Advice from business owners about hiring marketing experts
“I find time to be my biggest challenge. Yes, you can pay people to do some of the necessary work but you still have to do the planning and thinking to guide these people. You are the one who understands your business and niche best -so whatever you delegate, you still have to know the content and processes. I think the social media tools have made this more attainable for small businesses and you can certainly level the playing field by utilizing social media but it still requires a lot of time to create content, develop a community or at least relationships and then to deliver a top notch experience.”
“You can delegate but you shouldn’t abdicate. You need to be involved, engaged and deciding what’s appropriate for your brand and what’s not.”
“The best graphic designer or web designer or search engine optimization expert may not be in your town and known by your peers who go to Chamber of Commerce meetings. The best marketing freelancers generally work on projects for large companies and agencies. You can hire them too but you have to be willing to work with them ‘virtually’ meaning you won’t be meeting with them in person at your office or for coffee. You’ll talk to them over the phone and email back forth. This is how many of them like to work and how they work with other clients.”
“If you were hiring a heart surgeon would you choose whoever was available? No, you’d want referrals from reputable sources who’d seen a lot of surgeons in action like operating room nurses or other medical professionals who’d have the inside scoop on who the hotshot docs are and who not to choose. Same goes with hiring marketing freelancers. Do your research to find the best people with the specific expertise you need. That investment in time will pay off big time over the course of their working with you on your marketing.”
“Find a marketing freelancer who has experience with marketing to the type of prospective customers you want to reach. For example, if you’re selling a product for Moms with young children, look for marketing experts who have worked on marketing campaigns for other clients to that target audience. Or if you’re an architect who wants to get contracts for hospitals, find a marketing consultant who has worked with hospitals in your area. You’ll benefit from their lessons learned about what worked and what didn’t in all the past campaigns they’ve been involved with. This is especially true when hiring anyone to buy a direct mail list for you or to work on search advertising.”
“Most full service agencies aren’t full service. They tend to be really good at just a few things like creating websites or making print ads or PR. Most ad agencies are terrible at creating websites and doing SEO and direct marketing – it’s way too analytical for them. Most digital online agencies are terrible at creating print ads and brochures and doing any type of PR or event marketing. Their specialty is online marketing. And all these agencies recommend what tools they know and love, not necessarily what marketing technique might be most effective for your situation. So you are essentially needing to go to the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker for your marketing by using multiple agencies and acting as the general contractor to know which agency and marketing technique to use when. That’s what the big company CMOs have to do and what you have to do as a business owner. The challenge of course is that the CMOs only job is marketing and yours as the business owner is running the business and doing marketing. I’ve found the best success finding a trustworthy and experienced marketing consultant who was a marketing leader and now wants the flexibility of working for themselves out of their house as a freelancer. You get the experience and objectivity you need from that person to plan your marketing. They then can manage all the other marketing people needed.”
What’s your experience and advice on hiring marketing freelancers and agencies to help you with your small business marketing?
For most small businesses, finding marketing freelancers, agencies, consultants and companies that offer marketing products, tools and services has been a word-of-mouth driven, luck-based process. Now there’s MarketingZone. We help small businesses find marketing experts to hire.
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