Digital marketing consulting can be as vital to your company's success as retaining a law firm or an accounting firm. If you're not sure whether you're ready to bring in a digital marketing consultant, SearchEngineWatch recently published a helpful SEO quiz to get you started. But if it's painfully obvious that you need professional help, there are still a few hurdles to clear. Hiring the wrong consultant can be a waste of time and money. What's worse, it can undo any success you've accomplished on your own thus far.
Digital marketing consulting, like any other professional service, requires experience, savvy and a clear understanding of how the many moving pieces of a digital marketing plan work together. A good digital marketing consultant will be able to facilitate the many aspects of your digital marketing needs. A great one will help you transform your business and accelerate growth. When evaluating digital marketing consulting candidates, use the following checklist to ensure they have what it takes to help you succeed.
Comprehensive SEO Experience
Can your candidate evaluate your current website content, social media and inbound marketing copy and make meaningful recommendations on how to improve it? Can they show you examples of other clients whose SEO results soared under their guidance?
Extensive Research Skills
Any good consultant should offer you recent examples of industry, competitor, local market and keyword research projects as well as experience with modern testing and analytics tools. A good question in an interview with a potential digital marketing partner is, "What can you tell me about my competitors that I don't already know?"
Integrated Marketing Knowledge
Does your consulting candidate have a wealth of experience creating and executing integrated marketing plans? Ask for examples of how they've implemented integrated marketing strategies successfully with other businesses. These examples should not just include multiple aspects of digital advertising, but also traditional media, such as broadcast and print.
Strategic Content Marketing Virtuoso
Ask to see samples of your digital marketing consulting candidates' blogs, social media updates, digital press releases, emails, white papers and newsletters. Better yet, share with them your existing copy and ask how they would repurpose it to drive even more engagement.
Brand Building and Rebranding Know-How
Whether you are launching fresh or making over your brand, experience matters. Ask your candidates for samples of digital branding and messaging they've performed for other clients — especially work that spans across multiple channels.
In addition to this basic checklist of skills, there are other requirements that are less tangible but just as important. For example, how accessible will your consultant be? Can you reach them on weekends and evenings if there's an emergency? Can your digital marketing consulting candidate present you with clear ROI metrics that will measure the level of success of your program. Can they adjust the plan as needed? How much transparency will your company have into the process?
Hiring a digital marketing consultant is no different from hiring a key employee. Select carefully.