If you’ve decided it’s time to outsource your digital marketing activities and have determined the services required you’ll next need to decide on the right freelance digital marketing consultant to work with.
When making your shortlist and speaking to candidates, there are several areas to consider that will help you make the right choice.
If you’re looking for a freelance consultant rather than an agency, the chances are they’ve gained a wealth of experience in employed roles before going solo. And that’s just what you need, even if they’ve only just started up in business recently themselves.
Ask them questions like:
- What type and size of companies have you worked for in the past?
- How many organisations have you worked with / are you working with?
- How much experience do you have of creating and implementing digital marketing strategies?
- What results have you achieved for your clients?
- Can you supply testimonials and case studies about your work?
This will depend on the nature of the services you want your consultant to provide. So it stands to reason that, if email marketing is your most important activity, you choose someone who specialises in this area. That doesn’t preclude them specialising in other areas, though. For example, I offer a range of services rather than focusing on, say, blogging or email campaign management.
You might find yourself speaking to one or two general marketing consultants who provide offline services as well as digital ones. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with this, you might prefer to choose someone who spends all their time delivering the services you want.
You could ask your candidates about any industry qualifications they hold, such as a degree in Digital Marketing or Digital Media. Bear in mind, however, that digital marketing trends and techniques are constantly changing and evolving. A qualification gained more than a couple of years ago may not be relevant to today’s market.
You’re better off asking consultants about relevant memberships, as these often provide training and Continual Professional Development (CPD) in the latest developments.
As a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) I regularly complete online training courses and attend workshops to keep my skills and knowledge up to date.
Take a good look at your candidates’ websites and social media profiles. Also, research how high up they are in Google search rankings. This is an important exercise as if they can’t muster a strong online presence for themselves, they’re unlikely to do so for your business. Look for professional-looking web pages and accounts, with regular posts and updates.
Take a few minutes to read their online reviews, too. You’ll (hopefully) find these on their Google My Business and Facebook pages and also in the Recommendations section of their LinkedIn profile.
Values and approach
It stands to reason that you’ll find it easier to work with a digital marketer who has a similar approach to business and similar values to your own. That doesn’t mean you need to best friends! It’s more about them ‘getting your business’ – understanding your products or services and your philosophy, and empathising with it.
Who they work with
You might be keen for your marketing consultant not to work with anyone else in your industry. On the other hand, if they’ve worked with businesses like yours before, they’ll know what makes them tick. In turn, this will help them create a digital marketing strategy that will appeal strongly to your target market.
Also, ask your consultant how many clients they’re working with at the moment. If there’s a lot, there’s a danger they might be spreading themselves too thin. Or, they’re outsourcing some of the work, in which case you might not get what you signed up for.
How they work
One element of this is how accessible your consultant will be. Will they be on hand to answer your questions and provide additional support at busy times? Do their working hours coincide with yours, so they’re available if you need them?
Another key consideration is how they’ll keep you updated with progress. Look for a consultant with a clear process for measuring and reporting on results, so they can keep you informed on your Return on Investment (ROI). For example, if one of your goals is to increase website traffic by X%, your consultant should provide regular Google Analytics reports.
Value for money
I’ve called this ‘value for money’ rather than price, as the costs you’re willing to pay will vary with your budget. What I’m really talking about is what you’ll get for your money and whether your consultant can offer any added value. Most consultants offer a free initial consultation, for example, giving you the chance to ‘try before you buy’.
In terms of ongoing value, it can be helpful to compare how much work different consultants will do for the same amount of money.
You’ll find quite a wide variation, but remember that an experienced freelance digital marketing consultant will charge accordingly. Just make sure you get what you pay for!
Book a digital marketing consultation with Imagine today
I’d love the opportunity to discuss your digital marketing needs and how Imagine can help you achieve your business goals. Call me today on 01636 922 747 or complete my online form to book a FREE consultation.
Chartered Marketer and CIM Fellow offering a personal and tailored web consultancy service to UK business owners and self-employed professionals. I formed Imagine Digital Marketing in December 2016 and I really enjoy helping my clients make the most of online opportunities.