4 Things You Should Leave to Your Digital Marketing Agency (and 3 You Shouldn’t)

  • The client-agency relationship is all about synthesizing the skills, knowledge, and tools of each party to create something great together.
  • Even businesses with in-house marketing resources – such as content writers – can benefit from hiring digital marketing agencies for consultation and strategy.
  • Many agencies can provide referrals for services they’re not equipped to handle themselves. Just ask!

One of our favorite things about agency life is becoming integral to our client’s teams. As a small agency, we try to fit whatever role our clients need within our areas of expertise. Over the years, this approach has taught us a lot about how businesses and digital marketing agencies can make the most of their professional partnerships.

The client-agency relationship is all about synthesizing each party’s skills, knowledge, and tools to create something great together. When a business decides to outsource its digital marketing to an agency, it’s usually because it believes the agency will be able to handle its marketing needs more efficiently and cost-effectively than it would itself.

Sometimes, though, when your agency feels like an extension of your team, it’s easy to forget that they can’t necessarily help with every aspect of your business. So, how do you make sure you’re using your agency’s strengths?

Depending on the size, capacity, and nature of your business and agency, there will be some variability in what an agency can and can’t do. However, you can use the following guidelines as a starting point. Below are some tasks many businesses benefit from outsourcing to a digital marketing agency – plus a few that should stay in-house or be outsourced to a different type of professional.

DO let your agency handle:

1. Content

Content remains one of the most critical aspects of digital marketing for the majority of businesses today. Consistently publishing high-quality, engaging, relevant content helps you capture audiences toward the top of the funnel and creates opportunities to convert them to long-time customers.

Below are just a few examples of the types of content businesses should be producing:

  • Blogs – This is probably the most critical part of your content strategy.
  • Social media content – such as fun or informative branded graphics
  • Case studies
  • White papers
  • Infographics
  • Videos

While there’s no mistaking that content is vital, it is also time-consuming. Content marketing is a massive, long-term undertaking that you can’t just “set and forget.” For that strategy to work, not only do you need to create well-researched, well-written content regularly, but you also need tools to help you research and create this content, standardized processes for content production and publishing, and knowledge of the search landscape so that users can find your content in the first place.

Businesses may have varying levels of capacity and experience when it comes to content creation, but to a digital marketing agency, this stuff is as easy as breathing. This is why we recommend letting your digital marketing agency handle content strategy and production

A capable digital marketing agency can bring the skills, processes, tools, and human resources (i.e., writers and editors) needed to execute a solid content strategy from end to end. If you arm them with insights about your industry, business, and audience, your agency can put that knowledge to use to create content tailored to your needs.

What’s more, time given to an agency to work on your content strategy and production is time that your internal team can dedicate to growing your business and making it even better. 

What if I already have a content team?

There’s no reason an existing content team can’t be seamlessly combined with an outside support system. We get it: some businesses prefer in-house content writers or editors because they know the company from the inside. It’s understandable to want your writers to be as embedded in the day-to-day realities of your business or industry as possible. But that doesn’t mean your digital marketing agency can’t help you optimize your strategy.

In cases where you’d rather handle content production yourself, consider hiring an agency for consultation and strategy. Imagine how much more your current content team could get done when they have assistance with organic keyword research, topic recommendation, calendar planning, or editing for search engine optimization. An external team brought on by an agency can bring an even more polished eye to monitoring and analytics, depending on your needs.

2. SEO

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is about more than just including trending keywords in your blog articles (although that is very important!). Technical SEO teams like those you’ll find in a digital marketing agency specialize in both on- and off-page SEO and local SEO.

Like content marketing, these areas constantly evolve as the search engine landscape changes. With Google updating its algorithm so often, and sometimes rather drastically, keeping up can be a task all on its own. An agency has the human resources, tools, experience, and technical knowledge required to give your business the best shot at showing up in search engines, freeing up your own resources to focus on providing good services.

It’s especially good to let your agency handle SEO if they also handle your paid media or content strategies. Digital marketing works best with a holistic approach. Letting your agency handle (or at least consult on) SEO, paid search, and content together allows them to ensure that each piece aligns with the others and with your overall goals.

3. Monitoring and analytics

A digital marketing strategy is only sound with a plan for monitoring ROI. This is the bread and butter of a good digital marketing agency – or at least, it should be.

Whether you’re outsourcing all your digital marketing needs to an agency or just select tasks, you should enlist your agency’s help with monitoring and analytics. Those inexperienced with tracking website metrics can easily find themselves overwhelmed with deciphering tools like Google Analytics or even SEMrush, or it can be hard to differentiate between frivolous vanity metrics and what actually indicates growth. An SEO-focused digital marketing agency has the necessary tools for tracking and reading these metrics and knows how to use them. Their experience allows them to see and interpret insights in ways that your team may be unable to. 

As with content, allowing an agency to monitor your site’s analytics frees your hands to work on internal business operations. 

4. Social media

Some people might be surprised by this one. Social media is the most personal arm of digital marketing. It’s where brands communicate directly with audiences, often providing an inside look at their company or industry. Social media is also pretty hands-on, requiring consistent posting and engagement monitoring. Many brands prefer to handle their social media internally. 

But just like with SEO and content, a good agency is equipped to handle your social media as if it were their own while integrating plenty of your brand’s preferences and voice. They specialize in communicating a consistent brand image, and in using standardized, search-friendly processes for finding/creating, sharing, and monitoring content.

It all comes down to the relationship and the investment in the onboarding process. As long as you invest enough time and resources upfront to establish your brand’s voice and aesthetic, set up processes for posting and monitoring, and create an asset library (such as stock photos or branded graphics), you can trust your agency to execute a social strategy that works.

DON’T let your agency handle:

1. Customer service

This is an easy one to slip into. Lots of customer service happens online these days, whether it’s Facebook messenger chatbots, Instagram comments, or online reviews, plus the classics of answering customer emails and calls. If your agency is handling review management or reputation management, some elements of customer service will naturally crop up, especially when it comes to local SEO. 

But remember, your agency’s job is to help you present yourself to your audience at large, not appease specific customers. If you’re enlisting an agency to field purchase, processing, shipment/delivery issues, or other requests related to the actual furnishing of services, you might be wasting money and time, both for the agency and yourself. 

The best people to help your customers directly are the people inside your business. In fact, we’ve actually had lots of success enlisting the expertise of our client’s customer service specialists to help us create better marketing outcomes.

2. Web development

This is another area where some degree of overlap may be natural. Technical SEO teams, in particular, may end up performing minor dev-like tasks or troubleshooting, and we’ve provided on-page content for countless clients who were working on website redesigns or migrations.

We’re sure you know how important it is to have your website developed on a solid foundation and to maintain it over time with smart development moves and careful planning. Solid web design is a concrete way to build a relationship with your customers while solidifying a brand identity. 

However, unless your agency has a web development division, they shouldn’t be responsible for designing your website from scratch, especially with so much on the line. They’re best put to use in a consultant role for the purpose of SEO, or optimizing an existing site through on-page copy and tweaks like page speed optimization and the addition of alt text. Whether or not you turn to an in-house dev team or an external one, it’s best to not make your marketing agency juggle tasks that it doesn’t specialize in. 

3. Legal or financial issues

This should go without saying, but digital marketing agencies are not legal or financial experts. They can do their best to help you avoid sticky situations on the marketing front – e.g., marketing your products truthfully, or evaluating your marketing budget. An SEO agency might also be able to provide a bit of insight about what is considered ethical in terms of getting your site to rank with a search engine, but that advice is not legal in nature and is just based on best practices.

As a general rule, you shouldn’t be asking your agency for legal or financial advice. If your business is in need of financial or legal advice, do your research and hire a professional, either in the form of an external team or a bespoke individual who manages these matters. 

If we can’t help, we might know someone who can…

Many agencies can provide a referral for services they’re not equipped to handle themselves, like web development. It never hurts to ask! At worst, you’ll have to do a bit of legwork yourself, and at best, you’ll be directed to a service that’s recommended by an agency you trust! 

At Redefine, we mold our services to our clients’ needs – not the other way around. If you’re ready to learn more about our digital marketing services and how they can transform and redefine your organic growth, we’d love to hear from you!

Author avatar
Stephanie Fehrmann
Stephanie was an SEO content writer before transitioning to a management role. As the co-founder and Head of Content at RMG, she oversees everything from the development of content strategies and content creation to day-to-day office operations. She graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a degree in Journalism, and enjoys showing clients the power and versatility of content.
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