For most small business owners, online marketing is done in-house, usually with a member of staff who has other primary responsibilities. That’s understandable; chances are you don’t have the budget to pay someone to focus solely on marketing – online and offline – full time. But what this often results in is a haphazard job. Your employee(s) has more important things to focus on daily, so marketing tasks are done whenever a spare moment can be carved out of the day.
As you probably realize, this isn’t the most efficient way to create an online presence that results in more sales and develops important client relationships. If you’ve been thinking that something needs to change, it may be time to look into the services of an online marketing consultant.
What Does Your Business Need?
Unless you’ve been hiding out in a cave the past several years, you know that nearly every business – small or large – has entered the social media market. These days, your customers are more likely to ask for recommendations and seek goods and services they need online, usually via their social media contacts. That means your business must have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a LinkedIn profile and perhaps an account with Instagram or Pinterest.
Not only do you need to have accounts at each of these social media venues, you need to update your pages/profiles on a regular basis. This is important not only for SEO purposes, but for “people reasons”, too. If someone finds your business page on Facebook but sees that you haven’t updated your status in six months, they are likely to move on rather than click the “like” button.
Social media is just part of online marketing and SEO. What about your website? When was the last time it was updated? Maybe you have a blog; how often do you add fresh posts? Have you ever written a digital newsletter or sent out email marketing messages to your list of subscribers? If not, you are missing out on a big chunk of SEO opportunities that allow your site to rank higher with Google and your pages to be visited more often by potential customers.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Optimized websites have opt-in forms to capture traffic, usually with some sort of incentive attached, such as a free report or discount coupon. Successful companies continually reach out to their prospects and customers through a series of email messages (such as an autoresponder sequence) that announce new products, special sales and notice of convention appearances. Well-known business owners develop a good reputation online by writing articles, scheduling social media events and preparing press releases.
Online Marketing Consultant ROI
An online marketing consultant can do all these things for you and more. He or she can assess your current online presence and make suggestions to your website designer that better optimize your site. A good consultant will take over the responsibilities of blog posting, social media account creation and updating and enhancing your business reputation. They will ensure your online presence is placed where the maximum number of potential customers will see it and start conversations with prospects that likely lead to future sales. They can also improve your branding and help portray you an authority in your business niche.
While many small business owners worry about the cost of taking online marketing from in-house to contracted, it’s necessary to consider the ROI. A good online marketing consultant should more than pay for his or her services in the form of increased sales, optimized internet presence and enhanced reputation.
Does your business need an online marketing consultant? Ask yourself this question instead: “Can I afford not to hire an online marketing consultant?” If you’re leaving money on the table by not devoting enough resources to internet marketing, now is the time to change that for the better!