If you are looking for a small business marketing consultant, you are likely to be looking ultimately for the results that they can achieve for your business; namely to attract more clients for you.
This article is designed to give you a background to what you can expect your small business marketing consultant to do for you, the likely results that you can achieve and to cover the costs that may be incurred.
In this feature about small business marketing consultants, I am going to cover:
- How do you know when you find a good small business marketing consultant?
- How long a contract should you sign with a small business marketing consultant?
- Obtaining grants to fund your small business marketing consultants fees
- What are the right marketing activities?
- Should you hire a small business marketing consultant or a coach or mentor?
- How much should a small business marketing consultant cost?
- What do marketing consultants/ small business consultants do?
A Little About This Small Business Marketing Consultant
First, a little about me. I did not enter the small business marketing consulting world by following the usual path of University, marketing agency and then setting up my own business.
I always had an interest in marketing but decided to become a solicitor, mainly, in hindsight, to please my mother.
However, my interest in marketing led me to running the marketing for the law firms that I worked for.
I soon realised that I enjoyed this a lot more than the legal work.
Occasionally, I would invite a small business marketing consultant into my law firm to review my marketing activities and to see if I was missing anything.
Without fail, they all traipsed in, charged me thousands of pounds, and gave me a 100 plus page report (that no doubt they had largely copy and pasted from their standard report) and told me that I was doing just fine.
It was then I realised that I needed to become a full time small business marketing consultant because I could do a better job for my clients than what was currently offered in the marketplace.
I realise that this is a long article, so if you are pressed for time, the fastest way to discover if you like what I have to say about marketing a business is to download my free book by clicking the button below:
Alternatively call me now on 0117 290 8555 and my amazing PA will schedule a time for us to talk.
Nick is totally practical and has a laser-like focus on getting his clients more clients of their own. As someone with no marketing experience at all, his user-friendly approach made it so much quicker and easier to get started on getting work than if I had tried to do this on my own. I strongly recommend both the More Clients Academy and also Nick’s book, The Law Firm Growth Formula. I’m not a lawyer, but the ideas apply to virtually any professional business. Well worth your time and money!
Ciaran McGee – Chartered Tax Adviser.
Now let’s move on to discover more about what a small business marketing consultant should and shouldn’t do, and give you some good questions to help you find the best marketing consultant for your business.
In my opinion, there is only one criteria that you should look for when choosing a marketing consultant to help you to grow your business:
You should be able to easily see reviews from clients who have worked with the small business marketing consultant and achieved tangible results in terms of generating new clients and return on investment on any money spent.
Phrases such as ‘brand awareness’ should never be used. The only companies that should look to achieve ‘brand awareness’ are the giant brands such as Coca Cola, Microsoft etc.
Small businesses cannot afford to waste money on brand awareness because they will not be able to track any return on investment.
By all means, sponsor your son or daughter’s football team, but do it for fun, not return on investment.
If your marketing consultant pushes you along the brand awareness route, they are not the consultant that you are looking for. Move on to the next one.
When you run a small business, which can mean anything up to tens of millions in turnover, the only results that you should look for from your marketing activities are ‘return on investement’.
You need to know that if you spend £1 you generate £3 or more in instructions.
If your small business marketing consultant does not talk in these terms, or worse still tries to persuade you to sign a 12 month contract which he or she says will give them enough time to start to get some results with them (see below) then back away and move on to the next one.
Here are some other ‘avoid’ signs when choosing a small business marketing consultant.
a. They only talk about one type of marketing.
If the small business marketing consultant that you are considering using only specialises in one type of marketing and pushes you in that direction, regardless of whether it will work or not for your business, this is a clear sign that they are not the well rounded marketing consultant that you need to help you grow your business.
I have seen clients spend tens of thousands of pounds on completely the wrong forms of marketing that I know, from the nature of the service that they provide, will never work for them.
Sadly, often they have run out of budget by the time that they reach me. Which is why I say to anyone reading this blog, if you are considering spending any money on any form of marketing, please email or speak to me before doing so. I will check that it is the right form of marketing for the product or service that you provide and advise you accordingly – no cost. I just HATE seeing people being duped into spending money on the wrong marketing activities. It is, in my opinion, what gives marketing or business growth consultancy a bad name.
Download my free guide below to discover how to set up a time for us to talk to ensure that you are spending your money wisely:
b. They do not ask anything (or enough) about your business.
Following on from the above, if you speak with a marketing consultant and all they do is talk about their business and how they work, without first asking anything about your business, they are not the consultant for you.
Marketing needs to be all about the business being marketed, so if they do not talk to you about your business, how can they know what will work for you?
c. They want you to spend money straight out of the gate.
The first thing any decent small business marketing consultant should do for you is to review your current marketing activities and suggest tweaks and optimisations which will generate more enquiries for you.
Many of my new clients are surprised that they often end up spending less on marketing once they start working with me. I often start with my client’s websites because they are their 24/7/365 marketing tool.
I can always find many ways to instantly drive up enquiries from their website from people already finding the website, so why would I advise my consultancy clients to spend money on new marketing activities when they haven’t optimised the ones that they are already doing.
If you optimise your marketing activities first, you may well discover that you do not need to spend more money on marketing, you just need to get a better return from the marketing that you area already doing.
Let’s move onto the second major point in helping you to choose the right small business marketing consultant for your business.
Nick’s advice and guidance has been excellent. He cuts through all the noise and brings clarity. His focus is on what is effective and what will achieve the objective. He knows what works and what doesn’t and shows you the best way to approach a strategy.
One particular aspect of marketing was hard to get my head around but Nick made everything so clear and easy to understand. When you speak to him you will see, he knows his stuff!
Shan Phoenix – Financial Adviser
Following on from my first point, it should be clear to you that my view is that you should not have to sign a contract for 12 months.
Because if the marketing consultant is any good at what they do they should be confident that they can achieve results for you in the first month, so why would they need a 12 month contract?
I know that for all of my consultancy clients I can achieve great results for them in the first month of working with them, usually the first week, so I only ever work on a one month rolling contract basis.
I am then equally invested in achieving great results for my clients because if I do not, they can leave at any time, as they should be able to do so.
What frustrates me about many of the small business marketing consultants out there (and remember I employed quite a few in the past), is that they rely on 12 month contracts and then they use the next method to fully or partly fund their fees, which is another tell-tale sign that they are not worth their salt and you should avoid them!
I run an HR business dealing with the nasty bits of HR (disciplinaries, grievances, terminations, etc).
I have been working with Nick for 12 months now and it has really changed the quality of leads I am getting. My website is now attracting the right type of clients and brings in a lot more quality, and easy to convert, leads.
Nick is clear in what the marketing priorities are to get me the results I want. Very easy to work with and cuts to the heart of the matter – no excuses!
Carolyne Wahlen – HR Consultant
If you run a small business all you should be interested in is attracting new clients and growing your profitability quickly.
Why then, would your marketing consultant push you through the tiresome, time wasting and draining process of applying for a business grant to fund all or part of their fees?
There are two substantial reasons why they do this and why you should avoid it at all costs if you are looking for help from a marketing consultant:
- If you do not have any ‘skin in the game’, i.e. you do not pay for their services, you are less likely to do the work that is needed to generate the clients that you want. I know this to be true because I have seen it in operation time and time again.
You need to invest in your marketing consultant to make you do the marketing activities that you need to do to generate the clients that you are looking for.
- It shows that the small business marketing consultant has a lack of confidence in their own ability to generate new clients for you. After all, if you are not paying, you will not be so angry if you do not get the results that you are looking for. However, that misses the point that we started with, which is that you need more clients now, not in 12 months’ time when you start to work with a different marketing consultant!
One thing is true above all else when it comes to marketing:
Marketing needs momentum.
Unless and until you do the right marketing activities consistently, you will not generate your steady and consistent flow of new client instructions.
Therefore, on the days when you ‘don’t feel like doing’ what you need to do to implement your small business marketing plan, having paid for the advice you are far more likely to force yourself to do this.
This is why I strongly advise you to stay away from any small business marketing consultant who wants you to sign a 12 month contact and then encourages you to apply for a grant to cover the entire cost of that contract or a substantial portion of it.
The only person that is likely to work for is the marketing consultant.
You might notice that this point annoys me more than anything.
The main reason for this is that in my old life as a solicitor I used to deal with claims for seriously injured people. Often I would send them a cheque for hundreds of thousands of pounds, feeling like I had done a good job, but they were never that happy because they still had daily pain.
I did the best that I could, but money can never remove pain, sadly.
In my role now as a small business marketing consultant, when I get great results for my clients now it is a complete win, win situation.
My client wins more new clients, turnover and profitability goes up, and the small fee that they pay me is easily covered by the wins in their business. We are both happy.
So why would any marketing consultant delay your happiness by putting you through a grant application process?
Before meeting Nick, I was wasting money with google, I had a high price per click and a trickle of leads. Now, having worked with Nick for 3 months my google business page is optimised, my price per click is greatly reduced, customers are finding me and quality lead are flowing! Which means, my google ads spend is now profitable with a 3:1 return! That is why I would strongly recommend working with Nick if you want consistent leads and a greater return on your investment.
Richard Linden – Letting Agent
Not all marketing activities are created equal; far from it.
You want marketing activities that put at least three times the income into your business than they take out. Then you can spend time optimising them to make them work even better for you and to put even more income into your business, but three to one should be your starting point.
The best forms of marketing are those which pitch your services to your ideal clients at the precise moment in time that they are ready to buy them.
Let me state that again because it is so important:
The best forms of marketing are those which pitch your services to your ideal clients at the precise moment in time that they are ready to buy them.
‘The precise moment in time that they are ready to buy them’ is a key part here. It shows the one thing that you want from your prospects; buyer intent.
They want to buy your services and do so now, which means it is much easier to make them convert into a new client than someone wasting a few hours of their life browsing through facebook or other social media channels, where they have absolutely no ‘buyer intent’.
I call pitching your services to prospects with buyer intent ‘easy life marketing’ because it is so much easier than if you try and persuade someone not looking for your services to use them.
The most effective forms of ‘easy life marketing’ are:
- Your website. A high quality website with good quality content that proves your expertise to your prospects so that they are pre-sold on your services by the time that they decide to contact you. Your website should continually evolve and grow; not just a refresh every 5 or 10 years, but adding new, high quality content that answers the questions that your ideal prospects type into Google when searching for information around your area of expertise. You don’t need to spend thousands on SEO consultants if you do this, you may be pleased to hear. None of my marketing consultancy clients pay for SEO, I just work with them to create a content marketing plan then carry out that plan and watch the volume of visitors and enquiries grow.
- Google Ads. If you attract some visitors to your website and generate some enquiries for your services already, you can amplify this volume of enquiries instantly with Google Ads. Once again, you very much have the ‘buyer intent’ required here because they headed to Google and typed in the name of your service in the first place. If you have a DNA Marketing Now business, Google Ads is one of the easiest ways to grow your business. To discover more about how I can help see my PPC Consultant section.
- Your email list. If you have built an email list by offering free books or downloads from your website, or by adding all of your old clients and all of your referrers, you already have people who know, like and trust you. When they need your services again, they will not look elsewhere, so long as you keep in touch with them at least once a month. All business to business service providers must have a good email marketing list and email it consistently if they want an easy way to grow their business.
- Referral partners. What is better than putting yourself in front of your ideal clients when they are ready to buy your services? You probably already have one great referral partner, so what would happen to your business if you had 12 of them?
These are the four main marketing arteries that any service business owner should be using.
These are the ones that any small business marketing consultant worth their salt should discuss with you when you start working together.
The main difference between a coach or mentor and a consultant is that a coach asks you questions to get you to work out the answers for yourself whereas a consultant has the answers you need and you pay him or her to give them to you.
You are buying their expertise in a specific area; in this case marketing.
I have employed coaches for my own business, and it was helpful.
However, it was only when I paid a consultant to tell me what to do, then to ensure that I did it, that I got the biggest results.
In my opinion, for my own business and for your own, life is too short already, so I want to achieve the results I crave for my business sooner rather than later.
Perhaps, not surprisingly, I come down on the side of the consultant who has the expertise (above) and tells you precisely what you need to do to grow your business AFTER they have spent time finding out more about you and your business.
I know that one of the largest coaching networks in the UK charges from around £1,250 a month, and that is just for ‘coaching’; you now know why I am not a huge fan of that.
Many marketing consultants work on a retainer system too (ideally 12 months for them, which, as I say, may not be ideal for you). Fees range from around £1,000 a month to several thousand pounds each month.
Ultimately, the fee is irrelevant (cash flow aside), it is all about the results.
I mention that I work on one month notice because I want you to get the results that persuade you to stay with me, not that you do so because you have signed a contract.
I also want my advice to be available to as many business owners as possible, which is why you can access my expertise from as little as £50 a month in the More Clients Academy, or if you want to access my full consultancy service, this starts from around £750 per month.
Nothing ties you in. You leave when you wish. My aim is that you never leave because I make you far more money than you pay me!
Some of my clients have been with me for over 15 years, so I think I achieve my objective of making my fees quickly pain into insignificance against the additional income that my clients generate.
This part is very easy; ultimately all that your small business marketing consultant should do is to make your telephone ring more, or to make your enquiry form or brochure download form be completed more.
It is not about ‘brand building’ or ‘brand recognition’ as that is simply for the huge brands out there. A small business owner cannot afford to waste time, energy or money on any marketing activity that does not put more money into his business bank account than it takes out.
A good small business marketing consultant will show you precisely which marketing activities will achieve this for your services, then set out a plan for you to implement those activities, prioritised in order of those that will achieve the biggest returns on investment for you.
I sat down to write this article because I realised that many people, whilst recognising that they need help to market their business do not know what to expect from a small business marketing consultant.
Hopefully you now at least know the questions to ask to ensure you choose the right small business marketing consultant for your business.
If you would like to know how to attract a steady and consistent flow of new clients to your business at the precise moment in time that they are ready to buy your services, easy life marketing as I call it, click the button below to download my guide now:
“I implemented one piece of advice Nick gave me and immediately generated £800 in additional revenue with zero marketing spend!”
Richard Hand, Urban Jump Trampoline Park.