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  4.  | Digital Marketing Coach vs. Agency: The Pros and Cons of Both

Business owners and entrepreneurs needing help with their digital marketing are in luck; there are lots of options when it comes to hiring online marketing experts, from coaches to freelancers to agencies and everywhere in between.

Being both a digital marketing agency owner and a digital marketing coach, I can tell you that the people that need digital marketing coaching are usually very different than those that want an agency to do things for them.

And it’s more than financial differences.

As you may expect, an agency can be quite expensive, but so can a coach when they’re good. Really good. There are some high-level coaches that get 6 figures for the day with an entrepreneur.

So don’t think, “I am on a budget, so I have to have a coach.” That is not the case. There are coaches and agencies at all price points, and your reasons need to be more than cost.

Some of it has to do with skill level, how hands-on you want to be, and if you have time (and the desire) to dive into your own digital marketing. And there is another essential factor you must consider, but first, let’s talk coach vs. agency.

Coach Vs. Agency

If you’re at the stage in your business where you’re ready to invest in digital marketing, you may be wondering whether to work with a coach or an agency. Both have their pros and cons, and there are definitely some differences between the two.

The differences between Coaching and an Agency

Let’s face it; most people start businesses because they’re good at something. They have a skill or trade that they excel at.

But marketing? That’s a whole different animal. It’s ever-changing, there are new platforms and strategies popping up all the time, and unless you’re prepared to invest the time and energy into learning it, it can be overwhelming. This is where a coach (or an agency) comes in.

Why Coaching?

A good marketing coach will be able to help you understand the basics of digital marketing and give you the confidence to do it yourself. They’ll also be able to teach you new strategies as they come up and help you troubleshoot any problems you have along the way. Coaching is best for those that want to learn, want to get their hands dirty, and have the time to dive in.

Why An Agency?

An agency, on the other hand, will take care of all the nitty-gritty details for you. They’ll create and execute a marketing plan based on your goals and budget, and they’ll do all the work, so you don’t have to. An agency is best for those that just want to get it done and a fine with being mostly hands-off on the process.

Coaching and An Agency

It’s also possible that a business owner is good with coaching for some of their marketing but then wants an agency to handle the more complex parts.

I have even worked with an agency for my marketing, as changing directions with my SEO was out of my wheelhouse, and I needed an agency that specialized in doing it right. I’ve used this time with them to learn more, and that gave me a better idea of what I want to do in the future myself. The time saved working with them has been well worth it.

Delegate to An Agency

An agency can also help you do things you just don’t want to do yourself, even if you know how to do them. For example, I have a company do all of my video editing, as it’s something that takes me a long with to do, and I am happy to hand it over to them and get it off my plate. I can do it; I just chose not to.

What services can a coach or an agency do?

Digital Marketing is a huge sweeping faction of marketing, and it is growing every year. And each coach and each agency can’t do every single thing.


There are some digital marketing coaching programs and digital marketing agencies that specialize in specific areas of the market, like PPC or Social Media. Or just one channel, like Google or Instagram. And some are broader and offer marketing tactics and strategies that cover the bigger picture.

For example, my agency does not do PPC advertising, Public Relations or TikTok, and my coaching does not cover those either. My focus has always been getting entrepreneurs and micro businesses online, looking professional, and getting them clients without spending more time, money, or energy as needed – because we don’t all have boatloads of those things. I develop systems to do things better. Other coaches and agencies will offer different things in different ways.

So before choosing which will work best for you, you need to investigate what you want as part of your digital marketing strategy.

Some of the digital marketing services you can get from a coaching program or agency are:

There are others that are hyper-specialized as well, such as customer retention and loyalty programs or only teach one channel, like YouTube. You can even choose to work with a coach or agency that only works with your industry. You have a lot of flexibility to choose what will work for you.

But let’s get back to the essential factor I mentioned before.

The Essential Component Coaching Vs. Agency (and total DIY)

The most important thing to consider when deciding on whether or not you want to work with a marketing coach or a marketing agency is knowing what you actually want.


What results do you want to get?

I say this because I hear ALL THE TIME that a business is passing on paying an agency to build their website because they know someone that will do it for them or they are going to do it themselves.

Which can be wonderful. If you have a skilled website designer friend or if you are able to do it yourself, that is great.

However, can you or your friend get you the results you want from the website?

Do you understand proper site structure, SEO, mobile-friendliness, and conversion optimization? Can you create a website that actually gets leads and sales? Throwing up a simple Squarespace site will not get you all those things.

Can’t I just do it myself? Yes. And no.

Yes, you can do it yourself, but that doesn’t mean you should.

If you are thinking of doing any part of your marketing yourself, it is always smart to get a marketing coach to make sure what you create can actually get you the results you are after. Let them guide you in doing it right the first time.

And you’ll find that sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know.

For example, my agency has redesigned hundreds of websites for businesses because they were done poorly, never got finished, or never got results. Having a coach would have definitely helped the website get done right the first time and would have saved time and money.

Coach or Agency?

So which is best? If you understand the basics but need to be sure it’s done right and that you get results, a coach will be a good fit for you. If you have no idea where to start and are good with handing it over, then a marketing agency is going to be your best bet.

Before you make your final decision on working with a digital marketing coach or an agency, let’s go over some of the pros and cons of each.


Benefits of Working With a Coach for your Digital Marketing Strategy:

So let’s talk about some of the benefits of working with a digital marketing coach.

1. You’ll get customized attention and support that’s tailored to your specific needs.

2. You can work at your own pace without the pressure of meeting deadlines or hitting targets.

3. The investment is typically lower than working with an agency.

4. You can be sure your work is done correctly when you are guided by an expert.

5. There is accountability to getting things done, knowing there is support if you get stuck in your marketing efforts.

The Cons of Digital Marketing Coaching

Here are some of the setbacks of working with a coach instead of letting an agency handle your digital marketing programs.

1. You may not have access to the same range of resources and expertise as you would with an agency.

2. The focus is often on training and education, and things can take longer.

3. Without proper accountability, it can be easy to fall behind or lose motivation.

4. Coaching programs may be too focused or too broad for you to get the results you need. Some coaches specialize only in search engine optimization or email marketing, which means you may need multiple coaches. Or a coaching program may be too broad, where you don’t get the specifics of what you need, but only a broad overview instead.

I’ve worked with coaches that I felt didn’t get detailed enough. They said, “Now, go do all this”…but never showed the how to actually do it. If that’s important to you, be sure to inquire about how detailed they get as see if it works for you.

What about working with a digital marketing agency instead of a coach for your online marketing?

The Pros of Working With a Digital Marketing Agency:

1. You’ll have a team of experts working on your behalf, so you can focus on running your business.

2. An agency can provide a comprehensive approach to digital marketing, covering all the bases from SEO to social media to email marketing.

3. You’ll benefit from the economies of scale that an agency can offer, such as bulk discounts on tools and services.

The Cons of Working With a Digital Marketing Agency:

1. You may not get the same level of personalized attention as you would with a coach.

2. There may be a greater upfront investment required.

3. You’ll be working with a team of people, so there could be more miscommunication or misunderstandings than if you were working one-on-one with a coach.

What is Better Coach or Agency?

Digital marketing coaches and agencies both have their pros and cons. It’s important to evaluate your needs and objectives before making a decision on which route to go.

If you need customized attention and support and want to be hands-on with your marketing, a coach may be the better option. However, if you’re looking for a comprehensive hands-off approach to digital marketing, an agency may be a better fit.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to what’s best for you and your business and the results you are looking to get. Both will maximize results and save you precious time and money.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

And remember, you don’t need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or a dedicated staff to market your business; in fact, you don’t even need a lot of time. What you need is to be smart. And working with a coach or an agency to get the results you want for your business is smart!

About Digital Marketing Expert Torie Mathis

Torie Mathis helps entrepreneurs, like you, use digital marketing to grow your business without wasting time, money, or your sanity.  She is a best-selling author, Army veteran, speaker + trainer, and your digital marketing coach. You don't need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. In fact, you don't even need a lot of time. What you need is to be SMART.

Torie hosts SMART AF, a show for non-techy entrepreneurs looking to grow their business, with her husband Sean and is the creator of SMART AF Magazine. Learn from Torie at the Smart Arsenal and on her channel.

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hi im torie
I help entrepreneurs  learn digital marketing.
And I make it easy! 

You don’t need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. You don’t even need a lot of time.

What you need is to be SMART.

Is YOUR marketing SMART?

Find out here.


Hi! I'm Torie!

Torie Mathis HeadshotI help entrepreneurs (like you) use digital marketing to get more clients + make more money. And I make it easy!

You don’t need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. You don’t even need a lot of time.

What you need is to be SMART.

Get Smart AF

from your Digital Marketing Coach Torie Mathis!

Let's get SMART!

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