The bane of small businesses everywhere is being invisible. A small business marketing consultant brings your highlights to the fore and gets you the attention you deserve. Chances are you are toiling in the shadow of larger companies who have dominated the exalted first page of Google searches. But you know you’ve got a great team and an amazing product or service, and you are totally confident that customers would agree with you. If only they knew how to find you.
Marketing Success Is Defined By You
Consultants can save you money when compared to hiring a full-time employee, which involves benefits, long-term commitments, and on the job training. They bring precious skills to your team, and complete high-quality work way faster than you could on your own. But what makes a small business marketing consultant the best choice? You do, actually. Your needs, your budget, your timeframe. Before you start looking for a consultant, sit down and ask yourself a few questions:
What are your marketing goals? Do you want to build followers on social media, established a brand, generate sales leads, or something else? How are you tackling those goals right now? How much money are you spending on your existing efforts and what are you getting for that?
Your Small Business Resources:
Do you have people on staff with a strong background in marketing or content generation? If you do, what is their workload like? Do you have existing subscribers, like Facebook followers, and an established brand? Or are you starting fresh? What is your marketing budget and timeframe?
Your Level of Involvement:
Do you want someone to teach you about things like SEO and give advice? Or do you want someone to do it for you while you focus on other things?
What To Look For In Small Business Marketing Consultants
Small business marketing consultants are not a one-size-fits-all resource. Some of them specialize in helping small businesses who are just starting out. Others are more focused on helping small businesses with their feet firmly planted grow into mid-sized businesses. No consultant can do everything, and each of them has areas of strength, like social media vs SEO. Depending on how you answered the above questions, here are qualities to look for in a small business marketing consultant:
Your consultant’s strengths should match your goals. In preliminary discussions, a capable consultant should listen to your goals attentively. A pro will provide clear answers on how they would help you reach them. Beware any consultant who claims to be good at everything or makes any guarantees. Nobody’s perfect and there are no guarantees in the marketing world.
Small Business Marketing Consultant Resources:
Consultants range from one-person shows to massive agencies with established track records spanning decades. Make sure that their resources match your needs. Already have a fantastic web designer or two? Coordinate that in the contract and rates. Alternatively, if you are hiring a consultant to handle all content generation for you, make sure they have enough availability and people or can sub-contract the work. For sub-contracting scenarios, get a clear idea of who the sub-contractors are to ensure you’re getting the quality of work you expect.
If you are looking for an advisor or mentor, plan on sitting down and talking with the consultant in person or through the web. Their personality and clarity of communication are just as important as their background and skill if they want to be your advisor. If you are extremely busy, you might be tempted to offload the work onto a consultant. But have realistic expectations about your level of involvement. At a bare minimum, expect to answer some detailed, possible lengthy questionnaires about who your audience is, what your goals are, and more. Be cautious of any consultant who offers to take care of it without asking you detailed questions. Those people couldn’t possibly understand who you are or what you’re trying to achieve, so they aren’t planning on investing much effort on your behalf.
Where To Begin Your Search
Once you’ve got a clear idea of what a good small business marketing consultant means to you, it’s time to start looking. Tapping your personal network for strong candidates is a great place to start. Don’t get too hung up on talking to people in your exact industry. Rather, focus on those who have been in your position. If you’re starting fresh, talk to someone who has been there and succeeded. Another great resource is to contact us. Stemside knows many small business marketing consultants and their specific backgrounds. Talk to us about your goals and let us help you find the right match.