The goal of any digital marketing agency is to deliver a return on your investment.
Knowing that it’s wise to look at marketing expenses the same way you might look at startup costs. You always want to be prudent with your money, but you know that you will be making more in the long run.
Modern digital marketing strengthens your business by attracting visitors to your website and helping them understand what you have to offer. This sets a winning trajectory for your customer relationships in two ways:
- Establishing trust early on helps you distinguish yourself and differentiate from competitors
- Educating customers on their problems and potential solutions makes it easier to close a sale
A well-designed website backed by search engine optimization is often all that a small Central Florida company needs to bring in all the business it can serve. So, when you’re comparing your options, it’s also important to ask yourself how many more customers you can service readily and what average value you expect from each.
This gives you a much better idea of the full financial picture when hiring a digital marketing agency.
Still, it’s totally reasonable to wonder if you can afford a Central Florida digital marketing agency.
The best way to know is to compare the costs to the other options available to you.
There are two major alternatives to a digital marketing agency:
- Hiring internal personnel to run your digital marketing strategy for you
- Doing it all yourself (a common approach for solo Florida entrepreneurs)
It’s hard to estimate the costs at first glance, so let’s zoom in.
Hiring Your Own Internal Marketing Team Takes Longer and Costs More
One of the great things about using a digital marketing agency is that you can see results faster.
If your website is already set up to handle the traffic correctly, online advertising can send new visitors your way overnight. Or, if you have the runway to wait for a long-term strategy, search engine optimization can bring a steady stream of visitors from Google – at the very moment they search for what you have to offer.
It takes about three months for search engine optimization to gain traction.
By comparison, it might take you three months to make your first marketing hire.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, it takes about 36 days to complete the average hiring process. It also leads to about $4,000 in direct costs. But the fastest hires are inevitably entry-level. If you want your digital marketing done right, it’s best to bank on someone with more experience.
That leads to more significant costs that can really add up:
1. You Will Need to Bankroll Marketing Technology for Your Entire Team
Very few tasks in digital marketing are as simple as using a word processor or connecting on Slack.
Digital marketers speak fondly of their “stack,” all the apps that come together to help do the job.
Many of these software programs are indispensable. For example, if you want your search engine optimization to be on target, you will need a keyword research tool. This crunches the data on search trends and patterns to help your marketing team find the specific searches most likely to result in customers for you.
Virtually everything in digital marketing relies in part on these keywords, since they tell us so much about the people who type them in. So, no matter which brand you go with, you will need to pay for software licensing for your whole team. And that’s really only the beginning.
All the different software marketers use often adds up to tens of thousands of dollars a year.
Central Florida digital marketing agencies worth their salt can afford these fees thanks to proven, repeatable processes that generate real results. They know where their “break-even” is, and don’t have to worry about upselling customers to get there. But when you’re on your own, the software has a hefty price tag.
If you invested a fraction of that amount with an agency, you would be on your way to success!
2. To Stay Ahead of the Latest Trends, Marketing Teams Need Continuing Education
Will that entry-level new hire actually know how to use all those tools? The likely answer is no.
Digital marketing is one of the fastest-moving fields there is. Standards, best practices, and the expectations of your customers change constantly. What works today would be utterly unrecognizable to one of the first digital marketers to practice back in 2000. And Google has a vested interest in keeping up the pace.
Yes, Google changes lead to a better experience for search users.
But they also ensure that digital marketers are constantly running after the latest.
If you tried to apply strategies today that worked in 2015, your website would go nowhere. Digital marketing has some tried and true principles, and it works, but it will never be over and done with. You need talent that can refine your strategy without missing a beat. That means being open to continuous improvement.
Marketers who produce results are always pushing to learn, understand, and do more.
A number of certificates have become widely accepted in the industry, and top conventions bring in thousands of marketing pros from all over the world. Those might not feel like necessary expenses, but they still pale in comparison to the business you lose when your internal marketing team is behind the times.
3. Small Teams Still Need Outsourcing Support – No One Can “Do It All”
If you have one, two, or three digital marketers on your team, you’ll probably still need to do some outsourcing.
Every marketer’s skill set is different. You wouldn’t want someone who has never done any email marketing to run your list for you. You probably wouldn’t trust someone who doesn’t know a hashtag from a “like” to be the face of your social media management. And so on.
Yes, learning on the job is necessary and expected. But bringing new employees from total beginner level to competency means more months of waiting for results. And for every on-the-job misfire, you could end up with alienated customers. After all, we all know how fast social media can turn into a fiasco in the wrong hands.
Most companies don’t have the time to wait, so they fill skill gaps using freelancers.
This means sacrificing the centralization and efficiency they could get from a single digital marketing vendor while still making room for outside staff in their workflow and planning. Often, the result is like herding cats. You lose the benefits of seamless integration of third-party expertise and end up with, well, a mess.
When all is said and done, going with an internal team could cost $60,000 to $100,000 just to start.
And that’s if you’re only making a single hire.
Confronted with the facts, many Florida business owners set out to do it all themselves.
But do they really get value from this approach?
Let’s find out.
Do-It-Yourself Digital Marketing Is an Opportunity Cost Disaster for Central Florida Businesses
If you have a hundred hours to burn, you can learn digital marketing basics. But should you?
The expectation of “wearing many hats” is a recipe for burnout for many first-time business owners. Odds are good that you have certain things you do very well, and you went into business to profit from doing them.
Digital marketing pros get excited about the fast pace of change, efficient new tools, and even the ways they can use data science to get better results. Working toward the fulfillment of a marketing strategy every day is like doing a series of interesting puzzles or creating a beautiful artwork one piece at a time.
If that doesn’t describe you, digital marketing will be like the dragon you can never slay.
Let’s check in with some of the costs you can incur when you take the DIY approach:
1. You Still Need All the Software
Even if you decide to do it all on your own, you still need all the software. That not only amounts to a whole lot of extra licensing fees but many hours of guess-and-check on your own work. Most digital marketing tools run on the SaaS model, and once you sign up for a trial, there will always be someone trying to sell to you.
2. You Probably Still Need the Outsourcing
Wondering how the sausages are made? When you peek behind the curtain, you’ll discover digital marketing involves a whole ton of data entry. The temptation to cobble together a team, even from freelancing platforms, will be there. But the quality will be sadly absent unless you go with a digital marketing agency you can trust.
3. You Miss Out on Keeping the First Thing First
This is the biggest red flag for anyone who is thinking about doing marketing themselves to save money.
It’s not about whether it’s easy or not. It’s about whether doing it is the very best use of your time.
In one of the most famous TED Talks of all time, Simon Sinek advises business leaders to “start with why.”
Your why is what motivates you. It’s the core of your vision, the thing you can share with others to get them excited to work with you instead of any of the comparable businesses that might be around in your Central Florida neighborhood. In effect, it’s the ultimate differentiator in both action and attitude.
Your “why” probably doesn’t have anything to do with digital marketing.
You have skills, talents, relationships, and knowledge that represent amazing things only you can do for your business. So, set aside the chore of doing it all yourself – and risking that none of it will work out – and leave it to someone whose “why” means making your business more successful online.
The Value a Diverse Team of Skilled Marketing Experts Brings to the Table
Whether you do it yourself or hire employees, the basic assumption is “you’re on your own.”
The right digital marketing agency is more than the sum of its parts. By working together with a passionate and committed team of digital marketing experts, you will get results that go well beyond your expectations.
Digital marketing isn’t linear: A certain amount of money in, a certain number of website visits out. Instead, it’s exponential. By investing now, you create resources like blog posts and videos that continue to raise your online visibility years into the future. A single successful marketing asset can rocket your business to the next level.
It all starts by laying out your vision to a team.
At New York Ave, we’ve consistently seen that incredible things happen when people work together. You have the vision and desire – as we brainstorm, think, and work together, the combined wisdom of the group leads to outcomes no one could have come up with individually. The sky is the limit.
With this process of discovery, we’ve helped thousands of businesses unlock the power of digital marketing.
Say you have an idea for a product or a service. Your insights – about your industry and current customers – lead to a concept for a video. That video lays the foundation for a social media campaign. That campaign doubles or triples your sales. And no matter what form it all takes, we have the skills to see it through with you.
In a single, risk-free conversation, you can get down to the nitty-gritty:
1. What Are Your Goals?
Reputable digital marketers will always listen before they speak. There is no “one size fits all” solution – it all depends on the outcomes you want to pursue. A marketer shouldn’t tell you what you want to achieve but instead, make a commitment to get to know your business and customers.
That’s one of the reasons why, at New York Ave, we’ve traditionally made it a big part of our process to sit down at the table together. Over a hot cup of Joe and with encouragement from a friendly office dog, business owners are more willing to say what’s really on their mind so we can redefine what’s possible together.
2. How Will We Get There?
Once you lay out your goals, we know which methods can move you forward.
There are thousands upon thousands of techniques and technologies in digital marketing. Choosing the right mix of them to meet your needs is one way a digital marketing agency helps you steer the ship. And you don’t have to worry about being locked into a single approach: There are always multiple ways to make the journey.
3. The Scope
The scope of a marketing campaign answers all the questions in black and white so work can begin:
- What it’s going to cost
- How long it’s going to take
- What you should expect
With the right digital marketing agency, you can be as involved as you want throughout the process. It’s up to you whether you want to stay engaged or dive in every now and then. But you should never feel like you’re in the dark: Your agency should have the cold, hard data on your campaigns and be able to explain it any time.
Think of digital marketing like a night at the opera. Some business owners enjoy being directly involved in blog writing, video storytelling, or any other of the many other tactics that connect your brand with people you can help. Some would rather conduct the orchestra. Still, others sit in the balcony seats and let the band play on.
Whatever your preference, your team can make it work.
But the scope should be clear, detailed, and specific enough so you always know what’s going on in the action.
New York Ave Makes Central Florida Digital Marketing Easy
The best way to find out how much it costs to hire a digital marketing agency is to share your story with one and get the facts straight from the horse’s mouth. New York Ave is always here to lend an ear and offer some friendly advice. To discover more or get started, contact us today.