‘Rebrand and fire half the staff’. It’s an old and unfairly made joke about management consultants’ preferred method of ‘regenerating’ a business, but at it’s heart, there’s a grain of wisdom. When companies ask external consultancy firms to help develop a business, there’s often a fear that sweeping, heavy handed changes will be made, with little regard for the organic growth that led to the company’s initial success.
Of course, any decent consultant will tell you that this is precisely the wrong way to implement changes and improvements in a business, and when it comes to advising on the development of a digital marketing strategy, the principles of great consultancy remain the same.
Cover all the Basics
It’s easy to go into your first meeting with the client intending to cover the latest and greatest in SEO strategy, or with a plan to squeeze the last drop of efficiency from a well established PPC campaign. As good as an idea as this may seem, it’s often better to thoroughly research and explore how well the client covers the basics of their digital marketing strategy. Here are some great starting points:
- What are the core keywords they want their site to rank for organically? Are there any simple measures they could take to improve these?
- Are there any high priority SEO errors that should be fixed ASAP?
- Are there any obvious holes or flaws in the site architecture that could be costing them in terms of rankings and content coverage?
- Do they have applications like Google Analytics, SEO Moz and Google Search Console working for them on site? If not, can you get these implemented?
- Do they run PPC? If so, can you access their Adwords & Bing Ads accounts to audit their campaigns?
- Are there any areas in which the in-house digital marketing team could benefit from further training or education?
- Facts and Figures – Make sure you know what their ideal ROI is, how much they have to spend on digital channels for the year and what the average cost of a PPC campaign in their industry is likely to be!
Prioritise and Set a Timeline
It should come as no surprise that the client will be anxious to have a perfectly executed digital marketing strategy as soon as possible. A good consultant will set out a roadmap that ensures long term development, whilst leaving plenty of opportunity to work on shorter term projects that will deliver more immediate success.
A solid PPC strategy, whether via Adwords, Doubleclick or social media, can provide instant results in areas in which the client is particularly anxious to see results. Meanwhile, developing content, growing an engaged audience and improving how the client’s site ranks for key organic terms can continue parallel to this, as a means of ensuring the success of your digital marketing strategy in the longer term.
Report Back Regularly (And Admit when You’re Wrong!)
Once you’ve laid out the strategy that will transform the client’s digital presence, make sure you’re readily available for regular updates, progress reports and evaluation meetings. More than anything, a client wants to know that you’re invested in the advice you’ve given, even if sometimes, that means admitting you were wrong! There’s absolutely nothing wrong in changing the strategy if you feel another method might yield better results, but it’s important to make crystal clear to the client why and how the strategy will change.
Above all, if something has worked really well as a result of the strategy you’ve implemented, be sure to report back to the client exactly how and why it worked so well. That way, it can be repeated and used as a great example for future digital strategies.