The internet has become a great place for millions of people to share ideas, learn, be entertained and connect with each other.
For businesses, this presents a great opportunity to showcase their products and services to an ever-growing number of potential customers through digital marketing.
Digital Marketing, therefore, acts as a great link between businesses and consumers on the internet.
By definition, it is a form of marketing that allows businesses to reach their customers online by leveraging such channels as social media, search engines and emails.
For businesses to market effectively on the internet, they will need to utilise one or more of the different types of digital marketing detailed in this guide . They include:
- Search Engine Marketing
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Social Media Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing
- Influencer Marketing
- Display Advertising
- Email Marketing
Each of these is tailored towards a specific online channel and allows different targeting options.
Search engine marketing, for example, allows businesses to target their customers on search engines such as Google, Yahoo or Bing based on the keywords that they use.
On the other hand, social media marketing involves promoting products and services on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. The platforms allow other targeting options, including location, demographics and interests.
That said, the question of which businesses turn to achieve all these come to mind. Usually, they often seek the services of an experienced digital marketing consultant who will help them devise an effective digital marketing plan or consult any of the top digital marketing agencies.
This article will look at three key areas in explaining how to become a freelance marketing consultant;
- Who is a Digital Marketing Consultant / Online Marketing Specialist
- The Skills Required to be a successful Digital Marketing Consultant
- The Role of a Digital Marketing Consultant
I will attempt to use Digital Marketing Consultant and Online Marketing Consultant Interchangeably
So let’s begin,
Who is a Digital Marketing Consultant?
A Digital Marketing Consultant is simply someone who is well-versed in various aspects of Digital Marketing, with lots of years of experience
Their skillset cater for the different types of Digital Marketing mentioned above.
As an internet marketing specialists, these marketing consultants work closely with businesses to advise them on the best ways to promote their products and services online.
Sometimes, differentiating between a Digital Marketing Consultant and a Digital Marketing Agency can be a bit difficult so let me clear the air.
Unlike a Digital Marketing Agency which acts on behalf of the business to implement a Digital Marketing Plan, a Consultant may not conduct the implementation on behalf of the business.
Basically, the consultants carry out the market research, come up with a strategy, and advise businesses on the best internet platform to use. If a business wishes to have someone implement the strategy for them, they can seek the services of a marketing agency with expertise in Digital Marketing
Does that help differentiate the two? Good. Let’s now take a detailed look at what it takes to be a Digital Marketing Consultant.
What does it take to be a Digital Marketing Consultant?
A lot of people assume that a University degree is the key prerequisite for a career in digital marketing but the truth is it is not the only requirement for a Digital Marketing Expert.
Don’t get me wrong on this, though.
While it is necessary to have a relevant educational background and stipulated years of experience in Digital Marketing Consultancy, there are other key skills that go beyond this.
These can be classified as either:
- Soft skills
- Or hard skills
Soft Skills are the necessary personal traits that enable you to thrive in your career. Here are the soft skills that a digital marketing consultant needs:
- Goal-Oriented. Definitely, any task that is undertaken in a company is tied to a specific goal or objective. So, it only makes sense for them to higher a consultant who does things with a specific goal in mind.
- Ability to Listen and Empathize. Consultancy is, for the most part, about listening so that you can assess the situation to give a piece of tailored advice. Besides, how are you going to achieve the company’s goals if you don’t listen to what they are going through and put yourself in their shoes?
- Great Leadership Skills. As an outstanding marketing consultant with great leadership skills, you will be expected to communicate effectively, be professional, and bring in your creativity. After all, this is what will inspire a sense of confidence and direction in the company.
On the other hand, Hard skills are career-specific skills required to succeed in the job. They include:
- An understanding of the different forms of digital marketing from search engine optimisation, social media marketing to search engine marketing.
- Ability to analyze and interpret data with a creative and problem-solving approach. As a digital marketing consultant, you should be able to pull campaign data and insight and prepare a report that helps the business understand what to do with this data.
- Strong distinction between strategy and tactics. Simply put, Strategy is a plan or a goal to be achieved, for example driving more sales, while tactics are the actions that need to be undertaken to achieve the plan – for example creating content and advertising.
- Ability to use Digital Marketing Tools such as Buffer, Hubspot, and other Automation Softwares.
Lastly, your strong Copywriting and Web Design background will come in handy. This is because part of the different projects you will undertake will involve ensuring that, the company’s website and accompanying copy is good for the user experience,
Personally, I studied Sociology for my undergraduate but after school, I have been doing Digital Marketing for close to ten years, do I qualify to be a Digital Marketing Consultant ? I have been developing and in some instances executing Digital Marketing Campaigns for lots of brands…
I started my career by learning how to develop websites with WordPress ( you can pre-register for my course on how to develop websites with WordPress), then I moved into SEO and Social Media and over a period of three years, I became the leader of the agency I was working with for SEO and Social Media Management, the rest has been glory since 🙂 … One day I will walk you through all I have done in my Digital Marketing Journey.
That brings us to the roles of a Digital Marketing Consultant.
Role of a Digital Marketing Consultant?
With these skills, you are better placed to take up different roles in advising a business.
There are quite a number of responsibilities that a digital marketing consultant can be entrusted to undertake. Here are the key roles:
- Analyzing and advising on the effectiveness of internet marketing channels.
This will inform on the most suitable type of digital marketing for the business to pursue. Is it search engine marketing, social media marketing, or affiliate marketing?
- Overseeing web design and branding projects.
With this, you will be responsible for advising on the general feel and look of the company’s website. If something does not feel right for the end-user, for example, the choice of font or the page speed, you should be able to point this out and recommend the necessary changes.
- Coordinating the Company’s Marketing Campaigns.
You will be required to chip in and provide the overall direction for social media marketing, email marketing, or search engine marketing campaigns.
In other words, you will provide or develop or give the direction of the Digital Marketing Plan for the company.
On the same note, your input will also be needed when coming up with the campaign budget. And at the end of each campaign, reporting on the key insights will be key to the business.
- Identifying New Opportunities
Being an online marketing consultant requires you to be good at keeping up with emerging trends and identifying those that could be a good fit for a company.
The opportunity could be a new channel, marketing tool or a unique way of doing things that is good for business.
- Reputation Management
As a Marketing Consultant, you will be required to work on the company’s image to influence the public perception about the brand. This can be achieved by:
- Coordinating social media conversations and handling any mishaps effectively.
- Or working to improve search engine ranking to strengthen credibility.
- Shaping the company’s identity through strategic branding
It is the digital marketing consultant’s responsibility to ensure that the company’s identity is unique, easy to recognize and aligned to its target audience.
- Competition Analysis
One of the most important roles of a marketing consultant is helping businesses figure out how to beat their competitors. With this, you simply look at what the top performers in the industry are doing to come up with suggestions on how to achieve similar or even better results.
- Maximize Lifetime Customer Value
The joy of every business is in getting as many return customers as possible. As a digital marketing specialist, you will be required to bring in your creativity to maximize this by providing a new product or service opportunities.
Does this sound like something you are comfortable taking up? If yes, then there are a lot of businesses waiting for a marketing consultant to help them make the most out of the digital space.
But you are probably concerned about the pay and you are not alone. Most people’s major concern is always about the Digital Marketing salary.
While there are a lot of answers out there already, you will realize that a digital marketing consultant’s salary depends on the country, responsibilities, skillet, experience among other things.
Basically, there is no fixed salary. You could be earning higher or relatively lower depending on these factors.
I know this will come as a relief for anyone who is fearing to be a market consultant for lack of the skills mentioned in this guide.
Well, you don’t have to start too big after all. One of the best way to venture into this field is to start as a small business marketing consultant.
The good thing about small businesses is that there is room to experiment with different ideas and learn from the mistakes you make.
So, are you ready to become the most sought-after digital marketing consultant? Let me know if there’s anything I might have left out that you feel would be quite helpful.