When asked what I do for a living, people often respond by asking “what is digital marketing consultancy?” A bit more often than I’d like. I often joke about online ads that chase people around the internet—the ones you see again and again after you look at a product online. But online ads are a sliver of what digital marketing consultancy involves.

That joke is just an easier way to answer people than going into detail. But now, I’ll just link people to this post. (And by the way, a good digital marketing consultant will help you make sure those online ads AREN’T annoying.)

Digital marketing consultancy is all about helping businesses and brands to achieve their goals online. Even if they don’t know what those goals are in the first place—setting the right goals can be part of the consultancy, too. It’s not about doing the work. As the name suggests, it’s about consulting: informing, developing and delivering ideas and strategies to help a business or brand grow on their desired channels.

Sometimes it’s as simple as giving an in-house team a fresh set of eyes on a project or plan. More often than not it involves a little education for the client to better understand that they are looking to use. And almost always, it’s about sharing years of experience and knowledge with a team that doesn’t have time to learn and experiment as much.

What’s The Difference Between Digital Marketing Consultancy And An Agency?

From our point of view, it’s the execution. At Social INK we are a digital marketing agency. We offer social media, content and digital marketing services to business around the world. These core services include building a website for a startup, creating an e-commerce platform for a business, planning a content strategy, and writing and sharing the content itself.

But those are our core services as an agency. As a business, we also offer digital marketing consultancy. In these cases, we help make sure that a business, or brand, is heading in the right direction. This could be on a branding issue, on a campaign strategy, or simply during the initial set up process. We always want to ensure they’re building the right foundations for the future.

Sometimes, our consultancy can lead to us working as an agency for a business or brand. Once the strategy, ideas, campaigns are in place, some companies realise the resources required make an agency the best choice going forward. It might be too much for them to handle in house, so they ask us to help. Other times, our work is finished and we leave the business to follow the plan or strategy that we helped develop for them.

When Do You Need A Digital Marketing Consultant?

Often, clients that need our help for digital marketing consultancy, come to us because they’re stuck. They have reached a pain point. For instance, their online presence is no longer growing, sales aren’t what they could or should be, cost per acquisition is too high for the product they are selling, and so on.

Consultancy is a great solution to call upon when you are stuck, but that’s not the only time it helps. A consultant can help you launch a new product, or simply give another professional opinion on your product, project or campaign. It’s a sounding board to make sure you’re going in the right direction. It’s about taking away the ambiguity of launching something blindly. And it’s an extra set of hands to help you grow your business, while your team is busy doing the other work that is involved.

We’ve even been asked to consult on simple campaign idea creation. As a digital marketing consultancy, we help brands bring out the best in their own team. I personally love working on these sorts of projects as it gives the whole team at Social INK the freedom to really get creative with the brand or business directly.

What Does A Digital Marketing Consultant NOT Do?

In general terms, a digital marketing consultant won’t do the implementation and execution of your digital marketing. By that I mean, they’re usually not the one who will write and post your social media updates, or create your Google ads on AdWords. But that’s not who they are and it’s not why you should be hiring them.

A good consultant should be able to look at your platforms and your analytics, explain where you are performing well, and spot opportunities. What ideas could you implement that perhaps you haven’t even considered yet? Where are you missing out on converting online followers to customers? What does your content marketing funnel look like versus what it should look like?

You’re paying for the experience and knowledge sharing this consultant can offer. By paying for it, you’re saving yourself time and internal resources on learning this for yourself. Trial and error is a great way to learn, but it can take a long time and could cost a lot more than you have to spend.

What Is A Digital Marketing Consultant?

In general, think of your digital marketing consultant as a Personal Trainer for your online presence: someone who knows which exercises, how often, and how to do it properly. They’re not going to lift the weights for you. But they are going to make sure you understand the exercises you are about to undertake. And they’ll make sure you bend your knees, keep your back straight and ultimately get the best outcome from your efforts.

If you think your marketing needs a boost, this is a great place to start. Get a new set of eyes on it and see what others might see that you can’t.

Ready for a professional opinion? Learn more about our own digital marketing consultancy services.

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Chris Bruno
Chris Bruno

Chris, founder and CEO of Social INK, has devised and consulted on more digital marketing and social media marketing campaigns than you can shake a stick at. He’s also got a bit of a thing for online advertising and social media advertising.