A Guide to Digital Marketing Agencies

Jill Conway


February 24, 2020 (Updated: May 4, 2023)

In this article… 


Promoting your company and its product can be time-consuming and challenging tasks to accomplish. Fortunately, digital marketing agencies can help companies worry less about the marketing details of their company and more about their company’s big-picture items. Employees within a digital marketing agency are highly trained and educated to build campaigns that effectively market companies and provide impressive results.

In this article, we provide a guide to digital marketing agencies, including addressing the question, “what is a digital marketing agency?”. We’ll also discuss the services and benefits agencies provide and how they implement digital marketing campaigns.

What is a Digital Marketing Agency?

Coworkers in a meeting at a table with poloroid photos in their hands

Image via Flickr by perzonseo

A digital marketing agency uses data and analytics to build strong and engaging marketing campaigns for your business. These campaigns educate, inform and attract customers to your product. An agency will work side-by-side with clients to determine the business’s overall goals and needs to create a campaign that drive results and increases a company’s overall revenue.

A digital marketing agency consists of a team of digital marketing professionals who all specialize in certain aspects of marketing. Digital marketing agency team members will organize ongoing meetings to learn the company’s monthly or quarterly goals. They will then work with other members of their team to determine a marketing strategy made specifically for your business. Once the strategy is set, they will collaborate with their creative team to build a campaign that drives results.

Common services digital marketing agencies may provide include:

  • Implementing and consistently managing marketing campaigns from start to finish
  • Search engine optimization and management
  • Analyzing a company’s website for performance and any adjustments or fixes
  • User experience on a website or campaign
  • Finding and repairing broken links
  • Regularly researching and staying up to date on marketing and industry trends or news
  • Designing marketing campaign images
  • Running social media campaigns
  • Creating video campaigns
  • Finding new ways to generate leads
  • Optimizing marketing and advertising campaigns for mobile
  • Building strong content pieces to inform and educate target audiences
  • Operating email campaigns

What is Digital Marketing? 

Before discovering the tools and resources a digital marketing agency provides and how it can benefit your business, you must first have a clear understanding of what digital marketing is. Digital marketing involves promoting a company’s brand through a carefully constructed marketing strategy. Content, design, search engine optimization, and other marketing tools are used to build a campaign catered toward your target audience.

Once a strategy is built and the campaign is implemented, data and analytics are used to track those results to learn which campaign elements were successful enough to continue and which should no longer be used.

For example, if you implemented a Halloween-themed content marketing campaign that involves your website’s blogs using Halloween-related verbiage, you can test the results at the end of the campaign. If the results brought in clicks or page views that significantly boosted awareness of your product or company, you can use these results to create other holiday-themed content campaigns in the future. If the results were negative, you can avoid implementing similar campaigns in the future.

Many digital marketing agencies hire employees with strong experience and knowledge of a specific digital marketing element. Common elements of digital marketing can include:

  • Search engine optimization
  • Analytics and data-tracking
  • Content marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Video marketing
  • Web decision
  • Social media marketing


A digital marketing agency will use their tools, resources, and advanced marketing software knowledge to test and analyze each digital campaign to build more successful campaigns that will continue driving positive results.

Benefits of a Digital Marketing Agency

A digital marketing agency can provide you with a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Creating strategies that bring in more profits. Agency employees work directly with customers by planning and participating in several meetings with clients. They will learn more about your business and its industry to create marketing campaigns that engage buyers and maximize your profits.
  • Significantly enhancing the productivity and efficiency of your business. Professionals in a marketing agency work with you to determine your needs as a company. They will then use these needs to create a strategic and goal-oriented marketing campaign from scratch.
  • Accurately targeting your ideal audience and customers. To determine how to best create targeted marketing campaigns, digital marketing agencies will develop a buyer persona for each demographic of your company’s audience. They will use this to determine how to cater to their messaging to each person to drive engagement and boost awareness of your company.
  • Building unique content and messaging made specifically for your audience. Copywriters and content strategists in a digital marketing agency often specialize in researching your company, its industry, and what type of content your audience is viewing to write content and messaging that speaks directly to each reader and answers any questions they’re searching for.
  • Skyrocketing your company’s return on investment. Digital agencies can review the results of each digital campaign to determine which was successful enough to continue investing more money in. Consistently giving you with successful paid campaigns can eventually provide a strong return on investment for your company.
  • Increasing company search rankings. Digital marketing agencies are often highly trained in finding keywords, inserting links, and using other optimization tools to enhance your company’s SEO and provide strong organic search results. This can help your company be noticed quickly and may drive more users toward your website.
  • Bringing more prospects and customers to your website. One of the main reasons why digital marketing agencies are constantly testing and analyzing campaigns is to learn what more they should implement to determine when and where you should invest in specific marketing channels. Their main goal is to build campaigns that drive results and bring more users to your website and channels.
  • Saving time and money by avoiding hiring a full marketing team. If your company decides to implement marketing campaigns on its own, you may find yourself hiring a marketing team to track campaign data, build and create new marketing campaigns, design your website, and more. Hiring a digital marketing team allows you to avoid spending a majority of your budget on new employees and allows you to focus on big picture items within your company, rather than having to organize and run campaigns yourself.

Determining whether to work with a digital marketing agency often depends on what type of services you’re looking for and the goals you’re aiming to accomplish. Many digital marketing agencies provide several services. Some agencies, like a content marketing agency, for example, may focus on a specific service to give you exemplary service in that certain area.

Who Works Within a Digital Marketing Agency? 

A digital marketing agency consists of employees who work to build campaigns that drive results and engage audiences. To do this, many team members work together on various aspects needed to build a marketing campaign from scratch. From strategizing a marketing plan to developing the creative process to tracking results, each member of a marketing agency works to provide a strong campaign that solves the promotional and marketing goals of each client.

The following are common digital marketing agency team members you might find working on a digital campaign.

Account Manager

An account manager works alongside the client to plan and develop various marketing strategies to build new, digital campaigns. They are often the client’s main contact as they consistently work to develop a strong relationship with the client. Account managers will also gather feedback from clients and relay this to the creative team to help them learn how to improve their work based on the requests from the client.

They also collaborate closely with the data and analytics team to learn the performance of each campaign and will communicate these results to the client. Once these are communicated, they will continue working closely with the client to develop new strategies according to the previous campaign results and the client’s current goals. Account managers may suggest ideas for new campaigns based on their digital marketing expertise and results from past campaigns.


A copywriter will create content that is engaging, educational, and valuable to the reader. The main goal of a copywriter is to prove that their client is an industry expert by providing well-written content that answers a reader’s questions and provides them with new and valuable knowledge. They may create copy for ad campaigns, blog posts, email campaigns, white papers, eBooks, and other marketing material.

In some digital marketing agencies, the copywriter may be responsible for content strategy in addition to writing the content. This typically involves the copywriter researching popular keywords to determine what kinds of content their target audience may search for. They may use various search engine optimization tools to develop subjects their target audience may want to learn more about.

Many copywriters hold strong researching skills to gather information on specific industry-related subjects to best educate and inform the readers with unique content catered specifically to them. Some copywriters may specialize in writing for a specific outlet, which may make their content even more valuable to the reader.

For example, a copywriter could specialize in writing blog posts. This can mean they know how to create blog posts that contain all the elements, such as SEO and keyword research, needed to build a strong and quality-filled blog post.

Copywriters may also specialize in one specific industry. This way, they will remain current on industry trends and will have enough knowledge to write about a certain industry. Doing this can help their clients provide more detailed content for their audience and establish their role as an industry leader.

Graphic Designer 

A graphic designer is in charge of the visual look and design of a company and their digital campaigns. They will use their advanced knowledge and skills using graphic design tools to create designs that visually convey the overall message a company is aiming to send. Graphic designers will work with either the account manager or directly with the client to determine the goals of the campaign. They will then conceptualize and sometimes sketch the design before creating a final version to be approved by the client.

Graphic designers will build creative, virtual campaign messages including logos, advertisements, social media graphics and other marketing design materials. Some graphic designers will build websites for clients as well. They ensure color palettes, fonts and other visual elements match the overall style and brand of the company.

Social Media Manager 

A social media manager manages the client’s social media pages. They will sometimes create the content of the post if a copywriter hasn’t already been assigned to do so. Social media managers plan each social media post and determine what content or graphics the client wants featured in each post. Once the posts are ready, the social media manager will input them into a schedule and request approval from the client.

If they receive approval, they can begin scheduling each post according to the editorial calendar. Many social media managers have knowledge of and access to certain social media scheduling tools. These allow the social media manager to schedule their content to post at a certain date and time in the future.

Social media managers are also often in charge of remaining aware of ongoing social media trends and updates. They will have a strong knowledge of their client’s audience on each social media platform and will cater each post to that specific channel and its readers.

The social media manager will monitor each social media post and its performance. They will then report this performance to the client. This will help them determine which social media campaigns were successful. They can apply these results to how they run future campaigns.

SEO/Paid Search Specialist 

An SEO or paid search specialist will build and implement various advertisement and marketing campaigns for clients. These campaigns are often targeted to specific audiences that will drive users to the client’s website and will build awareness of their company and product. This can be done by creating display ads to bring prospective customers to a client’s landing page.

This landing page will often feature a call to action leading the client to either learn more about the product, request informative content pieces, or to purchase the product. SEO or paid search specialists will often research keywords that their key demographics search for. From there, they will build marketing material that uses these keywords to target that demographic.

The SEO/paid search specialist will then track the results of these campaigns to determine which keywords they should target to create content that more accurately speaks to the intended audience. SEO or paid search specialists ensure the budget for each campaign is used effectively and provides a strong return on investment for the client.

Digital Marketing Analyst 

Digital marketing analysts evaluate a company’s campaign data and reports this to other members of the digital marketing team. They will determine how successful the campaign was and what can be improved by reviewing a campaign’s search engine traffic data, page clicks, and more. Digital marketing analysts will use this data to create reports and present them to team members or the client.

These resources will detail the success of each campaign, the exact results they brought in, and what the return on investment is for the campaign. This can help them collaborate with the digital marketing team and clients to build a new budget for the next marketing campaign. Since they analyze the results from different marketing channels and platforms, their results will help the client and marketing team determine which marketing channels they should focus their efforts on.

For example, imagine a dental office launches a marketing campaign that includes a white paper describing how to prevent cavities as well as a video explaining the same subject. The digital marketing analyst would review the results of each campaign to determine which was successful. They would review each campaigns’ clicks, downloads, and views.

If they find that the video drove a significantly larger amount of successful results, they would report this to their team and eventually to the client. These results would help them conclude that video campaigns are the best media for their audience and that they should invest more of their budget into creating video campaigns for their viewers.

When Should a Company Hire a Digital Marketing Agency?

You should hire a digital marketing agency according to the needs of your company. If you find your company facing challenges as you try to implement different marketing campaigns or you’re having issues balancing the many tasks of implementing these campaigns, you can consider hiring a digital marketing agency to give you and your team members more time to handle other important items within your business.

Learning about the abundance of services digital marketing agencies may provide may make you believe they are costly. Fortunately, you can hire a digital marketing agency based on your company’s specific needs. Some companies may hire a digital marketing agency for only one or two specific services.

For example, a company may have every necessary member of their internal marketing team, except for a graphic designer. This may cause them to reach out to a digital marketing agency and request only their graphic design services.

In addition to general digital marketing agencies offering a wide variety of marketing resources, there are digital marketing agencies that may provide in one or two specialties. For example, a content marketing agency focuses specifically on writing, strategizing, and tracking various content marketing campaigns. Since this is their specialty, they will be experts in creating effective content marketing campaigns that provide strong results.

Other types of digital marketing agencies can include:

  • Website agencies. These agencies will design websites and track the results of campaigns directed toward the website as well as tracking page views of each webpage. Many agencies will hire front and back-end developers to optimize the site for effective user engagement.
  • Publicity firms. If you expect your company to receive regular media attention, you can enlist in a publicity or public relations firm to help your company keep a positive image. They will also write and distribute company news and press releases to be picked up by various news outlets.
  • Advertising agency. This type of agency specializes in creating ads for clients. They ensure that their ads are uniquely created for their audience and use paid campaigns to make sure these ads are well-noticed by the company’s target audience.
  • SEO agency. The job of an SEO agency is to keep a company’s content appearing on search engines for their target audience to view. Keeping a client’s content search engine optimization strong and well-monitored helps boost awareness of the company and can increase user engagement by driving prospects to their site or informative marketing material.
  • Email marketing firm. Email marketing campaigns can provide effective outcomes for companies if they are uniquely created and filled with valuable content. Email marketing firms know how to track results from previous email campaigns to create new ones. They are often highly knowledgeable of different email platforms and management systems.

Not only do some digital marketing agencies specialize only in certain marketing elements but there are also digital agencies with strong industry experience who focus on one specific niche or industry. For example, there are marketing agencies that work only with nonprofit organizations. This allows the agency to focus specifically on that industry and its trends.

Because of this, team members in this digital marketing agency can research more about nonprofit campaigns and how to craft content to speak to nonprofit audiences. It also allows them more time to develop their knowledge about the nonprofit industry as it evolves.

Where to Begin When Searching For a Digital Marketing Agency

If you’re searching for a digital marketing agency to best suit your company’s needs and goals, you should first determine which digital marketing agency is right for your company. You can do this by following the steps below:

1. Decide the Needs and Goals of Your Company 

Before beginning your search, you should sit with your company and break down your specific needs. Determine what you’re searching for in a digital marketing agency and what goals you’d like them to accomplish. Identify any of your company’s areas that may need attention and care. This can include elements like creating more engaging social media posts or writing more informative content.

2. Determine Your Company’s Budget

The next step is to figure out what types of services your company can afford. This can help you narrow down your search as you look for companies that provide valuable services within your budget. You should also think about how much time you have available to regularly work with the digital marketing agency. Some may prefer to work with you for an extensive amount of time to develop campaigns while others won’t require as much collaboration time.

3. Start Researching Different Digital Marketing Agencies

Conduct online research to discover different companies available to you. You can research companies in your area to decide if you’d rather pursue a local agency or you can simply type “digital marketing agencies” into a search engine and review all the agencies available. Read each agency’s website carefully to determine if their work and values best align with your company’s goals.

You can also search for companies who may work in your specific industry or niche to ensure they are experts in that subject. Once you’ve visited websites to read their services and have found agencies you believe you may work well with, you can read reviews about each company. This can help you gather an idea about what type of customer service these agencies will provide and how well they performed for previous companies.

4. Meet with Your Final Choices to Determine the Best One 

Once you’ve narrowed your agencies down, you can begin contacting them to learn more about their services. This can be a great way to gather details about the team you’d be working with, how successful their previous campaigns have been and what types of campaigns they may plan to implement for your company. Try to picture yourself working with them regularly to determine if you can easily develop a long-lasting relationship with the company.

5. Make a final decision and discuss terms 

Once you’ve made your decision and have picked an agency you believe will bring you valuable results, you can meet with them to sign agreements, decide payment and discuss terms. This is also a great time to introduce your team to begin developing a strong professional relationship with their team.

Why Choose a Digital Marketing Agency Over a Traditional Agency?

Digital marketing agencies are becoming more of a popular source for companies hoping to effectively promote their products. This is often due to how marketing platforms are constantly changing and evolving. Many companies may rely on digital agencies to build creative campaigns that provide results. Traditional agencies may often rely more heavily on the visual aspect of their campaigns rather than the results each campaign brings.

Below are a few reasons why companies may choose a digital agency over a traditional agency.

Digital Agencies Have Access to Multiple Technological Solutions

Digital agencies have access to resources that measure the metrics and results of various campaigns to help determine if they’re generating leads. If they can measure the results of each campaign, they can determine what elements to change to provide better results for each campaign.

These analytical resources can include social media analytical tools, search engine analytical tools and website tools. They can all be used to effectively gather and track the results of each successful campaign. Since traditional marketing agencies are mainly concerned with the overall look of their ads or campaigns, they may not have access to the analytical tools that digital agencies may have.

Creatives are Hired to Build Unique Content and Designs 

Along with providing analytics and data to support each campaign, digital agencies will also have a creative team that works to ensure the campaign provides results and is visually pleasing or entertaining to prospects. The creation behind their content will give more value and benefit to readers and viewers as it will provide solutions to their problems and has a larger chance of successfully reaching the target audience.

Digital Marketing Agencies Help You Develop Relationships with Potential Customers

Digital marketing agencies are also more beneficial for companies as they help you develop a relationship with potential customers. Digital agencies work closely with the marketing funnel. This funnel leads prospects through the buyer’s journey and provides them the opportunity to learn more about your product while you learn more about them as a customer. The further they continue down the marketing funnel, the stronger the connection and relationship you build.

As you build this connection, you establish trust with your prospects. This is a trust in the knowledge you provide them, which will eventually evolve into trusting the product you sell them. If this relationship continues, you may have a long-term customer who consistently purchases your product or its updates. With traditional agencies, your campaigns may rarely involve connecting with and building relationships with customers.

It’s Easier to Consistently Customize and Cater Ads to Your Audience 

As you create digital marketing campaigns, industry and marketing trends may evolve and change. Digital marketing allows your campaigns to change alongside it. For example, if a pet adoption company runs an advertising campaign with the goals of raising dog adoptions, you can create run this campaign on social media. After analyzing last month’s campaign efforts, you learn that many people adopted dogs after seeing a promotional code on a similar advertisement.

With digital marketing, you’re able to return to that advertisement and add a similar promotional code whenever you’d like. Many traditional marketing agencies will run print ads or other marketing material that can be more difficult to change or update regularly. As the world changes and grows, it’s easier to update your content or material to remain consistent with both the needs of your audience and industry trends.

Gives Your Audience Access to More Educational Material 

One of the strongest benefits of digital marketing rather than traditional is how easily your audience can access your content. White papers, eBooks, and articles are great ways to not only inform your audience and educate them on topics they’re interested in, but to build more awareness of your brand and company. With the help of a digital marketing agency, your company can create content consistently that is always reaching your audience.

The more content your audience views, the more they may realize how strong your industry knowledge is. If you establish your company as an industry leader with your audience, you can gain more customers. Using a digital agency to help you discover different platforms and areas online for target prospects to notice you more often can also help build awareness for your company.

How Digital Marketing Agencies Run Campaigns 

We’ve discovered more about what a digital marketing agency does and the types of campaigns they may run for your business, but it’s also beneficial to learn how they may typically run digital marketing campaigns for clients. The steps agencies take to run digital marketing campaigns are featured below:

1. Gain More of an Insight About Your Customers and Target Audience 

To cater the message of your company toward your specific audience, you’ll want to learn more about the audience you’re speaking to. The digital marketing agency will provide a team of experts to work with you on your account to establish the audience you currently target and are aiming to target.

From there, they will research this audience to gain more of an insight on what type of content they’re searching for as well as where they may most likely view this content. A common way most digital marketing agencies may discover where to target their efforts is by developing a buyer persona for your audience.

You can create a fictional character that represents one of the key demographics of your target audience. These demographics are determined by using analytical evidence to see your past campaigns and gain an estimation who viewed your content. They will then create a fictional character and answer questions about them regarding their job, what they may value most and how they choose to view their content.

An example of a buyer persona is a woman named Jane in her early 30s who is a mother of two children. She works in a management position and is interested in learning more about team-building, but only has time to quickly read content on the weekends. Keeping this in mind, you can build content catered to this buyer persona. This can help you create a goal of making short and simple articles regarding team-building exercises.

2. Build a Specific Marketing Plan to Enhance Workflow and Productivity 

The digital marketing agency will then work directly with the client to establish a process and plan for building campaigns using their specific services. They will learn what your overall goals as a company are and your goals for your ideal marketing campaign. They will also collaborate with you further to develop style guides and formatting requirements.

Once this has all been established, they will start building ideas for campaigns as well as ideal timeframes and deadlines to finish each campaign. They will collaborate with you to ensure the strategy and plan aligns well with your goals for the campaign.

3. Determine What Tools are Needed to Successfully Implement Each Campaign

After brainstorming ideas for campaigns, the digital marketing agency will continue collaborating with the client to understand what tools they need to be successful throughout each campaign. Depending on the type of content or campaign being implemented, certain tools may be required.

For example, if you’ve implemented a paid social media campaign, you can download tools to track social media campaign performance and purchase each advertisement. You may also need to download a platform that helps you schedule, track and approve social media content before, during and after it’s posted.

4. Continue Following Through with Each Campaign and Strategy 

When the marketing plan has been created and strategized, the next step of the process will be to implement the campaign and inform the client of any updates. Your digital marketing agency team will be regularly communicating with you to either develop a strategy for your next campaign or to provide any updates to the current campaign.

Your account manager or other staff members will typically work with you regularly to develop a professional relationship and to answer any questions or address concerns you may have regarding various elements of the marketing campaigns.

5. Pull Results from Each Campaign Using Data and Analytics 

The digital marketing agency will continue to track the campaign and its performance and will report back any successes of the campaign. Once the campaign is finished, they will build a final report to inform you of the analytics and results. You can then work with the digital marketing team to learn what to do with these results.

They will often provide you advice for what types of marketing campaigns to create based on the analytics they have received after these campaigns. This is when you can collaborate with the digital marketing team to develop ideas for your next successful campaign.

Working with a Digital Marketing Agency 

Working with a digital marketing agency can help provide your company with effective marketing solutions that drive engagement with potential customers and boosts awareness of your products and services. You can search for an agency that matches the needs and goals of your company or one that is highly knowledgeable of your industry and its evolving trends.

Whichever company you decide to work with, make sure they value your company and its product. You should also ensure they are creating effective campaigns that educate and engage your target audiences.

Author Image - Jill Conway
Jill Conway

CopyPress writer

More from the author:

Read More About Agency Solutions