The digital world grows larger every day, and it can be hard to keep up. Navigating the ever-changing digital landscape is a challenge — especially if you have a business of your own and are struggling to market yourself and make sales.
But you don't have to tackle the trials and tribulations of digital transformation alone. Professionals known as digital consultants can help you reach your goals with their extensive knowledge — and you don't have to be a part of a massive corporation to invest in their services.
And if you're tech-savvy with an understanding of the ins and outs of SEO, user-friendly design, social media, and other key virtual practices, you might consider pursuing a side hustle or full-time gig in the field.
From the skills and degrees or training needed to become one to the importance of hiring one, here’s everything you need to know about digital consultants and the job of digital consulting.
What Is Digital Consulting?
Digital consulting includes an expansive list of services related to the virtual world, including SEO assistance, IT counseling, web design, and social media. Although it refers to a multitude of services, digital consulting primarily focuses on efficiently implementing business strategies across digital platforms.
Generally, a digital consultant wears many hats. That makes their work truly invaluable, as they can just as easily help you understand online advertising one minute then help integrate new software company-wide the next.
The overarching purpose of digital consulting is to help a business digitally implement its strategies to reach its goals. That might mean designing a user-friendly website, offering guidance on optimal social media hashtags and posting times, managing email or text marketing services, analyzing digital marketing efforts, or optimizing website content for search engines.
How to Get Into Digital Consulting
If you live and breathe tech and dream of helping businesses of all sizes achieve their goals, digital consulting might be for you. From training and education to average salaries and expected job growth, here’s what you need to know before getting into digital consulting.
The majority of digital consultants — about 67% — have a bachelor’s degree, and around 18% have a master’s degree. Around 1% have doctorate degrees, while nearly 10% of professionals in this career have an associate degree.
So what do digital consultants study to start on this career path? Many have a degree in marketing, business, or communications. But digital consultants come from a variety of different degree programs, including economics, journalism, graphic design, and computer science.
You don’t have to have a higher education degree to become a digital consultant, though. About 2% of digital consultants have a high school diploma, which can be supplemented with certifications and other training to strengthen the skills needed to become a digital consultant.
Regardless of the nature of their degrees, digital consultants can sharpen their skills and learn more about the continuously changing digital space by attending ongoing training throughout their careers. Earning certifications is a great way to showcase these skills.
One of the most popular certifications for digital consultants is in Google Data Analytics. Other beneficial topics to consider for certification include digital marketing, IT, blockchain, SEO, web design, coding, and social media.
Digital consultants possess dozens of skills to help them do their jobs. That being said, some digital consultants may have specializations that they focus on, while others might offer comprehensive consulting packages. Those areas of focus could include:
- Digital strategy: This skill refers to improving a business with technology.
- Marketing: Digital consultants are experts in marketing and may do so through social media, email, text, or other content.
- Social media: Digital consultants will know how to grow audiences and engagement through both organic and paid posts on various social media platforms.
- Project management: Consultants will need to be able to oversee big-picture strategies and day-to-day projects as well.
- User interface and web design: Digital consultants may help boost website traffic by making it more user-friendly.
Digital consulting is becoming a very in-demand service, and acquiring a wide skillset for this career can mean a six-figure salary.
- Entry-level: Many entry-level digital consultants make about $70,000 annually.
- High-end salary: The top 10% of digital consultants make around $120,000 per year.
- Average salary: On average, digital consultants make about $92,000 yearly or about $44 per hour.
Digital consultants in California, Delaware, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington tend to make the highest salaries. Unsurprisingly, digital consultants in the tech hub of San Francisco make the highest salaries for this job in the U.S.
Although businesses of all types and sizes can benefit from digital consulting, larger corporations in industries like healthcare and insurance typically offer the highest salaries for digital consultants.
Businesses are quickly learning how resourceful it is to work with digital consultants. The projected growth for digital consultants through 2028 is 20%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A report from Statista also expects the digital consulting market to reach $53 billion in 2021.
Importance of Digital Consultants
Digital consultants can be a game-changer for businesses. These days, 70% of the most impactful business marketing strategies are tied to the internet, such as websites or email marketing, at which digital consultants excel.
For example, McKinsey Digital is a top digital consulting firm with experience growing businesses through digital consultancy. The company helped a pizza retailer by creating a top-of-line, innovative platform for the retailer’s online business — resulting in a 40% increase in conversion and a 7% growth in sales.
Similarly, McKinsey Digital was involved with the launch of the first entirely digital bank. By the time of launch, it was already the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter and earned over 19 million impressions on social media.
Digital Consultancy Virtually Grows Businesses for Real Results
If you want to grow your business by making it more engaging to customers and more efficient for your team, hiring a digital consultant is worth the investment. On the other hand, if you have a passion for technology, you can put your skills to use as a digital consultant whether for small, local businesses near you or massive corporations.
Either way, the advantages of digital consulting are nearly endless. From better web design to more effective content marketing and ultimately increased lead generation and sales, digital consulting helps businesses reap plenty of rewards.