Emmanuel Raheb is the CEO of Smart Age Solutions, a digital ad agency and coveted Premier Google Partner. Contact him at eraheb@smartagesolutions.com.
The start of a business is all about you and your ideas. You build a business, get it working, and then what? Your competitors start coming at you, your celebrations of a good month are short-lived, and you’re thinking of next month’s goals.

Like Steve Jobs said: “Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.”

So, how can you be sure you are associated with the best in the market? Below is an eight-step guide for hiring an individual or agency to handle the digital side of your business.

Marketing People: Your Circle of Trust
These days, anyone with a laptop, café, YouTube and a good sales pitch claims to be an expert; add on a virtual office, and now they’re a full-fledged agency. The problem with the digital industry is that it’s vaguely regulated, with little oversight.

So, how is someone to navigate those waters? Well, first you have to …

20180502 goals picture(Photo credit: Networding.com)
Set the Right Goals
As a business owner, you should be the one setting the goals for digital sales, marketing, etc.

Once the goals are set, make sure your team understands their own individual goals. Letting people set their own goals is like allowing the fox to guard the hen house.

Ask Questions
At no point should you stop asking questions. Make your team accountable and ask them how the initiatives are aligned with the goals that you set.

Trust, But Verify
Be mindful where you are placing your trust when it comes to your digital business.

Check to see if they are reputable—look up the company, ask about their background and experience, ask for references and don’t get lazy about calling these references; you’d be surprised what can come out during reference checks.

When hiring someone to do the job, whether it is an agency or an independent consultant, you must be extra careful.

Certifications
One of the ways to make sure you are supported by the right team is by checking their references and certifications.

Companies like Google give out special “Premier Partner” badges to top agencies that are audited and vetted by Google and are known to have successfully grown their clients’ businesses. Only a few agencies around the globe have been given these badges, and that’s something you should be looking for before investing.

The Self-Proclaimed Experts
Just like you are particular about the quality of diamonds you offer to customers, you should be particular about the person you hire to head marketing.

On paper, a lot of them shine and look like they would be a great return on investment but if you don’t do proper vetting, you might end up getting burned, badly. For example, if someone is telling you they are a “social media expert,” go check out her or his social channels and see what kind of engagement they get.

Time & Opportunity
The difference from where you are now and where you want to be in the next few years is in building good and efficient partnerships. You may not realize what effect it can have on your business, but as time goes by, the damage of hiring bad partners can result in serious loss of money, and more importantly, cost you in terms of time and opportunity.

On the flip side, marketing takes time to work its way through; some campaigns may be more directional than others. Building short-term goals as well as long-term goals are critical to the success of your digital marketing strategy.

Interview Your Digital Partners
Think of your interview process for hiring a new sales expert for your store.

For instance, when interviewing candidates you’ll want to know the names of past employers, how well they’ve hit their goals, their reputation and standing among those past employers, how well they know your market and competitors, and what they can do to help you reach the next level. You should have the same level of critique when choosing your digital partner or staff.

Today, customers are getting more fluid and the competition has never been as aggressive. At the same time, the rules of digital marketing are changing daily, making it extremely overwhelming for a business owner.

Hiring the right, trusted, and reputable partner will not only give you the peace of mind, but it will also keep you on par with today’s dynamic world of digital.  

Buyer Beware
Remember, there are few barriers of entry into this digital world, and it’s getting easier to be fooled by opportunists, pop-up shops, and unethical operators who are mainly focused on getting money and building a fake image for themselves to attract more unaware business owners.

Do your research, ask questions, and never stop demanding results.

Emmanuel Raheb is the CEO of Smart Age Solutions, a digital ad agency and coveted Premier Google Partner. With nearly 18 years’ digital marketing and e-commerce experience, Raheb is passionate about helping and strategically growing national jewelry brands and local retailers alike. Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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