Myself and the rest of my consultant team at ProStrategix have worked with small businesses on a number of marketing jobs and pitches throughout our time together. But more often than not, potential clients ask a very fair question:
“Why do I need a small business digital marketing consultant?”
First, it starts with your business goals. Then, it boils down to 3 main things. First, a digital marketing consultant for small business can help you identify the best target, which is key to the success of your digital marketing strategy. Because they focus on small business, they know they challenges a local business faces. You can waste a lot of time and money trying to sell to the wrong people. Second, a small business digital marketing consultant can help you craft the right message that is motivating to that target. Finally, a digital marketing consultant for small business can help you choose the right media so that message reaches its intended target so you get the most from your sales and marketing efforts.
In our guest post on Business2Community, we discussed the psychology behind marketing in detail. We summarize the key points here, because these key elements are important in understanding how and why marketing works.
While communication is something we all do, we all do not do it equally well. Communication is messy because it is dynamic. The extracted meaning is heavily impacted by the environment, context, delivery, and the recipient. The simplified model above is the ideal. However, in reality, communications is a muddled non-linear process which is influenced by the past, present, and expectations for the future.
Because it is so complex, marketers invest a significant amount of time understanding these factors so the intended message is received. Even then, it can miss the mark. We all have filters that are align to our conscious or subconscious needs. We all see the world through those lenses. It is not a fault of character. It is just a fact of human nature. The best crafted communication anticipates these needs so the message can pass through and be heard.
Maslov’s model is a useful construct to think about needs. It is old and simplistic, but it still provides a decent framework. In this model, a higher set of needs on the pyramid cannot be addressed until those underneath it are fulfilled.
For example, if your physical needs are not met, say you are starving, then you probably are not that worried about how many likes you have on you last Instagram post (Esteem need). Your marketing consultant can help you identify the level on which your target is operating. This serves more as a starting point for developing effective communication than an endpoint.
Now that we have covered the basics of the psychology behind communication, I hope that it is clearer why finding the right audience and understand their need state(s) are so critical in developing communication. This is the real value any good online marketing consultant brings to your business. With this as our background, we can discuss the more tactical assistance a marketing consultant can provide.
One of the hardest parts of small business marketing is finding the proper audience to target. This is critical to ensure that that you are developing a compelling message about your product or service and using the appropriate marketing channels to reach them. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, a digital marketing consultant’s skills include strong communication skills, proof of marketing success, marketing automation experience, knowledge of branding, and more.
Beyond that, there are a few different responsibilities for a sales and marketing consultant to have both in online marketing and offline. There are a number of sub-specialties in marketing consulting services.
There can be overlap. Therefore, it can get confusing quickly, so make sure you ask and understand exactly what your consultant can an cannot do.
A small business digital marketing consultant can be independent or part of a digital marketing agency. The amount the consultant charges can vary based on experience and location.
Identifying an audience for your small business is one of the first skills expected for a full-service marketing consultant. As we discussed above, it is not just about knowing your target audiences' demographics, ages, genders, and wealth brackets; but it is also about the psychological needs and how your product or solution solves them.
This is where knowing the target audience both on a demographic and psychological level helps. Humans are emotional decision-makers. We like to think we aren’t, but emotions have been proved time and again to be more compelling than facts. As Maslov's model suggest, once you pass the most basic level(s) of need(s), you are mainly operating in emotionally driven territory.
Marketing is fundamentally about behavioral change. By knowing and solving the emotional need that customer has, a marketing consultant to small businesses can create a more compelling message, which make your content creation and social media marketing stronger.
There are so many different types of marketing strategies that exist; it can be hard to pick what is right for you. A digital marketing consultant for small business will work with you in order to determine the media that your target uses the most. Once you know, it’s much easier to choose whether a digital campaign or a print campaign or emailing or one-on-one interaction or anything is right for your small business needs.
This is the kicker. Anyone can run hundreds of campaigns or target the widest audience possible. But a small business marketing consultant can identify the most cost-effective and useful strategies based on your target’s media habits. A marketing consultant has the experience needed to simplify this process. If you are doing everything yourself instead of giving tasks to a marketing department or agency, you can quickly be overwhelmed. This can have a negative impact on both your online presence and your return on investment.
There are different breeds of marketing consulting firms that your small business might want to hire. Here are some of the most common forms of marketing consultancies, with some info pulled as well from Brent Purves in his article about defining marketing consultant roles.
ProStrategix handles these and other types of small business consulting when it comes to marketing so that we can help you with all of this and more.
In New York City and similar cities with large small business communities, competition is harder and your need for specialized marketing is more specific. This is where small business consultants are most useful for your marketing needs. A digital marketing consultant for small business can work for you full-time or part-time. Marketing consulting services typically cost around $150 per hour and can go to $200+ per hour. Bottom line, the hourly rates for a digital marketing consultant vary based on years of experience, niche, and location. Make sure you agree to the consulting rate upfront and require a scope of work, which sets a cap on the number of hours expected.
It pays to be careful. You can find a small business digital marketing consultant on Upwork for $50 per hour. However, it pays to do your homework. Many claim to have the skills, but if they are offering ultra-low or high prices, ask for proof.
When we work with businesses in New York City, we know that the stakes are higher. That’s why we provide specific kinds of help for small businesses in New York City and other large areas. We take our responsibilities seriously when it comes to your marketing needs. If you want to reach out to the whole of New York City, we’re happy to help.
These are 3 reasons to hire a marketing consultant, which all boil down to saving you time and growing your sales:
1. Find the Right Targets: If you aren’t targeting the right emotional needs, you are are wasting your resources. Consulting agencies can help you find the right level.
2. Send the Right Message: The content you’re delivering to your audience will always be important. Remember, we all have emotional filters. These have to be managed first. Until you do, it will be very hard for your message to be heard.
3. Use the Right Media: Making a small business successful in New York City can be very hard, but it isn’t impossible! Find the kinds of media that your audience uses regularly and take advantage of that knowledge.
Finally, summarize all 3 with timing and a budget in the Right Marketing Plan. If you still find yourself confused or need more guidance, please send us your question via the chatbot, and we will happily explain things further.
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Brian Cairns, CEO of Prostrategix Consulting. Over 25 years of business experience as a corporate executive, entrepreneur, and small business owner. For more information, please visit my LinkenIn profile
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