This article is part of a series of posts about marketing consulting. You can find the first article in this series here: Online Marketing Consulting – all you needed was a simple answer.
In the past, we have been in a situation where we were desperately looking for help for our marketing process but failed to find the expert who could provide us with the answers we needed – and we could not afford to pay the marketing gurus the big time consulting project.
Get a Free and In-Depth 6-Day Email Course On Social Media Marketing and Traffic Generation from The Social Ms
A little help from an expert may have prevented our failure
Most of you probably know our story by now: We founded a startup a few years back: A publishing platform called exploreB2B. We had no clue about marketing, and we failed bitterly – at first. We tried everything, every social network; we tried different types of posts and various types of content; we shared news on social media; we created videos that we hoped would magically spread like wildfire; we wrote articles some of which we published on our own platform some of which we published as guest posts; we paid for Facebook advertising to grow fans for our Fanpage, we tried Google Adwords, and a lot more.
But in the end, it was three rather small changes in our marketing that brought us on the path to marketing success, and eventually exponential growth for the publishing platform exploreB2B.
- Content Marketing: A consistent content marketing strategy that included content that we created ourselves, content that we published on our platform and content we published as guest posts, was the first step towards marketing success. The content helped us to fill our social media accounts with value and show our potential clients how they could use our platform.
- Enforcing growth on Twitter: A short introduction to the main principles of follower growth on Twitter was the central element of our marketing success. Using the follow-unfollow-routine, engaging with followers and influencers on Twitter – and utilizing the author bio in our guest posts helped us to grow our Twitter audience and traffic to our website fast.
- Figuring out that a place to publish content was exactly what people were looking for and the simple strategy of inviting people to „publish their content on exploreb2b“ via Twitter direct messages turned Twitter into a lead generation powerhouse.
These three small optimizations were what our marketing had been missing for several months. This failure almost cost us our investment, as the investor wanted to see results. It also cost us a ton of money since while we tried to figure out how to make social media marketing work for us, we still had to pay wages, rent and every month it took us longer to build our business, potential clients were not paying us, and we were missing out on revenues. In the end, marketing success came too late to save the business and platform exploreB2B.
And all it would have taken was the right answers to our specific situation from an expert in social media marketing when we were starting out.
What is the ROI of marketing consulting?
Looking back, it may seem fairly easy to calculate the ROI for marketing consulting for the above example if we had had a consultant answering our questions early on. In reality, it is not that easy as often you cannot know what would have happened to your marketing if you had tried it without marketing consulting.
Simplified, the best case scenario the ROI of online marketing consulting is
- You get perfect advice that saves your employees multiple months of time
- Your marketing goes through the roof, your monthly revenue grows
=> Infinite reward
That usually doesn’t happen. Or if it does – who can prove that this success would not have happened without hiring marketing consultants?
The reality often looks a little different: Success does not come after answering one marketing question. Instead, one answer leads to the next question and the next optimization problem.
Often, half the problem is figuring out what the question is that you need to have answered.
And only if you have this answer you can move on to identify your next question. And even if you have the answer and found a successful marketing process there are usually multiple ways you can optimize your results.
The hard truth is: there is a limit of what online marketing consulting can achieve at ONE given moment in time. Any results of online marketing consulting projects rely on data from the current situation, which will lead to the next hypothesis that will need to be tested and optimized, more data to be collected.
Theory looks good – implementation is a different question
It is more or less impossible to answer all marketing questions before you start actually DOING marketing. Trying to do so will necessarily lead to decisions based on theory rather than real data. Only the data you collect in your marketing efforts can make sure that you make the right decisions and help you identify the questions you need to answer next. The results you see (and measure!) will lead you on to the next step in your marketing journey.
Online marketing is an endless cycle of
- Hypothesis – build a scenario
- Gather data – interpret data
- Optimize, adjust and start with a new hypothesis
Any marketing plan that will go too far into the future, without considering the data from previous steps, is highly unreliable as it cannot take into account the results from reality.
Marketing theory most of the time sounds logic and easy. But implementation and the data you get can lead you to totally different results and even a new marketing path.
In many cases a 1-2 hour consulting session focused on your specific and current situation can mean a huge step towards success in your marketing. This will enable you to move on, gather more data and identify the next questions. And only then, when new data is available a new consulting session may be the right step to take.
With this consulting process, the ROI of your marketing consulting can be awesome: Minimal investment in consulting can bring huge results as you tackle the problems and questions at the time when they arise and optimize “on-the-go.”
Getting the clients what they really need and deserve
One thing we have noticed in every single online marketing consulting project in the past: The first 1 to 2 hours at a time are by far the most valuable to the client.
It is during these 1 to 2 hours that certain things are executed:
- The current situation of the client is assessed.
- Capabilities and quick wins are determined.
- Metrics and goals are evaluated.
- Next steps for optimization are decided on.
If you’ve paid attention to what I wrote before, then you will notice, that this is all that should be done at that moment. A long-term plan will fall apart sooner rather than later. Because for a viable long-term plan, you would need to know the results of the next steps taken.
What would really be in the best interest of you, the client, is a consulting process that works by following these guidelines:
- No organization in projects. Instead, focus on short sessions at a time when the client needs them.
- These sessions should never be longer than 2 hours and focus on 3 things: Assessment of the situation, determine goals, metrics, and capabilities, then decide on next steps.
- Rely on the client’s capabilities for any implementation of steps decided. In today’s marketing environment, the client does have to build his own marketing expertise – the consultant’s role is to provide focus, experience, and expertise.
- The client decides when he/she will need a follow-up meeting. Follow up meetings follow the same process for the changed situation.
We have done marketing consulting following these principles before, and the results were always more satisfying for both the clients and ourselves.
You, as a client, get the benefit of a guided path through the sometimes invisible marketing jungle that you need to conquer. We, as consultants get to see how a winning strategy develops.
As we already told you yesterday, we are currently working on a new project around these ideas. We are going to launch very soon, and we cannot wait how you will react to what we have in our minds!
Update: We opened up registrations for 90-minute consulting calls. If you are interested hurry to reserve your sessions: Spots are limited!