Finding a Digital Marketing Consultant

by | Aug 2, 2021

What is a Digital Marketing Consultant?

A digital marketing consultant is a person who has studied the digital marketing industry and can help businesses grow through online marketing. Some digital marketing consultants work for companies and some work independently. A digital marketing consultant can be a great resource for small businesses that are trying to grow and expand their customer base without hiring internal resources or complimenting their existing team.

What kind of services does Digital Marketing Consultants provide?

Online marketing consultants can offer a wide range of services to clients but may or may not manage them in-house.  Many digital marketing consultants work on a referral or wholesale basis with vetted, highly specialized digital marketing professionals they have strategic partnerships with. These services include, in no particular order:

1: SEO – Search Engine Optimization

2: PPC – Pay per click

3: Content Marketing

4: Social Media

5: Website Development

6: Branding

7: Email Marketing

8: Channel Management

9: Marketing Automation

10: CRO – Conversion Rate Optimization

monitor screengrab

How much does a digital marketing consultant cost?

Depending on what services are requested, the cost can vary greatly.  Digital marketing consultants usually charge an hourly rate or a monthly retainer, plus campaign expenses.  Hourly rates can range from $100 per hour up to $250 or more per hour.

Often times a digital marketing consultant will work with a number of experts in specific digital marketing service categories depending on the needs of the client.

For example, if a client requires a sophisticated PPC strategy, a digital marketing consultant may partner with a third-party PPC specialized agency to manage the strategy and split the fees that are earned.

In this scenario, the online marketing consultant manages the client and monitors the campaign efficacy by representing the client’s interests. This way, if the PPC campaign is a failure, the digital marketing consultant can be objective and analyze and advise the client if it is the fault of the 3rd party provider or if the strategy itself is not working.

In both cases, the digital marketing consultant assumes the responsibility regardless of the success or failure of any 3rd party digital agency.

person using laptop computer holding card

Which digital marketing strategies are best for real estate agents?

Digital marketing is a critical component of any real estate agent’s business. If you are looking for a real estate digital marketing consultant, you will want a consultant who has an understanding of local SEO, social media, and PPC.

Once those foundations are set in place, and traffic has reached its ceiling for the budget that is afforded, conversion rate optimization, which is an ongoing, high-level web development process, paired with marketing automation can be powerful tools to build repeat visits and more form completions. The first step to determining which strategies can help a business would be to complete a digital presence audit.

white concrete house surrounded by trees

Which digital marketing strategies are best for offshore services?

The global nature of offshore services typically means bigger audiences and stiffer competition. The first step a corporate services provider should take is a digital presence audit, which is a thorough assessment of the current digital landscape for their business and industry as a whole. This will help identify weaknesses in their current online presence.

Once the audit has been completed, a digital marketing consultant may create a digital blueprint. A digital blueprint is a guide containing competitive research, a strategic summary, and budgetary recommendations to plan, execute and measure results, usually over a period of 1 to 2 years.

For the online marketing consultant, the digital marketing blueprint is a tool to help clients develop their online marketing strategies. For the client, it guides the development of their online presence and enables them to measure their results.

selective focus photography of graph

How to find the right Digital Marketing Consultant, for my industry?

Oftentimes, entrepreneurs prefer to hire industry-specific digital marketing consultants with the expectation that they will be able to deliver better results. This is not always the case. These consultants will have an advantage in setting up a campaign and a better understanding of industry-related terms from the outset.

However, from the outset, as a client, you are much more likely to get a cookie-cutter strategy that, while it’s unique to your industry isn’t unique to your business ethos or culture.

The reality is, a good digital media strategy will achieve the same or better results whether it’s an industry-specific consultant or not because they’ll have access to the same research and online tools. They may even have advantages by introducing emerging, less vanilla tools into the mix which were key to the success of their other campaigns from unrelated industries. The key is finding someone who listens, and takes the time to create the right mix of digital strategies for your business!

The key to choosing a digital marketing consultant or an industry-specific web marketing consultant is to assess the money and time constraints you have at the outset of the project. If you have the funds for a project but are short on time, hire an industry-specific expert. If you’re short on money but are not desperate to recoup your investment right away, you would probably get more value out of an all-around digital strategist, in the long term.

brown and silver telescope near body of water during daytime

Will Digital Marketing Consultants replace my internal marketing team?

For larger companies, it is quite common for digital marketing consultants to fill in gaps where internal marketing teams need support. Think of them like a hired gun. A nice part of hiring a consultant is the contract can be for a shorter period than one would hire an internal marketer for.

There are also digital marketing consultants around who can fit in exactly where you need them and no more. If you have a strong SEO and social team, you might only want a digital marketing coach to oversee, analyze their performance and objectively report back to you on a monthly basis. Other times, you might want to assign an outside digital advertising consultant to manage all PPC activities, externally.

If you go this route it’s essential for the roles of the consultant and your internal marketing staff to be well defined from the onset. An experienced consultant will illustrate the importance of boundaries early on. To them, they will want to make sure they can bring value in what they are focused on first, and the team second.

If you’re hiring an outsourced consultant for a leadership role, it is paramount that the internal staff understand the hierarchy and respect the chain of command that had been designated by the owner and consultant.

As long as the collective group understands and adheres to these guidelines, synergy should be apparent quickly. In ideal scenarios, the internal and external resources rely heavily on one another and as a result, become more productive than if you were to hire an inside supervisor or a more authoritative figure

When is the right time to hire a Digital Marketing Consultant?

Like any other investment in a business, the answer is “when you have a need”.  If you’re not sure you need a consultant, then you probably don’t.  However, if you think you can benefit from the expertise of an outside eye, there is a lot of value you can gain from a digital marketing consultant even if it’s a one-time gig. Something as simple as a digital marketing competitive analysis could be the first step you take if only to understand what your options are.

It also allows you to establish a baseline that you can then identify trends from.  It’s easier to see what works and what doesn’t when you have a baseline.  You don’t have to do everything the consultant suggests, but at least you’ll get a feel for the quality of their work before you commit to something more substantial and long-term.

person looking at watch

What are Competitive Analysis tools that Digital Marketing Consultants use?

Before you do anything, I highly recommend getting to know the basics of digital marketing. There are a lot of resources to familiarize yourself with before you start on this journey. A great place to start learning about the work digital marketing consultants do is by checking out some courses from the Google Academy.

1: Google Analytics – The starting point for anyone who wants to know how their site performs. Measures traffic, time on page, locations, age, gender, interests metrics, and way more. As a standard, most reputable web developers will set up and install Google Analytics for free. Note: You must signup with a Gmail account.

2: SEMRush – Professional search engine marketing tools and insights. the free version has some limitations but is well worth setting up if you ever plan on getting a digital marketing consultant or marketing director on board.

3: Silktide Snapshot – This paid tool does a comprehensive grading and performance algorithm with recommendations and assessments of competitors. Insites is a basic, free version of the analysis tool. Give it a try!

4: Serpsurf – A very simple search engine ranking and keyword tracking tool to find out your search engine ranking and your competitors’. Visit the simple search engine ranking tool and give it a try.

5: Google Ads Keyword Tool – If you’re curious how much you might spend before you commit to a PPC campaign, signup for free with a Gmail account and head over to the Keyword Tool in Settings. You can quickly see how many searches a particular keyword gets in a given month and how much people are willing to bid to show their website in the results. Important: Google Ads is not something we recommend businesses DIY! It can get very expensive, very quickly. Get in touch with a PPC expert, who provides a free PPC consultation before you give Google your credit card number.