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Is it better to do your digital marketing in-house or through an agency? It’s an important decision to make.
Digital marketing is the marketing of products or services through digital channels to reach consumers. When businesses decide to go into digital marketing they usually have the option of going in-house or hiring a digital marketing agency. As a Ghanaian CEO, which option should you go for?
In this blog, I discuss what it means to go for an in-house team or an agency to handle your digital marketing activities. You’ll find out what goes into digital marketing, some of the activities carried out, the team needed and how much it’ll cost you to carry out a successful digital marketing strategy and campaign.
To get started let’s look at what goes into digital marketing;
Content marketing: this is an art of using storytelling to create and distribute valuable information to attract and retain a clearly defined audience, and to drive profitable customer action.
Social media marketing: This is the use of social media channels to promote a product or service.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): this is the process of optimizing your content so you get found by search engines (Google, Bing).
Email Marketing: This is a marketing approach which involves sending regular updates to email subscribers to promote products/or services and to build a relationship with your potential customers and/or clients.
Graphics Design: This is the process of creating visual and textual content in order to communicate to a particular audience.
Website Development: This is the process of building, creating and maintaining websites.
Affiliate Marketing: The process of earning money by promoting other people’s product.
An important question many Ghanaian CEOs are seeking to address is whether their digital marketing activities should be managed by an in-house team or outsourced to a digital marketing agency.
The answer to this question lies in the company’s goals and objectives, nature of business, target audience, skills and expertise of the team and the resources available.
Hiring an in-house team might appeal more to you but you need to take into consideration the tools, and people required. It’s important you factor the number of resources needed to successfully carry out a digital marketing campaign.
Let’s dig in further!
Digital Marketing Tools and Automation by Category
The tools listed below are by far the most popular tools used in the industry. Some are free to access while others are paid for on a subscription basis.
Paid Social Media
- Facebook’s Power Editor: This is a tool for creating and running ads on Facebook.
- Twitter Native Platform: For companies who like to advertise on Twitter, you should consider this.
Organic Social Media
- Sprout Social: This is a social media management and engagement arena that makes it easy for companies to engage with current and prospective customers. This marketing tool has both paid and free options with the paid having more features.
- HootSuite: This tool helps increase your social media presence by scheduling social content
- Buffer: Buffer is a social media management tool used to help drive social media results. It has features like content scheduling, reporting, and analytics.
- MailChimp: This is a free email marketing service that allows you to send up to 12,000 emails to 2,000 contacts per month. This is a great starting point especially for those new to digital marketing
- Emma: This is a great marketing tool for creating and testing your own email marketing campaigns.
- Wishpond: This is a great tool for sending emails and nurturing prospects into sales
- Unbounce: This is a great tool for building and testing new landing pages
- Visual Website Optimizer: This is a tool that helps you carry out visitor research, test and optimize pages on your website.
- Vimeo: Used to upload, share and view videos.
- CoSchedule: This is a great tool for creating magnetic and compelling headlines for your blog posts.
- Google Keyword Planner: This is a free tool that allows you to research keywords
- Keywordtool.io: This is a digital marketing tool that allows you to search for keywords on Google
- BuzzSumo: This tool helps you find out what keywords get the most attraction
- Kissmetrics: This is a tool that helps you increase conversions by tracking your site visitors.
- Google Analytics: Helps you keep track of everything on your website – from the number of visitors to traffic sources.
- Adobe Analytics: This is a great tool for companies seeking to gather deep analytics on their website.
- Nimbus Screenshot: Nimbus Screenshot: You can use this tool that helps you capture the visible part of a web page or the selected area of your web page.
- Canva: This is a design great tool used to create images to share on your blogs and social media.
- Unsplash: A great place for high-resolution stock photos for social media, blog posts and campaigns.
- Photoshop: A tool for creating unique high-quality stock photos, illustrations and videos.
- Zendesk: It helps improve communication and build a great experience for your customers.
- LiveChat: Another tool for fostering a relationship between your brand and potential customers.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM): This is a strategy for managing all your company’s relationship and interactions with your customers and potential customers.
Search Engine Optimization
- MOZ: This is a tool that helps drive customers to your website
- SEMRush: This is a great tool for keyword research. It tells you which keywords your competitors are ranking and helps you plan your SEO strategy.
- Open Site Explorer: It helps analyse your competitor’s search engine optimization (SEO.
It’s not enough to have the tools in place, you’ll need the right people on board to plan, strategize and execute campaigns.
1) Project Manager
The project manager serves as a link between your digital marketing team and the rest of the organization. He is responsible for driving projects from initial stage to the delivery stage.
A strategist is responsible for identifying prospects, building keywords, ensuring that all marketing activities align with business goals, measuring and tracking of marketing activities.
3) Content MarketingManager
You need a creative writer on your team to bring your brilliant ideas to life. They are responsible for every content that goes out. He/she should also be skilled in copywriting to create web content. Content marketers work alongside strategists, social media manager and other writers to create content from blog posts, web copy, social media posts to YouTube videos.
4) Graphic designer
The graphic designer is responsible for giving life to your content. He/she is tasked with creating visuals for your content. It’s important you have a professional graphic designer on your team to bring to life what you want to communicate. The graphic designer works closely with the content writer and social media manager.
5) Social Media Manager
The social media manager is responsible for engaging customers on social media. He/she works alongside with the content writer, graphic designer and strategist to create engaging content on social media. Creates strategic content for brands on social networks.
6) Website Developer
The website developer is responsible for designing, coding and improving websites – from layout to function, according to a client’s request. Their job is to create ‘visually appealing’ and user-friendly websites.
7) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialist
If your content isn’t found in a search, it’s likely it won’t be found at all. An SEO specialist has a vast knowledge of Google Analytics and keywords; he/she ensures that all content is optimized for search.
Some key responsibilities include updating headlines, image alt texts and meta-description for high ranking. They work to increase website traffic for non-paid sources. An SEO specialist also doubles as a pay-per-click manager.
8) Email Marketer
The email marketing marketer is responsible for handling email marketing strategies. Duties include running email marketing campaigns, creating newsletters and managing email databases.
9) Customer Success Manager
A customer success manager is responsible for building strong relationships with customers. They work closely with customers to make sure they are satisfied with service delivery.
Some business owners prefer having an in-house team they can manage closely in order to cut down cost. This can also be overwhelming for the individual and time-consuming.
For any digital marketing activity to be successful, you need the right team on board along with the right set of tools. Now, some of these tools are free (like Google Analytics, Google Keyword Planner), but for most, you’ll have to buy.
It’s hard to find an individual who can play the role of a strategist, a website developer and social media manager, graphic designer etc. Your content writer might not be good at website design or analytics. Also, some are experts in paid search while others are masters of graphic designing.
However good someone is in one of these areas, digital marketing is too complex for one person to master all activities. And even if you do find one person who can juggle all these roles, it’s going to be overwhelming at the end.
Digital marketing requires the right set of skills.
If you’re unable to find one person to handle all that, you’ll have to hire a team of specialists on board.
That means you’ll have to recruit, train and build this team. In addition, you have to factor in employee benefits as well.
Let’s take a look at the average salary of these roles. These roles are dependent on the individual’s level of experience and education.
|Social Media Manager||1,500|
|Content Marketing Manager||1,500|
|Total||GHC 12,000/ avg monthly|
Don’t forget to include the cost of employee benefits as well as marketing tools and technologies.
If you’re going for an in-house, you need to factor in the cost of office supplies (laptops), desks, digital equipment, monthly online tool subscriptions, ongoing training and miscellaneous such as phone and internet service
Hiring a team of in-house marketers could cost you GHC 144,000 per average a year! This doesn’t even include the tools.
Digital Marketing Agency Option
A digital marketing agency not only saves you cost but gets you a team of experts on board. First of all, a digital marketing agency has a team already in place. Thus this saves you the time of recruiting and training employees.
I know what you’re thinking, “This will cost a lot more than in-house”!
Let’s take a look.
Hiring an agency means you’re paying one cost for a varied number of positions. While in-house requires you to pay individually, an agency allows you to pay one cost for all positions. The fee you pay to an agency covers that of the strategist, content writer, graphic designer and all that.
You can end up spending an average of GHC 72,000 per year!
Can you see the difference?
Plus, you don’t have to worry about paid leave, holidays and social security costs when working with an agency.
Making the right choice for your business
Before you make a choice, it’s important to note that some roles can be handled by an in-house team. However, for roles too complex for an individual, it’s important you consider hiring a digital marketing agency.
It could take months to find the right team to build in-house; individuals who are experts and who are capable of planning campaigns. With a digital marketing agency, on the other hand, you need not worry about finding the right team and paying for recruitment and training.
It’s also important to consider your budget and company size. If you have a considerable budget, going in-house might seem like a better choice for you. To figure out which option is better, look at your objectives and goals.
In conclusion, there’s no right or wrong option. Making a decision boils down to your goals, objectives and budget. Some businesses consider a mixed approach – outsource what they can and handle the rest in-house. For some companies, they go full in-house. However, other businesses opt to hire an agency because it’s cost-effective.
Would you go for an in-house team or hire a digital marketing agency? What will inform your decision? Leave a comment below.
Judith is a content marketing manager at Sidekick Social Media and also writes for She Leads Africa. She loves to write and when not writing, she loves to listen to a long playlist of good music.