Digital Marketing Consultant: 9 Essential Skills To Become a Great One

Social Media in the Workplace With more and more businesses searching for new customers and clients online, the demand for skilled marketing consultants with hands-on experience in social media, search engine optimization and display advertising is growing at a rapid pace.

In response to this growing demand, a new type of professional has emerged in the last decade: the digital marketing consultant. These highly capable, digitally native professionals bridge the gap between big businesses and the lucrative online world.

Would you like to become a digital marketing consultant? Read on to learn about the nine essential skills and abilities for digital marketing consultants, or join over 2,500 students in our How to Market Yourself as a Consultant course to learn how you can build a career in digital marketing..

Know how and where to find new clients

The first step in becoming a digital marketing consultant is learning how to market yourself to clients. The digital marketing industry is highly competitive, and unless you can source your own leads and clients you may struggle to generate income.

There are many different ways to find clients as a marketing consultant. If you’ve previously worked in the corporate world, you can leverage your connections and sign previous employers and business contacts as clients.

If you’re new to the industry, you can offer your services to prospects for free and ask for a testimonial in response. A one-month free trial of your services can often turn prospects into loyal clients that stay with your consultancy for years.

Do you want to build a system that generates leads and clients for your consulting business while you focus on work? Learn how to find prospects and turn them into clients in our Online Marketing Crash Course: Traffic, Leads and Clients.

Analyze a client’s existing marketing tactics

Business People Working In a Conference RoomAs a consultant, it’s far easier to convince a prospect that’s already marketing online to hire you than it is to convince a non-advertiser to start marketing online. Look for prospects that already advertise online but aren’t yet satisfied with their results.

Whether they’re running Adwords search campaigns or Facebook Pages, clients that are spending money on digital marketing but aren’t achieving results are your ideal candidate. Why? Because they’ve got the budget, but not the marketing experience. From mobile to search, auditing a client’s marketing campaign can be difficult and time consuming. Learn how to carry out a full audit of a client’s marketing strategy and point them in the right direction with Digital Marketing Management.

When you approach a client that’s already marketing online, you need to be able to audit their existing marketing strategy to see which parts are working, which parts aren’t and which opportunities they’re currently missing out on.

Select KPIs and develop a marketing strategy

Without measurable goals, even the smartest marketing strategy will devolve into an expensive disaster. Every great marketing strategy – whether it’s digital or print – needs to have easily measurable, quantifiable key performance indicators (KPIs.)

Key performance indicators are metrics that determine whether or not your online marketing campaign is a success. They’re the mission critical numbers – things like total sales, revenue, profit or return on investment.

When you start working with a new client, you’ll need to interview them to discover their key performance indicators. Many businesses plan their own campaigns using vague goals – for example, “expand market share” – instead of measurable KPIs.

Some KPIs – such as revenue or total sales – are easy to work out. To find out others, you’ll need to interview your clients. Learn how to interview your clients and work out their marketing goals first.

Understand how marketing influences brands

Not every profitable marketing campaign is good for business. Many companies are less concerned about maximizing their net profit and more interested in building a lasting brand that customers trust and depend on.

Many digital marketing consultants mistake profit margins for success and design ads and offers that maximize revenue at the expense of trust. This is a short-term win, but it’s often damaging to a client’s brand over the long term.

For example, a buy-one-get-one-free offer might temporarily boost sales for a client and increase their profit margin. However, if the client has spent years developing a luxurious image, it could hurt their brand and damage long-term growth.

Balancing direct sales and branding is tough, and even the world’s best marketers slip up once in a while. Learn how you can help clients build a trustworthy brand in our Branding: How to Brand Yourself and Your Business course.

Learn the fundamentals of online advertising

With online advertising platforms like Google Adwords and Facebook Ads serving billions of impressions on a daily basis, every digital marketing consultant needs to understand the fundamentals of online advertising in order to be successful.

It’s certainly possible to run a successful marketing campaign without buying any advertising, but it’s remarkably rare and incredibly difficult. Knowing how to build high-converting advertising campaigns will help you achieve your clients’ goals.

If you’re just getting started as an online marketer, learn how to build campaigns in Google Adwords first. Adwords is split into two networks – the search network and the display network – making it one of the most versatile online advertising tools.

Enroll in our Google Adwords for Beginners course to learn the basics of advertising on the Adwords search and display networks. From creating campaigns to running your first A:B tests, this in-depth course will help you become an Adwords master.

While Adwords might be the web’s largest advertising network, it’s far from the only one you should be fluent in as a marketing consultant. Since 2007, Facebook Ads has grown into one of the Internet’s must lucrative advertising channels.

Learn how to create Facebook Ads campaigns that generate likes, leads and sales for your clients with Facebook Advertising for Beginners. In nine instructional lectures, you’ll learn how to target your Facebook Ads for maximum profitability.

Understand search engine optimization (SEO)

digital marketing trainingThere’s more to online marketing than just paid advertising. Once you’ve developed a profitable Adwords search campaign, you’ll want to transition into search engine optimization to generate clicks and sales on the same keywords, free of charge.

Search engine optimization is the art of bringing your clients’ websites to the top of Google’s search rankings for their target keywords. The higher you are in the search listings, the more traffic – and the more leads and sales – your client will generate.

Unlike search engine marketing, which is fast-paced and instant, SEO is a far slower paced form of marketing. It can take months of dedicated on-page optimization and link building for your client’s website to reach the top of the search rankings.

Despite the slow pace of results, the traffic and sales achieved by a highly optimized are impossible to argue with. Many online businesses achieve nine-figure sales on a yearly basis from nothing more than highly targeted search engine optimization.

Are you new to SEO? Learn how to achieve the perfect balance of on-page content optimization and off-page link building for prominent rankings that last for years with ClickMinded SEO Training.

Learn how to publish content that spreads

With websites like Reddit, Slashdot and Hacker News attracting tens of millions of visitors every day, being able to craft and market content that spreads over the web is now one of the most valuable skills for digital marketing consultants.

Content marketing is one of the best ways to generate exposure and sales for your clients, often at a minimal cost. Thanks to the links built by viral content, it’s also a great synergistic tool for improving the results of your SEO campaigns.

If you’re accustomed to the quantifiable side of online marketing – running Adwords campaigns and CTR, CPC and other metrics – adjusting to the qualitative nature of a content marketing campaign can be difficult.

Thankfully, it’s far from impossible. From blogging and YouTube to optimizing your content for the audiences on social communities, learn the basics of digital content marketing with Content Marketing for Small Business.

Know social media from the inside out

local internet marketingFacebook has more than 1.2 billion active users. Rival social network Twitter has an active userbase of more than 230 million. Business-focused social network LinkedIn isn’t far behind – as of June 2013, it had more than 259 million registered users.

Social networks are no longer small enough to ignore. Whether your clients are local businesses interested in connecting with their customers or big brands looking for a boost to their online exposure, social media marketing is now essential for success.

Would you like to add social media marketing to your professional skillset? Discover a proven strategy for helping your clients achieve sales and branding growth using social media in our Social Media Marketing for Startups course.

Thankfully, marketers that are familiar with the basics of public relations will find it easy to adjust to the world of social media. Likewise, marketers that understand the basics of online advertising will find building a social media presence simple.

Help clients achieve long-term sales growth

Getting clients is challenging, but keeping them with you for years can be even more of a challenge. In order to maximize your client retention rate, focus on helping your clients achieve their long-term goals as a business.

From increasing their market share and outselling their competitors to hitting their target annual sales figures, coordinating your marketing strategy’s goals with your clients’ goals is the best way to make sure your work translates into value.

This requires more than just a focus on key performance indicators. If your target market is mid-sized or large companies, you’ll need to constantly coordinate your marketing tactics with their management in order to hit their long-term targets.

Are you used to working with small businesses and independent clients? Learn the basics of building a marketing strategy for big companies that’s built around their long-term goals.

Learn more about digital marketing

Do you want to become a digital marketing consultant? With the online marketing budget of Fortune 500 companies increasing year after year, there’s never been a better time to break into the digital marketing industry and get started.

If you’d like to learn more about developing a marketing plan to help your clients, read our blog post on digital marketing plans. Learn more about online marketing with our blog post on the top five digital marketing courses for business growth.