Marketing, Working with a Consultant

So You Want to Hire a Marketing Consultant

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You’ve been trying to get your business going all on your own, but it’s just not working that well. Or maybe you’ve had some success, but want to take your business to the next level. Your expertise isn’t in marketing or PR or writing or any of that…it’s in your product or service.

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What do you do? Hire someone to help you…right? What should you look for and what should you expect? Here are a few tips and questions to ask yourself. (And of course, you can always just call or email me about how you could work with THIS marketing consultant.)

Do you need to hire someone who lives close to you or can you work with someone who lives anywhere in the country?
I have clients who I have never met in person and we work efficiently and effectively via email and sometimes phone.

  • Is it important to you to meet face to face with a consultant?
  • Do you feel comfortable interviewing someone over the phone and maybe never meeting them?
  • Can the work be delivered via email or are there times when you need the consultant to show up for meetings, conferences, events, etc.

Do you have a concrete project in mind or do you just need help in general?

  • Consider starting with a small project that takes under 20 hours. This allows you to see the quality of the consultant’s work and to determine if you feel comfortable working with them on future projects.
  • Be open to suggestions from the consultant on what to work on. They are in business for a reason. They are accustomed to listening to clients and can give you ideas and feedback that may really make a difference to the success of your business.

How do consultants work? By the project? By the hour?

  • It usually depends on the actual work. If you have something like a brochure or datasheet or something very concrete with very few variables, the consultant may be able to give you a flat rate for how much they will charge for the project. Sometimes this may not be an exact dollar figure, but instead will be quoted as a range or as a “not to exceed” figure.
  • If there are a lot of unknowns about the work and the time it will take, the consultant will probably work by the hour. Some consultants prefer to do all work by the hour. That way they get paid for the actual amount of time they invest and you pay only for the time they spend on a project.
  • Another option is to hire a consultant on a retainer basis. Usually consultants will give you a break on their hourly rate if you hire them for a set number of hours per month for several months. This can be a win/win for both parties. You are guaranteed a set number of hours of the consultant’s time each month and they have income they can count on.

How do we get started?

  • Most consultants will draft a Letter of Agreement for you to sign to start work. This will include details about the work to be done, when the work is to be completed, how much is to be paid and when, and other terms of agreement.
  • If you are a small business and a new client, expect to pay a deposit up front. The consultant will usually begin work after your check clears.

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