Let’s face it. Not everyone is a digital marketing expert, even if they own and run a business. This is perfectly acceptable, and the reason why businesses such as digital marketing agencies exist. No matter what demographic a business is marketing to, having a strong presence online and an effective marketing strategy is highly important. If a proprietor or manager is unsure how to make the most of a marketing budget, bringing in an agency might just be the answer.

But how does a business owner go about deciding to hire an agency and selecting the right agency to work with? Use this primer to make the decision with the most information.

Does Every Business Need to Use a Digital Marketing Agency?

Not necessarily. Many businesses prefer to bring their marketing in-house and have a dedicated team working on it. Others may find that outsourcing certain elements of marketing, such as content distribution, is a better avenue for them. There is certainly no singular answer for every scenario.

The intent of marketing is to bring leads and revenue in to the business. When outlining a marketing strategy, there may be gaps that can easily be filled in by an agency. This includes, but is not limited to, graphic design, copywriting and copy editing, and media buying. All of these elements require some expert attention to make them actually sell, and agencies have built their business models to be able to deliver these collaterals in a timely and effective manner.

Hiring an agency can also save money over time. When viewing the “true” cost of hiring staff members, including benefits, vacation time, and sick pay, among others, the monthly retainer of an agency may begin to look more and more appealing.

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However, there is much research that should go into hiring an agency. With digital marketing agencies seemingly popping up everywhere, how can a business owner tell if that agency will actually deliver on their lofty promises?

Selecting the Right Digital Marketing Agency

A quick online search will yield countless hits when searching for “digital marketing agency”. It can be intimidating for a business owner to find the right fit for their budget. Utilize some of the following criteria when making an informed decision:

Past case studies: Take a look at what sort of clients the agency has served in the past. Do these businesses seem like they have similarities to your business? Do an internet search for a couple of these clients. Do they look to be successful? Are their marketing materials crisp, clean, and effective?

Read their content: Not every agency is created equal. Many agencies, unfortunately, are focused more on quantity than quality. This won’t fly for true conversions. Take the time to read the materials the agency has put out. This includes web content, blogs, and social media copy. Does it read generic and low-effort? It should feel authentic and hit a tone with the consumer. If the agency is not accomplishing this, it probably isn’t a good fit.

Communication: How does the agency communicate? Are you waiting days for a response to an inquiry or email? Do they answer the phone? How about their promises to deliver? Do they seem too good to be true?

Taking these factors into account when making a decision to find and hire an agency will help save headaches in the long run. A digital marketing agency can be a huge asset to a business if utilized properly.

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Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5W Public Relations. 5WPR is a NYC based PR Firm.

Ronn Torossian


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Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.