What is a Digital Marketing Agency and What Does it do?

Customers are more active online today than ever before. This means there are more ways to reach your audience. But to excel at digital over traditional marketing, there are challenges too.

You may be wondering: What is a digital marketing agency, and what work does it do? And as a second question: Does it make sense to outsource and what types of digital marketing agency will work well for me.

Let’s find out!

What does a digital marketing agency do?

A digital marketing agency will help you plan and implement your marketing campaigns. They sell access to marketing insight, experience, and skill. A great digital agency uses years of experience and picks the online marketing strategies that will work for you.

Digital marketing agency workflow process
Source: think360studio.com

The best digital marketing agencies save you time and money. They stay on top of the trends in various digital channels, so you don’t have to. Hiring a digital marketing agency means accessing:

  • Digital marketing consultants: A digital marketing consultant will ask questions about your company to help plan your campaigns. They’ll look at your goals to discover which tools are best to improve your online presence. A consultant will help pick which online platforms you’re going to use, what your marketing strategy and channels should look like, and more.
  • Content creation experts: An agency assists with content creation. Depending on your service, your digital agency may assist or replace your in-house marketing department. Most companies can create everything from blog posts to social media videos. Advertising agencies can also help you plan and create ad content to attract your target audience.
  • SEO specialists: Digital agencies understand SEO. They can help improve your ranking in search engines with keyword research and content. An SEO agency can help determine which content you need to improve organic search results and use SEO reporting tools and rank tracking software to report on the results. They can also improve your technical SEO to increase your chances of good search engine results.
  • Lead generation support: A good marketing team will bring you new leads. Using data analytics and research, they’ll help you find your target audience online. Then, your agency will implement inbound marketing tactics to attract leads and grow your email list. These tactics might include content marketing, marketing automation, social media, and paid online ads. Some agencies also help with lead qualification and optimization.
  • Tools for brand reach: A digital marketing agency improves brand reach in various ways. They can create content to attract organic traffic, and use paid digital ads too. Most experts understand how to use Google Search Console for PPC campaigns. Your marketing team can also look into other channels for brand reach. For instance, they might help with influencer outreach on social media or email marketing.
  • Insights into growth: Most digital marketing specialists track their results. Analytics tools show you how your agency uses various tools to generate leads. This ensures you can make better decisions with your marketing budget.

Digital marketing agencies systematically improve your marketing from top to bottom. These professionals are an extension of your internal marketing team. What your internal employees lack in terms of specialist skills, your digital marketing agency can provide.

Agencies uncover the weaknesses in your marketing strategy. From there, they can implement a multi-layered strategy for success.

What is Digital Marketing – and how does an agency help?

Digital marketing is an umbrella term referring to any strategy used to connect with customers online. Through digital marketing, companies target, reach and build relationships with online customers. The ultimate aim of internet marketing is to make sales and loyal customers.

Source: mjstudioagency.com

There are many different kinds of digital marketing. Some strategies involve improving the position of a company in search engine results. Google receives over 96,928 searches per second. Knowing how to stand out when a customer searches for something is essential. Other forms of digital marketing include:

Content marketing
Everything from blog posts to video content. Content marketing helps you connect with your audience, and demonstrate thought leadership.

Email marketing
With email marketing, you nurture leads over time. You can email your customers with newsletters (updates on your business), and promotional content.

Social media marketing
Social media marketing involves sharing posts and content on the social channels your customers visit. This could include Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram.

Paid marketing (PPC)
PPC paid marketing often includes SEA (Search Engine Advertising), purchasing “placements” in the search engine results, and other online search regions with Google Ads.

PR and earned media
Other companies reporting on your business and its achievements should help to draw attention to your brand. 

A digital marketing agency will use a variety of different digital marketing tactics. Through various strategies and tools, these professionals increase conversion, profit, and customer retention.

Types of Digital Marketing Agencies

Types of digital marketing agencies what's a digital marketing agency
via mindpooltech

Just as there are different forms of digital marketing, there are different kinds of marketing agencies. Often, agencies are defined by the kind of service they offer. Some agencies specialize in certain tactics, like social media management. Others offer a “full service” set of marketing services. Here are some common forms of digital marketing agencies:

1. Full-Service Digital Marketing Agency

A full-service digital marketing agency helps with all kinds of marketing services. These companies will help take your business online and make it stand out. They might offer things like website development and analytical tools to improve your technical SEO and consult on brand development. Full-service companies can also help with content for search engines, and social media.

Businesses often partner with full-service agencies long-term. These agencies can act as a complete outsourced marketing team. Full-service agencies handle all aspects of organic and paid advertising, which does make them more expensive. However, a full-service agency means you don’t need to look for specialist help elsewhere.

2. Inbound marketing agency

An inbound marketing agency focuses on strategies like search engine optimization and content creation. Any advertising effort which pulls customers “into” your sales funnel is a form of inbound marketing.

Inbound agencies specialize in positioning companies where customers can find them. They’re experts in building trust with leads and nurturing them to be sales-ready. Inbound strategists can also help with things like organic social media campaigns and email marketing.

Used correctly, an inbound marketing agency will improve your website traffic over time. These companies are also helpful at improving brand reputation.

3. SEO Agency

An SEO agency concentrates specifically on search engine optimization. In the digital world, most of your customers will find you through search engines. SEO agencies know how to get you higher positions on search engine pages. They help you find keywords to attract your target customers. SEO agencies can also help with:

  • Website audits
  • Blog and website content
  • Link Building
  • Video description optimisation
  • Technical SEO and site speed optimization

Many SEO specialists use data analytics and SEO reporting tools to track ROI on search engine optimization campaigns. They can help with building backlinks and bringing more customers into your sales funnel. Plus, SEO experts have a broad knowledge of how Google algorithms work.

4. Digital Ad Agency (SEA)

A digital ad agency specializes in PPC or paid advertising. This agency will help your business master things like Google or Facebook ads. The services of a digital ad agency often include (automated) bidding for keywords on Google Ads.

A digital ad agency can produce attention-grabbing, keyword-optimized ads. Some work exclusively on search engines, while others focus on social media ads. Digital ad agencies can often offer help with conversion optimization too.

5. Social media marketing agency

Social media platforms are some of the best digital platforms for collecting leads. With a social media management team, you can generate visibility, interaction, and even leads in the community and the social channels your customers use.

These professionals create content and ads on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Some social media marketing services actively respond to customer comments and messages. They also offer things like influencer outreach and cross-channel promotion.

6. Web design agency

Web design companies are often overlooked in the digital marketing space. But, you couldn’t attract customers online without a business website. Experts in website design help create custom websites for businesses. These professionals know all about CSS, HTML, and web programming frameworks. 

Using website and landing page builders, your agency will create an attractive site, where you can start creating content. They improve customer acquisition by building good user experience into your site. Some web design agencies will work with specific platforms like WordPress or are specialized in an eCommerce platform. They will also create web design, templates, images, videos, and animations for your site.

Website design agencies often offer website hosting and ongoing site maintenance services as well.

7. Automation and email marketing agency 

Email marketing agencies are specialists that know exactly how to make the inbox into that revenue stream. Email marketing is a high value and has one of the highest return on investment of any channel. Some agencies work on one or two specific email and marketing automation platforms only. Like a Hubspot agency, Salesforce Marketing Cloud partners, ActiveCampaign partner, or Mailchimp agency.

While some just focus on email content production, writing, email template design, or strategy. Often, they will set up complete triggered email campaigns and lead nurturing flows as well.

A full-service marketing automation agency also has the skills for lead generation pages, use of landing page tools, eCommerce knowledge, and CRM / database marketing.

8. Digital marketing consultant

Digital marketing consultants can be part of a digital marketing agency or operate on their own. These professionals have a broad knowledge of digital marketing. They can help you audit your existing campaigns and design a marketing strategy.

A full-service digital marketing company will have digital marketing consultants on hand. If you’re managing your campaigns on your own, you might need a consultant to provide guidance on where to start.

Types of digital marketing agencies based on involvement and expertise

Agencies operate a little differently than consultants. Consultants are more strategic and less operative, while agencies are more hands-on. For instance, a consultant might talk about how to improve your social media presence, while an agency builds your social media campaigns. 

Social media agency vs Digital marketing agency

Knowing the difference between a digital marketing agency and a social media agency is crucial.

Digital marketing agencies help with all customer interactions that happen online. Your digital marketing agency can deliver a range of services for business growth. This includes PPC, content creation, email marketing analytics, social media marketing, and more.

A social media agency offers one component of the digital marketing umbrella. They don’t focus on things like PPC or website optimization. Instead, social media agencies look only at social channels. While these experts can help you stand out on various social media platforms, they can’t help with other parts of a digital marketing campaign.

What You Should Look For When Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency

There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for choosing the best agency. But, doing your research ahead of time and setting goals will help you to make a decision you feel confident with. 

Maturity levels of digital marketing agencies
Source: rthree.com

Ensure you involve everyone who should have a say in your marketing campaigns in the decision. Then, compare a range of digital marketing services, looking at:

Customer Service

You need more than just a great digital marketing strategy from an agency. Good quality of service offers peace of mind when you need it most. Find out how your agency will commit to keeping you happy. Will you get a marketing manager you can ask questions? Will there be a designated contact person or account manager to deal with any issues you have?

Number of services

How many services do you want from your marketing agency? If you’re a small business, you may want to start with a few simple services, like SEO and website building. You may also want specific digital marketing services to make up for in-house skill gaps.


What kind of software will your agency use? A good digital marketing agency should use the latest tools to support your company. Find out what kind of marketing automation tools,  systems, or social media scheduling tools they use and have experience with. If you already have tools in use, ensure your agency can work with them.


Find out how you’re going to track ROI in advance. Hiring a digital marketing agency is much easier when you can see the benefits they’re having on your online presence. Companies using the right marketing tools should be able to prove their results.


Does the agency you want have any existing reviews? Can they show how they’ve helped other companies similar to yours? Testimonials and case studies can give you peace of mind before hiring.


The price you pay for your digital marketing agency will depend on a number of things. To calculate ROI from your service, you’ll need to know how much the company will charge. Make sure you understand the pricing structure in advance. Hidden costs can quickly add up with some agencies.

Is Digital Marketing Easy?

If you’re struggling to choose the right digital marketing project manager, it’s easy to get frustrated. You might wonder why your business can’t just handle digital marketing alone. While some companies definitely can take this route, it’s not easy.

Excellent marketing in-house requires an extensive team. The digital marketing landscape changes every day. New trends emerge in the way customers like to shop. Clients start searching for different terms online. Even the algorithms social media platforms and search engines use change rapidly.

It takes a lot of time to keep on top of everything. Even if you have the money to hire full-time experts for keyword research and mobile marketing, success isn’t easy. Marketing agencies spend years developing their skills. Without their help, most marketing strategies dissolve into trial and error. This means you spend a lot of money without getting results.

As traditional marketing efforts grow more complex, an agency can be crucial to staying ahead of the competition. A digital marketing agency handles the hard parts of your marketing strategies. This means you can focus on actually growing your business.

Do You Need a Digital Marketing Agency?

Now we’ve answered the question “what is a digital marketing agency?” the next query is: “do you need one?” A digital marketing agency is a valuable asset in planning and implementing marketing campaigns. They can help with all aspects of making your business stand out online. Some can even help out with things like coding and website design.

For many companies in today’s competitive landscape, learning how to hire a digital marketing agency will soon be essential. The future of digital marketing agency hiring is likely to increase following the pandemic. More business leaders will need help making their brand stand out. A digital marketing agency could be the key to staying ahead of the competition.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What kind of business is a digital marketing agency?

A digital marketing agency is a service provider. These companies specialize in digital marketing campaigns for other companies. Digital marketing agencies are also “B2B” companies. This means they work mainly with other companies.

What does a digital marketing agency do?

A digital marketing agency can handle everything from social media to content marketing. The right agency will help you develop your digital marketing strategy. They’re also great at tracking digital marketing results and planning new campaigns.

What is a reasonable profit margin for a digital marketing agency?

The average profit margin for a digital marketing agency is usually around 10-25%. But in some cases, corporate advertising agencies report margins of around 40%.

About Mor Mester

Mor Mester is the Head of Content Marketing at EmailVendorSelection. He's an email marketing and marketing automation expert with 6+ years of experience. Having tested and reviewed 100+ email marketing, marketing automation, CRM, ecommerce, SMS marketing, email verification, online course, and lead generation tools, he knows a good business software when he sees one.
After work, you can find him riding his bike on some trails.

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