If 2017 involves you venturing into hiring your first digital marketing employee, then you might want to keep reading. Here are 10 tips for getting a great new hire.

Firstly, congratulations on getting to the stage that your business needs to grow its digital presence. But what do you need to look for?

A digital marketing manager’s role is generally quite hands on, and a mix of experience and qualifications are essential. Even if the role is mostly to manage agencies, then a good understanding of the benefits and processes is important to keep the agencies in line. Here are a few key traits you should look out for and some common pitfalls that you should avoid.

Look for an interest or experience in SEO, as this will be a good chunk of their responsibility. If they don’t know the SERPs from their meta data then chances are they’ll be Googling ‘how to increase SEO rankings’ more than actually working on your website.

Look for some experience in AdWords. If they’ve completed Google’s AdWords certifications in search and display then give them brownie points.

Extra certification such as HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Certification Course should be viewed positively. It’s free and shows they’re interested in generating leads through marketing.

Good copywriting skills are also important. They may be responsible for writing blog posts, social media posts and web page content (this is why an understanding of SEO is key), so make sure they have a decent level of English.

Coding is not essential. But it is really, really handy. Being able to look at the source code of a web page or landing page to see why it’s not behaving properly will help fix things faster.

Software and systems. These will be necessary for getting the most out of your digital marketing. They should have used Mailchimp at some stage, and if their Linkedin profile is a bit sparse, question their social media abilities. They should have published a post or two at least.

Don’t be fooled by ‘a passion for Instagram’ or ‘1,000 followers on Twitter’. Developing a strategy for a business on social media is different from tweeting your latest salad recipe or a video of your dog playing the piano.

Digital marketing management salaries range from $30,000 for a junior role to over $150,000, so make sure you have the right budget to attract good talent in your region/city.

A passion for data and optimisation is the most important thing. The great thing about digital is that everything is measurable and repeatable, so your new hire should be driven to understand why something worked, then strive to get even better performance the next time around. Data is king.

Digital marketing management is very measurable, so ensure the job role has measurables. Give specific, but realistic KPIs – and a budget. It can take some serious investment to optimise your website, or integrate your existing systems with new digital management programmes so let the digital marketer come up with the plan and give them the freedom to implement it.

Be realistic. Digital marketing can provide great results for most businesses but it rarely happens overnight. The three month probation period can be a great opportunity to look at results and see what’s been achieved.

Thomas Emmerson is the founder of Vanguard 86. 

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