With the ever-growing digitization of businesses, the need for digital marketing has gone through the roof. Technology is rapidly changing, and customer expectations are changing just as fast. Online shoppers might expect personalized experiences, product users may look for 24/7 customer support. It can be difficult to know where to spend your time and resources. This is where a digital marketing consultant can come into play.
A digital marketing consultant is an external adviser with a unique set of skills aimed at leveraging online marketing channels, such as paid ads, social media, and SEO. Their goal is to generate leads and increase sales conversions, support brand awareness, and other measurable sales and marketing goals your organization might have. A good digital marketing consultant can provide essential insight into your current marketing strategy and can employ a plethora of strategies to efficiently update the most critical areas of your online presence. But not all digital marketing consultants are the same and it can be difficult to know what to look for.
Before hiring a marketing expert, explore our top three things to look for in a digital marketing consultant so you feel confident about your choice.
A Strong and Varied Skill Set
Whether it’s optimizing your website or managing your PR, digital marketing consultants need a deep bag of tricks. Your company’s online presence plays a key role in how your business represents itself. Any consultant must be able to understand these facets and be ready to bring their expertise to the table.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of bringing your company’s content to the forefront of search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo. SEO allows potential customers or clients to find information about your organization easily and efficiently. Strong SEO could look like optimizing the language of your website’s front page to bring more organic traffic or managing your offsite ads and backlinks. Each aspect should bring new viewers to your website, allowing them to see whatever information your present.
Having a creative side is a must for every good digital marketing consultant. If you run a website for your business, odds are you could always use fresh content for that website; you don’t want outdated or misleading information just to get clicks. Content marketing is designed to be moldable; created content should be valuable and engaging for your audience. This content can cover a lot of ground and fulfill a wide variety of needs. Commonly outsourced content marketing projects a consultant can take on include:
Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Social media marketing (SMM) is another essential skill your marketing consultant should bring to the table. SMM is designed to improve your company’s online presence. Social media marketing allows your organization to better get in touch with your target audience using platforms like Facebook or Twitter. Through social posts, data analytics, and online engagement, SMM can bolster your brand’s social identity and grow your business.
Pay-per-click (PPC) is an immensely important concept for online traffic. PPC is all about purchasing advertisement slots in search engines. A fantastic example of this is Google Ads. These are the sponsored ads that can often be found at the top of Google searches, depending on what the user is searching for. Keyword rates fluctuate as PPC users and strategists bid more to amplify the frequency of their paid listing. Learning how to leverage PPC and knowing when to use it are both mission-critical skills your digital marketing consultant should.
Digital Event Planning
Webinars and other digital events are a crucial part of online learning and coordination. Whether it’s digital meetings, online conferences, or webinars digital marketing consultants should be able to bring a new level of insight. Your consultant must hone in on your target audience and be able to curate specific scripts and formatting to fit the said audience. Depending on your needs, finding a consultant well-versed in this field could be significantly beneficial.
A Deep Understanding of Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is a powerful tool and can have drastic effects on your business──positive or negative. A consultant with a firm grasp on the importance of their role is a must. Digital marketing is about bringing customers to your virtual front door. This requires the employment of proven strategies and methods like SEO or SMM. Your digital marketing consultant must have a vast understanding of how web traffic is directed and know how to leverage it.
One easy way to determine your potential consultant’s competency is to simply examine their portfolio. Begin by combing through their sales writing. Is their work compelling? Well crafted? Invested in the product? All of these are great questions to ask while reading through their work. All these skills should be garnered from extensive experience.
Search for a consultant with a level of expertise in your industry, but don’t shy away from consultants with experience in different industries. Their varied background could bring a whole new perspective and approach you never knew your company needed!
Next, move on to their content. Review the various projects they have worked on. Have they created content in the same field as what you are looking for? Is their work classy yet creative? You should be looking for work that stands above the rest, instead of simply meeting the status quo.
Finally, examine their areas of expertise to find what your company needs. Maybe you are looking for an update on your SEO. Make sure to hire a digital marketing consultant who specializes in SEO. What if you are looking to up your social media game? Find a consultant with extensive social media experience. In short, make sure that the proverbial shoe fits. Hiring a digital marketing consultant or agency instead of a full-time employee or team provides the marketing expertise required without the heavy lift such as onboarding and training.
A Trustworthy Approach
Our third and final tip just might be the most important. The first thing you should look for when looking to hire a digital marketing consultant is their reputation. A consultant’s skills and qualifications are meaningless if their practices can’t be trusted.
Begin your examination by checking their prices. Compare what they charge to what they can offer. An off-color price can be a tell-tale sign that something isn’t right. Make sure that you only hire what you need. If the work you need is significant enough, aim for an agency. If you are looking for something more down to earth and single consultant may be all you need. It may sound obvious but, read reviews from previous clients. Make sure that your potential consultant’s former clients were satisfied with their investment. Understand the power that you will be handing over.
A digital marketing consultant’s job is to manage and advise your online marketing plan. This is an incredible responsibility──make sure that whoever you choose to carry it has the tools and experience needed to do so.
Research their methods and tools. Marketing consultants can employ dozens of different tactics to achieve their goals. Make sure that who you chose understands your branding and will have no trouble staying within those lines. Ensure they are collaborative. When working with any consultant, communication is key. Making sure that your consultant is transparent in every area of their work is critical. They are, after all, working for you, not the other way around.
A digital marketing consultant can bring an astounding amount to your company’s online table. Choosing the right person for the job can be a challenging task. Here at Affirma, we have been collaborating with clients on their marketing strategies for over 20 years. Click here to get in touch with our experts.