Online marketing consultants offer a number of different marketing services that can be fulfilled outside of your own internal staff. They offer broad services as well as niche specialties that can fill in the gaps or get you by until you can hire your own specialized marketing team.
In this post, we’ll define what an online marketing consultant does and the benefits of hiring out marketing services vs. keeping them in-house. Learn how to choose between a variety of different online marketing consultants, including digital, website, content, SEO, and small business marketing companies.
What is an Online Marketing Consultant?
An online marketing consultant provides a range of marketing services that are performed by contractors outside of your team of employees. They can offer niche expertise while providing flexibility for teams that aren’t large enough to have a dedicated marketing department.
There are general online or digital marketing consultancies that provide services across the board, as well as consultants who specialize in specific areas, such as web design, SEO, or social media marketing.
Work offered by online marketing consultants:
- Graphic design
- Logo design
- Brand strategy
- Website design
- Website copy
- Marketing copy
- SEO strategy
- Technical SEO
- Content plans
- Content writing
- Social media marketing
- Community management
- PR services
- Pay per click advertising
- Client acquisition
- Product photography
The Benefits of a Hiring Marketing Consultant
There are many benefits to hiring an external marketing consultancy; after all, they come with years of expertise and industry knowledge. But depending on your needs and budget, it may not be the right fit for your business. There are also benefits to keeping your online marketing efforts in-house, where you can build a customized approach and count on your team to understand the detailed inner workings of your brand.
The Benefits of Online Marketing Consultancies:
- They have specialized industry knowledge
- They understand current marketing trends
- Can provide brand new insights and ideas from outside of your company bubble
- Can provide an objective view of the state of your business
- They are well-connected and can make introductions to important people
- Can provide information about how your competitors compare
- Can fill in for an employee who is on leave (sick, injury, maternity, etc.)
- They are less expensive than paying for a full-time employee
- Don’t need to provide benefits or healthcare, retirement, or vacation plans
- Don’t need to provide equipment, tools, or pay for subscriptions
- Easier to terminate work with a contractor vs. an employee
Types of Online Marketing Consultants and How to Choose
1. Digital Marketing Consultant
A digital marketing consultant, also known as an online marketing consultant, is a general term for businesses providing a range of marketing services that occur online. Over the past decade, most businesses have terminated traditional forms of marketing (billboards, flyers) and moved all or most of their marketing efforts online.
Digital marketers cover any marketing activities that occur online, including managing websites, establishing an online presence, producing content, managing social media communities, crafting video campaigns, and more.
If you’re not sure which marketing services your business needs, or if you know you need an all-encompassing approach from a marketing firm, seek out a digital marketing consultancy. They can help you figure out where you should focus your online marketing efforts, and this type of connection will make it easier to expand your focus if/when you want to try something new.
2. Small Business Marketing Consultant
A small business marketing firm provides marketing services for small businesses specifically. They are specialized in understanding the pains of small businesses and how to best market small business offerings to customers or other businesses (B2B sales.) They will fill in your marketing gaps and help you find opportunities that your small team may not otherwise have had time to consider.
A small business marketing agency will also understand the budgets and restraints small businesses have compared to larger companies. They will work with you to build a marketing plan that can grow with your business. Seek out a marketing agency for small businesses if you have a small team and need help crafting a flexible marketing strategy that can expand or retract depending on the current state of your business.
3. Website Marketing Consultant
A web marketing consultant focuses on building and maintaining websites. They can design a website from scratch, revise a current website, or help you maintain your online presence. Some website consultants can also complete graphic design work for your website and other branded materials.
Businesses often think a website is a one-time cost until they decide to rebrand or redesign. Unfortunately, this is far from accurate; websites need continual maintenance to stay up-to-date and maintain security. It’s imperative that you have someone on your team maintain your website on a regular basis. If you don’t have someone on your team capable of this, hire a contractor or firm to take care of it for you. You don’t want to lose a customer just because your website won’t load on their new iPhone.
When hiring a website consultant, ask a lot of questions up front to ensure they can take care of everything you need. Different web designers specialize in different types of websites. For example, if you want to sell products from your website, you should seek out a consultancy that specializes in designing online stores. Or, if you hope to have a blog attached to your site, make sure the designer has experience in this area (such as having experience with WordPress websites.)
4. Brand Marketing Consultant
Brand marketing consultants help businesses build and maintain a brand. Your brand tells your audience who you are as a business—it represents your offering, your team, and your company values.
Seek out a branding consultancy if you need to develop your brand or if you want to rebrand your current business. They can also help you define your current brand to make sure it represents your business and lands with your target audience.
5. SEO or Content Marketing Consultant
Since the two work hand in hand, there’s a lot of crossover between SEO consultants and content marketing consultants. SEO stands for search engine optimization, which covers all of the details and marketing tweaks required to help you rank higher in online searches. The number one sweet spot on Google is extremely desirable—but it’s also quite difficult to achieve.
Businesses need to invest in a number of different SEO practices and develop a consistent online marketing strategy just to compete with other businesses online. SEO consultants will help you create an SEO strategy that will raise your search rank and increase your traffic. This includes improving your site speed, ensuring your site is mobile-friendly, optimizing copy for commonly searched terms, and producing regular content and helpful resources.
Content marketing consultants help you improve your SEO by focusing on content production and optimization. They will help you design a content strategy aimed at your target audience and can provide insight into the best topics to tackle in order to increase website traffic. They will find optimal keywords to focus on and help you bring value to your audience in the form of various types of content, including blogs, resources, videos, infographics, interactive content, guides, and more.
6. Pay Per Click Marketing Consultant
A pay per click (PPC) marketing consultant focuses on paid online advertising. SEO consultants and pay per click consultants don’t often overlap since they have very different strategies, though you may find both at a general digital marketing consultancy.
If you would rather pay to boost your online presence through ads instead of investing in an organic approach, seek out a pay per click marketing consultant. They will help you craft online ads, choose target markets, and run ad campaigns designed to increase your online presence and bring in sales.
7. Social Media Marketing Consultant
It’s all in the name with a lot of these consultancies. Social media marketing consultants focus on your social media presence specifically. They will help you get your message and offering out online and help you build a following on each of the social media accounts that make the most sense for your business.
They’ll ensure your business is keeping up with trends and best practices and make sure that everything your business puts out online matches your company values and brand voice. If you don’t have someone within your business dedicated to managing your social media presence, a consultancy can ensure you’re visible, engaged, and consistently building a community of loyal followers.
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