To be candid, the reason businesses exist is to make money by providing value to needing customers. However, you need to spend money to make money. One of the channels businesses cannot afford to be tight-fisted about is the marketing department. No matter how great your product or service is, you still need to put them in the face of those who need them.
You need leads – serious leads you can convert to more sales. Hence, the reason small businesses engage the help of small business marketing consultants in different capacities to come and have a peek over things, but before you give them the full reigns over things, you should ask them the following questions.
Question #1: Can you describe your marketing consultant firm and the kind of clients you have worked with in the past?
What this does is give you a bit of history about the firm and the setup behind the scene. You’ll want to probe further by asking if everything is done in-house or some parts are outsourced. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it just gives you a handle on what’s within their control.
Also, the kinds of clients they have worked with can show a pattern – if you’re a B2B, you want to deal with a small business consultancy firm that deals with such.
Question #2: What will they be doing and how will they be doing it?
You should know exactly what you’ll be paying for, and their approach to this question will speak of the nitty-gritty details that will go into their marketing plans. This will also include a timeline for feasible and measurable plans.
It also helps if they can put a number to goals and the target. Be careful, however, not to get carried away by a swat of promises that are not achievable especially from where your business is presently at.
Question #3: Can you give us three successful case studies and one or two failed case studies?
With this question, what you want to hear are real numbers; where they met small businesses and the impact of the small business marketing consultant after working with the small business. You want to hear the number of leads generated and the percentage of sales converted.
How they increased engagement on social media, how they grew email subscribers in XYZ days. And you should also check with those clients. They might not necessarily have failed before, but a particular strategy might have failed in the past. You need this admittance to give you confidence that they won’t hide anything from you.
Question #4: Technology is rapidly changing marketing strategies, how do you adapt to these changes, and what strategies are in place you never get left behind?
You need an innovative small business marketing consultant that has strategies that are in line with latest successful strategies. They must show a willingness to change and be able to show how they are doing this.
Question #5: How do we measure ROI?
This is very important. How do you measure success and lack of it? What metrics does the business consultancy firm use to measure their own success? Identify if it differs with your expectations. You don’t want a small business marketing consultant that settles for less. If they can’t meet your goals, then don’t bother.
In the end, these questions are only a guide, you can and should ask more questions no matter how trivial it seems. Perform your due diligence before paying a dime for any marketing consultancy.