A small business owner often lacks the financial power to have an in-house marketing specialist, and may not have the knowledge needed to build a strategy that works to generate a good return on investment from their marketing spend. Things like brand awareness, how to reach potential customers, and identifying marketing needs, especially in digital marketing, can be a lot to handle as a small business owner.
Hiring a small business marketing consultant can change that. The right person or company can take your small business to the next level without breaking the budget. Here are some things to look for when hiring a small business marketing consultant.
Traits of a Good Small Business Marketing Consultant
- Experience – This is something that will hone a consultant’s skill. They can read the data and turn it into a strong marketing strategy. They have been in the field and know what works and what doesn’t.
- Understanding – The consultant should be a good listener and understand your business. They need to extract data from your company efficiently and then put that data to work. They should do a marketing audit, ask lots of questions about the business, and listen so they fully grasp the company dynamic and mission.
- Previous Success – A good track record is a good reference. What have they achieved before? Did they meet targets? Look for specific figures and details on things such as conversion rates and customer retention.
- Traditional and Digital Experience – While the world of marketing is evolving, and digital is increasingly important, traditional ways of marketing are still in use as well. Your small business marketing consultant should have a good grasp of all channels. Digital exposure along with traditional should be considered.
- Values – Make sure your hire has similar core principles that you apply to your own business.
Signs That you Need a Small Business Marketing Consultant
- Not enough lead generation – A consultant should be able to create a strategy for more leads at the top and reduce customer churn at the bottom. This will support higher conversation rates as well.
- Spending with little return – You are putting money into marketing but are not seeing results. You should have a positive return. If not, having someone analyze why this is the case is important.
- You’re missing your target audience – It’s very easy to misunderstand who your ideal target is, because even if your demographics are the same, from time to time they can change the way they buy, communicate, or even consider a product or service. You can’t appeal to all, so knowing who is the target is important. You can’t maximize returns if you don’t know who you are directing your marketing towards. A small business marketing consultant can work with your brand positioning, messaging, pricing, and channels that use you to communicate as well as working on your customer retention strategy.
- You’ve hit a plateau – Numbers are stalled and sales are not growing. This could be a good time to get a new perspective and insight into the market and your brand.
Growing Your Revenue
Hiring a small business marketing consultant is going to offer your business some good support. In some cases, they can even take your business to a whole new level. They will help you see the blind spots and give you a new set of eyes, bringing solutions that you would not see by yourself.
Here are some of the things they will do for you:
1. Create a good marketing strategy – They will set out a plan that will tie in with your business goals and can be adjusted on the fly. They will offer a detailed action plan with goals that are measurable and platforms to be used for targeted marketing. The plan will also include analysis so adjustments can be made as needed.
2. Enhance brand identity – Any business, no matter how new or old, needs to have a strong brand identity. Working with your logo, website design, and social media interactions are all part of this. The consultant should help to create a uniform and coherent brand.
3. Blog – Many businesses have a blog that they use to connect with customers. That means you need to have a content calendar that plans ahead and ties content into your business goals. A marketing consultant can help with this, so you know titles, content, targeted keywords, calls to action, and deadlines.
4. Blog content – You shouldn’t just be randomly writing blogs. They need to be optimized for readability and branding and be high quality. Your consultant can do the writing or hire a proper team to do it for you.
5. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – A consultant can do keyword research, optimize posts and websites as well as improve the SEO of current pages. They will also make sure your site is not penalized for having a poor user experience.
6. Social media – Most companies know that social media is a must when it comes to promotion, but understanding what platform and context to use is a must as well. Doing research and testing channels to see which ones are best is a job for a marketing consultant. Good content supports brand vision, but good social media marketing is also going to increase your SEO.
7. Online ad campaigns – Consultants will figure out which type of paid advertising is right for your brand. Keywords, length of campaign, and budget will all be looked at. If a campaign is a long-term one, then they will also assess when adjustments are needed. They can create videos, use social media, affiliate marketing, and more.
8. Creation of lead magnets – These are free resources that your marketing consultant can create and then promote. It means offering something and getting customer info in return. They could include:
- Contact lists
- Cheat sheets
- Free trials
- YouTube videos for instruction
- Coupons and discounts
9. Assessing the company’s marketing efforts – A consultant not only will do A/B testing but also assess past, current, and potential future marketing plans to see what is effective and what isn’t. Using analytics to look in-depth along with statistics from all marketing channels will allow them to create a report that outlines where the company currently stands. It will show the reality of campaigns and which ones are cost-effective and offer a good return on investment. It is a process essential to understanding where money should be spent for the best outcome. These results will allow the company to alter its course as needed and make changes that will increase growth and reduce spending.
10. Keep you in the loop with marketing trends – The world of marketing is always changing. Technology shifts as do the markets. This is especially true when the business comes upon something such as a pandemic and the business world is forced to shift immediately to a new way of doing things. Having a dedicated professional who can keep a business in the loop of this ever-changing world is critical. Being the first to work with new platforms can enhance business performance over competitors. You want to know about innovative marketing avenues early on to take advantage of them. Staying current and ahead of the curve is a must in marketing.
Hiring a small business marketing consultant can have a huge positive impact on your business. In a small business, there are not always enough hands to juggle all the things needed to market the brand properly. Creating a good marketing strategy can be done with the help of a business consultant.
Hiring someone who can create and execute strategies, do research, analyze data and programs while also staying in line with trends can offer a much-needed sales boost to your company. Good marketing means growing your customer base and revenue. Most small businesses are not able to afford a full-time marketing specialist, especially early on, so finding someone or a team that can be hired from the outside can not only be economically feasible but can increase sales quickly. Hiring someone who is knowledgeable, equipped with the proper skill set and competitive with your small business means that increased sales and revenue will move the company up and out to the forefront of their marketplace.