By Ahmed El Dabaja – Business today operates in an environment which worships disruptive technology, rations access to capital, celebrates celebrity, and shuns failure. If your business is looking to invest in digital marketing, picking the right service bundle not only makes all the difference between success and failure but also between laying the successful platform for long-term success and getting your digital digits burnt and having to start again.

Digital marketing is the process of helping potential customers find your company before they are ready to buy and before they discover your competitors.

Research indicates over 90 percent of buying cycles start with online search, while 80+ percent of clicks originate with an online search.


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Digital marketing often employs a creative mix of content marketing, social outreach, and search engine presence. Buyers perceive a high correlation between a brand’s position on a search engine ranking page and the intrinsic quality of your brand. Hence, the power of digital marketing stems from its ability to help visitors find your brand! That seems like a good place to start your review of your digital marketing options.


Why Digital Marketing Matters

Digital Marketing is about applying targeted thought power, rather than sheer budget spend, to drive your business. Digital enjoys a powerful set of tools, which combine to deliver three key business benefits without blowing your budget:

  • Increased brand awareness
  • Enhanced brand preference
  • More and better-contextualized leads

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Smart digital marketing strategies cut through the clutter, grabs your prospects’ attention, and enduring brand affinity over time complemented by a strong preference set.


Digital Strategy

Before you plunge into the heady mix of digital marketing options available, some homework is in order. Be very clear about what you strategically are looking to do with your brand and with your business.

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There are several strategic approaches open to you depending on your business or brand. Some eCommerce brands drive more traffic by advertising on social media, while other businesses are better off combining SEO with content marketing.

Determining the right digital path depends on the nature of your business and your audience. Overlaid on this are your budget and the approach you are looking to take with your digital marketing service partner.


Setting The Context

When it comes to deciding on your digital marketing service options, how do you know you’ve selected the right ones for your business?

Whether your preferred options will help you achieve your goals is largely determined by the context of your business or your brand. Ask yourself these six questions:


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1.  Does my business need more website traffic?

2.  Does my business need more views?

3.  Does my business need more leads?

4.  What skills does my team already possess?

5.  How much time and financial resources am I willing to invest?

6.  Do I find it easier to work with smaller, nimble agencies or larger multi-disciplinary ones?


The answer to these questions will help you determine a strategy and select a digital marketing service that will support your brand for years to come.

A Listicle

Draft a comprehensive list of digital services you anticipate your business will need. Driving this list will be the interaction you anticipate your website visitors, and ultimately your customers, will have with your brand. If you are in retail, then Instagram and blogging could be the way to go. Alternatively, if you are a services brand, then maybe you should dial up content and email marketing.

As part of this visioning process, review your current marketing and technology teams’ existing expertise. It is all too easy to overlook expertise inside the business when you are conducting an external review.

Finally, check off the goals you are looking for your digital marketing service to help deliver on. Are you looking for:

1.  Digital Marketing Strategy
2.  Lead Generation & Sales
3.  Digital Content Creation
4.  Content Marketing
5.  Inbound Marketing
6.  Social Media Marketing
7.  Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Services
8.  Search Engine Marketing
9.  Email Marketing
10. Pay Per Click Advertising

i.    Google Pay Per Clickii.   Facebook Pay Per Click

ii.   Facebook Pay Per Click

iii.  Instagram Pay Per Click

iv.   LinkedIn Pay Per Click

v.   Twitter Pay Per Click

vi.  Pinterest Pay Per Click

It’s important to understand that some agencies specialize in particular areas while others offer a more holistic digital marketing service. However, if your missing digital marketing service is content marketing, then pick a specialist content marketing agency. If your missing service turns out to be email marketing, pick an agency that specializes in email marketing.


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Understand that your digital marketing goals should align with your agency’s strengths. Once you have shortlisted a group of agencies you believe are strong contenders for your digital business, research their approach to understand whether they are creatively driven, or perhaps technically led. Internally, are they clustered around skills or clients by industry sector?


Beautifully Boutique Or Big And Bold

The eternal client dilemma when it comes to agency selection:

Do you opt for big and supposedly safe or will you be seduced by the specialist skills and flattering personal attention offered by a boutique agency?

Each comes with its own stable of advantages and disadvantages.

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In a digital context, bigger agencies often have access to global or regional expertise, a broader service portfolio and more depth to their teams. Size, however, brings with it issues of reporting structures, fiefdoms, and higher cost bases (which they pass on to clients). Additionally, if you are a smaller client, you may never gain access to senior staff on a regular basis.

Boutique agencies are usually more client focused, bring specialist industry, creative or technical expertise to their clients, and their senior talent is often closer to where the action is. Communication is usually more direct and offers a more intimate partnering experience.


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