Finding the Best Ecommerce Digital Marketing Agency for You
You have your ecommerce store set up. Now what? How do you drive traffic to your website, increase sales, and grow your business? You need a marketing strategy and probably an ad campaign or two, but getting off the ground can be challenging if you don't have any marketing experience. In this post, we'll discuss what a digital marketing agency does, if your business needs one, and how to choose the best one to fit your business.
What is an Ecommerce Digital Marketing Agency?
First, let's do a quick recap of what digital marketing is. Digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use digital channels. Businesses leverage digital channels, such as search engines, social media, email, and websites, to connect with current and prospective customers. So it stands to reason that an ecommerce digital marketing agency is an agency that manages digital marketing efforts for ecommerce businesses. Simple so far, right? Keep reading to find out how agencies work and the services they provide.
How an ecommerce digital marketing agency works
Traditional marketing agencies produced television, radio, and newspaper ads to sell products for companies. They would make that content and then help place it in the appropriate advertising channel. The internet has complicated marketing, consumer behavior, and especially the retail industry. In the digital age, marketing strategy has become more targeted. While digital marketing agencies can still help with branding and customer research, they now take an active lead-generation role.
What does a digital marketing agency do?
We've discussed what digital marketing is, what a digital agency is, and how an ecommerce agency differentiates itself from others, but what does a digital marketing agency do? Digital marketing agencies:
Grow traffic to your website
The goal of any digital marketing expert is to bring more traffic to your business. The traffic growth can come from a mix of paid channels and organic search traffic, but marketing experts will ideally focus most efforts on organic growth because it will attract more leads with fewer costs. These leads will also be better quality leads that will increase the probability of purchases.
Generate sales-ready traffic
The digital marketing agencies' professionals will know your business, your marketing goals, objectives, your sales funnel, and your ideal targeted audiences.
Depending on where your leads are in the sales funnel, different inbound marketing tactics are more effective than others. An agency with the right expertise will be able to get the right message to the right audience through a suitable online medium at the right time. They will help you generate sales-ready leads by moving leads from the top of your sales funnel to the bottom.
Expand your brand's reach
Digital marketing agencies will promote your brand and help you create relationships with customers to expand your brand reach online and on social media platforms like Instagram.
Improve your digital marketing stack from top to bottom
Often overlooked as an essential function of marketing, some digital agencies can help you with your marketing operations and optimizing your martech stack to make sure you are effectively using your marketing tools according to best practices. Agencies can help you with your marketing automation, set up your reports, clean your data, and make sure you can effectively collect and organize your data to reveal data-driven insights.
Improve your marketing overall
The right agency can catch weaknesses in your digital strategies and make recommendations to help you improve your overall brand strategy. Marketing encompasses such a broad range of activities that it's difficult for small internal marketing teams to cover that breadth of expertise. Agencies can help fill in the gaps to complement your internal team.
Services ecommerce digital marketing agencies provide
The services an ecommerce agency might provide versus a "generic" agency are pretty much the same. The only difference is that an ecommerce-focused agency will be more familiar with ecommerce platforms like Shopify Plus, Magento, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce. They'll always have a better lay of the ecommerce land—what has worked and what hasn't for other successful ecommerce businesses—and will be able to better guide you through a successful digital marketing strategy tailored for your industry. Here is a list of example services:
- Search engine optimization
- Pay Per Click advertising (PPC)
- Social media marketing (including social ads)
- Marketing automation
- Content marketing
- Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
- PR services
- Email marketing
- Video production
- Digital event coordination
- Website development
Types of digital marketing agencies
All digital marketing agencies offer an overlapping range of digital marketing services, but their service scope and specializations can differ. Here are some broad categories agencies fall into:
A full-service digital marketing agency offers the widest variety of digital marketing services. Full-service agencies are best for small businesses and start-ups that don't have sizeable internal marketing and sales teams. Still, larger organizations partner with full-service agencies to free up time for their marketing and sales leaders.
Digital marketing firms
Digital marketing firms sometimes refer to themselves as digital marketing agencies. But whether they are firms or agencies, they will focus purely on digital marketing activities and offer fewer services than full-service agencies. A digital marketing firm won't typically provide PR, non-digital advertising, or other traditional marketing services.
SEO agencies specialize in, of course, SEO optimization to improve your store's ranking in search results. They will be experts in data analytics and web developer tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, SEM Rush, and Moz. Because Google's search algorithm is ever-changing, SEO agencies focus on staying on top of SEO best practices.
Digital ad agencies (PPC)
PPC agencies specialize in Pay Per Click advertising, helping you bid on keywords and ad placement on search results. They will know how to produce attention-getting, keyword-filled ads that conform to each ad medium's best practices. They will offer LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook ad creation and deployment as well as Google Ads Manager account creation and maintenance.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) agencies
CRO agencies specialize in optimizing conversion rates on your website, landing pages, emails, sometimes even within digital products. These agencies live and breathe A/B testing to make user-driven decisions. They are experts on user experience.
Social media agencies
As the name implies, a social media agency offers social media marketing services. They help brands manage and produce regular content on their social media channels to help you curate digital experiences for customers. Social media agencies will also offer services for social media risk assessment or responding to customer interactions as well as influencer outreach for cross-promotion and affiliate marketing.
Web design agencies
A website design agency focuses solely on building customized websites for businesses. They will both design and implement the look, feel, and functionality of websites. They will help with user experience design and research, custom vector creation, storage, web development, and web hosting. They may also help you choose your brand's visual style, including your website's fonts, colors, images, and layout.
Digital marketing consultants
A digital marketing consultant is a professional that may or may not be affiliated with a digital marketing agency. Consultants have a broad knowledge of digital marketing and can help businesses develop a digital marketing strategy. They will usually recommend digital marketing agencies or professionals to execute marketing campaigns.
Do You Need an Ecommerce Marketing Agency?
Now you know what a digital marketing agency does and some different types of agencies. But do you need an agency at all?
The right time to bring in an agency
If you are running your business full-time, you can learn some marketing strategies to implement yourself. However, digital marketing is a rapidly evolving field because customers are savvy. Most businesses don't have time to learn or keep up with everything needed for an effective campaign. If you have exhausted your marketing capabilities, it may be time to bring in an agency or firm.
Are you ready to manage an agency?
Be realistic. Take a look in the mirror and honestly evaluate whether you have time to manage an agency. Although an agency's job is to offload the workload, entering into this type of professional engagement is not a "set it and forget it" kind of deal. It should be a partnership where the agency will make recommendations, but you still need to guide them to do what you want. Even compared to the most experienced ecommerce marketing agency, you will always know your business and customers better than they do. It would be best if you were willing to provide engaging feedback in a realistic timeframe to recoup the value of what you are spending on the services. Remember, you get out what you put in.
How to Choose a Digital Marketing Agency
Now we'll discuss how to evaluate and choose an agency, including what prep work to do beforehand, understanding how to budget for it, and most importantly, questions to ask when selecting an agency.
Do your homework
First, do your research to get an initial idea of the types of services you may need. (You're already here, so you're off to a great start.) It will be easier to evaluate each agency if you have a basic understanding of ecommerce marketing. Be flexible and willing to take direction and recommendations, but come in with a game plan.
Determining the services you need.
While it's the agency's job to develop your marketing strategy, things will go more smoothly if you clearly understand and can communicate the problems you are trying to solve. Are you trying to bring more shoppers to your store? You may have plenty of traffic coming to your store, but those prospects are not converting into buyers. Are you trying to fix cart abandonment? Be able to ask for help where you need it.
Have a budget in mind
Just as it's crucial to have an outline in your head of the services you might need, it's also vital to go into an agency search with a marketing budget in mind.
What's a good marketing budget for a small business?
In general, the U.S. Small Business Administration recommends, "As a general rule, small businesses with revenues less than $5 million should allocate 7-8 percent of their revenues to marketing." They base this suggestion on companies that have net margins in the 10-12 percent range.
Understand pricing structures for project types?
Do pricing research on the internet by asking colleagues. Get to understand what types of projects are charged hourly versus as a flat fee. If you are engaging in multiple marketing activities, decide whether it makes more sense to pay your agency a retainer for a set number of hours that they can apply towards any work.
Questions to Ask
Preparation is key. Here are some examples of questions to ask when you are comparing vendors.
- What are their payment tiers and agreements, and what are the payment terms on the contract?
- Will they assign you a designated contact person or project manager?
- How often will you meet or be given status updates about your campaigns?
- How familiar is the agency with your particular industry?
- Do they have reference clients who would be willing to speak to you?
- Do they have any client success or case studies to read?
- Does the firm have a team of qualified specialists?
- How long has the company been in business?
- Do they have a work portfolio of work you can view?
- Do they have experience in B2B or D2C? (whichever is applicable)
The Bottom Line
With a little preparation, choosing an ecommerce digital marketing agency doesn't have to be stressful. You've already gained a basic knowledge of digital marketing services and the types of digital marketing agencies. And now you know the types of questions to ask vendors and what to keep in mind while you are searching for an agency to help you drive traffic to your ecommerce business and ultimately drive more sales.
Malomo helps you capture untapped revenue through beautiful, customized post-purchase experiences to complement your ecommerce digital marketing strategy. Schedule a demo today.