Three Things To Look For When Outsourcing Your Digital Strategy

I wish I had better news for you, but from one professional to another, I have to be straight: Empty cans make the most noise. The internet has a lot of those.

See, “social media marketers” are literally crawling throughout the interwebs and pitching their services, calling it marketing, advertising, social this-or-that, signing up hundreds of businesses every day, each of which pays anywhere from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars per month.

As an intelligent business person, you probably want to hire your own digital strategist or social media marketer, as it has become abundantly clear that e-commerce is phasing out traditional retail business models.

The one problem? There’s too much noise.

Between Instagram “entrepreneurs,” millennial-targeting marketers who pitch inexpensive overnight success programs and a desire throughout the internet generation to make a buck as quickly as an Amazon Prime package arrives, there’s an abundance of theorists calling themselves marketers.

Ready for the hard truth?

Those who can’t do it for themselves want to do it for you.

Like many marketers, I would be hard-pressed to spend my time or my team’s time growing somebody else’s brand when the same time and effort would result in exponentially growing my own business and yielding far more than a $10,000 retainer and some portion of the ad spend. Despite legitimate marketers’ outrageous rates, they yield results.

Buzzwords are killing your ROI.

As marketers, we generally want at least a three-fold return on ad spend (ROAS) when it comes to campaigns. One can accidentally strike the 3X ROAS gold vein once, but to replicate it and turn it into a system that can be duplicated is a skillset too valuable to trade for a few thousand dollars a month.

However, as a small business owner, you likely have a budget that’ s tied back to results. Your campaign objective is to get people to spend money with you. That oust the imposters. can be measured. Anything you can measure will Don’t get me wrong: Healthy longevity of a business has a strong branding aspect. But to sustain the long-term, you have to survive the short-term. That requires an ROI on your ad spend, not a beautiful awareness campaign.

With all the clutter, false promises, novices claiming wizardry and course-toting “entrepreneurs” out there, here are a few things to look for to make sure you’re getting a legitimate digital strategy:

1. They can prove their knowledge with something substantial.

What is the marketer doing for themselves? Are they proving strategies with their own money on their own products or services? Or are they using your money to buy a course and learn on your dime? Ask them to show you their own portfolio of web assets. If there are none, run.

2. They can prove conversions.

Next, look at their total ad spend versus total revenue (Facebook and other platforms track this with a pixel, so look at these two numbers on the actual advertising dashboard. Facebook calls it power editor or ads manager). Too many “marketers” show the total revenue of the business in one software window and the ad spend in another, deceiving the client. Total product or service sales could come from many channels, so don’t let generality suffice. You only need to track how many dollars spent on Facebook brought how many dollars returned on Facebook.

3. Make sure their specialty aligns with your business needs.

Lastly, ask the marketer whether they are service- or product-based marketers, lead generators or affiliate marketers. Each type is a separate discipline. If you are selling a widget, don’t hire a lead generator to run your marketing campaigns. While it’s all marketing, like running is running, each specialty requires an entirely different discipline. Sprinters don’t run long distance and affiliate marketers don’t generate service-based business customers.

We are in the most exciting time in history where an individual born a serf can rise and die a king without an army or financier, all thanks to the internet. With the good comes the bad. There will always be those who take shortcuts.

You’ve found the right digital strategist for your business when you approach them and they say, “Marketing for others is a consolation prize. I guess we can do it for you – we’re so busy doing it for ourselves though, it just doesn’t make sense.”

That is the marketer you want.

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