Do you even know what digital marketing is?

DIGITAL MARKETING new startup project DIGITAL MARKETING Interactive digital marketing channels Business innovation technology digital marketing People in a Seminar work DIGITAL MARKETINGA lot of people really don’t.

Is it your website?

Is it Facebook ads?

Is it SEO?

Is it Google Adwords?

Is it social-wifi or text message marketing?

Digital marketing is simply the marketing of products or services using digital technologies.

Mainly this refers to the use of the internet, but also includes mobile phones and other medium. Even with a basic understanding of this type of marketing, most people still don’t “get it.”

Some common misconceptions about digital marketing include:

  • it’s not expensive or it’s cheaper than television and print advertising,
  • it’s something that can be set-up once and then forgotten about,
  • and our favorite … anyone can do it! You don’t need any knowledge or experience, you just need a free website builder and an Adwords account.

Unfortunately, most of these things simply are not true.

Digital marketing takes time, focus, patience, and extensive knowledge of the best resources and practices to make campaigns truly successful.  It’s rarely cheap and sometimes it’s far more expensive than radio, television or print.  And, no marketing campaigns work on an ongoing basis without adjustments, especially not digital campaigns.

That’s why many companies look to partner with a digital agency or a digital marketing strategist.  However, if you don’t thoroughly understand this type of marketing then how can you find the right digital marketing partner for your business?  Knowing what questions to ask and what attributes to look for can help!

Here are the top five questions you should ask before you hire a digital marketing strategist or consultant:

1. How Long Have You Been A Digital Marketing Strategist?

While up-to-date training is essential for a good digital marketing campaign, you’ll ultimately want to hire someone who has proven experience with online marketing.  Someone with years of experience will have an arsenal of tools and knowledge at his or her disposal, that someone who’s fresh out of college or looking for an internship probably won’t.

An experienced consultant will be able to not only rely on prior experience, but will also be able to think outside of the box, find new ways to solve complex problems, and find alternatives to things that aren’t working as well as they should be.

2. What Have You Done for Your Own Campaign?

What better advertisement, experience, and proof of success is there for a digital marketing firm than running their own internet marketing campaigns?

Ideally, a good digital marketing strategist will treat their customers’ campaigns as if they were their own.  By knowing what your strategist has done for his or her own business, you’ll be given a solid idea of what they’ll be able to do for yours.

Some things to look for include:

  • A professional and functional website.  It’s pretty amazing how many marketing agencies claim to be able to promote your business online, yet they have no web presence or a horrible one.  Most digital marketing strategies begin and end with a solid website so make sure you are working with a digital marketer who knows web development.
  • Good online reviews or a solid online reputation.  Another red flag in the world of digital is the agency that’s trying to sell you on managing your online reputation, yet has not managed its own.
  • Experience with or knowledge of the particular aspect of digital marketing that you’re interested in utilizing. Want to run a campaign on Pandora? Find someone who has done it before. Interested in running Google Adwords campaigns? Look for a Google Partner.
  • Knowledge of what online marketing techniques your business should be using.  Often it helps to find a strategist who has experience in your industry or niche because they will already know what does and doesn’t work.

3. What Will You Do To Help Me Succeed?

Every marketing campaign needs a rock-solid plan if it’s going to be effective. Otherwise, you might as well just toss your money right out the window.

You Can't Have A Strategy Without A Strategy Saying

A good strategist should be able to sit down with you and go over what they plan to do, in detail, to help your marketing campaign succeed. They should be able to explain everything they plan to do, how they plan to do it, and what results should be seen from each step.

They should also have backup plans in case steps aren’t successful, and be willing to work with you on any steps you might want to tweak, add, or leave out. Ultimately, they should be working with you on the campaign, not just for you. Which brings us to the next question …

4. What Level Of Participation Is Required For The Campaigns To Work?

Digital marketing is the practice of using digital medium to promote your business and your products.  If a digital strategist convinces you that he or she doesn’t need your involvement at all, then you should probably look for another digital partner.

While a strategist may have worked with other businesses in your industry, those businesses are not your business. The most successful marketing campaigns differentiate your business from another, so how can a marketer be successful without your input?

Your digital strategist should be able to tell you upfront what level of involvement you need to have with your campaigns.

5. When Can I Expect Realistic Results?

A good marketing campaign isn’t like instant oatmeal, you can’t just add water and expect results. Anyone who promises you instant success is more than likely lying to you.  While some PPC management techniques will show results quickly, the majority of internet marketing techniques like managed SEO campaigns, will take awhile to show a true ROI.

Yah, if you could get us ranked in Google meme

You shouldn’t have to wait forever to see results, though. And, you should actually see results!  A good digital marketing strategist should know when you’ll start seeing results for each step of the plan, what they should ideally be, and what to do if you aren’t seeing it.  If he or she promises you too much, too soon, or can’t give you a solid answer either way, it’s time to move on.

As mentioned above, the best indicator of how well an online marketing company performs is really its own digital presence.

Everything else aside, this is really the most important thing to look for during your search.

Is a company with no online reviews trying to sell you on reputation and online review management?  Is a company with no presence in search results and no proof of performance for clients trying to sell you on SEO services?  Or is a company with no social media presence trying to convince you that they’re the best option for managing your social media?

It’s not hard to look at a web designer’s website and determine if you think they are competent at web design.

So, take a little time to research any perspective digital marketing partners and determine which one is the best fit for your company by evaluating if they’re successful at their own digital marketing strategy.

And, it’s okay to ask to see ROI or proof of performance data for existing or previously managed campaigns.

Show me the ROI!

Digital consultants are frequently under NDAs or similar types of contracts that limit what they can show you about existing or previously managed campaigns.  They also might want to protect their partners’ digital footprints so detailed information about their clients isn’t something they’ll share.  However, there are other ways to show campaign success.

Ask to see charts, like the ones below, that show increases in traffic, organic keywords, etc.

Increase in organic traffic

Increase in number of organic keywords

If an agency or consultant doesn’t have data like this, then look for one that does.  There are ways to prove campaign success that protect client data. It’s okay to ask for proven ROI or proof of performance.

If you’re ready to take your digital marketing campaign to the next level, we’ve got you covered.

Feel free to ask us these questions, and we’ll work with you to make your campaign a true success.