How can a small business marketing consultant help your business?

Question: how can a small business marketing consultant help your business?

Quick Answer: by helping you to:

  • develop and implement the right marketing strategy and plan for your business
  • one that brings you the type of clients you are looking for, and
  • helps you achieve the growth targets you have for your business.

If we look at this in more detail, it looks like this…

We often get asked how a small business marketing consultant can really help a small business. After all, isn’t the classic consultant there to tell you the time, after borrowing your watch? Let’s look at the key ways a marketing consultant can help a small business:

In the beginning

Some time ago, you decided that the life as an employee wasn’t for you. You loved doing what you do, but didn’t want to do it for someone else all the time. So you started your own business. For a little while you delivered for your clients outside of normal working hours, because you recognised the need for cash to pay the bills.

Success meant you were quickly able to say goodbye to your employed colleagues and go it alone. Your clients loved you and what you did for them and kept asking for more. You worked hard, steadily built a team around you to continue delivering on your clients’ needs.

As the responsibilities of running a business and delivering for your clients added up, the rate of growth slowed because you weren’t able to get out there quite so much. Marketing and business development activity slowed as operational activity took priority.

You are an expert at what you do

You know you, and your team, do fantastic work and that delivering that work has to be your priority, but you want to continue to grow the business. But how? What are your options?

  1. Employ a junior marketing executive to keep the social media happening, and the blogs being published.
    1. Needs managing to keep on track
    2. How do you know they are performing?
    3. Are these the right marketing activities for your business?Going to cost £15-20K a year
  2. Employ a Marketing Manager
    1. Going to cost £30 – 45K a year
    2. Is there enough work to keep them busy and stimulated?
  3. Hire a small business marketing consultant
  4. Only pay for time used
  5. Brings experience from lots of other companies to bear on your marketing
  6. Has a network of experts around them with the skills your business needs

Show you which “50% is working”

The old adage still holds true. Many small business leaders know they are generating leads and sales, but cannot identify what is bringing them in. Word of Mouth is probably responsible for a chunk of them, but what else?

By identifying what marketing is and isn’t working, your small business marketing consultant will quickly deliver an ROI on their fees through the cost-cutting opportunities identified. After all, why spend money on marketing that isn’t generating leads of moving people through the pipeline.?

helps translate features into benefits

As an expert in your field, you know exactly what you are doing, all the software and hardware involved and all the jargon. Day to day activity means this is the language you are using all the time.

But it always isn’t the language your clients use. You need to look at the language your clients and target audience will use. You should also be looking at what a client gets from using your products or services and make sure your marketing talks about the benefits and what success looks like. A small business marketing consultant will definitely help in this area. They will have gone through this many times and will know what questions to ask you to get the information needed and ensure you are using the right marketing messages.

Develop the right marketing strategy for your business

You would naturally expect a small business marketing consultant to say they can help you by developing the right marketing strategy for you, but what does that mean? For us, it means the following:

1.     A marketing strategy that builds on what you know is working

2.     One that is focused on achieving your growth targets

3.     That fits with your budgets and utilises the skills available within your business

4.     A marketing strategy that aims to bring in your Ideal Clients

There is one last factor; the most important one: it is a marketing strategy that you have contributed to, are committed to and have bought into. Only at this point do you have the right marketing strategy for your business.

A marketing consultant keeps marketing happening consistently

Once you have a marketing strategy and a plan in place, you need to ensure the plan is followed and that marketing happens on a consistent basis. Whether you have a internal junior who needs guidance, training and some management, or whether you have no resource at all, a small business marketing consultant really can help.

Thinking about recruiting a junior marketing exec?

Sometimes there is a lot of “stuff” that needs doing and it makes sense to recruit a junior marketing executive. How are you going to find the find person? If you were looking for someone to help you deliver your product or service, no problem. You know exactly the skillset and the attitude you need. But if you’ve had to bring in a marketing consultant to help develop and implement the right marketing strategy for you, how likely is it that you can find the right junior marketing exec?

A small business marketing consultant will have worked with you for some time and will understand your business culture, so the right attitude profile can easily be developed between you. The consultant will be able to identify the skillset and the aptitude you need. Plus, be able to “smell the cow’s excrement” at interview stage.

A small business marketing consultant can help your business in a number of ways. We hope we’ve shown you how above. Of course, if you would like to talk about how we can help you specifically, give us a call on 020 8634 5911

 

What we learnt from the Brighton SEO Conference

Brighton SEO Conference image of giveaways

(see the last lesson for an explanation of the images)

8 SEO Lessons learnt or compounded

I went to the Brighton SEO Conference for the first time in 2019. Why? Two reasons: firstly to learn more about the “dark art” of SEO, and secondly because Mailchimp invited me. As a Mailchimp Partner, I like to keep that relationship running smoothly so that I can get the support my clients need.

So what are the SEO lessons learnt?

1. Misplacing Budgets

Many businesses, particularly bigger businesses, allocate budgets in the wrong way.  They will spend too much on production (specifically video). They spend too much on distribution and not enough on getting the right idea in the first place.

The traditional approach of expecting the agency pitching to have developed the ideas as part of their pitch no longer works. Target audiences are getting smaller as specific needs and wants are getting more and more personalised. The ideas that worked when advertising on TV (and newspapers) were key no longer work because of the diverse spread of communication channels today.

2. Integrating SEO into the business is a good idea

SEO is often considered to be a small tactic within the marketing of a business. It’s therefore of little concern to anyone outside the Marketing department. However, there are a number of ways that, by working together, the whole company can improve performance:

  • Naming of products should consider what the customer will consider to be the key feature(s), helping them to appear when customers search.
  • If marketing collateral is written by different people to the SEO team, they should work together to use complementary language
  • The Sales team can feedback the questions being asked by prospects during sales meetings, so it can be included in content.

3. Answer when your customers ask a question

Are you making it easy for customers to ask questions of you? Also, are you going to where they may be asking the questions? Sites such as Quora give you a great opportunity to identify the questions people want answers to.  You can then answer them on the platform, but more importantly, develop content that will answer the questions and shoot you up the rankings.

4. Look at intent within the sales cycle

Your content should help people throughout the sales cycle.  The content people see on your site when they are first researching a topic should not be the same as when they are actively buying. When aiming to educate through your content, you shouldn’t be selling.

5. Look at People Also Ask

Have you noticed when you type a question into the search bar, there are two things that appear:

  1. Featured snippet: what Google thinks is a very good answer to your question.
  2. People Also Ask: slight variations on the question and an answer to that question.

The People Also Ask section can be a great way of getting to the top of the search rankings,  often much faster than you can get onto page one for the normal rankings.

6. Don’t start a podcast unless you are really interested in the topic

Most podcasters don’t get past Episode 7. This is simply because they lose interest in the topic and that means they won’t do the work needed to produce a podcast that will deliver.

7. There are three key requirements when pitching an idea

If you want a client, or the boss, to authorise a project or campaign, there are three key requirements:

  1. Help them to justify the spend
  2. Prove the impact on the business this will bring
  3. Ensure it makes them look good

The last is almost certainly the result of the first.

8.  Only produce useful promotional merchandise that people will keep using.

As with any conference, every company was giving out goodies. These were either in the conference bag given to you at the door, or were given out when you went to a company’s stand. Which of the two in the header image do you think I will use more?

Which of these SEO lessons are you going to put into practice?

I hope this helps

 

How to Improve your marketing performance

If you’re looking to improve your marketing performance, it’s safe to say you’re not getting the results you want. Let’s have a look at how you can get the results you want and improve your marketing performance.

There are a number of stages to this process

Know exactly what is and isn’t working

When people say to us that their marketing isn’t working, it’s rare that they are able to say exactly what isn’t working.  Is it their social media marketing or their email marketing? Is it their networking or trade shows? It is unlikely that everything isn’t working, but without knowing what is and what isn’t, you cannot take any action to improve your marketing performance.

Continue doing what is working – it pays the bills

You cant stop marketing while you work out what is the right marketing strategy for your business, but you can stop what isn’t working and carry on what is.  By doing this, you instantly improve your marketing performance. It also means you continue to get a flow of leads into the business, albeit not as many as you would like.

Identify exactly who you want to sell to

Is your marketing attracting the clients you want to sell to? If not, it’s probably because you’re not being specific enough in your marketing so that you attract the people you want to talk to. There is nothing wrong with working with a range of different clients, but you shouldn’t go chasing everybody because you don’t have the time or the money.

Set Targets

How can you measure your marketing performance without having targets to measure against? If you want to improve your marketing performance, you need a set of targets that will show the progress you’re making. Targets such as web traffic, leads and sales will clearly show how your marketing is improving.

Identify what issues they need to resolve

The days when you simply said “we sell a widget” and people come a-running are long gone. Your prospects want to know how what you sell is going to help solve an issue they have. That could be as complex as meeting FCA compliance requirements or as simple as providing new laptops for their staff. Whatever it is, they expect to help them.

Develop messaging that shows how you can help

Whatever marketing channels you use to improve your marketing performance, you need a set of core marketing messages that will help you improve your marketing performance. Messages that demonstrate you understand them, their issues and what they are looking to achieve will help them believe you can help.

Gather evidence that proves you can deliver

There’s a difference between talking the talk and walking the walk. Your target audience needs to see proof you can deliver on your promises.

Testimonials, case studies, reviews and ratings are all really useful in helping someone believe you can help them. If the evidence is from their peers, their level of perceived risk will drop even further.

Develop and agree a marketing strategy you believe will work

There are many things that go into developing a successful marketing strategy: skills, time and budgets. You will have your opinions about what you believe will, and won’t work and you need to believe that the strategy uses the right balance…

  • Skills can be sourced from within your business or externally
  • Time – the skills may be there, but if those staff don’t have time, it needs to be sourced elsewhere
  • Budget – (you have to pay for everything)

We believe that combining the knowledge, expertise and opinions from SME Needs and our clients is the best way to develop a marketing strategy that both parties buy into and believe will succeed.

Gather the resources and skills you need to deliver

As referred to earlier, the marketing skills needed to implement your plan, to improve your marketing performance, need to be sourced from somewhere. If they aren’t available from within your business, where will they come from? Two options:

  • From third parties you know and trust
  • From your marketing consultants

Our approach is one of finding the right people from within our network, or from within yours. Of course, we can do a lot of what is needed, but we’ll never attempt to build you a website or get your marketing content into the press. Our partners have the right skills and so we bring them in and manage them on your behalf.

Implement the plan

Once you have a plan that you’re agreed upon, it’s time to implement that plan. There’s little point in investing time and money on developing it, if you don’t then do it! Hopefully you will see the improvement in your marketing performance you are looking for.

Measure, adapt, go again

As you go, you need to measure your marketing performance. Is it improving? What is improving and what isn’t delivering? By measuring your performance, you get the information you need to make further adaptations to your marketing to develop a process of continuous marketing improvement.

We hope this helps

If you need a hand with improving your marketing performance, give us a call on 020 8634 5911 or click here and we’ll call you.