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10-Point Checklist For Hiring A Superstar Digital Marketing Consultant


Looking to hire a digital marketing consultant to arm your marketing strategy?

Many businesses make hiring fails which cost them dearly, and when it comes to marketing, even more than your money is at stake.  With the wrong marketing support, you risk damage to your company’s reputation and to the growth of your business.

Hiring the correct person will help you avoid these pitfalls whilst growing your business for years to come.

This article will give you a 10-point checklist to ensure you hire a digital marketing consultant worth their weight in gold.

1. Digital Marketing Consultants Have a Solid Pedigree of Experience

And they’re not afraid of showing it.

Excellent digital marketing consultants breathe marketing. They are demonstrators who openly practice what they preach.

Much of this is evident from their website, marketing copy and blog.

First-rate digital marketing consultants will share their very best insights and strategies on their public blog.

Just by reading their website/blog, you’ll gain valuable insights into their thought process.  You should come away with immediate actions to implement in your business.

2. Their Expertise Extends Well Beyond SEO and Social Media

Whilst understanding SEO and how to rank key web pages highly in Google’s listings is essential; you can’t build a powerful digital marketing strategy on that alone.

What you’re looking for is a digital native; someone who can lead and make your digital marketing strategy a success.

Their knowledge and expertise should span across multiple digital marketing channels including but not limited to:

  • Email marketing
  • Pay-pay-click advertising (Google and Facebook)
  • Blogging
  • Social media
  • Video marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Referral marketing and much more

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Our revenue increased by 50% after 6 months of working with Grow

Greg Gillespie

The London Academy of Dance

Find out how we can help your business Grow »

3. They Understand Your Business and its Challenges

A great digital marketing consultant will ask many questions about your business to understand its key challenges.

When you speak with them, there must be chemistry and mutual understanding of each other’s skills, which helps manage expectations on both sides. Anyone can make suggestions, but the advice you receive from a digital marketing consultant should immediately click with you.

You’ll need to be able to trust them as they’ll ask you to try new things that will get you out of your comfort zone.

If you’re a small business, you can’t afford to choose a digital marketing consultant who doesn’t understand small business.

Try to avoid less experienced digital marketing consultants who’ve worked solely in the corporate sector. They may not have the breadth of knowledge needed to scale their ideas and strategies according to your resources.

Two businesses with the same challenges may need completely different advice, and that’s normal.

This leads me to my next point.

4. They Know Which Marketing Channels Your Business Should Focus on

Part of what makes a good consultant is their ability to provide strategies, ideas and solutions best suited to your business and resources.

Anybody can give you a list of marketing strategies to start working on right away. But the hallmark of a good digital marketing consultant lies with their knack to identify the right marketing channels that’ll generate the biggest returns for your business.

In the marketing world, this is referred to as the bullseye framework.

A digital marketing consultant should be able to hone in on the platforms guaranteed to deliver for you. This way you can invest even more resources whilst keeping your cost–per-customer acquisition as low as possible.

For example, if you’re in the business of selling online education to young students, marketing platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and student forums may be perfect for you to advertise your courses.

Professional platforms such as LinkedIn will be more suitable for businesses that provide management consultancy or services which are sold primarily to other businesses.

5. Their Website is Modern, Stunning and Works Well on Mobile Devices

Any consultants who are going to advise you on strategy and marketing also know that design plays a critical role in aiding conversions.

If their website is unappealing, cluttered or resembles something from the late 90’s, you’re less likely to trust them opposed to a competitor who takes pride in how their work appears to people who know nothing about them.

In this day and age, there is no excuse for having a down-trodden website. Content management systems (CMS) like WordPress have many inexpensive, beautiful themes that help bring content to life.

Their website must also be optimised for all mobile platforms. With Google’s recent algorithm changes which promote web pages optimised for mobile (AMP) and speed, you want your digital marketing consultant to reassure you that you’re in good hands.

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Grow’s marketing advice has added over £200,000 to our turnover this year – it’s been our best year yet!

6. They’re Always up to Date with the Latest Happenings in the Marketing World

A good digital marketing consultant always has their finger on the pulse and heavily invests in their own learning and education. They must always be up to date so they know who to recommend and can give initial on-the-spot advice.

A clever way to test this is to ask what programs, courses, books and people they’re currently following. They must be able to give specific names or direct you to resources they find useful right now in their own business. You want to ensure the strategies and advice they give you isn’t outdated or ineffective.

7. They Possess a Treasure Chest of the Best Tools and People to Help you Generate New Business

Your digital marketing consultant shouldn’t be the type to keep a good thing to themselves. They must possess an inventory of the best tools and resources to help you gain new business.

They are more than happy to recommend software and tools that are suitable for your business. From all-in-one SEO tools and social media scheduling to marketing automation, analytics and more.

Most importantly, your needs come first to them. Even if they’re an affiliate, they’ll only recommend the tools which support the needs of your business.

You’ll know you have a great digital marketing consultant if they recommend a competitor who they’re not set up to earn affiliate commissions from. This is because the feature set outweighs what they use or is needed in your organisation.

8. They Provide Testimonials and are Happy for you to Contact Previous Clients

Any digital marketing consultant worth their salt will be more than happy to provide you with contact information of their past clients.

Every business should have at least three super fans who absolutely loved working with them. Take it upon yourself to ask them a couple of questions about the consultant you’re about to work with.

Is the expert loved enough that people will take time out of their day to endorse them to others?

Any businesses or services should have clear testimonials which highlight the impact of their work.

Real testimonials increase trust and demonstrate authority. It also shows they have a working process for collecting and publishing testimonials.

Every good testimonial has specific numbers which illustrate just how well a consultant’s advice has worked for them. If they display a number testimonials on their website it shows they’re organised and understand the marketing psychology that testimonials sell.

9. They Speak Clearly in a Way Everyone in Your Organisation Understands

Your digital marketing consultant will strategize, advise and mentor but tend not to implement.

Hence why effective communication skills are non-negotiable. They must be an excellent communicator. Everyone from your PA to your sales assistants must be able to understand them.

You must be wary of a digital marketing consultant who can’t communicate very well. In the marketing world often using language that isn’t clear, is a cover-up for marketing that won’t actually get you tangible results.

For example, talking about engagement, likes, follows, general traffic…. Are those metrics actually useful? Do they contribute towards revenue and profits? A digital marketing consultant must be able to explain how these metrics contribute towards business growth.

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Our turnover went from £214,000 to £608,000 after working with Grow

10. They Have a Strong LinkedIn Profile and Background

Typically you’ll find three different kinds of digital marketing consultants.

A. Ex-corporate heavyweights

They’re used to doing marketing for big brands you’ve heard of and now working exclusively with small businesses. It is impressive and shows they’re trying to expand and apply their growth strategies to a different type of client. However, it may be difficult for them going from big brand budgets to small budgets. All in all, they must have SME experience and should be able to demonstrate they can get results working with a limited £500 Facebook ad budget, as opposed to £50,000.

B. Marketing communications expert at corporate level

These consultants have maybe worked in the charity sector or for bigger businesses. Their focus has mainly been on creating collateral, websites, project management, email marketing, white papers, etc. They have a wide skill set but don’t always possess the strategic overview or knowledge of online marketing.

C. Small business marketing specialists

It doesn’t guarantee they’re good or will be right for your business but it means they understand small business and the issues faced in terms of budget and marketing. Such issues include being a one-man band, where you get overwhelmed with projects easily and try to do everything yourself or you have limited availability and can only accept a few number of clients.

Read our marketing consultancy page to discover what Grow can offer your company. Be sure to judge us on our copy and expertise using the points made above, and see what past clients have to say about us on our testimonials page.

And Finally…

You must accept that good people fail.

Your digital marketing consultant may be a genius, and you may be a brilliant business person, but that doesn’t protect you from failure.

No matter how good you are, the plans, strategies and actions just might not work for your business.

It’s shared risk and whilst you both need to be accountable, this is a telling reason why you shouldn’t lock yourself into long-term contracts.

You must have the security and safety to leave early on, try before you buy and get a feel for how they think and what they do before signing up for a long-term deal.