Are you struggling to reach your target market, or you aren’t reaching your set revenue targets?
If you’re answer’s “yes,” then it’s time to hire a digital marketing consultant.
In today’s competitive increasingly complex digital environment, businesses are struggling to attract their target customers. That’s why you need to market yourself effectively to get more leads and customers.
It’s even harder for small business owners like you because you’re already wearing several hats to grow and sustain your business.
In this blog post, you’ll learn more about how a digital marketing consultant can help you better reach your customers and close more sales.
And because not all digital marketing consultants are created equal, I’ll share with you what you’ll need to consider before hiring one.
What’s a digital marketing consultant?
A digital marketing consultant’s an external advisor who specializes in leveraging online marketing channels to generate leads and increase sales conversions.
The services of digital marketing consultants vary depending on your needs. Some will only handle specific marketing campaigns. Others will oversee your entire marketing strategy from start to finish.
Regardless of the scope of services you choose, a digital marketing consultant is responsible for ensuring the right campaigns are launched to help you reach your goals.
Moreover, a digital marketing consultant can adequately choose the right marketing channels to use based on your product and target audience. That way, you can increase the overall awareness of your brand and products, generate qualified leads, convert more sales.
Many of the top digital marketing consultants have a background in marketing and advertising.
They’re also proficient in copywriting, visual communications, and public relations. They also stay updated on the online marketing trends, tools, and best practices.
More importantly, they’re familiar with consumer behavior psychology. This is crucial so that your business can launch marketing campaigns that will compel your target audience to take action without sounding pushy.
Digital Marketing Consultant vs. Small Business Marketing Consultant
A digital marketing consultant specializes in developing, implementing, and monitoring a business’ paid and organic online marketing strategies.
Hiring a digital marketing consultant comes in handy when you lack:
- Knowledge of the marketing fundamentals to boost your business.
- Understanding your target customers.
- Resources to focus on marketing initiatives.
- Skills to understanding consumer behavior and your industry to differentiate yourself from your competition.
On the other hand, a small business marketing consultant focuses on creating and executing marketing strategies specifically for small and medium enterprises.
In addition to utilizing various online marketing strategies like content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and PPC advertising, small business marketing consultants also implement offline marketing campaigns to get more customers within your community.
What Does a Digital Marketing Consultant Do?
1. Marketing Strategy
A marketing strategy serves as a roadmap for all the campaigns you’ll launch, making sure your company will be successful online.
It includes the specific business goals you want to achieve, your available resources, timeline for analysis and results, marketing channels, and KPIs.
The strategy also details the key messages to be used, the audience segments to be targeted, and the mix of channels and tactics to reach them.
Depending on your arrangement, your digital marketing consultant will be responsible for:
- Planning a fitting approach for your company based on your industry, target audience, and current digital marketing effectiveness and activities.
- Identifying priority objectives for your company (e.g., getting more traffic, generating more leads, and increasing conversions).
- Exploring select online marketing channels and platforms to start (e.g., Google Adwords, Facebook ads, and SEO).
- Regularly checking of data analytics to get results relevant to your company’s priority objectives and recommend the next steps.
- Updating online campaigns for retargeting and optimizing leads to increase conversions.
Branding goes beyond your logo, tagline or slogan, color schemes, and fonts.
There’s also your brand identity. This includes your unique selling proposition, personality, and the feelings you want your target customers to feel about you and your products.
The digital marketing consultant aims to improve the overall brand image with creative online marketing campaigns that, hopefully, effectively results in conversions and leads.
To achieve this, you and your digital marketing consultant should follow and align on the points below:
- Brand purpose: Know your products and services like the back of your hand and the ‘why’ behind them.
- Target audience: Define your customer and understand them through their digital footprint and behavior.
- Competitor and market landscape: Scope the critical players in your industry, identifying what they do differently, and how to angle your approach.
- Unique selling points: Understand what makes your brand, product, or service unique.
- Brand voice: Know how best to communicate with your target audience using a consistent and cohesive voice so your brand will be ‘seen’ the same way across different platforms.
- Brand recognition: digitally engage with your customers in many ways and be consistent in how you speak to them.
Following a compelling digital brand strategy with the above points, your company should be able to enjoy an overall increase in brand awareness, loyalty, and advocacy.
3. Content Planning
To start, the digital marketing consultant creates a content calendar to document and guide efforts based on the company’s overall content marketing strategy.
This calendar provides focus and direction for your company’s content creation that will later prove valuable and relevant as you grow.
Here’s an example of content planning using Trello:
This document affords a smoother process of identifying the right type of content to produce, topics and subtopics to be covered, frequency and timeline of publishing, selecting channels to feature the content, team member allocation for specific content, progress updates, and the like.
The digital marketing consultant should manage your workflow process and answer the following questions about the content strategy:
- Who’s the target audience for your content?
- How does your content answer your target audience’s specific problems?
- What to highlight to differentiate your products and services from competitors?
- Which content types work best to achieve your digital marketing priorities?
- Which marketing channels work best for your content?
- How to better allocate and manage human resources to address all content planning needs?
4. Project Management
Project management involves combining various skills, techniques, and knowledge to complete specific tasks and project requirements.
Whether the digital marketing consultant you’ll hire will be working with your team or not, he or she must be equipped with this skill to ensure your marketing campaigns are launched on time.
Establishing an emotional connection with your consumer increases trust between you and your customers by connecting with them on a personal level.
When brands tell a story, consumers listen.
Would you read a story of how a consumer benefited from a product or a list of its benefits?
Storytelling can be shown in different types and formats. But, before that, to write a compelling brand story, a digital marketing consultant focuses on these aspects:
- Know the core brand identity and create a brand narrative or signature story.
- Provide clarity to the ‘why’ of your company.
- Find and understand what makes your target audience tick.
- Optimize the impact of different content formats, types, and styles.
- Utilize the strengths of different online platforms for specific content formats or types.
- Create consistency in the look and feel of your content.
Digital marketing consultants stay up-to-date on the latest SEO best practices and trends.
With around 3.5 billion searches worldwide made on Google every day, optimizing content for search engines has never been more critical.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a primary online marketing method aimed at increasing quality traffic to your website through organic search results.
When your content’s optimized, your rank in search engine results will be higher and more visible to your target audience.
SEO requires some patience to see results, and your digital marketing consultant must ensure you achieve the results you want to achieve.
Some of the ways that your digital marketing consultant can do are:
- Publishing relevant content that stays true to your brand story while providing industry-related news to give your audience an update.
- Building an SEO strategy around topics that are relevant to your industry and company and make sure to update the content regularly.
- Doing keyword research to optimize relevant SEO keywords with high traffic potential on your content.
- Building links across your content to make it worthy of sharing.
- Familiarizing how the ranking algorithm goes and maximize click-through rate (CTR) with your titles, URLs, and descriptions.
7. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
Digital marketing consultants must be savvy about the different PPC ad programs offered on Google and social media channels. They should also know how to maximize your ad spend in promoting your products or services to your target customers.
PPC advertising is done for a diverse set of industries and. It’s also used if you want to generate traffic to your website faster, like through Google AdWords or Facebook.
8. Analytics and Evaluation
By reviewing and analyzing your data analytics, a digital marketing consultant can determine quantitatively the types of content and the specific topics which bring in more traffic to your website, social media accounts, and other digital channels.
A digital marketing consultant can also use data analytics to understand your target audience’s behavior and preferences.
You can then leverage these insights to create campaigns that’ll help you build more trusting relationships with your customers, get more leads, and generate sales.
When to Hire a Digital Marketing Consultant
All businesses encounter a situation wherein you believe a digital marketing consultant can help you, then go ahead and hire one.
Clearly-defined business objectives and brand purpose serve as good starting points in assessing your readiness to invest in a digital marketing consultant and further grow your business.
But, certain factors can serve as signals that it’s time to hire a digital marketing consultant. These include:
- You’re not experiencing a positive change in your leads and sales, even if you’ve tried implementing different marketing strategies.
- You’re working with a small team that’s already stretched to their limit.
- Your team lacks the expertise and knowledge of developing online and offline marketing campaigns.
What to Expect When Hiring a Digital Marketing Consultant
Now you know what a digital marketing consultant does and why you should consider hiring one, you’re likely wondering what’ll it be like working with one.
Through these points, you’ll see a glimpse of the business-owner-digital-marketing-consultant working relationship:
Receive calculated estimates and projections
With digital marketing, you are dealing with a lot of unknown areas and constantly changing paradigms.
Digital marketing consultants will give you pretty good calculated estimates and forecasts based on best practices and tried techniques that have recently worked.
One way that you can assist in mitigating overestimation is to tell your consultant to separate speculation from actual numbers and be conservative.
A partnership between you and the consultant
Right at the onset, you must set your expectations regarding the role of the digital marketing consultant against your business objectives and goals. Give a clear direction.
Also, you have to be ready to give them some feedback. Feedback is always welcome because it allows them to gauge better the challenging areas and your approach on how to tackle them.
Also, constant communications and regular updates on successes and roadblocks help identify tactics that work against those that do not. There must be transparency for the partnership to be clear of doubts and guesses.
These will help both parties move forward in addressing issues and reflect the professionalism and adaptability of the consultant to your specific needs.
It’s NOT a short-term commitment
Digital marketing takes time to see the desired results.
When you create new content or post an ad, don’t expect immediately to see a boost in sales and engagement.
It is not a hard or fast rule, but it takes at least six months before you see results.
It typically takes longer to generate results from organic campaigns compared to paid advertising. For organic campaigns, the only real investment is time (and quite a lot of it).
After all that time and effort, if nothing’s happening, you should start to investigate why.
Things to Consider When Hiring A Digital Marketing Consultant
Hiring a digital marketing consultant is an investment. So make sure you hire the right one based on your business needs and goals.
1. Your Business Needs and Objectives
You need to know what you want or need help with.
Setting SMART goals that you want your digital marketing consultant to achieve will give him or her more direction.
Some examples that you can direct to your digital marketing consultant:
- I want to an increase in business sales by 50% in 12 months
- Using organic strategies, I want a 300% boost in traffic on my website within 5-6 months
- I am open to paid advertising but only with a budget of $1,000 a month. Use this to generate an increase of 35% in online sales in 3 months
These listed above are straightforward cases to get you started on thinking about concrete directions for your digital marketing consultant.
To understand better how it goes, check this out for some abridged versions of case studies where digital marketers assisted real businesses.
SMART goals also help your digital marketing consultant’s choice in what to use to make these happen, from the content types down to the distribution channels, and tools to use.
2. The Tools You’re Using
Whether you use a spreadsheet or a full-blown customer relationship management (CRM) software to manage your email marketing, you need to make sure that the digital marketing consultant knows how to use this. This will make the onboarding process more manageable.
3. Match Expertise with Industry and Business Needs
Some digital marketing consultants would only service businesses belonging to specific industries.
Make sure that the digital marketing consultant you choose has experience working in your industry. That way, you can be assured he or she can cater to your specific needs.
Hiring a digital marketing consultant with knowledge and experience in your industry gives you the following advantages:
- More in-depth understanding of the consumers you’re targeting.
- More knowledge on industry trends.
- Greater awareness of the best practices observed when promoting your products.
4. Your Budget
Hiring a digital marketing consultant doesn’t come cheap.
The average hourly rate for digital marketing consultants worldwide is around $140 per hour. This varies based on years of experience, the scope of service, and the level of understanding in specific industries and digital marketing trends.
As you can see, digital marketing consultants don’t come cheap. Naturally, you’d want to make sure that when you hire a digital marketing consultant, you’ll get the results you’re expecting.
It’s for this reason why many companies would opt to pay the digital marketing consultant they choose to hire by using the value-based pricing model.
With this model, you pay your digital marketing consultant a percentage of the revenue you generate as a result of the marketing campaigns they launch.
But, if the target wasn’t reached, then you need to place a minimum payment agreement based on actual results, either as a fixed fee or a lower percentage.
With this pricing model, your digital marketing consultant will be motivated to work harder because better results equate to higher earnings.
Either way, you need to set your budget wisely. Here are some tips to help you allocate your budget:
- Study your books to refocus the marketing budget since a part of this will go to your digital marketing efforts.
- Match your budget with the size of your company.
- Identify your strategy’s complexity to focus on specific digital marketing tools (e.g., SEO, PPC, content, and social media).
- Match your digital marketing goals to the consultant’s experience.
5. Testimonials and case studies
A digital marketing consultant’s track record is something you should always look at when deciding who to hire.
Some digital marketing consultants would feature a list of case studies on their website.
These give you details about a specific marketing campaign they launched for one of their clients. Here, you’ll get an overview of the process the digital marketing consultant went through in developing and implementing the marketing campaign. You’ll also see the results they achieved.
At the same time, you get to see the type of marketing strategies they implement and see if this matches your style.
Make sure to review the testimonials on their website.
Testimonials serve as social proof that can elicit a level of trust from prospective clients that they can do what they claim.
Check feedback from previous clients about their knowledge, skills, and professionalism.
Finally, take the time to speak to their previous clients.
You’ll get a better idea of their experience with the digital marketing consultant you’re considering. At the same time, you’ll get more insight into the results they got from the working relationship.
Some questions you can ask the consultant’s previous clients are:
- How did [consultant name] work on your company URLs’ Google rankings over the last six months? And how has this impacted your business?
- Can you show some examples of the processes that [consultant name] engaged in to achieve targets for organic online marketing?
- How did [consultant name] ’s expertise as a digital marketing consultant fit your business needs?
- Were there particular roadblocks that [consultant name] encountered? What steps or techniques were undertaken to overcome them?
- During [consultant name] ’s time as a digital marketing consultant for your company, were there techniques that were passed to your team and yourself?
Hiring a digital marketing consultant can help your business grow
Digital marketing consultants lend their expertise to help you develop, launch, and monitor your marketing strategies in a more organized and efficient manner.
Make sure you’re hiring a digital marketing consultant that best fits your business needs, knows your industry, and a proven record of delivering results.
To help you begin, consider my growth-driven marketing course to get the following benefits:
- Generate quality leads,
- Shorten your sales cycle, and
- Get published in leading online publications