I’m a marketing consultant, so the title of this post may not appear too shocking, but let me start off with why not to hire a consultant.
Consultants aren’t magicians. Don’t go looking for someone to fix your marketing if your product doesn’t make sense. Don’t expect a consultant to swoop in and get you more clients if you don’t have a methodology that allows you to stand out. And finally, don’t hire a consultant so you can abdicate the all-important role of marketing to an “expert.”
A really good consultant won’t take your money unless they believe they can actually help you and, no matter what you believe your burning need is, you should hire a consultant to help you in the following five areas first and foremost.
You need a real strategy
A good consultant will demand that you spend time building a firm foundation based on strategy before proposing a series of tactics aimed at lifting traffic. Until you find a way to change the context of how your ideal customer views what you do and in effect render the competition irrelevant, you’ll find that your marketing efforts never seem to build momentum.
You need fewer objectives
A good consultant will help you determine your highest payoff work and your most pressing objectives based on where you want to be in a year, in three years, in five years – not next week. And, a good consultant will make sure that the number of priority objectives at any given time stays very, very small.
You have resource gaps
Sometimes in the “do it all yourself” world of small business it’s difficult to spot the areas that require outside help. You may be able to set up your newsletter, add plugins to WordPress and clumsily create header graphics for your social media profiles but is this work actually robbing you from focus on higher payoff work.
Sure, those things above might need to be attended to, but a good consultant will help you stop doing the things that are better handled by others. In fact, they might just help you become the CEO again!
You need to fix your conversion
This might be my favorite. Too many business owners, and sadly some consultants, focus on traffic and likes when the highest priority should be conversion. When you can figure out how to get visitors to your website and prospects that respond to your sales presentation to buy you can build a significant business.
Once you have conversion trending upwards you can buy traffic confident in the fact that you can bank on conversions.
You can’t stay focused
One of the dirty little secrets of consulting is that a part of you simply needs someone to hold you accountable – someone to help you document your goals and objectives and then whack you with some sort of a stick when you wander off into new ideas and social networks, because staying focused seems way too boring.
A part of this is accomplished through nagging and set appointments, but the greatest gains are achieved when your focus starts to produce results. A good consultant will demand metrics tied to objectives and help you process and understand to overarching value you’ll derive by hitting your goals.
Okay, now you can go and check email and play around on Facebook for a bit, but tomorrow it’s back to rocking your marketing plan.