What Does a Great Digital Consultant Do? (+Tips for Hiring)
A digital consultant provides professional, highly specialized guidance and advice to businesses using digital marketing strategies. Through digital consulting, companies can use the latest digital marketing strategies to maximize their campaigns and boost their return on investment (ROI).
This guide gives you tips on how to hire the best digital consultant:
- Define goals and needs
- Research and short-list potential consultants
- Evaluate expertise and experience
- Assess communication and interpersonal skills
- Know their methodologies and strategies
- Consider their knowledge of technology and tools
- Discuss pricing
Find out how to hire a consultant and more. Let’s go!
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1. Define Your Goals and Needs
With clearly defined goals and needs, a business or organization can start its search for the best digital consultant. To define those goals, you must pinpoint specific areas of your business that require assistance, such as digital marketing, website development, social media management, or your overall digital strategy. Here are some techniques for clearly stating goals and needs:
- Conduct a comprehensive business analysis by identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis).
- Determine the specific challenges and pain points in your digital marketing efforts. It could be low website traffic, ineffective social media engagement, or poor lead generation.
- Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals. For example, to increase website traffic by 20% within six months or generate 100 qualified leads per month,
- Prioritize goals based on their importance and potential influence on the business.
- Understand the target audience and their preferences by identifying the digital channels and platforms they frequent, their online behaviors, and content that resonates with them.
- Stay informed about the latest digital marketing and industry trends.
- Involve key stakeholders and team members in the goal-setting process.
2. Research and Shortlist Potential Consultants
You should seek digital consultants who specialize in the areas you need help with. It would be best to clarify the specific expertise and services you require from a digital consultant. Consider critical aspects of digital marketing such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media management, content strategy, web development, or any area relevant to the business's needs.
Follow these strategies to find good digital consultant candidates:
- Seek recommendations from professional networks, colleagues, or industry associations.
- Utilize online directories and platforms such as LinkedIn ProFinder, Clutch, Upwork, and Freelancer.
- Check industry associations and certifications, including Digital Marketing Institute, HubSpot Academy, or Google Ads certifications.
- Review portfolios, case studies, or client success stories to assess their capabilities.
- Read client reviews and testimonials to get insights into the quality of their work, communication skills, and overall client satisfaction.
- Assess the online visibility and performance of potential consultants. Include their search engine rankings, social media presence, and website traffic.
- Once you have short-listed a few consultants, request detailed proposals that outline their approach, strategies, timelines, deliverables, and pricing.
3. Evaluate Their Expertise and Experience
Evaluating the expertise and experience of a digital consultant is necessary, because you need to ensure they have the required skills and knowledge to meet the business's needs. Start with their portfolio. Look for projects done for businesses similar to your business or industry.
Assess their quality, creativity, and effectiveness, and consider the range of clients they have worked with and the outcomes achieved. Use these tips to further evaluate a consultant’s expertise and experience.
- Ask the consultant to provide case studies that highlight their successful projects.
- Request references from the consultant and contact their past clients if possible.
- Evaluate the consultant's knowledge of your industry or niche. Inquire about their understanding of your target audience, competitors, and market dynamics.
- Look for digital marketing, Google Ads, social media management, or software platform certifications from the consultant.
4. Assess Their Communication and Interpersonal Skills
Effective communication is vital in a consulting relationship. You must assess a candidate's communication and interpersonal skills to determine if they are a good fit. Here are some steps to help you evaluate these skills:
- Pay attention to their responsiveness and professionalism during the initial communication phase.
- Evaluate how well the consultant communicates ideas and strategies.
- Assess whether the consultant listens to your needs, concerns, and goals.
- Consider the consultant's ability to adapt their communication style to suit the business’ preferences and organizational culture.
- Find out how well the consultant collaborates with other marketing team members.
- Consider the consultant's level of professionalism and ethical conduct.
5. Know Their Methodologies and Strategies
When you are hiring a digital consultant, it's critical to know their methodologies and strategies to ensure they align with your business goals and objectives. You cannot easily learn about a consultant's methods and techniques on their website or social media page. Use these tactics in your inquiry:
- Ask the consultant outright about their methodologies and strategies. Express your interest in understanding how they approach projects and the specific strategies they employ.
- Request an overview of their general methodologies and strategies.
- Inquire about how the consultant tailors their methodologies and strategies to fit your business needs.
- Discuss the consultant's process for conducting research and analysis. Ask how they gather data, analyze market trends, evaluate competitors, and identify opportunities.
- Ask how the consultant establishes your digital initiatives' goals and key performance indicators (KPIs).
- Inquire about their methods for collecting and analyzing data and how they use data insights to inform strategies and optimize performance.
- Discuss the metrics they track, their tools for monitoring performance, and how they report progress to clients.
- Inquire about the consultant's commitment to continuous improvement and optimization.
- Request specific examples or case studies where the consultant has implemented their methodologies and strategies.
6. Consider Their Knowledge of Technology and Tools
Digital consultants should know the latest technologies and tools relevant to their client’s businesses and industries. Their knowledge of technology and tools directly affects their ability to implement effective strategies and leverage digital platforms. Here are strategies to evaluate a candidate:
- Ask about CMS, CRM, marketing automation, analytics, social media management, SEO for branding, and advertising platforms.
- Inquire about their experience with specific technologies, such as CMS or ecommerce platforms.
- Find out how they stay informed about technological advancements and industry trends.
- Note their ability to troubleshoot technical issues, identify opportunities for optimization, and find innovative solutions.
- Request specific examples or case studies where the consultant has implemented technology solutions or used particular tools to achieve specific outcomes.
7. Discuss Pricing and Contracts
Discussing pricing and contracts with a digital consultant ensures clarity, transparency, and a mutually beneficial agreement. Ask the consultant for a detailed proposal outlining their work scope, deliverables, timelines, and pricing structure. Review this proposal and ensure it aligns with goals and expectations. Here are more techniques to consider:
- Understand various pricing models, including hourly rates, fixed project fees, and retainer-based or performance-based pricing.
- Clarify the payment terms and schedule. Inquire whether they require an upfront deposit, milestone-based payments, or payment upon completion.
- Consider value over cost. Focus on the ROI you can expect from their services rather than solely comparing prices.
- Ask the consultant to provide a breakdown of costs and pricing components.
- Understand how they handle additional requests, revisions, or unexpected circumstances.
- Consider long-term partnerships if you anticipate an ongoing relationship with the consultant.
Finding the right digital consultant is crucial, so take your time to make an informed decision. Follow these techniques to hire the right digital consultant who brings the best results to your marketing campaign.
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