A marketing consultant is something every business needs – yet most do not have. My intentions is to give you some great insight if you’re considering bringing a marketing consultant into your business.
Liability Statement: Before I get tons of hate mail I want to say the information I am about to share with you is based on my own personal experiences and those of my clients over the past 9 years. It is not a reflection of every single business.
There are many businesses and individuals out there who have a sincere love and passion for the craft of marketing and it’s their pleasure to use their knowledge to grow businesses. But there are also others who prey on uneducated business owners and are only trying to score a buck wherever they can.
The article you are reading is to educate you on the bad guys.
One statement I hear often is, “Well I hired a marketing person but I got screwed over“.
Every single client I have ever brought into my practice has at least one war story of a bad marketing service or bad marketing person experience. So it’s pretty safe to assume you have had one as well.
As a matter of fact, every conversation I have with a new potential client almost always starts out this way. Then of course I have to play defense for the first 20 minutes of the conversation.
But here’s the real truth and I hope you are ready for it –
If you’ve ever been screwed over by a marketing company or consultant there is an 85% chance it was your own fault and could have been prevented.
Sorry, I know that stings a little. Before you decide to look up my email address and cuss me out let me explain.
I believe that 85% of the time it was the business owner’s fault for 3 reasons:
1.You’re uneducated – therefore you are easy prey. It is your responsibility to educate yourself on all things that impact your business. Marketing is a big one. No you don’t have to be an expert, but it is your responsibility to learn what grows a business and what could potentially be BS. Slimy companies prey on business owners who aren’t educated.
2. You’re thinking short term. The number 1 reason why most marketing efforts fail is because the business owner wants an immediate return. Great marketing builds over time just like good investments. When it finally reaches a point of maturity the dividends multiply themselves thus creating a profitable business. The problem is most business owners never get to this point which is why they are robbing peter-to-pay-paul and hustling just to keep the doors open. A sales rep trying to sell a service who has steep goals and being harassed by a sales manager is typically going to cave and tell you what you want to hear just so they can get you to sign on the dotted line.
3.You’re looking for the cheapest price. So let’s just say you’re looking for someone to help you “market your business and get more customers”. Surely, you’re going to do your due-diligence and really weigh out the pros and cons huh? Or are you just going to hire someone because they tell you what you want to hear (refer back to #2) and they are really cheap. This will get you stung every single time.
How to Hire a Marketing Consultant: Beware of Large Companies with Small Prices
There are a few companies out there who sell marketing services and are well-capitalized because they have managed to grow a steady pace. These companies sell a pretty complex package of marketing services and in some cases can do good for a business.
The thing is though, their complex packages aren’t exactly what they are good at.
What they ARE good at is over-inflating the value of lots of things that are actually in reality very small.
They take advantage of the business owner’s lack of education and they can make you think they are giving you the most amazing deal ever. The price is so small too, in some cases only a few hundred bucks a month.
This is their growth strategy – they get to fly under your radar because the investment is so small.
As a business owner you’re thinking well I need to do something – I don’t know how to manage all this Internet stuff, and the cost is low so why not? This is the mindset they want you to have.
All you have to do is send an email and tell them you’re feeling uncertain about their service or you haven’t gotten any business from it whatsoever. Next thing you know a guy in a suit is showing up at your business with a bunch of fancy reports to show you the “results”.
The results that you can’t really see on your end yet but he assures you they are building and if you stop you’re going to lose all the benefit of everything you’ve already paid for. Sound familiar?
You’re intimidated and you don’t understand all the fancy reports so you don’t question them.
This is where they want you. So you’re like, “Okay, I will stay with it a few more months.”
I have found that medical marketing companies are the WORST at this.
They over-inflate the value of their services and what they actually give to their clients is a pretty crappy service. The problem is the business owner is usually paying a low price so they don’t pay attention. Again, this is where they want you.
You may be paying a low price – but so are thousands of other businesses just like you. Cha-CHING.
How to Hire a Marketing Consultant: Never Share Your Email Addresses with a Large Company
Don’t Ever Turn Your Email Addresses Over to Large Company – EVER!
Your largest asset in your business is your email addresses, this asset should be protected and cherished.
If you are going to stay in touch with your customers, clients or patients via email it needs to be a very good, and personalized effort.
An effort focused on primarily educating them and of course notifying them of special offers you have available. This effort will in fact grow your business.
Large marketing companies love to offer email marketing services for their clients. The reason? Well, they get to charge you for a service they don’t put much effort into AND many of these companies SELL your email addresses.
YES. Many of them sell your email addresses to other companies. In fact it’s a very lucrative business.
If that is not bad enough, they send out random, unpersonalized messages to your email list.
What’s worse, most businesses don’t even police this effort. They have no idea how many people are unsubscribing, complaining etc. This looks very bad on your business.
How to Hire a Marketing Consultant: Beware of Local TV Stations Selling Social Media and Web Services
In my past life before I became an entrepreneur I was an advertising sales executive. I actually made a very good living doing it. That was a long time ago, 10 years to be exact as I type this, a lot has changed.
Newspapers, magazines, radio and local TV networks are doing everything they can to stay relevant and profitable.
I guess they assume they can take the relationships they “had” with advertisers and sell them other types of products like social media and web services.
I have even heard of companies paying a TV station network a very hefty monthly retainer just to post on their Facebook page.
Here’s the thing, it’s important you post on your Facebook page because when people visit you there and you’re absent you look like a schmuck. BUT – don’t pay big bucks for that, especially if you don’t have a decent Facebook ad campaign that is bringing you leads.
NEWSFLASH: The Facebook algorithm has completely changed the last 2 years. Only about 6% of the people who like your Facebook page will see your posts unless you pay to boost them. Don’t break the bank paying someone for such a trivial task if you don’t even have a decent marketing strategy. (A marketing strategy meaning you have mechanisms in place that are consistently bringing new leads into your business.)
Once again a regular business owner doesn’t know these things. The sales rep will put huge importance in posting on your Facebook page (once again not saying it’s not important, but just understand most people won’t see it) and use the fear factor to sell you services that have ZERO impact on your profitability.
These people have been trained well to sell social media services but they do not have the deep-seeded knowledge someone like me for example has. Someone who has put years and thousands of dollars into training, education and hands on experience.
For example, I’ve witnessed them persuade business owners to take out Facebook campaigns for “likes”.
Likes do not necessarily equate to leads and it’s my personal philosophy you should NEVER pay for them. You receiving likes on your Facebook is a just an easy way for it to seem as though they are doing something for your business.
Instead of likes what you want to do is create great promotions and target people who are potentially interested in what you sell, once that audience is built turn around and retarget them with a relevant offer. THIS is how you use Facebook. 🙂
How to Hire a Marketing Consultant: Let’s Talk About Websites
Argh just thinking about this topic makes me cringe. I used to create websites back in the day and I really enjoyed it when the client was the right fit.
I gave up building websites and now only do it for very select private clients and it’s not a service I solicit.
If you’re ever in the market for a website let me give you an insider peek of how the work is organized.
If you’ve ever paid a developer to build a website chances are it took months and months to finish right? I have heard so many clients complain over the timeframe.For the most part unless it’s the client that causes huge delays in moving the website forward a simple website of 5 to 12 pages doesn’t take very long. In fact I have built one over a weekend before. It was a great website too – not just pretty.
The thing is if the website developer is juggling multiple projects they are prioritized by the size of the client. Their priorities are focused where the most money is in the current timeframe.
So if your website is small, more than likely you will not be the top priority until they are pressured by you (the client) to make it so.
Let me share with you a little trick to insure you’re never a low priority to a developer.
Here’s the thing large or small client – the developer wants (needs) your business. So in the developer’s contract you can have a little waiver drawn in. You choosing them to design your website is contingent on one thing – a deadline with a cash penalty.
When you’re interviewing developers make them give you a hard deadline of which your website will be delivered. The contract should be written so that if they do not hit that deadline (that they chose) the cost of your website is discounted by $____. Whatever amount you decide.
If it were me and the website costs $5,000 and the timeline we agree on is 90 days, one day past the deadline the cost of your website is discounted by $5oo. If it’s 2 weeks past it’s discounted by $700 and so forth. You get where I am going with this right?
Do not fear you are rushing them and will get an inferior product. They will spend the exact same amount of time they would have anyway. The contract is only getting them to make your website more of a priority by having a cash penalty attached to a deadline.
Another thing about websites: NEVER EVER EVER allow a company to “host” your website. That’s like renting your home. Your website is your business and you want it in your possession always.
They want to host your website so they can charge you inflated fees for services YOU DO NOT EVEN NEED in an effort to pad THEIR pockets with residual income.
Buy some space at GoDaddy and make them build your Internet home there and make sure you have full access to it. If they say they are going to charge you more for it – then say SEE YA! I guarantee you they will be singing a different tune.
You have no idea the horror I have seen over the years dealing with botched websites and being hosted on obscure networks.
You have more control than you realize, don’t allow yourself to be bullied.
I once had a company hire me just to be present in their web development process. My client said he couldn’t believe how much just having someone there who spoke their language changed the entire process.
How to Hire a Marketing Consultant: A Little Education Can Save You Thousands Over the Life of Your Business
As a business owner Internet services is something you are going to always need now and especially in the future. A little education will definitely go a long way.
Companies that sell Internet services LOVE that their customer is uneducated and vulnerable. They can sell you ANYTHING and the next thing you know you’re out money with nothing to show for it.
A little education will literally save you thousands over the life of your business.
I know you had rather have a root canal than learn about all things Internet. But you have so much to gain by doing it and I promise it will make you feel empowered!
By all means open your mind to hire people to help you to grow your business, but just be smart about it. Never say yes just because you feel intimidated or embarrassed by your lack of knowledge.
When it comes to marketing your business always make decisions that are based on creating profit and measurable results.
Reach out to me via email if you have questions! I am always happy to help! I love nothing more than exposing the bad guys who give my industry a bad name!