As a small business owner, you've got a lot on your plate. You wear multiple hats and have to make countless decisions daily. In the midst of the chaos, you're also expected to have a kickass marketing strategy… this is where a small business marketing consultant steps in and helps.
One such decision you may be contemplating is whether hiring a small business marketing consultant is worth the cost. In this article, we'll dive into the pros and cons of hiring a marketing consultant, explore some examples, and help you determine if it's the right move for your business or team.
The Role of a Small Business Marketing Consultant
Before we get into the details, let's clarify what a small business marketing consultant does. A marketing consultant is an expert who helps businesses develop and implement effective marketing strategies.
They can specialize in various aspects, such as SEO, content marketing, social media, branding, and more. Their primary goal is to help your business grow by attracting and retaining customers, typically through a multi-channel approach.
A ‘good' small business marketing consultant should be viewed as your business's guide to the digital marketing world. Your own personal pathfinder of sorts.
The best small business marketing consultants understand what it takes to scale a startup on a budget and is very familiar with the operational struggles of scaling.
In 2023 and beyond, having an in-depth understanding of the digital marketing landscape is imperative in order to achieve longevity in any industry. From building your brand on social media to ensuring your website is structured to receive traffic, there is no reason not to have a cohesive online presence in today's day and age.
The Pros of Hiring a Small Business Marketing Expert
1. Expertise and Experience
Small business marketing consultants bring years of experience and expertise to the table.
They stay up-to-date with the latest trends, tools, and strategies, ensuring your marketing efforts align with the current best practices. Using their experience, they can offer fresh ideas and insights that may be difficult to develop in-house.
Example: A marketing consultant specializing in SEO can help your business optimize its website for search engines, increasing your online visibility and driving more organic traffic. Similarly, a consultant specializing in process optimization can help you automate tedious tasks and streamline your processes.
2. Time and Resource Management
As a small business owner or team leader, your time is valuable. Hiring a marketing consultant can free up time to focus on other aspects of your business. Instead of spending countless hours researching and implementing marketing strategies, you can delegate these tasks to an expert. This will allow you to concentrate on what you do best: running your business.
Example: A consultant can create and manage your social media campaigns, saving you the time and effort of learning about each platform and crafting engaging content.
3. Cost-Effective Solutions
While hiring a marketing consultant might seem expensive, however, it can be more cost-effective than building an in-house marketing team. Consultants are typically hired on a project or contract basis, allowing you to control costs better and avoid the long-term expenses of hiring full-time employees.
Example: A content marketing consultant can help you plan and execute a blog strategy that attracts and retains customers without the need for hiring and managing an entire content team.
4. Objective Perspective
Sometimes, it's hard to see the forest for the trees. A marketing consultant can offer an unbiased, objective perspective on your marketing efforts, identifying areas for improvement that may not be obvious to you or your team.
Example: A branding consultant can evaluate your brand's messaging and visuals, ensuring they resonate with your target audience and align with your business goals.
The Cons of Hiring a Small Business Marketing Consultants
1. Costs Can Add Up
While hiring a business marketing consultant can be cost-effective compared to building an in-house team, the costs can still add up, especially for small businesses with limited budgets. You'll need to consider the consultant's fees and the potential expenses associated with implementing their recommendations.
Example: A digital marketing consultant may suggest investing in paid advertising campaigns, which can increase your marketing costs. However, if executed correctly, these campaigns can also provide a significant return on investment.
2. Finding the Right Fit
Not all marketing consultants are created equal. Finding a consultant who understands your industry, target audience, and business goals is essential. Hiring the wrong consultant can waste time, money, and frustration.
As a small business owner, it's important that you get alone
Example: A marketing consultant specializing in paid ads for B2B marketing may not be the best fit for a small business focused on B2C sales, as the strategies and tactics used in these sectors can differ.
3. Lack of In-House Control of Marketing Strategy
By outsourcing your marketing efforts to a marketing consultant, you may relinquish some control over your campaigns. This can be challenging for business owners who prefer to have a hands-on approach to their marketing and business overall.
Example: A social media consultant may create and post content on your behalf, meaning you'll need to trust their judgment and expertise when it comes to representing your brand online.
Assessing the Value of a Small Business Marketing Consultant
Now that we've discussed the pros and cons of hiring a small business marketing consultant, how do you decide if it's worth the cost for your business? Here are a few factors to consider:
Analyze Your Current Marketing Efforts
Take a close look at your current marketing strategy and its effectiveness. Are you meeting your goals? Do campaigns have lower conversion rates than expected? If you're struggling to see results or unsure how to move forward, a marketing consultant may be your best bet.
Determine Your Marketing Budget
Before hiring a marketing consultant, determine how much you're willing to invest in marketing.
Keep in mind that an effective marketing strategy often requires an upfront investment, but the potential ROI can make it worthwhile in the long run. Be realistic about your budget, and look for a consultant who offers services within your price range.
Identify Your Needs
Consider the specific marketing areas where you need help. Are you seeking SEO, content creation, social media management, or overall assistance with your marketing strategies?
Identifying your needs will help you find a consultant who specializes in those areas and can deliver the best results. If you're looking for more leads, you want to look for a consultant who's versed in lead generation. If you're looking for branding and PR – you want to choose a consultant with a background in that space
Research and Interview Potential Consultants
Don't be afraid to shop around and interview multiple marketing consultants. Look for someone with experience in your industry, a proven track record of success, and a communication style that aligns with yours.
Remember, you will be working together with this person and entrusting them to help your business grow. It's essential that you have a positive working relationship and a baseline level of trust.
A simple introductory video chat or phone conversation can do wonders and break barriers that email or text just can't breach.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Marketing Consultant
1. Not doing your due diligence
It’s important to research potential marketing consultants thoroughly before hiring them. Make sure they have the experience and qualifications needed to help you effectively reach your goals. Ask for references, review their past work, and get an understanding of their expertise in the areas that matter most to you.
In addition to their experience, you want to make sure that your small business marketing consultant is able to understand your vision. As a small business owner, you'll typically be working with your marketing consultant personally, so it's important to ensure that you are on the same page.
2. Not setting clear expectations
Before engaging a consultant, you should have a specific idea of what success looks like and the key performance indicators you want to track. This ensures that everyone is on the same page about what needs to be done and how it will be measured.
3. Failing to develop a long-term strategy
While it’s important to set short-term goals, you also need to plan for the future. Make sure that you develop a long-term strategy with your consultant that outlines priorities, desired outcomes, and rough timelines at the minimum.
4. Not budgeting appropriately
Before starting any project, be realistic about how much money you can afford to invest. This will ensure that you’re able to afford the services of a professional small business marketing consultant and get the best return on your investment.
It's also important to have a budget in mind for marketing campaigns. Whether they be PPC, SEO, or Content. Keeping in mind that costs entail more than just consultant fees is important to set your mind right going into the conversations.
5. Not establishing metrics or KPIs
Establishing clear metrics or KPIs for success is essential when engaging any form of marketing consultant. Knowing what data needs to be tracked and what constitutes success ensures that you can objectively measure the performance of marketing campaigns.
6. Not recognizing the consultant’s expertise
Make sure to trust the advice and skills of your consultant; after all, they know their job better than anyone else. This doesn't mean you should blindly follow every suggestion they make but try to understand why they are making those recommendations and listen to the rationale.
Typically, there is always a method to the madness!
Top 5 Reasons Why Owners Choose to Hire a Small Business Marketing Consultant
1. Finding new customers
Get help finding and engaging with new potential customers to grow your business. Hiring a small business marketing consultant can help you craft the right strategies to reach out to new customers and create campaigns across your social media accounts that build meaningful connections with them.
2. Managing current customers
Retaining your current customer base requires thoughtful engagement strategies. A small business marketing consultant can help you better understand and interact with customers with insights gathered through marketing campaigns.
2. Optimizing your existing digital marketing efforts
Optimize current campaigns, such as SEO and PPC, to get the most out of them. A small business marketing consultant can offer valuable insights into where you may be lacking and how to improve your existing campaigns for better performance.
In addition to the above, they typically can assist you with:
- Web Design
- Conversion Optimization
- Brand Voice
- Social Media Management
- Content Marketing
- Marketing Budget Allocation
While marketing experts typically have one or two core specialties, the best consultants are well-rounded enough to get you on the right track across the board.
3. Understanding the latest trends in digital marketing
Stay up-to-date with the newest trends in digital marketing so you can stay one step ahead of competitors. Simply having a professional marketing expert by your side can give you the edge you need to outsmart the competition.
4. Develop strategies to reach new target markets
Find new opportunities, target markets, and reach customers in different parts of the world. A small business marketing consultant helps you create custom strategies based on your ideal client profile and develop marketing campaigns that resonate with that avatar.
4. Increase brand awareness
Build and strengthen relationships with existing customers to increase brand loyalty and create more opportunities for growth.
5. Maximize digital marketing ROI
Let's face it – the number one reason small business owners hire a small business marketing consultant is to maximize their return on investment (ROI) by creating effective marketing campaigns that generate leads and drive sales.
So… Should You Hire a Small Business Marketing Consultant?
Ultimately, outsourcing your marketing depends on your business goals, budget, and needs. However, If you're looking for someone to help give life to your current campaigns, and find new opportunities for growth, then it's time to consider hiring a small business marketing consultant.
Small businesses that are serious about taking their marketing to the next level benefit from hiring a qualified consultant who can provide valuable insight into their industry, target market, and overall marketing strategy.
Whether it's through SEO, PPC, or social media campaigns, working with an experienced consultant can help you get the most from your budget and grow your business.
These are just some of the reasons why small business owners choose to outsource their marketing. With their expertise and insights, business owners are empowered with strategies that cab truly take their business to the next level!
At Corethos, we specialize in helping small business owners generate more leads through an omni-channel digital marketing approach.
We'd love to chat. Book a free exploratory session today and learn more.