Things to Consider Before Hiring a Marketing Consultant

New year. New beginnings. And whether you are one for making resolutions or not, making a list of action items for the coming year can help you achieve your goals.

As a small business owner, this is the ideal time to look to the year ahead and decide on some marketing resolutions and goals you’d like to accomplish.

Maybe you’ve resolved that this is the year you’ll jump into social media. Or you want to set up a system to better track leads. Or you are going to finally get around to redesigning your website.  Whatever is on your business bucket list, a marketing consultant can help you reach your bottom line goals.

But, before engaging someone to help get your business to the next level, it’s important to take some time and be sure you are actually ready to bring a consultant onboard.

 

As a marketing consultant myself, this may seem like an odd thing for me to say.

The truth is that, while most businesses would benefit from the expertise and guidance of a marketing consultant, not every business is ready to work with one. From my experience there are a few things that trip up some business owners and keep them from getting the most out of their investment.

 

3 Things to Consider Before Engaging a Marketing Consultant

 

1) Resources and Desire

So it’s the New Year, and like the countless Americans who’ve resolved to get into shape this year, you purchased a gym membership. And by mid-February you will have stopped going – as will 80% of Americans who started in January – because you either don’t have the time to go, or you don’t have the desire to make the time.

The same holds true with marketing.

As anyone who has worked with me or spent any time with me can tell you, my mantra is that great marketing starts with a great plan.

But what good is a great plan if it sits on a shelf gathering dust?

Planning is only part of the equation.

[bctt tweet=”Strategic Plans only work if you have both the desire and resources to implement them.”]

Sometimes plans don’t get implemented because of lack of time and resources. But more likely than not, the reason nothing happens with the plan is because businesses get set in their ways. And old habits are difficult to break.

A consultant can help you develop a method to better track leads and connect with prospects. They can (and should) train your staff on what questions to ask when a new lead contacts your office or how to use social media to reach out to customers. But if you and your staff can’t replicate it, then you’ll be right back where you started.

 

2) The Quick Fix

Marketing isn’t magic. It’s a process.

And while things like PPC (pay-per-click) advertising and promotions can get you a fast injection of traffic, once the ad spending stops so does the traffic.

Marketing – good marketing – takes time. Blogging, SEO, networking, and social media can have huge benefits to increasing awareness and driving traffic to your site or storefront. But they require consistency over longer periods of time in order to be effective.

A good consultant understands this. They will take the time needed to get to know you and your business in order to make recommendations that can be sustained. While some of the solutions they offer will generate an immediate boost, it’s those designed for the long term that yield the greatest results.

 

3) Clarity and Openness

Several months ago I received a call from someone wanting help with SEO. Their goal – like many of us – was to drive more traffic to their website. But upon looking at their site, I knew that all of the page one search results in the world wouldn’t do any good.

Because their website wasn’t optimized to convert traffic into any sort of meaningful lead.

It was chaotic, disorganized and didn’t clearly articulate who the company was or what type of service they offered.

More traffic to the site would simply result in a higher percentage of lost opportunities.

You know your business. But a marketing expert knows marketing. A consultant brings a fresh perspective and the objectivity needed to make recommendations that will result in the best return for you and your business.

They’ll look at all pieces of the puzzle to see what’s working and what’s not. Sometimes the root of your marketing problem is something you hadn’t even considered.

In this case, addressing issues with the website first would help them convert more leads and make any future improvements to their SEO more effective.

Now that the New Year is upon us, what have you resolved to accomplish this year with your marketing?

Are you ready?