Whenever a topic starts coming up more frequently, I know it is time to write a Marketing Tip of the Week about it! This month, I’ve had a few different talks with small businesses who have been searching for marketing support and are frustrated with the results. Their requests seem reasonable, and yet they’ve been struggling to find a company that would take on a project of their size or scope. Today, I want to share with you my top three warnings for small businesses looking for marketing advice, and these insights may help you when you’re ready to outsource.
Warning #1: A lot of companies don’t want to work with microbusinesses
What is a microbusiness? There are varying definitions. Let’s go with the Small Business Administration definition of microbusinesses having 1-9 employees, whereas small businesses in general can go up to 499 employees. As you can see, there is a huge spread in size when it comes to businesses that fall into the “small business” category!
When I say that a lot of companies don’t want to work with microbusinesses, let me be clear. This isn’t about discriminating against microbusinesses. This is a matter of business model.
I love working with microbusinesses, but let me tell you some harsh realities. First, many microbusinesses are taking a DIY approach to marketing or they have a very low budget for marketing, if any. Many are placing marketing as a low priority for their business without realizing that this needs to be as constant a function of your business as bookkeeping or monitoring employee performance.
For companies who are selling B2B, it may take a while to market to a microbusiness. The revenue in return may start low for each client and grow over time. For companies that want to grow or scale, this requires reaching high volume of microbusinesses, building in other income streams, or pricing their services higher (which may put them out of range for a microbusiness budget). You may see a marked shift into corporate packages and rates.
What does this mean for you? If you need marketing advice and your needs or your budget are minimal to start, look for professionals who offer hourly consultation rates or small packages. I do offer these, and I am sure that there are others out there doing the same. This should be one of the first things you check to make sure that they are taking on clients with your needs.
There is an added bonus to making this part of your criteria. Professionals who offer lower cost marketing support packages, may also be more respectful of your budget in the strategy they create for you. I know a lot of marketers are flippant about advertising costs and marketing solutions that have higher monthly or annual fees. This is usually because they are likely already talking to people with a greater budget for marketing.Professionals who offer lower cost marketing support packages, may also be more respectful of your budget in the strategy they create for you. #business #smallbusiness #smallbiz Click To Tweet
Warning #2: Marketing advice is often based on what works when you’ve already built momentum
I see this one a lot, and it can be frustrating! Marketers frequently give advice about tricks and tips that work really well…once you’ve already got some momentum going in your business and an audience following you.
In some cases I think this happens because they forget what it’s like to start out. If they are further into their businesses, they may be thinking about tools that work for people who are at their level of business, not people who are starting from scratch. In other cases I think it’s intentional. If they know they are trying to serve businesses that are more established, then they need to speak the language of a business that has some momentum already.
What does this mean for you? When you see people promising EASY solutions, please remember that the hard part does have to happen sometime. This solution may be easy if you’ve already put work in to build your reputation, your brand, and your following.When you see people promising EASY solutions, please remember that the hard part does have to happen sometime. #business #smallbusiness #smallbiz #biztips Click To Tweet
Generating leads and traffic doesn’t happen out of thin air. It takes money, time, or both. It takes initiative, outreach, and consistency. Different strategies work in different ways, but none of them are an overnight all-in-one solution.Generating leads and traffic doesn’t happen out of thin air. #business #smallbusiness #smallbiz #marketing #smb #biztips Click To Tweet
Look for those who can work with you on a ground-up approach for marketing advice. In time, you might shift to someone who can advise you on smart strategies when you’re already rolling and ready to scale and grow. This is why I have a free marketing tip every week in addition to low-cost worksheets/courses and one-on-one coaching. My business is built to support microbusinesses as they grow. If a business isn’t built for this, it might not be taking the needs of a business of your size into account.
Warning #3: Experts who only want to consult but not also implement
You may be in a position where you need help on the ground to put the marketing ideas in motion. This is opposite to warning #1, so watch out for signs of whichever one is more relevant to you.
There are many marketing experts who want to consult or coach – and might even offer longer term package rates for regular check-ins – but don’t want to do any of the implementation themselves. This is a solution they came to based on their own business model, and you do need to plan accordingly for that.
What does this mean for you? If outsourcing implementation is important to you, look for someone who will offer marketing advice + implementation. Or, look for one company to develop the strategy and another to make it happen, but ensure that they are going to work compatibly together by looping them into emails and discussion right away.
I hadn’t realized that a lot of people don’t want to take on implementation at all (whether for social media, email marketing, launches, campaign management, etc). I’ve had a number of people ask me lately if I do the work as well as come up with the plan, and they were surprised when I said yes. If this is a need you have, plan to do some research.
I love working with microbusinesses, but I do know that I have made many choices in my business model to accommodate that. Marketing experts are business owners too, and they are working within their own business model to provide support for their ideal clients.
If you are on the hunt for the support you need, think about whether any of these categories may apply to you. It could help you ask the questions that will lead you to the right resources!