Should you hire a digital marketing agency for your social media management, paid media, and content production? OR, should you go with an internal employee? It depends! Help make your decision easier for your medical practice, health and wellness brand, or another business by answering these six questions. If it turns out you need some external help, we’d love to chat.

1. What are my digital marketing goals?

This is the first question you need to ask yourself to determine if you need to bring in the big guns or hire an employee. Perhaps you want to increase your following three-fold over the next six months. Maybe you wish to ramp up your email marketing and blog. Perhaps you only need a one-time website redesign and optimization or consulting on paid media ads.

If your goals demand a large volume of ongoing content that requires more than one employee, an agency will give you bang for your buck. An agency route might also work best if you only have a little bit of work that doesn’t require a full-time employee. On the flip side, hiring an employee makes sense if you have enough work one person can handle. The next question will also help you decide what’s possible…

2. What’s my budget?

Once you have your goals ironed out, you need to calculate your annual marketing budget. Notice we said annual here? That’s because you should be thinking long-term instead of month-to-month. Setting an annual budget shows you’re committed and ready for digital marketing and you’re financially able to support it. Think about your social media marketing budget, branding budget, the cost of a new logo, the cost of a website, and anything else you need.

How much should you budget for digital marketing? Seven to 10 percent of your yearly revenue. Believe it or not, agencies like ours actually cost up to 50 percent less than hiring an employee. While an agency’s hourly rate is higher than an entry or mid-level employee, you don’t have to provide benefits, paid time off, office space, or full-time salary. Plus, you can scale up or down monthly if your cash flow changes.

If you need help making a marketing budget, check out our Ultimate Social Media Strategy Guidebook!

3. Do we have a dedicated expert to produce our content?

You or your administrative assistant or intern may not be the best people to manage your digital marketing and social media strategy. You need to hire a professional marketer to get the job done!

Determine the job description of your ideal hire. Does he or she need to write content, design, and do development work? If so, you might need to hire an agency to tap into all of these specialties as a Jack-of-all-trades can be hard to find. Of course, if your budget allows for multiple employees you should consider that route too. Just make sure you have a qualified candidate to execute every digital marketing deliverable.

4. How long does it take to produce and publish content? Is this time I/we can spare?

Social media and digital marketing take an average of 40 hours per month. Do you have this kind of time to spare in-house? Calculate exactly how long it’s taking you to produce your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, email, and website content. Then, estimate the hours your new content goals will require. If you think your internal employee’s time will be better spent on other tasks, hire an agency. You can also consider hiring a part-time employee to get the benefits of having someone in the office without having to pay for benefits.

5. Do we have daily needs?

Do you update your website daily? Do you tweet or post to social media multiple times per day? If you often have on-demand needs, it might make more sense to hire an internal employee. However, with proper planning and a set retainer, most digital marketing and social media management agencies like ours can condense and streamline this process—catering to your every need. Make sure you choose wisely if you hire a website developer!

6. Am I comfortable working with someone who isn’t in the office?

Many companies default to an internal employee because it feels scary to work with someone you don’t see on a daily basis. While having someone in the office has its perks, an agency handles everything without you having to see what goes on behind the scenes. You’ll also have fewer interruptions and less overhead for office space and equipment if you opt for an agency. The world is moving in a remote direction, so embrace technology and give long distance a try!

Deciding to hire a digital marketing agency or an internal employee is a big choice. Get in touch to take a step in the right direction—whether that’s hiring someone in-house or consulting with us. Read more blog articles in the meantime to educate yourself on all things digital marketing.