I started out in my career as a marketing consultant, and I was so good at driving traffic to websites that I was able to grow my agency to millions of dollars a year in revenue.
To this day, even though I’m a software entrepreneur, I still get bombarded with offers to be a marketing consultant on my Neil Patel site. It happens so often that I literally get over 1,000 inquires a month from companies like yours who are looking to hire me.
Even though I have a great track record at driving traffic and sales and I have raving reviews from clients, I’m telling you that you shouldn’t hire me, or any consultant for that matter, to help you with your marketing.
Because a consultant isn’t going to give you the results you are looking for. Sure, consultants can help you grow your business, which I will get into later, but chances are you’re not ready for a consultant.
Here’s why you shouldn’t hire a marketing consultant:
Consultants aren’t miracle workers
A lot of small and medium businesses hire consultants because they are looking for miracles. I hate to break it to you, but no consultant is going to take a business that is doing very little in revenue and quickly turn it around.
See, consultants are “consultants” for a reason: they specialize in one thing. In this case, they specialize in driving traffic to websites. But if you have a bad product, a low converting site, or an offer that just doesn’t make sense, driving thousands of visitors to your website won’t fix your business.
In other words, you need to figure out how to create a sustainable business on your own. That’s what being an entrepreneur is all about. If it were easy, everyone would do it instead of working 9 to 5 jobs.
You can’t build a skyscraper without laying the foundation
Creating a business is like building a skyscraper. If you tried to erect an 80-story building without laying a solid foundation, you’d create an unstable structure that would collapse.
The same goes for your business. Without a good product or service offering, your business is bound to fail. To prevent that from happening, you need to figure out how to create a business model that allows you to get paid for solving other people’s problems.
Don’t worry, your business doesn’t have to be unique. It just has to be different. For example, when I started my agency about 10 years ago, I wasn’t the first in the space. The difference was that my team only took on a handful of clients so we could offer personalized services, while our competitors focused on taking on as many clients as possible, offering cookie-cutter services.
Once you figure out a business model that works for you, marketing your business will become much easier. Even the best marketers can’t turn around a shitty business, which is why you need to focus on creating a great product or service before you talk to a marketing consultant.
You need to walk before you run
Consultants are expensive, and you don’t want to pay them to twiddle their thumbs. You want to be able to move extremely fast when you bring them on as you are either paying them by the hour or have them on a monthly retainer.
In order to ensure that a consultant can help you grow your business at a faster pace, you need to be prepared. Handle all of the basics and test the waters.
In essence, you have to try to market your own business first. From optimizing your code for search engines to building your social media profiles and implementing your content marketing, you need to test these initiatives on your own.
Here’s what I recommend you do:
- Optimize your code for search engines – on-page SEO isn’t rocket science. There are a lot of guides out there, like The Beginner’s Guide to SEO and The Advanced Guide to SEO, that will walk you through the steps you need to take.
- Speed up your site – the slower your website, the fewer conversions and less traffic you’ll get. Google Pagespeed can help you boost your load time.
- Start a blog – content marketing is a bit tricky as it requires a lot of creativity. Nonetheless, if you read through this content marketing guide, you’ll be off to a great start.
- Interact on the social web – creating social profiles isn’t enough. You need engagement. Without it, you won’t be able to convert people into fans and customers. Start using tools like Buffer to kickstart your social media efforts.
If you aren’t able to do all of the things above, you can always hire an intern or a college kid to help you out. Again, don’t look for a consultant. Look for someone who is:
- Technical – able to make changes to your website.
- Good at reading – able to follow the guides I linked to above.
- Good at following instructions – able to implement the steps outlined in the guides.
- Fast at executing – able to work efficiently.
When to hire consultants
Once you test the waters and try to grow your business on your own, you can consider hiring a consultant. Make sure you hire him or her for specific tasks instead of all your marketing needs.
Why? Because consultants are specialists, which means they aren’t good at doing everything.
For example, Crazy Egg was getting traffic, but not enough customers. So, we spent $252,000 on conversion consultants in hopes to convert more visitors into customers. We went through a few consultants, but eventually we were able to make things work.
Once we got our conversion rates high enough, I knew that PPC would be profitable. So, I hired Growth Pilots who were able to scale our paid acquisition to over 6 figures a month within 60 days and made the campaign highly profitable within the first 30 days.
At KISSmetrics, we had different problems. When we started off, we needed more traffic. We knew content marketing would work, and we even started a blog. We just didn’t have enough time to execute the whole plan. So, we hired Jon Morrow for a few months, who recruited a few writers and kicked off our content marketing efforts.
And, just like you, I’ve also hired consultants when I shouldn’t have. Only recently, I fired an affiliate management company for Crazy Egg. They were supposed to create and run an affiliate program, but they did a terrible job. But I can’t blame them because I broke my own rule. I did very little research into affiliate marketing before I hired them. Because I didn’t test out the waters, I was wandering through an unknown territory.
If you are looking to accelerate your growth and you know where you can use help, you can always consider reaching out to a consultant. But if you are looking for someone to solve all of your problems and turn your business around, a consultant won’t be able to do much for you.
When you talk to consultants, be careful because most are just in it for the money. The reason I did so well as a consultant is because I only took on customers I knew I could help. Sadly, most consultants don’t follow that rule.
Do you think you should hire a marketing consultant?