The cost of doing digital marketing

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 column, 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 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.

Your decision to manage an in-house team or hire an agency lies in the company’s goals and objectives, nature of business, target audience, skills and expertise of the team and the resources available.

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


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.


Email Marketing

  • 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.
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Website Testing

  • 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.


Video hosting

  • Vimeo: Used to upload, share and view videos.
  • YouTube: Used to upload, share and view videos.


Content Creation:

  • Google Keyword Planner: This is a free tool that allows you to research keywords
  • 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


Website Analytics

  • 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.



  • 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.


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.


Team Involved


It’s not enough to have the tools in place, you’ll need the right people on board to plan 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 handles projects from initial stage to delivery stage.


2)      Strategist

A strategist identifies prospects, builds keywords, measures and tracks marketing activities.


3)      Content Marketing Manager

You need a creative writer on your team to bring your brilliant ideas to life. They are responsible for every content that goes out.


4)      Graphic designer

The graphic designer handles giving life to your content. He creates 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.


5)      Social Media Manager

The social media manager is responsible for engaging customers on social media. He works alongside with the content writer, graphic designer and strategist to create engaging content on social media.


6)      Website Developer

He designs, codes and improves websites – from layout to function, according to a client’s request.


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 and ensures that your content ranks high on Google.

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8)      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.


In-house Option


Some business owners prefer having an in-house team they can manage closely to cut down cost. This can also be overwhelming for the individual and time-consuming. 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.


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.


Role Average Salary
Social Media Manager 1,500
Strategist 2,000
Content Writer 1,500
Graphic Designer 1,500
Website Developer 2000
Project Manager 2000
 Content Marketing Manager  1,500
Total GHC 12,000/ avg monthly


Hiring a team of in-house marketers could cost you GH¢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.


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.

You can end up spending an average of GH¢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’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.


In conclusion, there’s no right or wrong option. Making a decision boils down to your goals, objectives and budget.


Your turn,


Would you go for an in-house team or hire a digital marketing agency? You can also download our ebook on how to hire the best digital marketing agency in Ghana.


>>>SideKick Social Media is a full service digital marketing agency that help brands build close relationships with their customers in real time.

Contact Numbers: +233 243140719 / +233 502168881

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