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 & Chairman of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently owned PR firms in the United States. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth and vision, with the agency earning accolades including being named a Top 50 Global PR Agency by PRovoke Media, a top three NYC PR agency by O'Dwyers, one of Inc. Magazine's Best Workplaces and being awarded multiple American Business Awards, including a Stevie Award for PR Agency of the Year. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected public relations executives. Throughout his career he has advised leading and high-growth businesses, organizations, leaders and boards across corporate, technology and consumer industries. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications. He has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly in the media and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller. Torossian's strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, a Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a recipient of Crain's New York Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Outside of 5W, Torossian serves as a business advisor to and investor in multiple early stage businesses across the media, B2B and B2C landscape. Torossian is the proud father of two daughters. He is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of multiple not for profit organizations.