7 Reasons Why ONE Person Can Help Your Small Business Increase Sales and Profits
A marketing consultant not only helps get the word out about your small business to the right people at the right time in the right places, they can also help your business in other ways. Though some believe that most marketing professionals are English majors because we pride ourselves on creating massive presentations; and most believe that anyone can do marketing – it does take special skills. This is something I hear more and more from my clients as they realize they can’t do it alone, because branding and marketing isn’t what they expected.
Let’s face it, you’re busy running your small business day-to-day and barely have time to think. Yes, it seems easier to do the marketing yourself but then you find you don’t have the time to do it right and do it consistently. You get frustrated and confused because you’re not getting the ROI you need, so you stop marketing for a while. Later, you get a burst of energy (or your sales start declining) and start again, but you’re back to square one. A marketing consultant stays focused on the task at hand and makes the time to get it right.
Most small business owners are married to their business and can get myopic about it. You’re so close to it that you don’t see what’s great about it … and what’s not so great. Because we put so much heart and energy into the business, we take things very personally. We don’t accept compliments very well and take criticism even worse. A marketing consultant, when looking at the overall picture and making sure your brand fits your marketing and vice versa, can give your customers, and yourself, a different view.
This one goes back to having time to do everything. Believe it or not, I have a retail and e-commerce client that hasn’t done a SKU analysis in over a year. She has dead stock, overstock and plain old unnecessary stock (don’t worry, I’ve told her this already), that’s eating into her profit margin, creating clutter in the store and getting away from her core offerings. It’s important to clean house every year to make way for new stuff. Be sure what you’re offering is the next best thing for your customers, not just something you think is cool. A marketing consultant must first understand your business (sometimes better than you understand it yourself) before they’re able to create the right marketing strategy and plan for your small business.
Let’s face it, we small business owners have to be smart about how we spend our money. It’s tough putting out money when the money coming in is much less than before. But as the old adage says “you’ve got to spend money to make money”. As a small business owner AND marketer, I dedicate a percent of sales on marketing. For the best ROI and results, I don’t spread myself thin across many different vehicles. I have a monthly activity plan listing out my strategy, objectives and target market. I then base my results on those specific measurements. A marketing consultant can help drive discipline and focus when spending your marketing budget.
Many small business owners don’t understand how important branding is. Your brand goes well beyond your logo. Your brand is your promise to your customers about what they can get from you and how it’s going to help their lives. The Apple logo is a visual representation of their brand. Looking at the logo makes some people think of innovation, great design and overflowing Mac Stores. Your brand is the emotional connection your customers have to your small business and helps set you apart from your competition. A marketing consultant can help shape and develop your brand. A clear understanding of your brand makes for more effective marketing.
It may seem like a trite answer, but your customers want YOU. If they didn’t want you, they wouldn’t be your customers. Perhaps this more about building customer loyalty. I’m shamelessly loyal to Apple. I dream of having an iPad 2 even though I’m not sure exactly why I need one. The point is, I want Apple and they know it. One of the strongest factors in building loyalty is customer service – friendliness, consistency, problem solving and keeping in touch. A marketing consultant can help build loyalty by helping you give your customers more of what they want … the products or services your small business already offers.
Having someone truly invested in the success of your small business is a great feeling, and can help relieve stress. It’s great to have someone get excited about your business (especially if you’ve been at it for a while or having a rough time at the moment) and do everything they can to help it grow. A marketing consultant can be one of your biggest fans.
So the next time you’re thinking about hiring a marketing consultant, don’t just think about cost, think about your return on investment. Ask yourself “if I’m not an airplane pilot, would I fly a plane myself just because it looks easy and I would save money?”.
“DO WHAT YOU LOVE … let me take care of the rest.”