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  • Writer's pictureDan Spencer


Understanding the services offered by digital marketing agencies is essential for any small business owner considering outsourcing their marketing. With so many options available, it can be challenging to know which services are right for your business needs

The most typical services offered by digital marketing agencies cover two main areas. Outbound marketing and inbound marketing. These services will range from SEO and content marketing, through to email and organic social media. In this blog post, we will provide an overview of key digital marketing agency services that small businesses may require to succeed online and the business objectives they are most closely aligned with.


Inbound Marketing Services

Inbound Marketing is a marketing strategy that aims to attract potential customers to a business’s brand through the use of creative, valuable, educational, and often entertaining content. Inbound Marketing often includes marketing channels such as SEO, content marketing and social media marketing.

This usually takes the form of educational and informative content to help prospects solve the challenges they are facing. It is referred to as Inbound Marketing because it aims to attract prospects with content rather than “interrupting them” with messaging to a broader audience. This is known as Outbound Marketing. More on that later.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is one of the essential services offered by digital marketing agencies when it comes to Inbound Marketing. SEO helps improve a website's visibility in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) such as Google and Bing.

It also helps to drive organic traffic to the website and generates inquiries and paying customers without the need for an Outbound Marketing tactic such as PPC, making it a cost-effective, long-term strategy. SEO is comprised of three core pillars:

  • On-page SEO – the practice of optimising individual web pages to improve their search engine ranking

  • Off-page SEO – refers to the activities that are carried out outside of a website such as link building, Social Media Marketing (SMM), guest blogging, and more

  • Technical SEO – the process of optimising a website's technical elements to improve elements such as site speed, crawlability, and mobile responsiveness

The ultimate goal of SEO is to improve a business’s website visibility within the SERPs, driving more traffic and generating more sales. It’s a crucial service offered by digital marketing agencies, and one, that done right, is a great long-term tactic for business growth.

SEO Business Goals:

  • Brand Awareness

  • Search Visibility

  • Website Traffic

  • Lead Generation (Long-term)

SEO is a strategy every business should be investing in. Unlike many other marketing channels that on generated opportunities when "switched on" SEO can continue to generate results long into the future. If you're looking to achieve any of the above objectives, you should be investing in SEO.

Content Marketing

Content Marketing is another critical digital marketing agency service and one that goes hand-in-hand with SEO. With content marketing, businesses can establish thought leadership and drive engagement by creating valuable content that resonates with their target audience. Blog posts, infographics, and videos are some of the content marketing services offered by digital marketing agencies that can help businesses achieve their marketing goals.

Once the content is created, it can be shared across multiple marketing channels and platforms including social media, email, and PPC. If the content created is in-depth enough, it can also be repurposed and used in different forms to build a larger bank of marketing resources.

Content Marketing Business Goals:

  • Brand Awareness

  • Thought Leadership

  • Credibility

  • Expertise

  • Lead Generation

Content marketing is at the heart of many marketing strategies, especially in the B2B space.

To build trust and credibility within your market, your business needs to demonstrate its competence, and Content marketing helps you do just that.

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

Social Media Marketing is another common service offered by digital marketing agencies. With millions of people using social media platforms worldwide daily, social media can help businesses build brand awareness, engage with customers and drive sales. And it’s a great place to share that content you just created too!

The industry or niche your business is in will often dictate the best SMM channels for you. Although there is a vast array of SMM channels now accessible to businesses, understanding where to dedicate your time - a key challenge for small business owners - is a key factor in ensuring your message is in front of your audience where they hang out online.

As well as organic social media (where you share content on your social media channels without spending money to promote the content), there are paid options with social media marketing where you can pay to display your social content in front of a targeted audience. We cover this in our PPC section.

Social Media Marketing Business Goals:

  • Brand Awareness and Reputation

  • Customer Service

  • Website Traffic

  • Content Promotion and Distribution

  • Community Engagement

  • Talent Recruitment

  • Lead Generation

It's important for businesses of all types to have some form of social media presence. That could be to promote your content to customers and prospects, attract new employees by showcasing your culture, or be more active in your market communities.

The key is to establish which platforms are best suited for your audience and how you can leverage these to help achieve your wider business objectives.

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is a crucial service offered by digital marketing agencies that can help businesses improve the performance of their website or landing pages.

Often included as part of an SEO strategy, CRO tactics include A/B testing, user testing, and analytics analysis.

In the above examples, we talked about how many digital marketing agency services are designed to get potential customers to your website, CRO is a digital marketing agency service specifically tailored to help businesses increase their website's conversion rate and convert more of the traffic on a website into paying customers.

Conversion Rate Optimisation Business Goals:

  • Conversions

  • Lead Generation

  • MQLs

  • SQLs

  • Revenue Generation

  • Net New Sales

This one is a little more straightforward with the goal being to attract more conversions. If you're a SaaS company, that may be a free trial or demo bookings, if you're an online retailer that may be purchases.

The approach will be slightly different depending on the sales process for your business, but CRO is all about increasing conversions and driving website visitors to customers.

Outbound Marketing Services

If Inbound Marketing can be defined as trying to attract potential customers with content, Outbound Marketing can be described as a strategy that involves reaching out directly to potential customers using “intrusive” or “interruptive” methods of marketing such as email, PPC, and traditional media including television, radio, and print.

Outbound Marketing involves “pushing” a brand's message, promotion, or information to a broader audience with the goal of generating leads and sales.

Although Outbound Marketing can be tailored to a specific audience such as advertising in certain magazines based on the standard readership or via social media based on key profile demographics, they can be costly and often have lower conversion rates than Inbound Marketing.

A business can have a highly targeted segment to advertise to, but even if a prospect falls into your ideal customer profile they may not be in the market to buy and if brands are seen by consumers to “spam” them with irrelevant and overly intrusive messages, it can negatively impact brand reputation.

Despite these potential downsides, outbound marketing is still a valuable part of a comprehensive marketing strategy and a service offered by digital marketing agencies that can help complement Inbound Marketing tactics and drive results. We’ll explore the most common Outbound Marketing tactics below.

Email Marketing

Perhaps controversial to some to be classed as an Outbound Marketing channel because email marketing can serve as both an Inbound and Outbound Marketing tactic. However, when used to contact prospects who are not familiar with your products and services, it should be deemed as Outbound.

Note: Due to GDPR in the EU B2C and D2C brands can only send marketing emails to contacts who have consented to receive them. B2B brands can use legitimate interest. More information on GDPR can be found on the ICO's website.

Nonetheless, email marketing is an essential digital marketing agency service that helps businesses, promote their brand, nurture leads and maintain relationships with customers. Newsletters, promotional emails, and automated drip campaigns are some of the email marketing tactics that a digital marketing agency can offer to help businesses improve their email marketing efforts.

Email Marketing Business Goals:

  • Lead Nurturing

  • Brand Awareness

  • Upsell and Cross-Sell

  • Sales Conversions

  • Customer Retention and Loyalty

  • Customer Reengagement

Email marketing can play a role across the entire marketing funnel. The important thing is to utilise the customer data you have, segment your audience, and provide them with relevant messages.

The right message to the right person, at the right time.

So, if you're looking to adopt email into your marketing strategy, think about how to use it for different audience segments and create email campaigns aligned with the needs and status of the customers.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising is another digital marketing agency service that businesses can benefit from.

With PPC advertising, you can target specific audiences and get immediate results. Popular PPC platforms, such as Google Ads and Meta Ads for Facebook and Instagram, can be used to create highly targeted campaigns that deliver results quickly.

PPC is often incorrectly used to describe search engine advertising where a business pays to have its listing appear at the top of the SERPs for popular keywords.

Although this is a form of PPC - referred to as SEM (Search Engine Marketing) - PPC encompasses anything that constitutes a business paying a fee to the advertiser each time someone clicks one of their ads. This could be in the search results on Google, but it can also include Paid Social Media ads on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn as well as display or video ads within apps, on other websites or video platforms such as YouTube.

Pay-Per-Click Business Goals:

  • Brand Awareness

  • Website Traffic

  • Lead Generation

  • Sales Conversions

PPC in the form of SEM can be a great short-term tactic to complement your SEO efforts. Rather than trying to rank organically for target keywords, you can pay to appear in the SERPs. This is particularly beneficial as your ad will be served to people "in-market" for your goods or services.

The downside of this is it can be costly - especially in highly competitive markets - and you could waste your budget on clicks from visitors whose search isn't relevant to your product.

When using PPC on social media platforms, you can use the platform's audience targeting settings to promote your ad to your ideal customer profile. This will help put your brand in front of those who would benefit from your products, but may not otherwise have discovered you.

Traditional Media

Traditional media covers channels such as television, radio, and print advertising. Brands create adverts specifically tailored to the channel and then distribute those via media channels to a broad audience.

Many traditional media channels have been pushed out in favour of other digital channels that are often cheaper and quicker to produce content for. Think about traditional television ads being replaced with On-Demand Video for streaming services.

However, these outbound channels are still services offered by digital marketing agencies and when used for the right purpose can have a great impact on brand awareness, recognition, and results.

Traditional Media Business Goals:

  • Brand Awareness

  • Audience Reach

  • Local Marketing

Traditional media can be a great tactic for businesses that offer services to the local community - think about tradespeople, shops, and restaurants. It can help you build awareness of your brand within the local area and drive footfall or traffic to your website or storefront.

Equally, you can target your audience with advertising based on psychographic attributes such as interests, hobbies, and lifestyle. There is a reason toy adverts are shown before, during and after children's programmes but not after the watershed. The adverts are placed on channels and at times where the ideal customer profile is consuming that media.


Businesses must understand that not all the services offered by digital marketing agencies are right for them. Whether you need help with SEO, PPC, social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, or CRO, a reputable digital marketing agency can provide a comprehensive range of services to help you achieve your marketing goals and drive business growth.

However, it's essential to evaluate your business's needs and work with a digital marketing agency that can provide tailored services to help your business succeed.

Here are a few resources that might help you decide if you would benefit from the services offered by digital marketing agencies, and how to pick one:

At SUM Agency, we specialise in working with start-ups and small businesses, offering a range of services from marketing consultancy to digital marketing services, and outbound support for your internal teams.

We also offer marketing audits for start-ups and small businesses designed to help them understand their own marketing performance, gaps they could explore, and the best avenues for growth. Only when you evaluate what’s working, what isn’t, and what the best digital marketing channels are to help you achieve your goals are, will you begin to see results.

Click the link below to explore more about how a marketing audit can help your business.

To discover the marketing trends that are going to shape 2024, take a look at our recent blog, 7 Top Digital Marketing Trends for 2024.


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