Birth of the Digital Agency

High performing businesses know that they can no longer ignore the importance of their web and digital initiatives as marketing and communication platforms to connect with their customers and target markets. The challenge for these businesses when looking for a service provider for web design, development and online marketing services, is how to isolate the ‘right’ service provider from the thousands in the market. An eight year old can build a website these days (yes, I’ve seen it), so what do businesses serious about succeeding online need to look for?

According to Wikipedia, a digital agency is a business that delivers services for the creative and technical development of Internet based products. These services range from the more generalist such as web design, e-mail marketing, logo design and micro sites, to the more specialist such as custom built content management systems, ecommerce, web application development, social media marketing, mobile compatible web development, search engine optimisation, and systems integration services.

Digital agencies tend to differ from their more traditional advertising agencies and their marketing agency counterparts in that they tend to deliver only certain types of web complimentary off-line services such as logo design, icon design and graphic design. Some advertising and marketing agencies do however attempt to deliver digital work but there are a number of shortfalls for businesses that are serious about online solutions utilising their services.

During these last few years much has changed in the marketing landscape. Now I might be wrong by saying this, but my feeling is that in recent years, traditional marketing agencies that have moved toward the online landscape still have a flimsy grasp of it. The majority outsource online services to other experts and are struggling to survive the growing demand for businesses to include more complex web based marketing solutions. Alternatively they may be able to offer basic web related services but struggle when their client’s requirements are more complex or custom.

Digital marketing agencies have also been evolving to define themselves in the ever changing online world. Digital agency services cross so many of the traditional service lines including advertising, graphic design, web design and development, online marketing and search engine optimisation that before the digital agency was coined, there wasn’t really a way to describe them without merging service streams.

The full service digital agency is certainly one of the Internet’s best kept secrets. Businesses serious about succeeding online will benefit exponentially from a successful partnership with a high end digital agency. This is well demonstrated in the Google trends graph below. The term digital agency has been on the rise since the start of 2005 and it growing every day, whilst the term “advertising agency” has been in steady decline.

So how does a business choose when looking for a marketing solution that incorporates digital online media?

I personally view digital agencies as the perfect catalyst to help businesses consolidate these outsourced web, design and online marketing services? Take for example a business that is looking to commission a new website to be designed and developed and need to ensure that the new website will rank high in the search engines. Some people would consider separating the website design from the SEO and end up commissioning two different service providers to carry out the work.

This might work, however a digital agency is capable to service both of these requirements and ensure that the two services are properly integrated throughout the project life cycle.

This also reduces the overall costs of the project because the businesses details, their goals and the relationship with the provider are all vested in one place.

Another example is when a business has a long term relationship with a creative or design agency to support the company’s brand. The business decides it is time to launch their website and brief their agency on the requirements. The creative agency may have an in-house web developer that has basic programming skills so suggests to the client that they should handle the project. Unfortunately the client is unaware that like a clock, a website is made up of many components and it takes skills in a range of areas to create a truly amazing website.

The competency and skills required include: Front end developers, system architects, web designers, usability specialists, online marketers and SEO experts, back end and database programmers and much more. Ideally the team is located under one roof with everyone working together and sharing their knowledge so that together they can create a high quality solution that meets the client’s expectations.

As a result of not having a digital agency with a pool of skill sets, the business’ website is designed and developed by a “jack-of-all-web” web guys that does a standard job but doesn’t excel on any front. To get a truly impressive website, a range of skills and expertise is required.

Hence, when considering the design and development of a new website, a digital agency is a much smarter choice because they really do have the full suite of expertise and know what they are talking about.

The key benefits to working with a digital agency:

1. Centralising your online requirements with one supplier. This can result in cost reductions and savings from combining services such as your web development with your online marketing or graphic design.

2. Dedicated account manager – One person to call or contact for all of you digital needs. Whether it’s an email marketing campaign, latest analytics reports, new email account, hosting upgrade or better search engine ranking – you only have to make one call.

3. If anything is going wrong with your website, you know who to call. One phone call and everything is taken care of.

4. Pool of expertise. In a digital agency, you find a wide range of people with specialised skills in each and every facet of the web and online industry.

So, now I have that off my chest and you have the top reasons why you should choose a digital agency for your next web project or social media strategy, there’s never been a better time to get in contact with a committed team that can’t wait to work with you.

Let a Digital Agency Promote Your Business

The Internet has opened doors for consumers to purchase everything, from food to computers, from the convenience of their homes. The growth of online retail has opened up brilliant opportunities for retail marketers, and given small businesses a chance to compete with big businesses, as on the Internet all are equal. But just having a website on the Internet, which is difficult to find, hard to use and is seldom updated does not constitute a digital strategy. Small businesses fall into this trap and neglect their digital potential. Getting an agency to manage your web potential is a worthwhile investment. A digital strategy is like a well oiled machine, and utilizing its full potential can only be realized by employing an agency to promote your web business.

There are many components that need to be taken care of when developing a digital strategy. Web design, development, hosting, search engine optimization, E-mail marketing, PPC and social media are some of the components. Failure of any component will cause the entire operation to grind to a halt. Getting people in the business to manage individual components is costly and will again lead to failure. Therefore it’s best to seek the help of a digital agency.

Digital agencies work across the industry, and have people who are experienced in their individual fields, and everything is under one roof. Digital agencies manage all the components of a digital strategy as a single project. They know their reputation on the line when they take up a new client’s work. They know that a business wants their website to generate more sales, and bring more customers to them. Therefore, they will see what components are required of a digital strategy that will help a client achieve their goal, and will spell out the steps required, and the time frame in which the digital strategy targets can be achieved.

A good digital agency will know exactly what the requirements are, to make your website user friendly and attractive, and visible to visitors and popular on search engines. Good agencies will also tell you what it will cost you. You must take this as a positive investment, as digital selling is the future in marketing. Till a couple of years back, social media networks were relatively unknown, and not taken as a marketing tool. Today, digital agencies know the value social media networks can add to promoting businesses.

Businesses should focus on what they do best, and that is selling products and services. Digital agencies should be hired to do what they do best, and that is promoting businesses on the digital highway. Therefore, businesses stand to profit by employing the services of agencies, to promote their business. Small businesses should not shy away from the opportunity of approaching digital agencies and seeking their help. Digital agencies have helped small businesses go national, and international. Therefore, an investment in a good digital strategy will be a profitable investment.

5 Characteristics of a Good Digital Agency

In order to ensure the success of an online marketing strategy, it is important to select the right digital agency. No matter it’s about giving improvement to your SEO techniques, or developing it’s a Facebook app or a new site, it is necessary to consider who you will work with. Here are some pointers that can help you determine a good digital agency that can do wonders for your business.

Has Its Own Team of Professionals

When a work is done in-house, you can expect it to be controlled properly by the professionals handling it. If an agency outsources work, the progress of the project can slow down due to communication issues. In fact, problems could also occur in case you wish to change something on the project. Additionally, in-house teams at a digital agency are expected to have total awareness of the overall project they are working on.

Offers Relevant and Quality Portfolio

For sure you would want a digital agency that can give you strong work samples from their previous clients. In fact, this agency should also have a portfolio of projects that is relevant to yours. By being able to check portfolios, you will be able to know if the skills of the agency’s workforce are matched with your needs. For instance, if you wish to make a Facebook app, you should look for the agency that has the experience in developing such app.

Provides Extra Services

The services offered by a reliable digital agency are not limited to the time frame of the project you have requested. This agency should make sure that it establishes a good relationship with you being their customer. Usually, it will offer you trainings on maintaining a new venture, making follow-ups to give you technical support and offering some project code warranty.

Makes a Reliable Contact

As it is likely for internet marketing to have complications, it is imperative to pick an agency that has a project manager assigned to cater to your project needs. With this, you have a person to stay in contact with who can inform you of what exactly is going on with your project. A lot of digital agencies will have their upper-level managers giving the pitch and handing the project to a lower-level manager. You can straightforwardly ask who you must be working with.

Possesses the Best Technology

In maintaining a competitive advantage online, it is essential to follow security standards and the choice of the right agency can do the trick. This agency is expected to have the best technology that can deal with all issues in your project and make sure that progress is stable. You can ask the agency about their technology and why they prefer to use it over others. A reliable agency can surely give you the right answer.