Our world is now digital, mind mobile, fast. The more digital we become, the more channels there are to connect with people, the more technology to be familiar with, and the more complex marketing becomes. In order to keep up with the ever changing climate and the many specialties needed (Email Marketing, Marketing Automation, Content Marketing, Social Media, SEO, Digital Marketing, Analytics, Mobile) many businesses turn to consultants. A growing number of organizations are finding it difficult to find a quality digital consultant. How do you know an individual has the knowledge and skill-set needed to help you?
- Are you continually overextended?
- Does your competitor have a better looking website or rank higher in search engines?
- Do you lack an engaged Twitter, LinkedIn page, Facebook, Google, Tumbler or blog audience?
- Or maybe the strategy you’ve been using the last 3 years, just isn’t working anymore.
In order to deal with a particular pain point many businesses waste time learning one small area and that takes away time that should be focused on broader areas. For example, asking an employee to set up social accounts for the company. If your marketer isn’t familiar with social media they may waste hours creating content for the accounts that will never generate engagement, won’t build an audience, or doesn’t fit the audience of your brand. With an ever increasing number of social media channels, it is necessary to understand which ones make sense for your brand as well as your audience and which channels are a waste of resources. Sometimes it just makes sense to outsource a skill until you really need a fulltime person or because you need some temporary help from an industry expert. It is no wonder that companies turn to digital marketing consultants to bring knowledge, results and sometimes training to the organization.
Interviewing your consultant:
When hiring an IT professional, you ask the applicant to write lines of code to show their skills. It is not quite as simple to hire a digital marketer. For one thing, we are witty by nature and can buzzword an interviewers ears to happy places. Another issue is that people don’t know what to ask, there are so many confident “Social Media Guru’s, SEO Ninjas, and Content Rockstars” on the market that it can be difficult to know who is talking the talk and who is walking the…ROI. Whatever the specialty area that you are looking for, a good digital marketer will be able to tell you examples of how they’ve helped other clients in that area. There’s a big difference between a 23 year old that “knows social” because they use it every day and a marketer that has managed social for a corporate brand and can show you metrics that show they can moved the needle.
Additionally, you will need a consultant who is skilled in multiple areas of marketing. The digital channels all do some blending together and a better consultant will be able to help navigate through those. For example, one of my clients is an e-commerce website. They realized that their site needed updates and they wanted to make it mobile, so they hired a web designer to overhaul the site. The designer did a great job making the new site look great across laptops, tablets and phones. However, neither the designer nor the website owner realized the steps to take for SEO during the overhaul, and they lost 70% of their organic search traffic. That’s when I was called to fix the problem and many redirects, major organic (social) campaigns, page speed optimization tweaks and after time reviewing analytics we are finally coming out of the weeds. Had they hired a consultant who was a digital marketing generalist to handle it from the beginning, they would have saved a lot of time, money and energy.
Find the right consultant:
1. Check them out online. A warning sign of a bad digital marketer is a lack of an online presence. You can’t know the way that users interact with a medium you are not using and familiar with.
2. Ask them about your special area of need and what they would suggest.
3. Ask about any experience they have in that area or a story of how they handled that pain point in the past. Note any technology they mention as a good sign. A good digital marketer should be familiar with the latest tools, apps, etc.
4. Ask how they stay up-to-date. If it’s blogs- they should be able to name them. If it’s conferences – ask which ones and how recent. Then look those things up yourself. “Trust but verify.”
5. Give them a chance. Set clear expectations and define how success is measured.
When setting expectations for exactly what you are needing, be as clear as possible and provide it for them in writing once you verbalize it. Decide how you will measure success and the time frame for it. The consultant will be able to estimate time for you. Social media is notorious for being difficult to prove ROI on, so if your expectation is increased sales leads than make that clear. If your need is brand awareness, make that clear. Whatever the case, you’ll want to have a brief outline from the start.
With the speed of movement in our digital world, it is important to hire a digital consultant that keeps up to date in their areas of specialty. You’re bringing in an expert to help your team – make sure they are one. The same goes for anyone on your full time team. Networking with other digital marketers is imperative to learning what is working and what isn’t. Digital doesn’t stand still.
If you’re looking for an audit of your currently marketing strategy or need some help, please let me know. I’d be happy to find some time to talk and see what makes sense.