The marketing space in Atlanta is an interesting subject. The city of Atlanta is growing rapidly, and with the abundance of tech firms the city earned its reputation as the “second Silicon Valley” (along with the “second Hollywood”). But not so fast: if you are looking for Atlanta internet marketing services, there are a few things you should know.
And before you take my word of advice, let me tell you about why I decided to write this blog post. As an Atlanta internet marketing consultant for 10+ years now, I’ve worked with a number of local businesses and a lot of Atlanta internet marketers. In the past couple of years, working with and for an Atlanta marketing recruitment and executive search firm, I had an opportunity to interview a lot of local Atlanta digital marketers, hire and train an in-house marketing team. This experience taught me some valuable lessons as far as the state of Atlanta internet marketing and talent available locally.
The State of Atlanta Internet Marketing Talent
You’d think that searching for excellent Atlanta internet marketing talent would be an easy task considering we are in the growing city of tech. Partially, it’s true. But a lot depends on your business’ needs, budget, and ability to vet for the right skillset. Plus, you have to account for the rising costs of living (although Atlanta is a long way away from New York or San Francisco) and the high competition for experienced Atlanta internet marketing experts with cutting-edge skills.
The latter is true not for Atlanta alone; skilled digital marketers are in high demand across the country and they are not easy to find due to the rapid development of internet marketing technology, channels, and trends.
So if you are in need of expert Atlanta internet marketing services, here are a few scenarios you may find useful to maximize your digital marketing budget.
Hiring an Experienced Atlanta Internet Marketing Consultant
Digital marketing consultants can be a great solution for Atlanta businesses with specific short-term needs (project-based requirements) or businesses in the beginning stages of building their marketing efforts. When you hire a local Atlanta internet marketing consultant, you have full control over hours, cost, and many more factors. You are not responsible for employment benefits and oftentimes the cost of software and tools needed for your digital marketing programs is included into the hourly fee.
A lot of local Atlanta digital marketing experts enjoy consulting because it allows them to work remotely avoiding horrible Atlanta traffic and have control over their schedules. It also allows them to pick their projects and clients, which is great for a variety of reasons.
Benefits of Hiring a Local Atlanta Digital Marketing Consultant
- Scalability (means scaling investment and results overtime)
- No office required but you can still always have an in-person meeting when necessary
- Opportunity to negotiate hourly rate or per project cost
- No need to purchase tools and equipment (hourly fee usually includes the cost of tools and equipment)
- No long-term obligations (can be per project engagement or per month, etc.)
Cons of Hiring a Local Atlanta Digital Marketing Consultant
- Depending on your needs, you may have a limited talent pool
- Higher hourly or project cost compared to offshore solutions (although I personally never recommend offshore solutions due to low quality of results no matter the promises)
- If you are not experienced in vetting for necessary digital marketing skillset, you may not get the results you want for your money
- Lower reliability than agencies or full time hires (you may come across some flaky talent)
- Challenge to find a wide skillset and the right level of experience (consultants that can be both, strong strategists and executors are not easy to find; usually, it’s either one or the other)
Hiring a Local Atlanta Internet Marketing Agency
Digital marketing agencies and search engine optimization firms are very popular solutions for local Atlanta businesses of all sizes, and there is certainly a lot of local digital marketing agencies of all calibers and kinds. The key issue with any agencies, however, is that as a client, you have to pay the overhead that allows agencies to stay in business. So you may find that internet marketing agencies (not only in Atlanta) are more costly than consultants or contractors.
Over the years, I’ve also heard a lot of complaints from local business owners about the quality of results they’ve seen from agencies. A big reason for that is quality of talent you get from your account manager. If you are a small to medium size business, or even a large business that doesn’t invest a large budget into the agency, you may not get their best internet marketing experts to work on your account. Not so long ago I shot a video for an SEO-related post that explains why it happens (in the second part of the video so watch it to the end).
Video: Why Agencies Are Not Giving You Their Best Specialists
And if you are thinking, “How bad can it be? I only need xyz done.” – it can be bad. I once worked with a client who paid a hefty sum to a local Atlanta internet marketing agency for a seemingly simple project of rebuilding their small website to be responsive. While the website functioned beautifully on the front end, the agency changed the URL structure during the re-build and failed to create any redirects, thus killing the business’ lead generation from search engines entirely that in the long run would threaten the business’ livelihood.
If you do not want to part with your hard-earned $ to experience a similar disaster, you must make sure that you know how to vet agencies for quality of work and how to ensure that they are producing the right result specifically for your project.
If you are looking for names of recommended Atlanta digital marketing agencies, I don’t have any in this post (perhaps it would be a great subject for another post), but I do post all recommendations of local businesses (not only agencies) on my Best of Atlanta page, a Facebook community I built to highlight the best of the best in our beautiful city.
Hiring Full Time Digital Marketers in Atlanta
It goes without saying that our city is full of talent, including an abundance of digital marketing experts of all levels of experience and with a wide range of skillsets. With that said, if you are not willing to risk hiring a flaky freelancer, or paying for an agency overhead, finding a full time Atlanta internet marketing expert may be an option.
As I mentioned before, competition for cutting-edge digital marketers is high nationwide, not only in Atlanta. And it’s a long-term commitment where employment benefits and other important factors must be considered.
On another hand, even if you are a small local business, a full time digital marketer with a wide skillset may be well worth the investment.
For those employers who have no marketing experience or experience in hiring marketers, it may be worth allocating some budget for working with a local Atlanta talent agency that specializes in placing marketers. Because in the scenario of a full time marketer, the key is to find the RIGHT one. And if you do not know much about digital marketing, you WILL be surprised how complex it’s become in the past 2-3 years alone.
Where to Network with Atlanta Internet Marketing Experts
Atlanta has no lack of digital marketing events and groups where you can network with local digital marketers of all levels. Some of my favorites include Digital Summit Atlanta, Hub Group Atlanta, AMA Atlanta. And these are just to name a few (not to mention multiple local LinkedIn groups, if you prefer networking online).
Bonus tip: some of my clients found me through a relatively new LinkedIn ProFinder service. You might find a few interesting local marketing experts there.
The full list of Atlanta internet marketing groups and events is also an excellent subject for another post, which I will compile in near future. Meanwhile, if you have any other questions that this lengthy post didn’t answer, such as how much you should be paying Atlanta internet marketers, or which exactly digital marketing channels are best for your business, contact me. I will gladly share my knowledge with you – for free!