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How to Hire the Marketing Expert You Need

marketing help for small businesses

Get the Time You Need to Run Your Business

You do your own taxes. You fix your own house. You write your own contracts. You take care of all HR work… yourself. Okay, you might not need an outside marketing expert, especially if, as a small business owner, you understand and are comfortable writing fully integrated marketing plans, building your own website, doing your SEO work, running your email and social media campaigns, and implementing a full sales and referral process.

If you’ve got all that locked down, then this post isn’t for you.  But…if you think you could use some help, then please read on.

Anyone with a business card can call themselves a “marketing consultant”

Have you been burned by a “marketing consultant?” Maybe by a cold-calling, “We guarantee you first page results” “consultant” or maybe by a consultant with great intentions but no real system for getting the work done and delivering positive results over time?

If so, this article will educate you and help you find, vet, and work with folks like me in order to grow your business and alleviate your marketing frustrations.

Shameless Self-Promotion

Yes, I’m a marketing consultant, and I believe that I fit the criteria of a good hire for many small businesses, but you’re under no obligation to use my team. Please hire the expertise you need to get the work done, get your business growing and get the marketing burden off your shoulders.

I’ve learned a ton running my business and I remain dedicated to serving my clients better every day, so let’s talk a bit about finding the best fit for your business.

Why You Need Marketing Help

You spend your days, to some extent, educating people about why they should hire an expert like you to solve their problems. I’m sure one of the reasons your customers use your business is because you’re the expert and the client has neither the time nor the expertise to do it themselves.

The same thing applies when it comes to marketing your business. When you work with a true marketing partner you’ll get the expertise and comprehensive approach necessary to achieve lasting success. A good marking partner will approach your business as more than just a project.

You got into business to achieve some freedom from “corporate work,” to serve others, and profitably grow. But there’s a good chance you’re busy juggling multiple full-time jobs as a business owner. Bringing in a marketing expert to deliver the services you need tied to the goals of your business will save you time and improve your results.

A genuine, high-quality marketing consultant or agency will provide you with an integrated, strategy-based marketing system that will produce consistent, positive results over time, not just check the “got the website updated” box.

How to Find and Hire the Marketing Help You Need

The easiest way to find a marketing consultant is to simply ask. Ask for referrals from friends, colleagues, members of your networking groups, or other small business owners. See some marketing materials you like? Ask that business owner how they got it done.

If your business is in growth mode then bringing expertise in-house may be more of an investment than you should make. In this case, a marketing services partner who helps you develop the strategies and implements the plans you need to achieve your goals, and who isn’t in your overhead, can be a great fit.

Check out These are all folks I know and collaborate with, and I can absolutely attest to the high caliber of people who are part of this network.

What do I do once I’ve found a few possibilities?

Have conversations. The right consultant is one who carefully listens to your problems, asks questions, and is clear about the services they provide. Make sure they’ve done their homework on your business and can demonstrate that they’re working to learn how to make your company stand out and generate results. Be very forthcoming about what you require from them so they can fine-tune their approach.

What to look for when talking with marketing consultants – a checklist:

  • Ask for samples of their work.
  • Check out their website and reviews.
  • Ask if they offer value in advance (an assessment, audit or some form of research you get value from before you’ve signed).
  • Inquire about their billing practices. When will they bill? When are payments due? Is it easy to pay them in terms of payment method?
  • Ask about deliverables, reports and analytics to help adjust plans over time.
  • Do they use their own services? Can you tell if they’re doing for themselves what they propose to do for you?
  • Do you know what’s going to happen after you sign, in month one of the engagement and ongoing in terms of deliverables, reports and analytics so you can adjust plans over time?
  • Look at their online presence. Do they “eat their own dog food” in terms of having a good web, social media and email presence for themselves?
  • Can they help your business get better – you and your staff – in terms of becoming better marketers? An effective consultant will not hold back their knowledge and expertise, they will educate and improve the marketing skills of you and your team all along the way.
  • Do they make it easy to understand what they are doing for your business? Do you have direct access to all of your assets? (think: website, domain name, email marketing platform, social media accounts, Google My Business presence, etc.)

Know Thyself – This isn’t a one-way street

Like all relationships, it takes two to make it work. You and your business need to be committed to working with and helping your marketing partners. No consultant can do good work without direct input from the client; you and your team are critical to the process of implementing successful marketing.

Take and implement their advice, and ask for clarity if something isn’t clear. Without open lines of communication and regular check-in points to ensure progress is being made, you will eventually doubt the value of the investment you’ve made, and you may find yourself starting over.

Do your marketing partners have to be from your industry?

While it is possible that a marketing pro directly from your industry may be able to quickly help you, I don’t believe it is 100% necessary to have that expertise. What they should be able to share with you is examples of work they’ve done that tackle the objectives you have, whether that is lead generation, online marketing improvement, branding work, etc.

In fact, someone who solely works in your business may be only “cookie cutter-ing” plans from one client to the next. By applying a one-size-fits-all approach, this practice can dilute the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

How to Make the Relationship Successful

Your marketing consultant should put strategy first; they should:

  • Get to know your business
  • Research and understand your target markets
  • Develop your key messages
  • Recommend tactics fitting this strategy and within your budget

An effective marketing consultant for small businesses understands that, while strategic marketing planning is a key factor for success, the business still has to generate sales and retain customers while the planning happens. A consultant who combines quick wins with a longer-term strategy for growing your business will serve you better over time, and will achieve positive ROI faster.

Whether or not you hire me…

If you’re ready to grow your business and you understand it takes time and an investment to achieve that growth, then you’re ready to have a marketing partner make your marketing work.

If you want to discuss with me, I’d love to talk to you: or (501) 485-3048.

But if you don’t hire me please be sure to use the criteria above to evaluate partners. Your business will be better off for it.