Do you need a digital marketing consultant?
A major component of a small business's online success lies in their ability to implement an effective digital marketing strategy, which takes on even more significance when you consider the fast evolving pace of the digital marketing landscape.
Digital marketing can be an intimidating topic to tackle, let alone build a strategy from scratch. It's no wonder Clutch's small business marketing budget survey revealed that nearly half of small businesses allocate 20% or less of their marketing budget to digital marketing.
It's incredibly difficult to uncover an online marketing channel that works consistently. It takes time, testing, and know-how, each of which most small business owners are not the least bit interested in, especially when they're focused on the big picture aspects of running their business.
A digital marketing consultant or agency can create a strategic online marketing plan tailored to help your brand gain recognition. While the primary goal of a digital marketing consultant is to increase the sales numbers of a company's products or services, the real benefit in using a consultant lies in their ability to generate online brand awareness.
The potential to spread your brand's message throughout the internet like wildfire is a powerful thing. A digital marketing consultant's plan for a business may include a series of guerrilla marketing tactics that help realize the underlying goal.
But aside from giving your business actionable ideas and opinions from an objective perspective, there are plenty of benefits that come from small to medium-sized businesses using a digital marketing consultant.
Save Marketing Team Costs
While some digital marketing consultants come with a hefty price tag, they're generally much more affordable than the alternative - hiring your own digital marketing team. As a rough example of what a digital marketing team would cost, here's the average salary for mid-career professionals in the digital marketing field.
- Digital Marketing Manager - $73,000
- Social Media Manager - $49,000
- SEO Marketing Expert - $60,000
- Web Designer - $47,000
- Graphic Designer - $53,000
- Copywriter - $55,000
So if you went out and hired a team of experienced freelance professionals similar to the group above, you'd be looking at a pretty steep bill running into the tens of thousands a month. And that doesn't include the benefits package you would provide.
A digital marketing consultant or agency would cost much less and provide the same marketing value with a twist.
Scaled Marketing Efforts
Through the traditional in-house marketing hiring method, the only way you would be able to increase your marketing output to see better results would be to hire more employees.
Consulting agencies have access to teams of skilled individuals able implement changes in a digital marketing strategy at a moments notice.
Keeping Up With Digital Marketing Trends
A team of in-house marketers usually don't have much time to read up on the latest graphic design, SEO, or social media marketing trends - and they definitely don't have time to tell you all about them. The same applies to an outsourced team online.
With a digital marketing consultant, you gain access to the latest internet marketing trends from an educated individual whose job is knowing what changes might be lurking around the corner. This means staying up to date with the latest Google algorithm changes and knowing which marketing channels are best suited to your business' niche.
So now that you understand some of the major benefits that come with hiring a digital marketing consultant, let's talk about 3 key questions you should ask potential consultant's or agencies before signing on the dotted line.
1.What Have You Done In The Past?
You need to get a rough idea of what your prospective consultant has done for customers in the past, both online and off.
If you want to be really thorough, contact a few former clients and ask about their experiences - this way you get a good idea of how the consultant communicates, as well as what their areas of expertise. It's also wise to favor candidates who've worked in your industry or a similar industry before.
2. What Can You Do For Me Now?
After you've got an outline of a consultants track record, you need to find out exactly what it is they can do for your business.
Does their skill set complement your business niche? Have they published any related articles in major magazines or authoritative websites? What can the consultant offer their competitors can not?
3. What About Our Current Marketing Plan?
It's vital to have a prospective consultant give you their honest input on your current digital marketing plan. When giving them your plan, it's also important to provide them with context on your current situation.
If they give you a semi-automated reply that gives you no indication they payed attention to your current unique situation, then you might be better off seeking a consultant whose willing to pay attention to the small details. On the flip-side, if you received a detailed response outlining an honest assessment of your marketing efforts, including your plan's strengths and weaknesses, then you may have a winner.
There's an endless number of ways from which you can gauge the efficacy of a digital marketing consultant, but knowing what you want in a consultant - as well as what to ask - is the first step toward realizing a more effective digital marketing strategy for your business.
This post originally appeared on The Fried Side blog.