How to Hire a Marketing Consultant
Is it time to hire a marketing consultant? If you’re struggling to keep up with website, blog, and social media content, while otherwise falling behind on all other marketing efforts, the decision to hire a consultant is a good one. A marketing consultant is an independent contractor hired to increase a business’ brand awareness through various marketing campaigns and strategies. Google alone receives some 100 billion queries per month, a fact that makes marketing and SEO refinement with the help of a consultant necessary. It can be trick, so here are some tips on how to hire a marketing consultant.
Let’s review the reasons you should hire a marketing consultant and what goes into choosing such a person, so you find yourself working with a competent individual determined to make your company shine.
Knowing It’s Time: Signs You Need to Hire a Marketing Consultant
Buyer Persona Issue
Do you truly know your customers? Are you in tune with the wants and desires of your target demographic? Is your marketing campaign actually optimized for the people you desire as your following? A consultant will help you define buyer personas and ensure marketing campaigns are relevant. This includes writing content in your target audience’s “language” and using its favorite formats, such as video tutorials or eBooks, as well as making certain your products or services address this group’s problems and provide viable solutions.
No Time For Social Media
In today’s world, there’s no marketing without social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms are key marketing components regardless of business size. More than 75 percent of internet surfers utilize social media sites, with Instagram being most prevalent among young users and one of the fastest-growing social media sites of last year. Forbes suggests investing at least 32 hours in social media efforts per week. If you’re failing to spend even 10 hours on these platforms, a marketing consultant is likely necessary.
How’s communicating with your sales team going? Sales and marketing are two sides of the same business coin. Yet, according to a Corporate Executive Board study, 87 percent of the terms sales and marketing employees use to describe each other are negative. A marketing consultant will help close this gap by creating an SLA, or Sales/Marketing Service Level Agreement.
Tips on How to Hire a Marketing Consultant
Think About Your Needs
The first step in hiring a marketing consultant is to consider your marketing needs. Is increasing your social media presence essential? What about expanding your target audience to include an entirely new demographic? Is SEO the priority? Fine-tuning your email campaign? Create a list of what you require from your marketing consultant and hire the individual whose experience and credentials best suit those requirements.
Ask…And Ask Some More
Interviewing potential marketing consultants means asking the right questions. Inquire about what the consultant has worked on lately and ask for details. Any reputable consultant will immediately be able to tell you what he or she has worked on for the past year, including detailed examples. You’ll also need to ask about the consultant’s current list of clients. If the consultant cannot furnish testimonials, ask permission to contact the clients yourself. Requesting referrals from other companies is a great way to gauge what the consultants you have in mind can do for you.
Another important question to ask is why you should hire a consultant over the competition. This may seem like a slightly rude or abrupt question. However, the consultant must tell you what he or she brings to the marketing table that the competition cannot. A consultant who claims not to have competition is a red flag. Answers such as, “My last client’s Twitter following tripled after working with me, and here’s why:” or “I am a master of email subject lines that turn potential clients into loyal customers” is what you want to hear.
Yet another question to ask is what the consultant thinks of your current marketing campaigns and what can be done to improve them. The consultant should give an honest answer that thoroughly details what’s great about your strategy and what requires major improvement.
Keep Separation From the Competition in Mind
As previously mentioned, you want to separate yourself from the competition. Hence, you need to hire a marketing consultant who can actually help you with that. A quality marketing consultant will help you define your business purpose via products or services, create marketing campaigns that speak to consumers on a personal level, and ensure all content, including blogs, social media posts, and emails, is working together to further your strategy.
Establish a Budget
Creating a set budget for your marketing consultant is definitely worth it before interviewing anyone. Most contractors have an hourly rate or retainer, so you must determine how much “room” you have to work with in terms of budget. If the consultant wants a little more, but you feel the person is well worth the investment, see if budget changes are possible. Keep in mind that most consultants are going to tell you that, “You have to spend money to make money,” but if they can’t tell you how they’re going to help you make money, it’s wise to keep looking.
Review the Websites
Reviewing the websites of the consultants you’re considering is necessary whether you want to hire someone local or not. Just because the consultant works in the same building as you doesn’t mean you shouldn’t review his or her website with a careful eye. Any marketing consultant worth his or her weight in strategy is going to have a quality website that’s easy to navigate and features a strong portfolio. Testimonials should also be featured on the site.
Once you have your list of potential marketing consultants narrowed down, ask for proposals. It’s suggested that you obtain proposals from 10 different consultants, particularly if this is your first time hiring one. If you’re a small business, three to five proposals are probably enough. Regardless, it’s important to have a several proposals on your desk so you can compare your options and choose the best person.
If you need more information on how to hire a marketing consultant—or for more on digital and content marketing, please contact us today.