Until recent times you had to choose between a tech guy and an effective communicator as they were rarely one and the same. However, finding an online marketing consultant with both skills nowadays is not nearly as rare, largely because of digital tools that allows more marketers to be effective on-line without the hard core programming background.
Today's objective for business owners however, is finding an online marketing consultant that has a level of commercial nous that allows them to comprehend the necessary requirements to delivering marketing ROI.
There are a lot of online tools out there today, each trying to make your life easier. The problem is unless your primary role is online marketing, you just don't have enough time to effectively choose which ones are right for you and then use them to their full advantage. Usually you are left with a heap of barely used 30 day trials and unsatisfied best intentions.
If you read my post on the 7 Signs You Should Get A Marketing Coach you would know that I am a big advocate for finding the right resources (employees, companies or software) to deliver ROI while you focus on growing your business. Unless you truly understand online marketing, this is one area where you've got to get outside help. Otherwise you will struggle to employ and manage the right person or team and frankly, you will be better served by a company that will leverage more resources and partner contacts to deliver results.
So, what do you need to look for when choosing an online marketing consultant. Well, first, judge them by how you found them and what your experience is with their content. I for one have never liked the adage that mechanics have the worst cars and builders have the worst houses. So, if you are going to pay an online marketing consultant to represent your brand, then they need to be able to engage you with theirs.
Secondly, whatever anyone tells you, you simply can't just get a work experience kid to manage your online marketing. You wouldn't get a student to be your accountant and this is no different.
Thirdly, ask them for a free consultation to get an insight into specifically what they can do for your business. No doubt they will have access to a series of tools that will allow them to quickly illustrate the opportunities for your business to improve online and this should be your starting point.
Lastly, judge them on your total experience with them. You can tell a lot about a company's standards based on everything from how responsive they are to your enquiries, to how well they present.
You need to find your own mechanisms to determine whether you will be confident with how a potential online marketing consultant will represent your business online, and in my experience, when choosing a supplier, if I simply just don't connect with them as people, despite all their accolades, I can't part with my money.
If you want to learn more about how to get the results you are after this year, then join our online workshop: The Winning Marketing Plan.