Marketing is too often performed by uncertified personnel, with a lack of clear goals and overall strategy. An analogy would be to ask a random person to perform maintenance on an airplane or to ask someone who traveled a couple times to become the pilot.
Somehow – probably because the marketing tools are now accessible to anyone with a laptop or a smartphone – there is a misconception about the real skills it takes to perform successful marketing campaigns. And therefore, small business owners demonstrate a lack of willingness to invest in professional services, which negatively impacts their growth potential and creates useless stress.
Marketing tools are used as if they were, alone, able to generate the return on investment. The truth is that marketing is a complex work and needs to be geared up depending on the targeted group of customers, after an appropriate market research phase. Because it is a very hard process to master, most small businesses find it too annoying and simply skip this necessary step.
Without a clear strategy they are likely to waste countless resources in so-called ‘hope marketing’, and they are not able to analyze where their successes or failures are coming from, as they also miss the last crucial step of the marketing wheel; analyzing their channels metrics.
“If you want your plane to fly, you better hire a real pilot.”
Miss B is a (fictional) small business owner based in Kihei. She takes pride in doing everything by herself and takes care of all the web marketing. Here is her typical workday:
- Facebook posts, messages & getting sidetracked by her friend feed: 3hrs
- Responding to back and forth E-mails: 2,5hrs
- Business Calls & texts: 1,5hrs
- Instagram & selfies: 20’
- Graphic Design & content creation: 1hr
- Posting on Craigslist: 30’
- Working on her product creation & shipping: 2hrs
- Nurturing her past customers to get reviews and referrals: ZERO MINUTES
- Expansion Strategy for her business: ZERO DOUBLE ZERO
- Creating strategic distribution partnerships: NOTHING PLANNED
- Doing PR and networking: FACEBOOK SHOULD BE ENOUGH
- Keeping track of campaigns & measuring efficiency: NO IDEA HOW TO DO IT
- Analyzing what customers like and need: SHE THINKS THAT SHE KNOWS
- Following industry trends and competitors: JUST BY HEARING GOSSIP
- Taking time for herself: TOO EXHAUSTED
Do you think she’s better off by herself and that she is likely to grow her business?
My question to Miss B:
“What are your hours worth?”
If you are worth $3/hr then
What are her true skills & expertise in this business?
To me, it seems clear that by focusing on her real skills, her past & present customers, creating a real strategy for her business, and designing the best products; she could make much more money, and would totally be able to afford the best professional marketing services.
Now that Miss B can focus on what she does best; working on her business without losing any time, here is what she immediately starts getting:
- A clear idea of where she is going, materializing better business opportunities, with increased customer satisfaction and chances of growth,
- Outsourced marketing services that actually bring her peace of mind with measurable & predictable results,
- More time for herself, which is the most important in the long run, so she can be healthy, inspired, happy, well balanced, and more efficient.
Here are simple steps to start delegating your marketing to a professional
Meet the person and make sure that you can communicate your strengths & doubts and be heard,
Discuss options and ask to be charged monthly – and not hourly but by the project – with clear measurable goals to attain,
Ask the professional about his education, certifications, references, and experience with your particular industry,
Ask the professional about marketing tools that will be used for the campaign, and be sure they are the latest market-leading tools,
Be sure the professional has an in-depth understanding of your industry standards, your business strategy, and sales goals,
Include a trial period in your contract, but know that no legit web strategy can be implemented and bring big results in less than 6 to 12 months (SEO ranking takes minimum 6 months),
Ask the professional to research the target customers, segment them into groups for better reach, test content, analyze results & iterate the marketing actions until the target market responds in an optimal manner,
This is really worth the time & investment, but don’t forget to ask the professional for monthly reports to be sure that the process is constantly improving,
A rule of thumb is that your monthly marketing expenses should represent at least 10% of your monthly income. If it seems tight, it means that your sales pricing should be adapted, or that other expenses should be optimized.