What Exactly is a "Digital Marketing Expert"?

 I am sure that you have seen the title and asked the question, "What exactly is a digital marketing expert"? The age of the Internet brought a buzz word frenzy in which everywhere you look someone is claiming to have the magic formula to Internet success. Around every corner you can find articles claiming that you can become the next Internet millionaire if you follow five simple steps. At the end of the day, often those "five simple steps" end up draining your bank account with little to no results. The truth is that the Internet is not a get-rich-quick slot machine, waiting for your lucky coin.

How to Spot a True Digital Marketing Expert

Verifiable Testimonials are King

A common red flag that lets you know that you are dealing with a self-proclaimed expert is that you cannot find any verifiable reviews, or testimonials about the person, or the business. A true digital marketing expert is often associated with sites such as Elance.com or Odesk.com, where the quality of their work is scrutinized and rated by the people who use their services. While having a presence on complaint sites is not unusual, (people even complain about McDonald’s), a perfect track record is suspicious, and there should be a balance between great, good, and bad reviews. If the only thing you can find is negative feedback about a company, or individual think twice about doing business with them.

Verifiable Portfolio and Track Record

A true digital marketing expert has a verifiable track record and portfolio. In this line of work, a track record is everything to a person, or a brand. Before working with a digital marketing expert, ask to see their portfolio as well as their most recent work. The portfolio should not contain work done on behalf of their own company, unless the bulk of the work that is done by their company involves working with other brands. Please note that being listed as a sponsor in no way, shape or form means a company or person is legitimate. Anyone can pay to have their name listed on a big event as a sponsor. Look for a variety of real working relationships with other companies and brands, as well as the continuation of such relationships. Evaluate if the person or brand is a one hit wonder that jumps from one place to the next without building longevity.

Be Wary of Numerous Brand Name Changes

It is one thing to have a multi-brand company, it is quite another for an individual to be in the same line of business each year with a new brand name every couple of years. A Google search is often very telling about how long an individual has used a particular brand name. If by the look of things, and social media pages, the person just started using a particular brand name, but they claim they have been in business for many years, you have a good reason to be wary. Ask them what other names they have operated under, and evidence of the longevity in business that has earned them the title of expert. If they have been operating as a freelancer, and married during their career, ask for their maiden name so you can do a thorough investigation.

Lack of Knowledge and Expertise

The most telling and obvious sign that someone is not a digital marketing expert is the lack of knowledge and expertise. Before working with a digital marketing expert, demand a consultation so they can wow you with their expertise. Most experts will want a fee for this as actionable advice is usually given during this time. If the "expert" cannot tell you anything further than things that you would have thought of on your own, they are not much of an expert. 

It is important to remember, digital marketing is not creating a social media page, or posting on social media pages, it is a marketing strategy using digital channels. One of the biggest indications someone who claims to be a digital marketing expert is not an expert is evidence that they are buying fake followers and views. Investigate how many of their Twitter followers are fake, ask to view their Google Analytics IN REAL TIME via Google Hangouts, the indication of fake traffic is reflected by a high bounce rate, (more than 50%) and other factors that are indicative of low engagement, such as low quality content.

Get more tips and join me July 8th at 6pm CT for #InteMarkChat at PitchSavvy