What to Think About When Commissioning a Digital Marketing Expert

By Geoff Atkins,

Your brand spanking new business is about to launch. You’ve got a killer idea to exploit a niche in the market, you’ve got a flashy logo, sparkly new offices, and a team of bright-eyed people behind you. Now you just need to get an audience for what you want to sell.

But, you’ve only got the vaguest idea of how Pay-Per-Click (PPC) or social media marketing work. You might not even know what questions to ask someone when you’re vetting them to do it for you, or how to evaluate their responses. You certainly don’t know what you need to think about before you start giving them instructions.

That’s probably exactly why you’ve hired someone who knows what they are doing. So, what you need to think is what you’re looking to get from your campaign. If you’ve had some experience running your own social campaigns (either organic or paid) or have dabbled in PPC, you’ll probably have an idea, but it never hurts to have a little extra knowledge.

What’s Your Budget?

How much you are willing to spend is the first thing you need to think about. It’s generally best to start small and investigate the marketplace. Throwing all your money at untested campaigns will get you a lot of data, but it’ll cost you a lot as well. Running a limited campaign lets you explore whether you are choosing the right media, the right message, and the right landing page. Then, once you’ve determined if it’s working, you can establish how much you will need to spend to achieve your objectives.

What’s Your Message?

Your message is a combination of two things: what you can offer and what your audience wants. Most important is your unique selling point – you may have heard it called a USP by marketing buffs. This is a marketing technique that dates back to time immemorial. What is special about you? Why should your potential customers spend their money with you and not your competitors? And more importantly, how do you convey that message in the limited space your chosen medium allows?

One thing to remember is that you can target specific messages to specific audiences. If someone searches online for [inflatable fish tank], you can target them with one message, whereas if they search for [collapsible fish tank], you can use another. In fact, it’s better all round if you do tailor your message to the specific section of the audience.

What’s Your Specific Goal?

Yes, you want to make money, but how do you see the campaigns that you run helping you accomplish that goal? Is it simply to get more people to your website, or get them picking up the phone? That’s great if you’re offering a service that people already know about and you can compete in the existing marketplace.

If you have something novel, then you’re unlikely to find your market on the internet just by expecting people to find you - you’ll need to choose a different path. Exposing your brand to the world can be a costly and time-consuming process, but one that will reap great dividends if done right.

How Do You Plan to Measure Your Success?

OK, you’re perhaps not a technical whizz, so maybe it’s a little unfair to drop this one on you. Yes, you can see how often your ads or organic content were viewed by the public, and how many times they were clicked on. Digital marketing which results in a sale through your online shop is easy to track (or it should be), but what if your product isn’t something you can sell online? What if it’s someone walking through your shop’s front door?

Whatever your specific goal, be it more online sales, greater footfall, or simply more people searching for your products by name, you must have a clear idea of what exactly metric you are going to measure and assign a value to it which you would consider a success.

Do You Need Any Considerations for Seasonality?

Every industry has its seasonal shifts; either in the amount of business it does or in the products/services it is offering. What are the seasonal variations for your industry? How do you want to handle this in a digital sense? When business is quiet for you, it’s likely to be quiet for your competitors, which usually means fiercer bidding for traffic online.

If things pick up, do you want to rein in your budget? Yes, there’s more traffic, but can you handle that much work?

You only have to consider these points, rather than come up with detailed answers for them right this second. When you choose to hire a digital marketing expert to promote your business online, they should work with you to find the correct answers to all of these questions. But having a think about these questions first will mean you’re much better prepared, and that’s never a bad thing.