Internet Consultants provide a bridge for businesses who don’t know enough about how the internet can be used for business purposes, but know enough to know their business should be online.
An Internet Consultant can wear many hats as a consultant for an offline business including SEO manager, head content creator and distributor, social media liaison, digital marketing strategist and more.
However, whilst there is no clear definition of what an Internet Consultant does per se, here are some common complain clients they have been known to receive:
1. Junior Internet Consultants. Clients assume that they will be working with a senior Internet Consultant but often find that after the initial meeting and sale negotiation they were allocated a junior member of staff to take care of their account, and often know very little about the process. But Consultants need to be transparent about their company and their staff work allocation with clients. Clients deserve a clear explanation of how their company works, and be advised when some part of their work, such as research work, may be carried out by a junior member of staff. All junior staff should be under the close supervision of senior management in any case.
2. Lack of communication with the client. During the initial meeting with a client, Internet Consultants should have explained why they are doing their job, and what their goals are for the client. After their meetings, sending a summary of their meeting is very useful. Regular updates on the progress of the business online, and weekly communication of some kind will also be valued by clients. It may be price relative as to what degree that regular communication is, but this should be clearly agreed upon prior to any work commencing. Clients need to know what to expect.
3. Lack of objective. Some business people hire an Internet Consultant just to spy on their competitors. To make a clear description of your job, before you start with a project, you should clarify your ethical rules and set some boundaries. During the project, you have to make sure that all recommendations are factual, accurate and independently measureable.
4. Unwarranted promises. When Internet Consultants market their services, their objectives and abilities may be vague. They should never commit to something that they cannot guarantee to deliver, like being on Page One of Google. Otherwise the client will expect that deliverable and will not be happy when they don’t achieve the goal they were told was going to happen.
5. Ineffective concepts. Internet consultants are paid because of their exceptional marketing and strategic concepts and ideas. Clients expect these concepts and ideas to be translated into action and profit. If they don’t, clients become frustrated and disappointed. To avoid this consultants can arrange an initial “test period” to see what ideas work best and when.
6. Copied or stolen ideas. When initial meetings with their clients many ideas are discussed, and it has been alleged that some Internet Consultants simply use the ideas of the business originally. Therefore it is always safe to clearly state who provided which suggestions and when, in order to avoid clients being unsure of how an idea become about. The inference is that the client provided an idea they only implemented, and the Internet Consultant was trying to take credit for it. It doesn’t really matter who came up with a good idea, it really comes down to who made it work!
7. Boundless invoices. Some clients do not want to work with an Internet Consultant because they think that they don’t have control with the fees (there may be an implied “open cheque book” feeling to the agreement. To prevent this from happening, Consultants should accurately explain to their prospective client their marketing plan, what deliverables will be needed, and how much it will cost the client in total. It is only fair to inform the client if there are additional expenses that are needed for the project well in advance. These kinds of communications should always be in writing, and email is idea for this purpose.
If you feel you can benefit from an Internet Consultant in your offline business then don’t hesitate to call a few and see if they have an online business strategy that might work with your company. Most Consultants don’t charge you to have an initial meeting.