Value Propositions And Differentiating Factors Of The Best Digital Marketing Agencies
Identifying the right digital marketing agency to partner with first requires that you have a clear sense of what you’re looking for. Knowing what’s important to your company is a necessary first step to identifying the agency that will be able to fill those needs. Do you want an agency with a global reputation or one that has the absolute best local talent? One that will push boundaries, or one that will hold your hand throughout the process?
The way digital marketing agencies differentiate themselves is a great way to get an introductory sense of who they are and what they value most. Below are some of the key value propositions of the top digital marketing agencies.
Top Marketing Agencies Work In Interdisciplinary Teams
Digital marketing is an interdisciplinary business. There’s simply no chance of meaningful, long-term success if you rely on a single channel or approach to generate results. Taking an omnichannel approach to your business operation and digital marketing campaigns are the only way to fulfill the needs of the consumer. For this reason, top marketing agencies work in interdisciplinary teams populated by employees with wide-ranging online marketing expertise. There’s value, of course, in having generalists on your team, but specialists with high levels of technical skill in one or two key areas are necessary to manage the finer details. Marketing agencies often differentiate themselves based on the breadth and depth of knowledge of the employees assigned to each digital marketing campaign.
Blue Water, a digital agency with offices in Washington D.C., New York, and San Francisco sums up their approach as follows: “It’s simple… we work in small interdisciplinary teams, with clients as our partners, and users as our focus.”
Leading Marketing Agencies Are Experimental
Digital marketing is a field that rewards the bold. Continued experimentation is required in order for brands to see continued success. That’s because things change quickly in the digital media landscape, and those that don’t innovate are quickly left behind to flounder. Top digital marketing companies are able to keep their clients in a position of constantly looking toward the future, prepared for changes to come, and keeping out ahead of the competition when it comes to their online presence. These agencies pride themselves on their commitment to experimentation and progress, adopting a pioneering spirit as a core tenet of their operating philosophy.
Two such agencies are Column Five Media and Kounterattack. Kounterattack describes their approach as follows: “Our partnerships foster innovation through an ongoing discovery of actionable insights. We use an iterative approach to address emerging challenges and opportunities so that our clients stay ahead of the competition.”
The Best Marketing Agencies Are Data-Driven
We are living in the age of big data, which means there’s no longer any excuse for making decisions based on gut feeling alone. Of course, intuition and emotional intelligence are key to effective marketing, but they can’t be the whole picture. The best marketing agencies use data to benefit their client campaigns by revealing actionable insights about what works and what doesn’t. The most respected agencies in the digital era have made a heavy investment in analytics teams and automation that provide the data that informs and shapes the direction of their campaigns.
Trustworthy Marketing Agencies Are Focused On Results
The best marketing agencies know that when brands make a substantial investment in their online presence, they need to see results that will justify the expenditure. These agencies build campaigns that speak to the client’s bottom line and align directly to a set of goals established early on in the engagement. Trustworthy agencies spend a substantial amount of time upfront learning about the client’s challenges, objectives, and goals. These are used to inform a digital marketing strategy that acts as the blueprint for the campaign. Be wary of agencies that are unwilling to discuss expected campaign outcomes. Be equally suspicious of those who make promises that sound too good to be true, for they almost certainly are.
The Most Effective Marketing Companies Do Custom Work
It’s easy enough to replicate the same marketing tactics for client after client, but what takes true expertise and skill is creating custom campaigns each and every time. This is what separates the amateurs from the true professionals. A top digital marketing company will create custom marketing and advertising strategies for their clients that are informed by each client’s unique set of needs. They innovate and iterate based on observed user behavior, never hesitating to change course if that’s what’s required.
Great Marketing Agencies Develop Rewarding Company Cultures
Talent is the key to success in any agency environment, and digital marketing agencies know this better than anyone. The employees of a digital agency are its lifeblood, and these agencies spend a ton of time and energy developing company cultures that will attract and maintain the best of the best. Talented producers and marketers have their pick of jobs, especially in cities like New York, London, and San Francisco, where a high number of agencies are clustered. This means that agencies have to build company cultures that are engaging and rewarding in order to recruit the best employees. Digital marketing companies frequently call out their culture as a differentiating factor. It’s a way to promote the quality of their talent and demonstrate that they have a passionate, dynamic workforce.
San Francisco-based, Beyond, calls attention to their talent on their website, nothing they’re a team imbued with “infectious creativity.”
Service Offerings Of Top Marketing Agencies
Full-service digital marketing agencies should be able to handle all your company’s digital marketing needs from start to finish. Some of them may offer design services, like graphic design and web design, in addition to the marketing services listed below:
- Digital marketing strategy - Developing a blueprint for a marketing campaign or campaigns based on in-depth research, analytics, and historical campaign analysis.
- Search engine optimization - Also known as SEO -- the process of helping a website appear in organic search results through a series of onsite technical edits and in-depth content marketing.
- Social media marketing - Engaging with a community of fans and advocates through active social media participation and community management.
- Email marketing - Increasing engagement and encouraging sales and conversions through a series of targeted, custom, personalized email campaigns.
- Paid media and online advertising - Increasing brand awareness and recognition through paid digital advertisements, including display, search engine marketing, and social media.
- Content marketing - Developing a custom content strategy to effectively reach a brand’s target audience. Creating high quality content according to the strategy and promoting it across applicable marketing channels.
- Website design - A brand’s website is the main hub that connects all of its marketing initiatives. Many digital marketing agencies offer custom web design in addition to marketing service.
How The Best Digital Marketing Companies Market Themselves
It should come as no surprise that digital marketing agencies generally practice what they preach when it comes to marketing. In fact, in order to assess whether an agency will be an effective partner, it’s wise to check out how they market themselves. If they don’t do good work on their own behalf, what’s to say they’ll do so on yours?
For most top digital marketing agencies, common tactics include:
- Content marketing - Creation of high-quality content relevant to the company’s industry. Content can include blog posts, white papers, demo reels, webinars, and much, much more.
- Thought leadership - Demonstrating expertise in an area or industry through a range of different content created by the agency or employees of the agency.
- Client testimonials - A form of word-of-mouth marketing that’s managed by the brand, client testimonials feature the positive experiences of a satisfied client. Hearing about the rewarding experience of another client builds trust in prospects and helps bring them through the door in the first place. References will further seal the deal once challengers are narrowed.
- Case studies - Examples of previous work. Nearly all marketing agencies use their websites as marketing tools to highlight their best work. Case studies act as proof of what the agency is really capable of and help showcase the results they can achieve.
- Social media marketing - Used to share content and engage with the broader digital community.
- Search engine optimization (SEO) - A strong presence in organic search results for digital marketing-related keywords.
In order to find the best digital marketing agency for your brand to partner with, it’s critical to gain an understanding of their values. The best way to do this is to look at how they position and differentiate themselves and figure out how their priorities stack up against your own.
Key differentiating factors of the best marketing agencies in the business are as follows:
- Interdisciplinary approach - Does the agency have the breadth of talent required to execute a manage a full-scale omnichannel campaign?
- Committed to experimentation - Is the agency open to experimentation and trying new things? How quick are they to adapt campaigns to new insights, trends, and opportunities?
- Data-driven - Does the agency rely on data to inform their decisions and recommendations? Is there a team of people at the agency dedicated to analytics? How will data be shared between the agency and your team?
- Focused on results - Will your campaigns be constructed to align with the goals you’ve laid out? What metrics will the agency use to measure their success, and how do these contribute to your bottom line?
- Custom work - Does the agency duplicate prior campaigns and force solutions on clients because it’s easier than creating something from scratch? Or do they do high-quality custom work tailored to the unique needs of each client?
- Strong company culture - What types of people work at the agency? What does the agency do to attract and retain the best possible talent?
Top Qualities Of The Best Digital Marketing Agencies
Focus On Strategy
All top digital marketing agencies know the value and importance of a digital marketing strategy. A strategy is necessary to guide the direction of marketing campaigns and ensure they are aligned to the brand’s goals and objectives. The agency will build a strategy based on the information gleaned from the client during the discovery phase of the project. This will acquaint them with the client’s unique challenges, target audiences, and previous marketing successes and failures. All of this information is used to inform a strategy that unites the agency and client teams and charts a path for the execution of the client’s marketing campaigns.
Every brand is unique and that means that the marketing strategies your agency partner comes up with should be tailored to your business. Top digital marketing agencies emphasize the custom nature of their marketing plans and don’t blindly replicate what’s been done before for other clients. While it’s natural to expect that the agency will apply learnings and strategies that worked for other clients to subsequent campaigns, they should never offer cookie-cutter solutions. Look for a digital marketing agency that recommends ideas and tactics because they believe they’ll help meet the specific objectives of your brand.
A major element of choosing a new agency partner is reviewing the work they’ve done before. Top digital marketing agencies will have case studies on hand that demonstrate their ability to get results for their clients. If they have clients in a range of industries, they should be able to show you the results they’ve achieved for businesses that are similar in nature to yours. Don’t be afraid to ask to see case studies, and to ask the agency to detail the process and approach they used in order to achieve results for the client.
Digital marketing is all about moving the needle for your business. That’s why it’s so important to work with a digital marketing agency that focuses on getting results. A good agency partner will be upfront about setting goals and outlining key milestones for your campaigns. They’ll be transparent in detailing what results you can expect to see from the work you’re investing in. Of course, they won’t be able to predict traffic or conversions with 100% accuracy, but they should be comfortable setting targets. This kind of transparency is key to making sure the agency is motivated to achieve results and the client is comfortable knowing what to expect from their investment.
Reporting & Accountability
You should never be kept in the dark about the progress of your campaigns. Top digital agencies make accountability and reporting a core tenet of their business practice. Before signing a contract, ask the agency who on their end will manage your account and be sure you have an understanding of how communications between your business and theirs will operate. The agency should be happy to set a regular reporting schedule and should set standards for responding to calls and emails that will ensure they’re kept accountable to results and client communication.