Are you short on time but full of marketing ideas for your painting business? Maybe outsourcing your marketing plan to a consultant is just the boost your company needs to grow its presence online and within the community. We can quickly implement the necessary strategies that will boost awareness of your company on the Internet and locally, create engagement with current and potential customers, and set your company apart as a leader within your industry.
Four Top Reasons to Hire a Marketing Consultant
1. Knowledge – Professional marketers know things you don’t. No matter your business skills or years in business, you need to invest in a professional marketer who you can trust and consult with to help you improve your current marketing plan or develop a new one.
2. Time – A marketing consultant will save you time to do what you do best: work in your business. The small business owners I have spoken with simply do not have the hours needed to implement today’s marketing strategies.
3. Flexibility – Marketing consultants are flexible and immediately available to take on assignments. A marketing consultant can set up and maintain your marketing strategy or provide instruction for your office staff to do so.
4. Savings – If your business does not need a full time in-house marketer, a consultant will save you money. Many consultants charge based on the task. Therefore, you pay a flat fee no matter how long it may take them to accomplish the task. Also, unlike employees, your company will not be paying benefits.
Marketing today is fast paced with new online platforms and technologies appearing every day. You need to invest in a professional who can spend her day keeping up with the latest. The learning curve is steep and a good marketer will spend many hours reviewing and researching strategies to fit your industry. Today’s marketers must possess excellent computer skills; building websites and opening social media accounts requires people who know their way around various programs and the Internet. Communication skills are important as well in order to be the “voice” of your company on social media and connecting with current and potential customers.
The job of a marketing consultant is to analyze your business and develop a plan that will increase your visibility online and in the community, grow your lead base, and stay connected with your current customer base. Gone are the days when a company’s marketing consisted of a few print ads in local newspapers, the phone book, or an occasional direct mail campaign (outbound marketing). Marketing today has gone “social” (inbound marketing). Inbound marketing consists of social media, blogging, website creation, and search engine optimization.
There is a growing trend among companies to spend more of their marketing and advertising budget on inbound channels. The main reason is because marketing today is about relationships. People want to learn about your company on the Internet and keep connected on the social media platforms they are using. Another reason is social media platforms and blogging are free. You only need to hire someone to do it. Website creation costs vary greatly, so shop around. Once you have your website up and running, the only additional costs are having someone maintain it and update content. Use your website as an online brochure to direct customers to. People want to know about you before their first meeting, and having a website with social media links will give them a glimpse of your company’s skills and credibility.
Four Top Qualities to Look for When Hiring a Marketing Consultant
1. Knowledge and experience – A good marketing consultant will have knowledge of today’s latest marketing channels. Experience and the ability to show work done for other client’s is a plus, though don’t discount a young start-up…remember you were one too!
2. Excellent communication skills and an outgoing personality – A good marketer should be able to communicate both with you, your employees, vendors, and customers. If you are looking for someone to blog for your website, make sure this person can show you some of their written works. Most marketers are enthusiastic and energetic; make sure your personality type will mesh with theirs. This is a relationship that will require frequent discussions, so the ability to communicate what you want and listen to their recommendations is an important component to your success.
3. Interest in your industry – A good marketing professional can market most any business successfully, but a great marketer will become almost as passionate about your business as you are. That’s when you know you’ve found the right person to work on your account.
4. A team of professionals– Your marketing professional should have a network of people readily available to help implement any task. From graphics artists, to print shops, to photographers, and the local press– these are the additional people it may take to effectively implement your plan.
From my experience working with a painting contractor, I can see the painting profession is a demanding business. A typical day can include numerous customer telephone inquiries, driving from location to location providing estimates, gathering paint and other supplies from vendors, and spending hours doing the work they were hired to do. Marketing is simply another hat, the owner, who is already over scheduled must wear.
Due to time constraints, many small businesses are abandoning this important component to grow and maintain their business. Waiting until business is slow to think about marketing is often too late. The value of marketing in good times will often be most noticed by the small business owners when they find their slow times are decreasing.
Over the past year I have seen a lot of painting businesses creating websites and delving into social media. Whether they have in-house staff or consultants to do the work, small businesses are beginning to understand that this new type of marketing is here to stay. For those on board, we can continue forging ahead. Those trailing behind will eventually begin but will always be a few steps behind those of us who already have our strategies in place.
Find a consultant that is committed to increasing your visibility on the Internet, within the community you serve, and with others in your industry. A consultant will help you build your bottom line and image while working within your budget. Visibility is today’s key to success! Does your company outsource marketing? Tell us your story in the comment section below.
Barbara Walsh, Marketing Consultant, Walsh One Marketing
April 1, 2012