Hiring a Digital Consultant? Ask These Questions First

By October 4, 2016Digital Consulting
Hiring a Digital Consultant

Hiring a digital consultant?

You need to know if they’re an expert or a “pretender.”

This market is flooded with self-proclaimed “digital marketing consultants,” and we’re going to tell you how to find the bonafide authority.

It’s vital to find the right person who wants to partner with you and not work for themselves. Asking the right questions and knowing the right answers will help you weed out someone who isn’t interested in serving your purposes.

Marketing is the face and reputation of your company or business. Details are important and often missed. That’s what consultants are for.

We catch the missed details and turn them into strengths for your business.

Before shaking hands and signing contracts, ask these questions and evaluate their answers according to your business:

What Exactly Do You Do?

There are a lot of agencies and professionals that wear the digital consultant hat. Some might be versed in SEO, others in web design, and a few in digital reputation.

Larger agencies might have a few departments to handle the wide range of services.

Find out what a digital consultant can do for you before signing an agreement. It’s always convenient when one singular person can proficiently execute multiple disciplines for your business.

What Are Your Goals?

Don’t let an answer like, ‘we want to fulfill your goals’ pass. You should want to hear something a little more concrete.

If a sports team has no goal, there is no desire to perform at a high level. The playoffs and championships in the athletics world give an incentive to bring out the best performance in teams.

Your team needs goals to conquer with appropriate strategies in place.

Will You Take The Lead?

The digital consultant should be making recommendations, current on trends, and anticipating the needs of clients and the moves of competitors.

In a sense, the digital consultant will be the news source and crystal ball (backed by empirical data, of course) for your business.

Consultants are brought in to assist with the leadership of the organization. You’re seeking the expertise because you have a problem or a gap – let them take the lead and trust their abilities.

What Success Have You Had With A Business Like Mine?

Track record. You want to see a positive track record.

Previous achievements do not always indicate future success, especially if the previous business is in a different industry as yours.

If the digital consultant has a proven track record in your field, then they can elaborate on their plan for you. Their success will make your life easier or it’s not a success. That’s the entire philosophy behind hiring someone – you hire to make things easier and more efficient, not to hinder you or your business.

What Is Your Response Time?

What this question is really asking – are you familiar with all traditional and digital forms of communication?

The marketing and advertising world are dominated by speedy communication and responses. Their swiftness implies expertise and professionalism.

Conveying a complex message with ease and speed are desired qualities. Only champions of the marketing world can master this feat. Always ask for examples from the consultant on how he or she plans to execute fast-paced, detailed, complex messages to other businesses or customers.

How Do You Track Results?

Is the consultant or agency using analytics and metrics to track the improvements?

Their answer also gives them the opportunity to explain their process. It helps if you already understand Google Analytics or another analytics service – that way when you ask them to explain, you’ll be able to see if they’re pulling the wool over your eyes.

Explaining their method for tracking results should lead into asking when you’ll see results. You should be leery of quick and generous ROI (return on investment).

What Lessons Have You Learned From Past Mistakes?

No mistakes, no business. You don’t want to be the first victim with no back-up or contingency plan.

Crisis-management is part of the digital consultant job description. Go ahead and ask:

  • How will you handle a crisis for me?
  • Who is my point of contact for problems or concerns?
  • Can you explain the process of a contingency plan?

The chances are high that their mistakes have happened with their own business. Press to see if they have learned from those errors. Ask what strategies they have implemented for their own business that will be used for yours.

How Much Money Are You Asking?

The question goes beyond asking the budget and fees. A consultant will enter a meeting with an asking price in mind.

Be prepared to ask questions about the terms and details of a contract. They will have answers.

It isn’t necessarily better to choose the cheapest option although it might be your only option. With any form of marketing, you will get what you pay for.

Will We Work Together?

Figure out if the person sitting across from you answering questions is the person who is going to be your day-to-day contact – if not, then who?

It’s good business practice to at least bring along the person who is going to be the point of contact between each party.

Investigate to see how many hours the contact will be available. Keep an open mind and know that you will need to learn from the consultant just as much as he or she will learn from you.

Ultimately, you’re the paying customer and will call the shots even if you and the consultant disagree.

What’s Next?

You should have a plethora of questions for the digital consultant vying for your business. But when all of your questions are answered, it’s time to make a choice.

The decision to hire a digital consultant means you’re serious about spreading the name and message of your business, driving conversion, and improving internal and external communication across all channels.

Hiring additional help doesn’t equate to failing – it shows you want to be the best. Without the services of an expert authority, your competition is bound to take advantage of advanced metrics, SEO, SEM, and broader opportunities.

Please contact me today and we can get started on improving the presence and power of your business.