Whether you are a small startup, or an established business interested in expanding, you are going to need a few things. Capital for the expansion, digital and physical assets, and lastly, a marketing plan, to propel your ROI. If you plan to digitally expand, you’ll need sophisticated infrastructure in the form of various web based assets.
- Web Development
- Social Media
- Directory Listings
- Marketing Tools
- And Possibly More…
In order to get these things, you need customers. And in order to get customers, you need a marketing strategy. So, you absolutely have to have a budget, in order to begin. On top of that, these days, a business has to be online if they want to grow. People, especially members of the up-and-coming generations, are constantly engaged with their digital devices. That means it is necessary to get online, and the sooner the better.
So, let’s dive in, and find out How To Hire The Best Online Marketing Consultant.
Hiring the Best SEO Marketing Consultant
Google has the most sophisticated search engine algorithm in the world, when it comes to providing relevant, dynamic search results. They are constantly upgrading, and improving their algorithms, in an effort to serve the best overall results possible. In doing so, it forces websites to properly optimize, so that Google can effectively understand what website owners are trying rank for. Some environments can be extremely competitive, but the fact remains that every time Google changes their algorithm, SEO Marketing Consultants need to be ahead of the game.
To that end, Google conducts search based studies on a regular basis. In 2014, they sent out a survey of 4,500 people who were eighteen, or older, and who also conducted smartphone searches several times a week. The idea was to get a sense of what people searched for most often via their smartphones.
For Google, this was to determine how to better serve their clients, but for online marketing consultants, this was a chance to better learn how to monetize from the recent changes. What they found was that 4 out of 5 consumers use their mobile devices to search for local information. That’s 80% of the test group.
Furthermore, a full 50% of consumers, who searched with their smartphones, reported visiting the store within the same day. This number drops to 34% for those who used a tablet or a personal computer, yet still a large segment of the people in the test group.
This suggests that local businesses have a dire need for both mobile responsive websites, and especially for local search engine optimization. However, many small business owners, very typically, do not understand the sheer gravity, of the shift in the market, to using digital methods, such as search engines, to find solutions. As a result, many find it difficult to justify the cost of hiring some sort of digital marketing consultant, even though the ROI (Return on Investment) is typically unparalleled. Many businesses presume they can perform optimization on their website, in-house, as though it did not require any sort of special knowledge, understanding, or tools.
The Dangers Of In-House Marketing Implementation
Your business, no doubt, already has marketing infrastructure, to some degree. Figuring out how to market yourself is step three in running a business. With that understanding, many business owners feel they can take care of optimizing their website and setting up their online store on their own.
It is true that Local SEO tasks can be done in-house, but it takes a great deal of labor, if you don’t know what you are doing. You can also waste a lot of money, and time, by falsely assuming that you’ve quickly mastered something, like SEO, which is a field with a lot of misinformation. First, a website has to be designed properly. The website doesn’t just need to look aesthetically pleasing, though that’s certainly part of any good businesses brand image, and CRO (conversion rate optimization). It also needs to be functional, and provide regularly updated, relevant, information. Can you regularly create new, authoritative blog posts, each month, about your business? If not, you already understand why you might want to hire an SEO marketing consultant, so that you can learn how to properly scale your online marketing processes.
Even if you can, it may take some time, and some testing, in order to fine tune things for your particular business. That is not the only job of an online marketing department, either. The website has to be consistently updated, and optimized, for new content, as well as content that requires special attention, such as an SEO Press Release, for example. In addition, your content has to be crafted to respond to different SEO keyword searches, which requires special tools, and understanding. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s brand marketing and social media to deal with.
Plain and simple, your company needs an online marketing consultant if you want to see a profit. You CAN do it, yourself, but shooting in the dark, no matter how tech savvy you think you are, is going to cost you a lot more money, over time, than simply short-listing a Professional Marketing Consultant, and getting it done right, the first time. Our Marketing Strategy Consultants can speak to all of these problems.
Digital Marketing Services
Marketing Consultation Services can vary, significantly. Just about anyone can claim to be a consultant, and therefore anyone can feign being an internet marketing consultant. Given that knowledge, it’s hard to know whether or not it’s actually worthwhile to spend money on any kind of online marketing consultant.
However, there are a number of services a good online marketing consultant can perform. For example, they can either provide, or help, give training in the following things:
- Web Design
- CRO | Conversion Rate Optimization
- SEO | Search Engine Optimization
- SMM | Social Media Management
- Keyword Research
- Lead Generation
- Reputation Management
- PR | Press Releases
- Email Marketing
- And Many More…
Some of these, often times, may seem like jargon to unfamiliar business owners.
That is exactly why, just about, every business owner can benefit from some level of Marketing Consultation.
Hiring the Best Brand Marketing Consultant
Marketing Consultancy covers a wide variety things, and they all share a little bit in common, depending on the focus. Search engine optimization is only part of it, but it’s definitely one of the more significant aspects of the industry. Another big part, of an effective marketing strategy, is helping your company build a strong brand.
Branding helps with optimization, because it gives you more tools with which to attract Google’s attention. In order to build the brand, a marketing consultation agency will sit down, and help you find a voice, target audience, and an image, for your business.
Essentially, think of your company as if it were a person. What kind of a person would it be? What kind of interests would it have? Obviously your business would be interested in the products and services you offer, that’s a given. However, those products and services may lead to other interests, without seeming forced. For example, if your business is a small retail outlet, then it would have an obvious interest in physical products associated with your niche.
Any marketing consulting firms, worth your time, will then tell you to keep an online blog, talking about your product line. By providing effective marketing strategy consultation, we can teach you a step-by-step plan-of-action, that can help you write blog updates, and figure out the best schedule for those updates.
The more interests your company has, then a small business marketing consultant can help you create a more sophisticated plan-of-action for finding customers new customers, as well as retaining old ones. Every variant field can be a new growth opportunity, for your areas of interest. The more people who know about your brand, the more comfortable your customers will become, which means they will trust you more, in the future, and that will result in easier conversions, more sales, word of mouth, and inevitably, this all boils down to greater growth, and increased profitability.
Finding the Best Social Media Marketing Consultant
The marketing consultancy firms that understand social media are pioneers in the internet marketing world. SMM is new, unexplored territory, and right now, there’s a gold rush. There was a time, around a decade ago, when “social media” meant that you had a MySpace account, and maybe dabbled in YouTube. These days, the face of communication has changed, and so has the way to market.
There are multiple social media sites, now, all with very different uses, and predominant demographics. Any proper SMM marketing consultation is going to be able to lay out exactly how to approach building your brand on AT LEAST the major players in the industry.
The Top Social Media Platforms of the World:
For example, Facebook is great for building a community. You can post things from your business, amusing anecdotes, or whatever else you think your clients might enjoy reading. Your clients can comment, and share, their own stories, and in doing so, help to build brand loyalty.
Unfortunately, this also means it’s easy to upset a larger group of people if you slip up. And because it’s the internet, your small mistake, in customer interaction, could become the next viral sensation. No one wants that sort of thing attached to their brand, and rightly so. Therefore, marketing consultancy firms, that know what they’re doing, know how to plan for healthy client interaction, as well as how to capitalize on it, when appropriate.
Meanwhile, Twitter is terrible for building a community. Because of the way tweets go out, and people respond to them, it’s difficult to have a nuanced conversation. It doesn’t help that Twitter only allows 140 characters in a tweet. There are few conversations, worth having, that can happen in 140 characters.
Twitter is great for sending spur of the moment posts to everyone following you. If your company is able to utilize Twitter, it can send out messages that attract a wider following. This can be done in multiple ways, but without a way to engage with your followers, you will never see actionable conversions, through a platform like Twitter.
Marketing consultancy services may help you decide which social media site is best for your company, and how to use it. Most companies are best served by using between two and four social media sites, but some companies may be limited to a particular platform, and others might do well to be on as many platforms as possible.
As an example, Instagram is a site for sharing pictures. However, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr all allow you to share pictures as well. So which one would you use in order to share pictures? It depends on your niche, and how your average demographics engage with your content.
For Instagram, the picture has to be the entire story. You can give a small description, such as “workers burn the midnight oil to finish up this project”, but it’s not designed for lengthy conversations. The idea is to try to make each image meaningful in its own right.
Meanwhile, Facebook would be used to share more community-oriented images. You could take a fun image of your employees goofing off, a picture of some of your favorite office equipment, or whatever else you might consider sharing with your company’s followers.
Twitter is for spur of the moment messages and images. For example, if a brand new piece of equipment just came in, you might take a picture and post it up to Twitter, with a quick note, saying “Look what just came in the mail”.
As you can see, some facets of online marketing can be much more complex than traditional marketing. Digital mediums give the appearance of push-button solutions, but there are more variables that have to be accounted for, with more sophisticated systems of infrastructure, and that can make it difficult, and time consuming, to create the right kind of machine, before you even have a chance to turn it on, and see a Return on Investment (ROI).
How to Hire The Expert Online Marketing Consultant
Now that you understand why hiring a professional marketing consultant is so important, you may be wondering how you can hire the right one. As mentioned, previously, anyone can claim to be a consultant. So how do you separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak?
The first step is to learn a little bit about what you are planning on hiring for. Any agency, that is worth hiring, has a portfolio to show off, but that be faked pretty easily, for a lot of things. They can show you what companies they might have worked with, in the past, what services they offered, and the end result of those services, but again, if you don’t know anything about the field, and you aren’t aware of the necessary tools for judging the value they are claiming, then you may be walking into scam. Proof can be powerful, but it has to be rooted in common sense, and verifiable with tools readily available to the public.
For that reason, no matter what you are looking to hire for, it is essential that you actually have a basic understanding of the field, BEFORE you start the hiring process.
That means you need to do a few Google searches, and learn what you can, before attempting to hire anyone, in any marketing field.
As a marketing consultant, for a pretty good period of time, this is one of the biggest issues I face with a variety of clients.
They don’t know anything about the field, but they have certain expectations that are not practical for a given industry, or they think that, somehow, they can spend next-to-nothing, and magically create a system that will generate income forever-and-ever.
Not only do they often disrespect, and not appreciate, professional advice, but they expose themselves to potential scammers.
This kind of stance shows, a practitioner of fraud, that the client just wants to hear the unbelievable deal, despite its impracticality.
For this reason, one of my biggest clients, to-date, are those who have hired overseas, and received little-to-no value, or who have hired domestically, but were unable to discern results.
As a result, there are two big things you need, in order to be prepared.
- Basic Understanding
- Fraud Protection
Any given system is going to take some infrastructural setup, and the know-how to get it done properly, without spending a fortune.
That’s where a professional marketing consultant can come in, and augment your basic knowledge, with systems, tools, and services, that are going to be able to dial in your basic understanding of any particular field.
You have to have a clear idea of what you want. Not every online marketing agency has the same focus. Some work exclusively on search engine optimization, and web design. Others might specialize in social media management. If you have no idea what kind of online marketing strategies you need, then you definitely need to hire for a preliminary marketing consultation, and get someone to look over your business model, niche, keywords, etc, to provide you with some advice on how to move forward in the most cost effective way possible. However, if you know what you need, then it’s generally better to hire a firm with a specialty in that field.
Lastly, decide if you’re going to outsource your digital marketing to a freelancer or agency, if you’re going to do it yourself, or if you might prefer to hire a consultancy firm to train in-house. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages, and you need to be aware of the time, versus the cost, of each option.
Outsourcing Digital Marketing
If you’re a startup, or a small business, that hovers over the line, between profit and debt, then it may be a good idea to outsource your online marketing. It does cost a bit more, in the long run, but it frees up a number of other resources that your business will need.
Doing things, yourself, only works if you have the right knowledge for taking action.
Many people think they know what they are doing, but I have consulted with a lot of companies, and it is very common to reveal huge gaps in their budget, or weak returns on existing marketing systems.
If you can finance even one year of implementation, with the right digital marketing agency, or freelancer, you are likely to save yourself A LOT of money in the long run.
Through my professional marketing consultation services, I can teach you how to multiply your time, as a resource, and create long-lasting scalability.
For example, you don’t have to invest a lot of resources, in paying for managers, to deal with social media accounts.
I can introduce you to solutions that will save you a lot of time, and money, in the long-run.
Skip-ahead, and bypass years of hitting walls, frustration, losing money, failing, etc, and just get the help you need from the very beginning.
Your time will thank you, your wallet will thank you, and eventually, you will look back on that decision with gratitude, yourself.
If you’re a more established company, then doing in-house training may be the best option. It keeps you from having to continually pay for third-party services, and instead negotiate a more direct contract with your direct employees. This gives you more direct control of how the work gets done.
Domestic staffing is an interesting creature, nowadays.
From what I have seen, a lot of people are handed an unreasonable amount of tasks, with absurd expectations, and all that for a shot-in-the-dark ROI.
You need a better plan, with a provable ROI, and it all needs to be extremely simple for your people.
Domestic hiring is much more expensive, but the upside is supposed to be in communication, and basic competence.
The ironic thing is that this goes completely unappreciated, and underutilized.
A lot of companies seem to be treating in-house staff like they are cheap labor from overseas.
Working with people locally, however, is NOT a numbers game.
It needs to be treated like an exact science, and people need to be nurtured.
I can help you get your methods down to a very refined, and simplistic curriculum, so that your in-house people can grow, rather than be tossed in a fire.
The ability to work closely, with your team, is a blessing, and a privilege, so it should be treated as something you are actually trying to build, and nurture.
Once they are at a place of, not only self sufficiency, buy also where they have taken things up, and really start to own their progress, then you have successfully trained a group of people who are perpetuating an automated system.
The downside is that you will have to have regular training classes in order to get there. There are no shortcuts, here.
People with all manner of degrees, or not, are going to need nurturing, and respect, so there is no avoiding that, if you want to build a strong team that will last.
The challenges of the marketing industry are ever-shifting, and the internet moves at the speed of thought, so what works one day, may suddenly stop working the next.
This means that anyone dealing with SEO, or other forms of internet marketing, may have to be able to comfortable with making small adjustments from time-to-time.
If a major change occurs, in a given field, then you will need to ensure that your employees know how to adapt, or at the very least, are able to be patient enough to not freak out when the rest of a community might be claiming that everything is melting down, and the end has come.
Ultimately, the choice is up to you. Whatever you do, do not dismiss the need for an online presence. Companies these days are made, or broken, by how well they market themselves online. This means that you need to stop making excuses, being squeamish, or fearful, and have the courage to take a strong step in the right direction.