Hiring a Digital Marketing Consultant for Your Startup
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Hiring a digital marketing consultant gives your startup an edge in your industry. The right consultant will work with you to create an inbound marketing strategy to nurture your leads, as well as offering insight into industry changes, reputation management, and more.
Think of a digital marketing consultant as your personal marketing search engine. Except they’ll only provide the best resources and ideas tailored to your startup, so you can begin implementing the strategy and seeing the results as efficiently as possible.
Why Inbound Marketing, Specifically?
Marketing strategy for startups often means inbound marketing. Inbound marketing uses high quality content to, as Hubspot describes it, turn strangers into visitors, visitors into leads, and leads into customers. The content you share, when pushed through the right channels, will convert these strangers into paying customers based on the value you’re providing them before asking for payment.
This information could be in the form of blogs, infographics, videos, podcasts, social media postings or something else. These pieces look to answer a specific question, like “how much money do I need to retire comfortably?” for a financial advisor’s website.
This is then shared on social media. The channels depend on where your target customer is most active. A marketing consultant can help you pinpoint this. Technology is dominating Twitter, while fashion and lifestyle brands are Instagram-centric.
Marketing Consultants Offer an External View
Hiring a marketing consultant for your startup means an external view of your company. When working on a project constantly, it’s easy to become too close. This can be good, but it can also be detrimental.
A marketing consultant is someone new to your company who will build out your strategy to best connect with your audience. They’ll look at your product or service, messaging, brand identity, and your unique selling proposition to find the right way to create content to reach potential customers.
This external view combined with marketing expertise can create just the right marketing mix, which is crucial in a crowded marketplace like today.
Marketing Consultants Share the Latest Updates
You’re busy building your startup, and rightfully so, which means you have little time to find the latest inbound marketing trends and fit it to your company. Marketing consultants live and breathe marketing (or, at least they should), making them an ideal resource when building out an inbound marketing strategy.
Inbound marketing utilizes a number of resources that are constantly changing, including social media algorithms. Hiring the right marketing consultants means that your strategy adapts as soon as it happens.
Blogging is a critical piece of inbound marketing, because it provides visitors value. Remember, you want to focus on providing value while moving them down the sales funnel. Creating a valuable and worthwhile blogging strategy means finding industry trends, looking at what competitors are creating, and, most importantly, looking at what pieces of content perform best.
Maintaining up-to-date marketing practices ensures your startup is heading towards a successful launch, scaling effectively, and utilizing your resources properly.
The Right Marketing Consultants Knows Your Industry
Some industries have more regulations than others, and it’s critical to have a team that understands how to work within them. This is one of the reasons why we recommend finding a marketing consultant who has experience in your industry.
The supplement industry, for example, is filled with potential pitfalls, and having an experienced marketing consultant can make the difference between a successful launch and a fine.
This is important for another reason. Startups move quickly out of necessity, and you don’t have time to make sure your consultant knows how to market your product. When hiring a marketing consultant that knows your industry, particularly your niche, you can be assured that you won’t need to slow down after onboarding ends.
Marketing Consultants Help Build Your Reputation
Your company’s reputation (and your own) is worth more than your startup’s valuation, and it needs to be built right. Your industry authority comes by consistently publishing valuable content in your niche, and responding to questions and comments from followers.
Your reputation is perched perilously on a single tweet being taken out of context. Because of this, a marketing consultant can help you avoid these pitfalls and focus on maintaining the brand voice and tone throughout.
A recent Visibrain study showed that 78% of 100 large-scale PR disasters were considered the brand’s fault. This included flawed product design, poor communication, or marketing strategies. This 78% were those that, “could not be scapegoated onto any external disruptions or cyber-attacks.”
Whether your company is a troll’s target or there’s a larger concern, managing your reputation is critical, and marketing consultants can help you maintain it.
A consultant will also help you create a strategy for responding to customer complaints, because they will come. (Legitimate or not.) A high-quality marketing consultant will know the best way to respond to angry tweets or rude Facebook posts.
Take full advantage of this skill! Social media can be tricky because it involves people of varied backgrounds and beliefs, which means your company needs tactful responses to a variety of potential complaints.
What to Know Before Hiring a Marketing Consultant
In order to maximize your investment into a marketing consultant, there are a few important things to know. While many companies understand marketing on a general level, some are confused at benchmarks for success, workflow, and expectations.
Set Benchmarks for Success
Marketing is a long-term strategy. There may be an initial boost in Facebook metrics or website visits, but it’s important to remember that inbound marketing is playing the long game with your content. It’s focused on nurturing leads, which takes time.
This is particularly true if you decide to pivot with your product or messaging in the middle of a campaign, or if your content isn’t giving you the results you desire.
What is important though, is to make your KPIs clear so everyone knows their goals.
Establish a Mutually Beneficial Workflow
Every marketing consultant has their own workflow. It should fit with your own without much hassle, but it’s important to understand why they’ve created their workflow the way they have.
These are a few workflow-related questions to ask:
- Do we have access to your project management system?
- Who is our primary contact? (If working with an agency.)
- How long do you typically allocate for approvals and edits?
With the right workflow, you and your marketing consultant will be just about unstoppable.
Set and Manage Expectations Correctly
It’s important to know the expectations set on each team. This is related to the benchmarks you set together, because expectations are often based on these benchmarks. Your benchmarks need to be reliable and realistic, or the team’s expectations may be overblown.
Throughout the stress of launching a product and scaling your startup, you want to minimize miscommunication and poorly managed expectations. When you focus on communication over assumptions, you have the opportunity to build this consultant-company relationship into something truly special.
When there’s little opportunity to hire a marketing department, hiring a marketing consultant for your startup can help solidify your position in the industry. A consultant offers an external view, can help you determine the best inbound marketing strategies for your industry, and help you implement changes quickly.
A great marketing consultant will also help manage your reputation, which is critical for every company. Once you hire them, remembering to set benchmarks, ask the right questions, and manage expectations correctly can help make this a successful partnership.
Just because the competition has more money, more followers, and a more established identity doesn’t mean you can’t have the same. Navigate your way through inbound marketing strategies to take your startup from zero to hero in our free guide, “The Startups Guide to Marketing”.
By Marc Apple
Marc Apple is recognized as a leader in the marketing industry and has 20+ years of experience helping businesses of all sizes improve their digital marketing. He specializes in website design, SEO, social media, and paid search programs. He is a frequent contributor to other marketing websites and speaks regularly about marketing to small business owners and startups. To learn about Marc and to contact him, visit his author bio page.
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