Hiring a small business marketing consultant is a huge step for many small businesses, but a really important one.
I understand hiring someone to manage marketing for your business isn't easy. There's a lot of factors you need to consider before finally deciding to bring someone on board.
One important factor to consider is EXPERTISE. I know that many people struggle to understand marketing because it is constantly changing and you might be skeptical to hire someone for something you don't even know how to do.
Small business marketing consultants come in many different forms, but I can guarantee you there is one out there who is ready to take on your specific marketing challenges to help you meet and exceed your goals.
So why exactly should you hire a small business marketing consultant? And how can you successfully hire one?
Before I tell you why you should hire a small business marketing consultant, first let me tell you the reasons why YOU SHOULDN'T!
Let's jump to it!
If achieving success in marketing were as easy as pulling a rabbit out of a hat, then everyone would be rich. Sadly, this isn't the case.
Marketing consultants are subject matter experts. For example, they may be an expert in driving traffic to websites, converting leads, or growing a social media following.
Having said that, they don't really have the power to instantly catapult a business to the top. Experienced consultants don't take shortcuts. Shortcuts may help you see results in the short term, but they will always come back to bite you.
If you think a small business marketing consultant will miraculously turn your business around in weeks then you should not hire one because you will be very disappointed.
Any marketing consultant you work with should take the time to create a strong marketing strategy FIRST and then apply impeccable tactics to meet your business goals.
Investing in a small business marketing consultant will pay dividends for your business, but it may also put strains on other aspects of your business.
As your business grows you may experience challenges with things like customer service or human resources. If you aren't willing to invest in addressing the challenges that come up, then you should not hire a small business marketing consultant.
Your business must be able to handle the new volume of leads and the fulfillment requirements of the additional business.
This is a high-class problem, but it's still a problem you must be committed to solving because breakdowns in other parts of your business will impact the return on investment you see in your marketing.
Marketing is not a single event, it is an ongoing process. It's not something you can do once and reap the benefits for eternity.
Deep down I think most of us already know this, but many business owners have unrealistic expectations of their marketing. If you aren't willing to invest in your marketing long term I would suggest you spend the money elsewhere.
Now, let's proceed to the reasons why you should hire a small business marketing consultant...
A lot of marketing problems and frustrations come back to strategy.
If you don't really know who your ideal client is, why they buy from you, and what separates your company from the competition, then your marketing will not be as effective as it could be.
You need a real and effective marketing strategy to build momentum.
A great small business marketing consultant will spend enough time building a marketing strategy FIRST and then implement tactics to execute on that strategy.
Remember, strategy always comes before tactics.
If you want to grow your business, then you must focus on marketing. You will not create sustainable growth without marketing your business consistently. There is no way around it!
But, what if you don't have enough time for marketing?
Not having enough time for marketing really isn't a problem, as long as you are willing to do something about it.
Hiring a small business marketing consultant can ensure you have your marketing dialed in and allow you to leverage your time so you can focus on what you are best at and most enjoy.
Resource gaps come in many forms: time, people, knowledge, budget, and desire are a few.
There are many small business owners who prefer doing things themselves. Going this route is not easy. You might get things right today and commit mistakes tomorrow.
It's perfectly fine to seek help from marketing consultants to not only improve what already works but also help you bridge the gaps you may have in your marketing.
Marketing consultants know the toughest small business marketing challenges and how to overcome them. They also know how to use all available marketing tools to leverage time and be more productive.
When you hire a small business marketing consultant you get a subject matter expert who can help guide your business in the right direction.
You hire an attorney for legal advice, right? Why not treat your marketing the same way? Marketing is changing so quickly, it's nearly impossible for a small business owner to have the knowledge a marketing consultant will.
Not generating enough leads is one of the most common challenges small businesses face.
Without enough leads, it is impossible to grow your business and thrive. A small business marketing consultant can help you identify why this is happening and what needs to change in your business so you start swimming in leads.
Not converting leads into sales can signal a number of different issues: low-quality leads, poor lead conversion/sales process, etc.
A small business marketing consultant can help identify where things are breaking down and what needs to be done to fix them.
A lot of times businesses don't need to generate more leads, they simply need to convert more of the leads they already receive!
Most small business owners wear a lot of different hats. They take care of sales, marketing, human resources, and they also have personal lives to come home to at the end of every business day.
Given all these tasks, it's difficult to focus and give marketing the attention it really deserves.
A small business marketing consultant can put a MARKETING SYSTEM in place to ensure you can focus on other important parts of your business and know your marketing is on the right track.
Businesses that struggle to differentiate themselves from the competition often end up competing on price...and this is a losing battle.
A small business marketing consultant can help you implement a solid marketing strategy that will allow you to clearly define your difference and why customers should buy from you.
Working alongside a marketing consultant has many advantages. Some small business owners are skeptical about entrusting marketing responsibilities to others, but I'm hoping to change that.
Here are some awesome benefits of working with a small business marketing consultant...
Most of them have years of specialized expertise that most regular employees lack. Marketing consultants are also updated with the latest trends in the industry that your company can take advantage of.
This is great news for entrepreneurs who are on a tight budget. Paying someone full-time for a job that only requires part-time work is a total waste of your valuable resources.
Were you thinking about hiring an employee, but chose to work with a marketing consultant? You just saved time not having to manage another employee.
Were you handling the marketing yourself? Your marketing consultant just took over that job so you can focus your efforts elsewhere.
This is a HUGE benefit. Time is an extremely precious resource.
Often times we are so IN our business it's hard to really have clarity. A small business marketing consultant can look at your business with a fresh set of eyes and give you valuable insight and perspective.
They can also pull on their experience in many industries to help you identify your marketing gaps and where you need to focus.
With a consultant, you don't have to worry about knowing everything. You are paying them for their expertise and experience.
The biggest benefit from experience is this...they've seen a lot of marketing mistakes and learned from. You'll avoid making costly and time eating mistakes by having the experience of a marketing consultant on your side.
Can you handle marketing yourself? Sure you can.
But, what often ends up happening is you see little results while you learn from your marketing mistakes, or your marketing gets put on the back burner for more pressing concerns.
With a small business marketing consultant driving your marketing, you will have someone focused on implementation and execution so you start seeing the results you need.
Employees = overhead. Most small businesses don't need a marketing person full time. It is much cheaper and more effective to outsource the marketing to a consultant.
The expertise and caliber of work you will get from a consultant is far superior to what you will get by hiring an entry level marketing person.
Next, I want to cover how to hire a small business marketing consultant. It is vital to know how to pick the right one because your marketing will depend on it.
Let's get to it...
Are you impressed with the marketing consultants website? Reading through their website should give you a great understanding of the services they offer and how they work.
Do they have reviews or testimonials from past clients? I hope so...
You can also look into their social media accounts to try to gain a better understanding of their business.
You should be impressed with what you see. How can you expect a marketing consultant to perform great for you if they can't even take the time to have a polished web presence for their own business?
If you liked what you saw online then go ahead and schedule an interview. Your main goal is to get to know the consultant better.
You also want to gain an understanding of their approach and methodology towards solving your marketing challenges.
During the interview, the consultant SHOULD ask you important questions about your company like:
You are going to be working with this person a lot. Are you getting good feelings from this initial conversation? If so, move on to the next step. If not, move on to someone else.
As I mentioned earlier, you must be committed to your marketing and if you jump from one consultant to another your results will suffer.
Does the consultant offer any services you can "try" before you commit to a longer-term engagement?
For example, we offer a FREE Marketing Checkup. It's a great way for us to help a potential client early in the relationship and an awesome way for them to get to know us.
We also offer an online presence audit and a strategy first engagement that are pretty reasonable. They offer tons of value for the client and actionable information they can use to improve their business. They are both great ways for clients to get a feel for how we work without committing to a longer-term engagement.
You've done your due diligence on the consultant, you've had an initial interview/conversation, and you've "tried" working with the consultant.
If everything looks good then it's time to get down to business. You need to nail down the details of how your relationship will work moving forward. You need to have a clear understanding of the following.
Everything is now ready to go...you just need to commit to your business and your marketing consultant.
Give him or her the assistance and support they need to achieve great results for your company. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint.
Just in case, I've given you a few more great resources for hiring a marketing consultant you might find really helpful:
What do you think? Is it time for you to hire a marketing consultant to help you grow your business?
Let us know in the comments section and don't forget to hit SHARE.
Header image courtesy of Pexels.
Tim Fitzpatrick is the President of Rialto Mobile Marketing. At Rialto Mobile Marketing we create marketing systems to help small businesses achieve simple, sustainable growth. We help small businesses differentiate themselves from the competition, work with more ideal clients, command a premium for their products and services, and make marketing easier with consistent, repeatable results.