Active internet users make up 59% of the global population. When we’re not on our smartphones, we might be watching Netflix, playing online games, or just browsing the web on our laptops.
Consumers are bound to the digital world. No matter what kind of business you are running, you need some form of online presence in order to thrive.
The problem is, keeping up with ever-changing digital marketing trends is difficult when you have products to deliver, employees to manage, clients to meet, and taxes to file.
Moreover, you and your team can give digital marketing your best try, but who’s to say your competition won’t outperform you?
So, how can you make sure you are doing the right thing when it comes to digital marketing? This is where a digital marketing consultant comes in.
Why is Digital Marketing Important?
In order to understand what a digital marketing consultant does, it’s important to be clear on what digital marketing is and why it is so powerful.
Digital marketing is an umbrella term that encompasses all marketing efforts that take place in the digital realm. It revolves around strategies and tactics that can help you attract customers through search engines, email, social media, websites, and more.
Thanks to advancements in technology, digital marketing lets you target your ideal customer. And not only does digital marketing give you more opportunities to reach your target audience than traditional marketing, but it also allows you to compete with bigger players in your industry.
For example, Google prioritises online content that best resonates with its users, it doesn’t care whether it was published by a big brand or a fledgeling company. This is exactly why small-to-medium-sized businesses are the ones that benefit the most from digital marketing consulting services.
The Role of a Digital Marketing Consultant
Depending on the project and the type of business, the role of a digital marketing consultant can vary greatly. Typically, the job of a digital marketing consultant is to find the best ways you can reach target consumers online and convert them into paying customers.
A digital marketing consultant can evaluate your current marketing strategy and suggest improvements. Of course, they can devise a custom-tailored digital marketing strategy for your business from the ground up.
They can suggest new methods and workflows to your in-house team or even train them. Your digital marketing consultant can plan and help you implement campaigns across all digital channels.
Now that you have a better idea of what a digital marketing consultant does, let’s dig a bit deeper into what they can do for your business.
Create an Effective Marketing Strategy
Your digital marketing consultant will conduct an in-depth analysis of your current position and your target market in order to put together an actionable and detailed digital marketing strategy that’s based on your objectives.
They may start with a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis. It can provide great insight into your position in the competitive market, how you run your business, the efficiency of your marketing, and more.
Your consultant can also help you create buyer personas after they research your audience. They will figure out what are their preferred marketing channels and what are the best ways you can reach your audience through digital marketing.
Taking all of this information into account, a consultant will define a set of tasks that will help grow your customer base.
Develop a High-Converting Sales Strategy
A digital marketing consultant can come up with an efficient advertising strategy if you want to generate more leads or increase sales. According to Google’s conservative estimates, a business gets $2 (£1.5) in revenue for every $1 (£0.75) they spend on Google Ads.
But Google Ads doesn’t make any promises, nor does any other platform. If you don’t know what advertising channels to use and how to use them, you may not see any ROI.
No matter where you stand now, a savvy consultant will get you a significantly better return on your advertising spend.
To get you the best ROI, they will determine which advertising channel is best for your business. This may be video ads, paid social media ads, native advertisements, Google, or other placements.
They will also determine which factors you need to pay special attention to for your ad campaign to be successful, such as the size of your budget, duration of the ads, keywords, and audience segmentation.
Essentially, a consultant’s job is to plan effective advertising campaigns from start to finish.
Establish Useful Key Performance Indicators
Let’s say you’re already clear on what your marketing goals are. But do you clearly know whether or not you’re achieving those goals? It can be difficult to tell whether you are making progress if you are not sure where to look at.
A digital marketing consultant can guide you on how to measure the performance of your marketing efforts. Taking into account your specific strategies and objectives, they will establish which metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators) you need to track.
By following the system they create for you, you will be able to keep track of business growth.
Suggest Innovative Ideas
It’s easy to get tunnel vision if you and the members of your team have been relying on each other’s perspectives and ideas for a long time. Your current digital marketing efforts may be bringing in business, but you will still benefit from an outside expert who has an “If it ain’t broke, we still ought to fix it” mentality.
Getting to work with someone who has a fresh, unbiased perspective on your business and your current marketing efforts is one of the best reasons for hiring the services of a digital marketing consultant.
Good consultants make a point of staying up-up-to date on the latest trends in the field of digital marketing. By doing so, they are able to come up with innovative ideas for growing your business.
For instance, some of the latest trends in digital marketing are:
- The shift towards interactive content
- The introduction of visual search
- The rise of programmatic advertising
- The impact of voice search and AI on SEO
A digital marketing consultant can be of massive help if you are willing to try something new in order to gain a competitive edge.
Drive Growth On a Variety of Digital Marketing Channels
These days, a multi-channel approach to marketing is a must. By using different channels, you can reach more people—naturally. The fact that consumers come into contact with a brand at multiple touchpoints before buying their product gives even more importance to this approach.
A touchpoint is any way a consumer interacts with a business. It is a critical moment within the customer journey as it can determine whether or not a consumer will eventually purchase your product.
When a customer walks into a brick and mortar shop determined to buy a product, they’ve most likely done some prior online research or stumbled upon your content on social media.
For instance, a Google search is usually the first touchpoint for consumers, as the modern customer journey starts with “I want to to”, “I want to know”, and “I want to buy” moments. Other touchpoints may include an email promotion, an ad on Facebook, or a Google Ads remarketing campaign.
These days, digital marketing channels are where the first touchpoints occur. Each digital marketing channel can support a variety of touchpoints.
A good marketing consultant is someone who has extensive experience in a range of marketing activities and platforms, from social media and email marketing to SEO and content marketing.
Therefore, they can help create consistent marketing campaigns that will deliver results across a variety of channels. But they will also identify and prioritise the channels that work best for your target audience.
Qualifications of a Digital Marketing Consultant
No one starts out as a marketing consultant. Many digital marketing consultants have previous experience in roles such as account executive, affiliate marketer, head of content marketing, or marketing director.
It’s important to note that degrees and certificates are not what makes someone a good digital marketing consultant, although they can help one kick start their career path.
To be a good marketing consultant, one needs to have the right skills, traits, and experience. Among other things, a qualified digital marketing consultant is someone who has:
- A perfect combination of creative and analytical skills
- Knowledge of specialised marketing software (Google Analytics, Ahrefs, SEM Rush, etc.)
- Experience working in a wide range of industries or expertise in a specific niche
- Several years of established experience as a full-time digital marketer
- A portfolio that shows a history of marketing success
Of course, every digital marketing consultant must have an in-depth understanding of all areas of digital marketings. But many digital marketers choose to specialise in one or few areas, the same way they choose to specialise in one or two industries.
Digital marketing consultancy services typically encompass several areas of marketing, including:
In 2019, search engines generated 29% of global web traffic. Every digital marketing consultant should have a well-rounded knowledge of SEO (search engine optimisation).
SEO is the practice of optimising your site to get to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant keywords. The more visible your site is on Google and other search engines, the more clicks it will get.
But the goal of SEO isn’t just to increase organic traffic to your site. For instance, if your site sells fresh apple sauces, ciders, and vinegar, but Google keeps sending you visitors who are interested in Apple computers, your approach to SEO is wrong.
The aim of SEO is to increase quality traffic that converts. A digital marketing consultant can help you with that by creating a comprehensive SEO strategy for your website.
To devise a plan, they will research keywords relevant to your target market, identify the intent behind the users’ searches, and determine which keywords you should target.
A lot of work goes into creating and executing an SEO strategy for a business because there are many factors search engines use to determine how to rank a website.
Factors that can impact your ranking range from the quality of the code and content on your website to its authority and the user experience it delivers.
When it comes to SEO, the main role of a digital marketing consultant is to strategise and oversee. In order to make sure the implementation goes well, they can either provide SEO coaching to your team and oversee their work or they can delegate individual tasks to the members of their own team.
SEO and content marketing overlap in many ways. Quality content is a must if you want to rank better on Google. Aside from that, quality content helps you establish yourself as an authority in your business, shows users that you can provide value to them, keeps them on your site longer, and generates brand awareness.
To help you create content that triggers action from your site visitors or social media fans, a digital marketing consultant can plan your entire content strategy.
It may detail content ideas, what types of content you should publish, how long your blog posts should be, the tone you should use, how often you should publish content, etc. A well-thought-out content plan will help your team create more engaging whitepapers, ebooks, articles, and case studies.
Remember that talk about developing a high-converting sales strategy? PPC (pay per click) advertising usually plays a huge role here.
PPC is an advertising channel where you pay the ad publisher each time someone clicks on your ad. A well-crafted PPC campaign is one of the best ways to target your most qualified audience.
But every PPC campaign requires the right formula in order to deliver results. Again, no advertising platform will promise you that any click will result in a sale.
Successful PPC management requires a unique set of skills. To generate revenue via a PPC campaign, one needs to know how to precisely target an audience, conduct A/B testing, optimise ad copy, create action-including landing pages, track the right metrics, and make improvements where needed.
If you are looking to advertise on digital channels or if you are not satisfied with the performance of your PPC (pay per click) campaigns, a digital marketing consultant can create a customised PPC strategy for your business.
They will find the best PPC platforms (Facebook Ads, paid search ads on Google, sponsored messages on LinkedIn, etc.) for your business and make them work for you.
Reporting and transparency are very important when it comes to PPC. Your digital marketing consultant will closely monitor the execution of your PPC campaigns and tell you what exactly you are getting for the money you invested.
Social Media Marketing
A digital marketing consultant knows how to use social media networks as a sales channel.
To help you thrive on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, or any other social network where your target audience likes to hang out, a digital marketing consultant will conduct the necessary research and provide you with data-backed recommendations.
Social media marketing revolves around audience engagement. A digital marketing consultant can help you nurture social media fans into customers and boost your social media presence by creating engaging content. They can also help you target and recruit the right influencers for your social media marketing campaigns.
Over two-thirds of millennials prefer to receive communications from businesses via email. Email marketing is still a powerful tool.
But it is also much more complicated than it used to be. Today, it’s all about niche targeting and analysing open rates, bounce rates, as well as conversions.
There’s no cookie-cutter approach to email marketing. Taking into account your budget, business goals, and the unique challenges your business faces, a digital marketing consultant can help you come up with an email marketing solution.
A digital marketing consultant should be able to guide you in creating:
- Customer welcome emails
- Follow-up emails to site visitors who signed up for a lead magnet
- Emails for customer nurturing
- Blog subscription newsletters
- Loyalty program and promotional emails
Getting Started With a Digital Marketing Consultant
There are a couple of things you need to do in order to make sure you’ll get the most value from working with a digital marketing consultant.
First, you need to set clear expectations from the beginning. Tell them what you expect to achieve in a specific period of time. Any consultant worth their salt will do their best to meet your expectations, but everyone involved needs to be clear on what those expectations are.
Make sure to share:
- Your preferred method of communication
- Which tasks you want them to prioritise
- How often you wish to receive updates
Your digital marketing consultant will need access to certain accounts and assets in order to do their job. Digital marketing is all about analysing data and leveraging actionable insights.
A good digital marketing consultant can do wonders with the data you provide them. But to be able to work their magic, you’ll need to give them access to your social media accounts and your Google Analytics account.
To learn as much as possible about your operations, they will probably ask you to share relevant documentation and reports related to your business, such as branding guidelines, market analysis, and existing audience research.
If you are comfortable with divulging such data, you will help them make informed, strategic decisions.
Finding the Right Digital Marketing Consultant
A digital marketing consultant will help skyrocket the performance of your digital marketing, but only if you hire the right one. It’s vital to find a consultant who possesses certain qualities.
As mentioned, some consultants specialise in certain areas of marketing. Hire someone who has the expertise that matches the needs of your business. For instance, if you want to optimise your advertising spend, make sure that PPC is one of their main specialities.
It’s also a good idea to hire someone with expertise and experience in your industry. Let’s say you run a family healthcare clinic and want to increase organic traffic to your site. You’d want to work with someone who has experience with local SEO as well as medical SEO.
To find someone who has a great record of driving growth for healthcare clinics, research what kind of businesses they’ve worked with in the past.
Can the consultant you are considering hiring help you reach your milestones? Do their strategies deliver results?
When researching a consultant online, look for case studies. When you are interviewing them, ask for relevant examples of successful campaigns.
Check whether they have a strong online presence. Their ability to market themselves speaks volumes about what they can do for your business.
Find proof that a digital marketing consultant is credible. Since anyone can make any claim they want, you should find write-ups, reviews, and testimonials from trustworthy third-parties that vouch for them.
A good digital marketing consultant is someone who is continuously learning and growing. This helps them educate and prepare their clients for continued success.
It pays to work with someone who has in-depth knowledge of digital marketing best practices and lots of hands of experience. They also need to be highly proficient in the use of specialised marketing software.
One way to gauge their knowledge is to ask them what marketing tools are they using and why. A consultant who invests in cutting edge-marketing tech and makes a point of mastering it is more committed to their work.
When it comes to growing your business, your digital marketing consultant should share your vision. Get to know your consultant before you start working with them. Try to gain an understanding of their approach and their values. You can ask them questions such as:
- How familiar are you with my industry?
- How have you helped businesses like mine in the past?
- Do you have any exploratory ideas for our digital marketing strategy?
- What happens if a strategy doesn’t work?
- How much will you involve us in the process?
Digital marketing will offer you fresh ideas and help you develop and implement digital marketing strategies that drive growth, provided that you find a good one.
Look for someone who gets what you’re trying to do with your business and has the relevant expertise and experience to meet your needs.