- 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 an integral part of our clients’ 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 the skills, knowledge, and tools of each party to create something great together. When a business decides to outsource its digital marketing to an agency, it’s usually because they believe the agency will be able to handle their marketing needs more efficiently and cost-effectively than they would themselves.
Sometimes, though, when your agency does feel like an extension of your team, it’s easy to forget that they don’t necessarily have the ability to help with every aspect of your business. So how do you make sure you’re putting your agency’s strengths to use?
There will be some variability depending on the size, capacity, and nature of your business and agency. 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:
Content remains one of the most important 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 important part of your content strategy.
- Social media content – such as fun or informative branded graphics
- Case studies
- White papers
Content marketing is a massive, long-term undertaking that you can’t just “set and forget.” For your strategy to work, not only do you need to create well-researched, well-written content on a regular basis, 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 actually find your content.
Businesses may have varying levels of capacity in this area, but to a digital marketing agency, this stuff is as easy as breathing. This is why we recommend that you let your digital marketing agency handle both content strategy and production.
A good 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 bring them your knowledge about your industry, business, and audience, they can put that knowledge to use to create content tailored to your needs.
What if I already have a content team?
Some businesses prefer to use in-house content writers or editors. 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.
Even if you’d rather handle content production yourself, think about hiring an agency for consultation and strategy. This could include organic keyword research, topic recommendation, calendar planning, editing for search engine optimization, and monitoring and analytics, depending on your needs.
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 as well as local SEO.
Like content marketing, these areas are constantly evolving as the search engine landscape changes. 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 an especially good idea to let your agency handle SEO if they’re also handling your paid media and/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 make sure each piece is in alignment with each other and with your overall goals.
3. Monitoring and Analytics
A digital marketing strategy is useless without a plan for monitoring ROI. This is the bread and butter of a good digital marketing agency – or at least, it should be.
No matter whether you’re outsourcing all your digital marketing needs to an agency or just select tasks, you should definitely be enlisting your agency’s help with monitoring and analytics. Again, they have the necessary tools and they know how to use them, and their experience allows them to see and interpret insights that your team may not be able to.
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 monitoring of engagement.
But just like with SEO and content, a good agency is equipped to handle your social media as if it were their own. They specialize in communicating a consistent brand image, and in using standardized processes for finding/creating, sharing, and monitoring content.
It all comes down to the relationship and the investment in the on-boarding 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. And if your agency is handling review management or reputation management, some elements of customer service will naturally crop up.
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 your money and everyone’s time.
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 clients’ customer service specialists to help us create better marketing outcomes.
2. Web Development
This is another area where some overlap may be natural. Technical SEO teams in particular may end up performing some minor dev-like tasks or troubleshooting, and we’ve provided on-page content for countless clients who were working on website redesigns.
However, unless your agency has a web development division, they shouldn’t be responsible for designing your website from scratch. They’re best put to use in a consultant role for the purpose of SEO, or optimizing an existing site.
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. But as a general rule, you shouldn’t be asking your agency for legal or financial advice.
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 Redefine, we mold our services to our clients’ needs – not the other way around. If you want to learn more about our digital marketing services, we’d love to hear from you!