Ever hear the saying “I wish there was more time in a day!”? Well if you’re a business owner or you know any business owners, I can assure you it has been said before. Businesses simply don’t have enough time to get everything they want accomplished in a day. Marketing agencies are just like every other business: they are constantly busy. If agencies are managing the reputation of clients on top of regular duties, they are likely overworked, meaning many details can get overlooked.
The average small business owner works 50+ hours a week. Many of them see the value in managing their online presence, but a lot of them just don’t have time. Digital agencies have started to gain traction in the marketing world, and have alleviated some of the stress behind managing clients’ online reputation. The implementation of internal or external digital agencies has allowed businesses to open up time once again in their busy schedules. Digital agencies are designed to reduce the workload that comes with managing numerous clients’ online reputation.
As marketing agencies grow, so do digital agencies. Some marketing agencies provide their own digital agents, however, many agencies today do not deal with their clients’ online reputation. If you are still confused as to what a digital agency is, that’s okay! We are here to tell you what digital agencies are, how they work, and most importantly, the top three digital marketing services that a digital agency can help with.
What is a Digital Agency?
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, email marketing and micro-sites etc., to the more specialized functions, such as viral campaigns, banner advertising, search engine optimization, podcasting, front-end development, etc (Darkstar Design).
This is a pretty good explanation of what some digital agencies are doing, but as the landscape of business changes, so does the role of digital agencies. Some digital agencies, like Vendasta, specialize in social media marketing, public relations, branding and managing a business's online reputation.
Many people confuse digital agencies with advertising agencies, but they are not the same. Advertising agencies are in the business of creating, promoting and advertising for their clients. Advertising agencies can often handle overall business marketing, but do not necessarily deal with direct client marketing. Digital agencies work with marketing agencies to handle public engagement, whether it be over social media or elsewhere online. Digital agencies like Vendasta are capable of doing advertising, or take on the role of an ad agency, but they are not synonymous. A digital agent is responsible for managing online reputation and online conversation as it happens.
In the words of Vendasta's Digital Agency manager, Sean Schroeder, a Digital Agency does "everything." To narrow this down, however, we’ve made a list of the top three things a digital agency should offer. Check it out:
1. Social Media Monitoring & Marketing
There is so much happening on the internet today and businesses are constantly being mentioned online. The rapid emergence of dominant social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram has drawn businesses attention, as billions of active users interact through these outlets everyday.
Digital agencies need to be offering social media monitoring at the very least, but in addition to monitoring, many digital agencies handle social media marketing. As we mentioned before, business owners do not have time to manage all aspects of their online presence. It can take a lot of time and energy to keep up with social media—there is a lot going on, and it’s a fast paced environment for those who are not familiar with it. Digital agents are professionals, and like any professional, they are familiar with the space they work in, in this case social media. Their intelligence in communicating effectively via social media is just one of their many assets. Social media may be overlooked by some businesses, but these businesses are falling further and further behind social-conscious competitors.
More than 40% of businesses are spending no money at all to market online via social media. What’s even more unbelievable is that 74% of businesses don’t employ anyone to manage their social media marketing (Zoomerang).
Many businesses think it’s easy to manage campaigns and carry out marketing tasks on social media, but it’s definitely not as simple as some perceive it to be. Some businesses casually manage social media on their own, but if businesses are not engaged at ALL times, then they really aren’t managing social media effectively. Social media is ever-changing, fast moving and it involves constant interaction with consumers.
Digital agencies are designed to help, and they react to social media conversation about a business. Digital agencies are able to oversee what is being said about a business over social media and contribute to the everlasting (and ever evolving) conversation about the business. Very few business owners are capable of doing this while fully committing themselves to running their business.
2. Review Management
Similar to social media, there is a lot of conversation about a business online through review sites such as Yelp, Facebook and Google. Uncontrolled reviews say a lot about a business: it appears to some that businesses that don’t respond to reviews don’t have time for consumers. Whether online reviews are positive or negative, there must be some acknowledgement from a business in order to connect with their customers.
There are a ton of benefits from staying on top of online reviews, including higher business rating scores and boosted SEO rankings. According to a new survey conducted by Dimensional Research, an overwhelming 90% of respondents who recalled reading online reviews claimed that positive online reviews influenced buying decisions, while 86% said buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews (MarketingLand). It’s hard to believe that nearly every consumer is influenced by online reviews, but as the online community grows larger and larger, so does the online review community.
Online reviews are relevant to everyone; someone will likely stay away from a business who is not responding to negative reviews, or ignoring their reviews all together. Consumers are always conscious of where they spend their money, and businesses should be conscious of how they appear on review sites.
When a Digital Agency helps with online reviews, they are able to stay on top of the conversation about a business online, much like the impact they have through social media monitoring. The difference here is that consumers who leave reviews have usually been directly impacted by a business, positively or negatively. Whether or not the experience was positive for the consumer, it is essential to respond to the customer. When someone gives a business their time to provide feedback, it’s a business's responsibility to make the time to respond.
Digital Agents have experience with major and minor review sites, and a thorough understanding of the review landscape. With a professional handling reviews, a business doesn’t have to worry about emotions or frustration taking over when replying to a review. Businesses must be VERY cautious when finding the right words to respond to online reviews. There is nothing worse than making a consumer’s bad experience even worse with a poorly thought out reply to an online review.
Every business wants to not only appear on major search engine results, but be visible enough to appear in the first few results. Digital agencies have the ability to boost a business’s visibility online, including SEO rankings.
This ties in directly with online reviews, as search engines rankings are influenced by online review scores. Digital agencies are designed to get the highest scores possible on review sites for a business. As review scores rise, so does the credibility of the business. The more conversation online about a business the better, as search engines index and account for business mentions. The more sources online about a business, the more likely that business is to score higher in search engine rankings. It’s the circle of life. Or at least SEO and reviews.
Digital agencies can manage social media, online reviews and improve visibility. Why trust them? Good question. It can be really hard to trust strangers in handling a business’s reputation. Luckily, these “strangers” are professionals. Professionals who are trained at mediating online conversation, and positively representing a business.
A digital agency works hard and does all of the heavy lifting so that business owners don’t have to. Digital agencies will:
- Save a business time, and allow them to focus on what is important, like selling
- Represent a business professionally
- Alleviate the stress of managing online conversation about a business
- Improve SEO
Digital agencies are becoming more and more relevant in business, and the industry is booming with the emergence of social media and online reviews. A good digital agency can be the foundation of a sparkling online business reputation, as they do “everything” for a business.