Whether you are running a small business, a startup or you are managing the marketing division at a larger company, you may find yourself needing the services of a marketing consultant. And in some cases, you may be lucky enough to already have some recommendations from colleagues or business advisers you trust. But if you do not know a consultant in your area off-hand, you will need to spend some time finding the right person. Here are the four steps involved in hiring a marketing consultant.
Understand Your Needs
The first thing you have to do is understand why you need to hire a consultant. Unless you want them to go through every aspect of your marketing campaign, you should have some specifics in mind. Perhaps you need them to figure out why you are converting enough visitors to your website or social media pages. Or maybe you need their help in identifying the marketing channels that will provide you with the best return on investment. In either case, if you have a goal in mind, it can be easier to get the appropriate services from a marketing consultant.
Set Aside a Budget
Figure out how much you are willing to spend on a consultant’s services before you hire them. When you have a ballpark budget in mind, and you hear of a consultant’s rates, it will help you figure out how much work you want them to do for you. If you go in without a budget in mind, you could end up overspending by a lot, especially if the consultant does some comprehensive marketing work for your company. And when you are running a small business or a startup, every dollar needs to get spent in the most productive way possible.
Identify Possible Consultants
Take a look at some of the consultants in your area. Assess their websites, identify the services they offer, look at customer reviews of people who have used their services, and try to see if they have a list of the companies or individuals who have hired them in the past. If you are lucky, you may be able to talk with some business contacts about specific consultants to get a sense for whether or not they are the right fit for your company. If someone has a positive or negative experience to report, it will help in your final decision.
Interview Consultants and Make a Final Decision
When you have narrowed your search down to two or three consultants, or consulting companies, you are ready to conduct an initial interview or consultation. During the interview, make sure to speak in detail about what you want from them. Identify the areas of your marketing campaign that need work, show them some data and see what they have to say. In most cases, the conversation you have when you first meet a consultant will tell you whether they are the right fit for a project. And then you can make a final decision about who to hire, based on the consultation and their rates.