If you’re looking to hire someone in-house to do your Digital Marketing, we would urge you very strongly to take the time to consider every possible thing you could need to know in order to do so effectively. The reason for this is simply that if your business is at a point where you need an in-house expert to look after this stuff, then by definition you don’t have an expert on hand to ensure you hire the right person. It’s a catch 22 that we’ve seen derail even the best-intentioned companies when it comes to their marketing and it’s never pleasant for anyone involved from the mishired staff member through to the company that needed something other than what they got.
So with that said, here are 5 things that we would recommend you take into account when looking to hire an online marketing expert.
5. How much experience do they really have?
An intern fresh out of uni will very likely understand social media better than the average Boomer or Gen-Xer, but that’s doesn’t mean that they’re any good at social media marketing. Given that you are unlikely to know as much as the average applicant, it’s best to look to their experience to figure out whether or not they can walk the walk in a professional environment rather than whether or not they sound like they know what they’re talking about to someone who knows even less about the topic themselves.
“ …12 months is novice, 2 years intermediate and 4 or more means you’ve got a professional on your hands “
Look for experience, case studies (if they’re able to show you any, privacy sometimes won’t allow), practical/written assessments of your own online presence and the length of time they’ve spent in these sorts of roles. 12 months is novice, 2 years intermediate and 4 or more means you’ve got a professional on your hands. You’ll need different levels of this depending on how heavy or light the duties are.
4. Who have they worked for?
While agencies might be exactly the sort of thing you’re trying to avoid by hiring internally, that doesn’t mean that you don’t want people who have worked for them and know how to “speak agency”. They’ll also have a lot of experience with a wide variety of projects large and small.
If they’ve worked in-house for anyone else that’s also a plus and if they’ve survived purely doing this work freelance then it’s obvious that they know what they’re doing and you should snap them up! If you find that they’ve just done a bit of online marketing on the side while in a junior role at a company then we’d suggest you drill down a little more. Which is not to say that there aren’t roles for those people and we absolutely believe in helping people in the industry gain experience and “level up”, but as with any role it depends on what you need exactly.
3. Do they have a sales minded or a creative approach?
Which of these is best for you will depend on the nature of the products or services that you offer. If you’re looking for someone to manage your social media accounts then creativity is a must although they do also still need a solid grasp on how to review and take action on data. However, if you’re looking to increase leads and sales online then you’ll obviously need a more sales focused online advertising professional who can set up pay per click campaigns via social media and search marketing. Simply work this into your interview questions around their background and you should do well.
Side note: SEO is sort of a mix between the two when it comes to the goals you’re trying to achieve so it could be worth hiring an SEO professional however it’s our experience that few professionals who are well versed in SEO are amazing at pay per click advertising and vice versa, so you’ll need to think carefully about which you need the most.
2. What is their aptitude “on the fly”?
Don’t be afraid to test anyone during the hiring process. Present them with some problems pertinent to the business to see what sorts of solutions they offer. Not all problems have an immediately apparent solution, but they should at least be able to tell you where they would begin to look in order to find solutions. The ability to be flexible, but not highly reactive is a key attribute to look for in a digital marketer that will take responsible care of a brand.
“ The ability to be flexible, but not highly reactive is a key attribute to look for in a digital marketer that will take responsible care of a brand. “
Experienced professionals in digital marketing will have withstood the test of time and understand that some questions cannot be answered immediately and will defer to more research or data collecting. Data is king in this industry and collecting it fastidiously and making data-based decisions is a mark of an experienced and adaptable digital marketer. This approach should be encouraged and If they can explain such things clearly and in a manner that appears professional and confident without any notice then they are likely what you’re after.
1. Digital Marketing is not a singular discipline!
This might sound obvious enough at surface level, but you need to think deeper than that. A lack of understanding on this statement is by far the most common enemy of businesses looking to hire a digital marketing expert. SEO, for example, is an entirely different world and set of rules/skills than Google Ads would be despite the fact that they’re on the same platform. If you move things to a whole different platform like social media then it’s even more different. You need to find the person who is proficient in the activities you want to engage in because no-one is awesome at everything.
“ …anyone who tells you that they’re great at everything from SEO to Social Media, Pay per click advertising and content marketing in any kind of equal measure is very unlikely to be telling the truth. “
Finding “a good digital marketing professional” is like saying you want “a good tradie”. What kind of trade do you mean? What niche within that category do you mean? How much experience should they have? Do you want them to have a subset of skills in a different trade? It simply doesn’t work like that. Or at the very least those sorts of highly cross-skilled individuals who are very good at each of those things are very hard to come by.
Your absolute best for hiring internally is to find yourself a good project manager for a start and let them sit down, assess your issues, suggest solutions and give them the resources they need to get this done. That might involve getting an agency to do some parts of the work but utilising your new staff member to reduce that cost. Maybe they’ll eventually need an assistant, maybe they’ll need staff to start complying with best practice as laid out by them when it comes to online assets. The list could be large and the requirements highly varied so an “auditor” of sorts is the kind of person you should be looking for because anyone who tells you that they’re great at everything from SEO to Social Media, Pay per click advertising and content marketing in any kind of equal measure is very unlikely to be telling the truth.
Well that’s it from us for this week. As is always the offer, please feel free to get in touch if you’d like any further info on what we’ve discussed today! We might even be happy to help you during the hiring process.