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Marketing Strategy

What Does a Digital Marketing Agency Do? Everything You Need to Know

by Sha Drena Simon . March 30, 2020
Before partnering with a digital marketing agency, make sure you know who you'll be working with.

As a sales or marketing manager, your job is to bring in customers through your business’ “front doors” by grabbing their attention and making your brand’s name known. 

Nowadays, a company can’t afford to not have an online presence because that is now where the vast majority of customers are. Even with this information, only about 50% of small businesses are online.

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If you’re trying to grow your online presence, it’s tempting to try to handle it on your own. However outsourcing to a digital marketing agency can get you more out of your marketing budget. Learning what a digital marketing agency does can help you decide whether there’s value in hiring one for your company. 

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is a multifaceted strategy aimed to target, reach out to, and build relationships with customers online, across a broad range of channels.

Digital marketing consists of the following tactics: 

  • Content Marketing 
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 
  • Video Marketing 
  • Mobile Marketing 
  • Online Advertising (PPC) 
  • Email Marketing 
  • Social Media Marketing

Digital marketing employs a variety of different tactics, strategies, and online tools, which can make planning and executing a successful digital marketing campaign a challenging prospect for most solopreneurs and even smaller marketing departments.

Given the scope of digital marketing, it’s helpful to look at the different types of agencies and the services they can offer.

7 Types of Digital Marketing Agencies (and What They Do)

There are seven main types of digital marketing agencies out there. Some are specialized in one area and others offer a broad range of services. Remember, that the best one for your business will depend on your budget, your digital marketing goals and objectives, and how hands-on you want to be in your digital marketing. Below are the seven types of digital marketing agencies:

1. Full-Service Digital Marketing/Inbound Marketing Agency

Full-service digital marketing agencies, including inbound marketing agencies, tend to be larger than most firms and offer a variety of digital marketing services. Full-service agencies are best for small businesses and start-ups that don’t have large internal marketing and sales teams.

Larger organizations often partner with full-service digital marketing agencies because they free up time for business marketing and sales managers, and leadership to focus on other areas of running their business.

2. Digital Marketing Firm

Most digital marketing firms refer to themselves as digital marketing agencies. Digital marketing firms or agencies focus purely on digital marketing activities and offer fewer services than full-service agencies.  A digital marketing firm won’t typically offer PR, advertising, or traditional marketing services.

3. The SEO Company

Agencies that specialize in SEO (search engine optimization) help their client’s websites and website content to rank high on search results. They will have specialists perform the following:

  • Keyword research
  • Website audits
  • Backlink audits 
  • Website and blog content
  • Assessment of the quality of your website’s metadata (URL, title tags, meta descriptions, etc.)
  • Optimize video descriptions
  • Conduct link building

An SEO company will utilize a variety of data analytics and website developer tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, SEM Rush, and SEO Moz. SEO agencies are always early adopters of search engine optimization best practices, including compliance with Google’s ever-changing search algorithm.

4. Digital Ad (PPC) Agency

Paid search, also called paid advertising, is the other way to generate traffic to a business website. Unlike free organic traffic, paid traffic involves spending money to bid on keywords and ad placement on search results. Digital ads can appear on websites, search result pages (SERPs), and social media channels. 

Digital ad agencies know how to produce attention-getting, keyword-filled ads that conform to the best practices of the digital platforms on which ads appear. Popular services include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube ad creation and deployment, and Google Ads Manager account creation and maintenance.

5. Social Media Agency

As the name implies, a social media agency offers social media marketing services. Companies turn to social media agencies when they need help managing and producing regular content on their social media channels, when they want to set up social media advertisements on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, and when they want to best optimize their social media accounts. Social media agencies will also offer services related to responding and reacting to customer interactions on social media platforms and influencer outreach for cross promotion and affiliate marketing. 

6. Website Agency or Website Design Agency  

A website or web design agency is composed of creative designers who build customized websites for businesses. Web designers will handle the look, feel, and functionality of websites. Common services offered by website agencies include user experience design and research, image creation, and storage, web development, and web hosting. If you’re building a new website, or going through a rebranding and need a different look to your website’s fonts, colors, images, and layout.

7. Digital Marketing Consultant

A digital marketing consultant is a professional that may or may not be affiliated with a digital marketing agency. Digital marketing consultants have a broad knowledge of digital marketing and can help businesses come up with a digital marketing strategy. After offering their advice and strategy, they will recommend digital marketing agencies or professionals to execute the necessary tactics that will make the digital strategy successful.

What Does a Digital Marketing Agency Do?

Companies work with digital marketing agencies because of their expertise in online marketing. Agencies know the trends, best practices, and best tools and strategies that are needed for digital marketing success. Below are specific things to expect when working with a digital marketing agency: 

Digital Marketing Agencies Grow Organic Traffic to Your Website

The overall goal of any digital marketing endeavor is to generate as much organic traffic to one’s business website. Marketing professionals at digital marketing agencies know the ins and outs of inbound marketing, customer journeys, and search engine search algorithms. When you work with a digital marketing agency, organic traffic (traffic from people who find your website online via a search engine search) to your website will increase. Your website will attract more leads with fewer costs. These leads will also be better quality leads that will increase the probability of them making a purchase. 

Digital Marketing Agencies Generate Sales-Ready Leads

The professionals at digital marketing agencies will know your business, your marketing goals and objectives, your sales funnel, and your ideal targeted audiences. Additionally, they will also be knowledgeable in various inbound marketing tactics such as content marketing, social media marketing, web design, and search engine optimization. 

In your sales funnel, different inbound marketing tactics are more effective than others based on where leads are within your sales funnel. When working with a digital marketing agency, you’ll be able to get the right message delivered through the right online medium, at the right time to each lead within your sales funnel. A digital marketing agency will help you generate sales-ready leads by moving leads from the top of your sales funnel to the bottom. 

Digital Marketing Agencies Expand Your Brand Reach

Your customers are online. You know that and every digital marketing agency knows that. Since digital marketing agencies specialize in promoting brands online and creating online relationships with customers, they know how to expand your brand’s reach online. By working with a digital marketing agency, your website will get better visibility from keyword research and buyer persona development done through the agency. If you employ a digital marketing agency to undertake your social media marketing, your brand will also gain additional online presence on various social media platforms. 

Improves Your Marketing from Top to Bottom

The digital marketing agency you choose should feel like an extension of your internal marketing team. What your internal marketing lacks in terms of specialized digital marketing knowledge and time, your digital marketing agency partner will address. 

A digital marketing agency will also catch weaknesses in your current digital marketing activities. If your marketing team is small, chances are you won’t have the expertise your unique digital marketing campaign needs to be effective. For example, you need to web design, SEO, public relations, email marketing, and social media marketing. You may not have the expertise in all these areas. 

A full-service digital marketing agency like Yokel Local, on the other hand, offers: 

  • Search engine optimization
  • Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)
  • Social media marketing
  • Marketing automation
  • Content marketing
  • Facebook advertising
  • PR services
  • Email marketing
  • Video production
  • Event coordination
  • Website development

Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency? Ask These 12 Questions

When choosing a digital marketing agency to work with, be sure to do your research ahead of time. You will also need to know your digital marketing goals, budget, and degree in which you want to be involved in deploying a digital marketing campaign. 

Below are some questions you should ask prospective digital marketing agencies: 

  • What are their payment tiers and agreements? Do they want the payment up-front or when the work is completed? How long are the contracts good for? 
  • Will you have a designated contact person or project manager?
  • How often will you be informed about the status of your digital marketing campaign?
  • Do the owners of the business know the industry?
  • Who are their clients? Can you speak to their past clients?
  • What services do they offer? 
  • Is there any proof of their success with companies like yours?
  • Does the firm have a team of qualified specialists? 
  • How long has the company been in business?
  • Do they have a significant online presence?
  • Are there any testimonials on their site? 
  • What do their Yelp or Google Reviews indicate?

You want to ensure that you are making the best decision for your business, before handing over your marketing.

What Does Yokel Local Do Differently?

Even when you find the perfect digital marketing agency for your business and marketing and sales goals, chances are, they will formulate a strategy that starts with a plan and ends with meeting or exceeding your marketing goals. Instead of working towards your digital marketing goals, Yokel Local begins with your goals and desired outcomes. By working “backward” in our proven 6-step inbound marketing methodology, we’ll be able to more quickly pinpoint and address problems in your sales and marketing funnel. 

Yokel Local embraces the inbound marketing framework whereby we employ a variety of digital marketing tactics that are most effective for your customers at each stage of the buying journey. When you work with us, you’ll have a whole team of “T-shaped” marketers on your side during the whole course of your campaign. In essence, our team is an extension of your marketing team. Depending on your digital marketing needs and goals, you’ll have content marketers, pay-per-click marketers, SEO professionals, project managers, and other digital marketing specialists constantly analyzing and tweaking things in your campaign to achieve success. 

Our “T-shaped” marketers have substantial experience in multiple inbound marketing tactics including: buyer persona research, Facebook advertising, content marketing, social media marketing, marketing automation, pay-per-click advertising, and SEO and keyword research.

Some of the outcomes of our unique results-driven process include: 

  • Growing organic traffic to your website
  • Generating and nurturing sales-ready leads
  • Using new channels to expand brand reach for customer acquisition
  • Increasing revenue
  • Reducing lead acquisition cost


Effective digital marketing is how your business will attract leads and generate customers. Well-done digital marketing is a tedious, time-consuming, and possibly expensive endeavor. Many businesses hand over their digital marketing endeavors to an outside digital marketing agency because they don’t have the time to devote to it, they don’t have the expertise in digital marketing or have a small internal marketing team that can’t carry out a successful digital marketing strategy. A digital marketing agency can help improve your business’ online presence and generate sales.

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