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When Should Your Store Hire an eCommerce Digital Marketing Agency?

Last Updated July 7, 2021

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After your business has grown from its beginnings, you'll find yourself busier than ever. This is when you should start thinking of bringing in more people to keep up with the workload. While this can be done by hiring directly, this often isn't the best choice at this stage. Instead, it's a good idea to hire companies to take care of specific business tasks, such as your eCommerce marketing. The main question is when and how to do this.

When should you hire an eCommerce digital marketing agency?

5 Signs Youre Ready for an eCommerce Agency

If you run an online store, you know that digital marketing for your business can take many forms. If you're reading this, until now, you've likely handled all of them yourself. You've run PPC ads, chosen platforms to carry those ads, engaged in SEO (search engine optimization), used banner/display advertising, promoted your store on social media, and more. Chances are that you're better at some of these than others, but as a startup, you had to at least make an attempt at all of them.

There are several signs that mean that you should hire an established eCommerce digital marketing agency to take over these tasks. You're likely seeing one or more of them as you move into the next growth phase of your business.

  • You realize that a professional or a team could make better use of one or more of the marketing channels you want to use
  • You are no longer able to spend enough time on marketing
  • Marketing is eating up all of your time, causing other parts of your business to be neglected
  • You already have an in-house marketing team, but it is overextended
  • You don't have the budget for one or more permanent in-house marketing people
  • You don't have enough work to justify hiring someone as a full-time marketing employee

While most people won't see all of these signs, even one of them points to the need to bring on an outside eCommerce agency.

The first situation is likely the most common. Many people become good at one or two marketing channels but have trouble with others. Perhaps you're great at interacting on social media, but struggle to turn a profit on PPC campaigns. Alternatively, you might be good at PPC, but don't want to deal with organic SEO. With a top-notch growth marketing agency, you don't have to fight with any of it. The agency will have a team, so no matter what kinds of ads you want to run, it will have an expert ready to create an effective campaign.

Time is another top issue with entrepreneurs whose companies have grown. Now, instead of running a few ads and packing up an occasional box, you have enough orders to keep you buying stock and packing it up all day long! Yet, you still have to keep advertising, for the market is quick to forget that you exist. At the same time, you're dealing with accounting, growing IT demands, shrinking warehouse space, and a number of other issues. When this happens, something needs to be outsourced, or quality can suffer on all fronts. Not only that, you'll find yourself getting frazzled if you continue to handle it all yourself.

What's involved in hiring a growth agency?

There are a few types of firms that describe themselves as "growth agencies," so the first step is to make sure to look at the ones that actually offer the services that you're looking for. Some want to get their fingers into all aspects of your business, while others limit themselves to one aspect of it. Make sure to choose the one that fits your overarching goal. This will prevent friction about who is in charge of what.

When you hire a growth marketing agency, you'll gain the expertise of those who are adept at modern eCommerce marketing techniques.

Getting started with a digital marketing agency

The agency should learn about your overall business so that its campaigns are in line with your goals and current capabilities. You will be able to meet with the team leader assigned to you, and possibly, with other members of the team as well. At these meetings, you'll discuss your goals, current campaigns, and ideas for changes or new campaigns. Together, you'll arrive at suitable campaigns and attainable goals.

Are there any downsides to hiring a marketing agency?

One downside to hiring a digital marketing agency for some founders is that it can take a while to get used to letting other people take the lead in devising campaigns and adjusting their directions. This is often a leap for entrepreneurs who are used to having the only word. However, unless marketing is your favorite business task, you'll surely find it beneficial to outsource it. If it really is your favorite part of running your company, it may be better for you to outsource something else instead.

Why do brands hire marketing agencies?

Digital marketing agencies provide businesses with knowledge and skills.

Brands hire agencies for several reasons. One of the big reasons is to gain access to the knowledge and skill of marketing agencies. When looking for this benefit, it is important to choose an agency that specializes in the type of marketing that you need to do. For example, online stores will want an agency that specializes in eCommerce marketing, which typically involves digital marketing methods.

Agencies help businesses use their time more wisely. 

Next, brands want to save time. Outsourcing is faster for several reasons. The agency has plenty of practice at all of the current marketing methods, so it will get things done in an efficient way. Hiring an agency also frees up entrepreneurs and employees to do other things, making it easier to meet deadlines for these non-marketing tasks.

Hiring a digital agency can help reduce marketing costs. 

Hiring an agency also reduces costs. Agencies already have distribution deals set up and experts on staff, and this saves clients from having to make these connections themselves.

A marketing agency can guide brand development.

Finally, it's a good idea to hire a marketing agency for brand development. Often, those who are in charge of a business are "too close" to see their companies the way customers and other outsiders do. Marketing agencies have more distance from the brand's internal perceptions, so they have a clearer view of current public perceptions. They use these views to develop campaigns that position brands in the ways that the brands actually desire.

Finding the right agency: questions you need to ask

Every marketing agency is vying for your business, and they should all be great at making themselves seem wonderful. However, not all of them will be wonderful for you and your company. Asking the right questions will let you know which ones have the expertise and scope that you are looking for.

Ask these questions when interviewing potential digital marketing agencies:

  • Do you focus on eCommerce stores?
  • Do you have expertise with specific platforms, such as Shopify?
  • Do you focus on marketing only, or growth overall?
  • Are you an expert in digital marketing?
  • Do you specialize in one type of digital marketing, or can you do all of them?
  • What size of campaigns do you usually do?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • How big is your agency?
  • What experience do the people I'll be working with have?

For most of these, the desired answers are likely obvious – the main thing is to remember to ask!

However, there is one where the desired answer may surprise you, and that's the question about how big the agency is. This is because bigger is not always better when your company is just reaching the size where it needs to hire a growth marketing agency.

The biggest advertising agencies deal with campaigns that may cost hundreds of millions of dollars each, which is far above the budget of a company at this stage. It's far better to go with a smaller eCommerce digital marketing agency, which will be used to maximizing limited budgets and which is more nimble than a huge, old-line Madison Avenue company.

Smaller agencies are also more adept at navigating the social media landscape and keeping tabs on emerging marketing platforms, which is critical for eCommerce companies.

To learn what EmberTribe can do for you, book a time to chat! We're specialists in digital marketing and will be glad to help your growing company successfully reach the next level.

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T.J. Jones

CoFounder EmberTribe

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