When a Small Business Needs a Marketing Consultant

Why don’t you need a search engine marketing consultant?

Take a moment and consider the reasons why.  Go ahead…I’ll wait…

Have your reasons ready?

I bet they look something like this:

  • You already handle your own marketing
  • You don’t need another marketing expense
  • You don’t think the investment will turn into new revenue
  • You’re too small to hire a marketing consultant
  • You just don’t need one
  • What’s a search engine?

Well, here’s the thing…

You do need a search engine marketing consultant.

If you don’t think you do, it’s because you don’t know what you don’t know.

Let me explain…

I was talking to a prospective client on the phone this morning (the inspiration behind this post).  The guy called in because he wanted to find out how Conversion Pipeline could help him spend his 2020 budget wisely.  He has no marketing plan, but knows he needs to do it.  Clearly this guy is ahead of the curve.  Still, the answers to some of the questions I asked spoke volumes about small businesses in general.

First, a definition.  I think of a small business as having revenues between $1 Million and $50 Million.  Maybe this is the small end of the small business sector, but it is a HUGE portion of the sector.

Now, back to my conversation…

After a bit of general discussion, I start in with my fact-finding questions.  The first question out of my mouth is, “What is your average customer value?”

To which he replies, “Well, that depends.”

Immediately a red flag went up.  “That depends?”


On what?

How on Earth could an average customer value “depend” on anything other than actual customer values?

You see, the reason that answer was given was because – as nice as the guy was – he didn’t know the answer.

“Some of our clients are really big – those are the ones we want.  Some of them are much smaller and we like to avoid those, but we still take them because we want the revenue,” he said.

I have no problem with the business decision to take what you can get.  When you’re struggling to grow, you gotta do what you gotta do.

But I have a big problem with not knowing your average customer value.  Without this vital piece of information, how are you supposed to make any business decisions?  How are you supposed to judge whether or not a marketing program is successful?

The short answer is, you can’t.

And here is the rub from a broader perspective – I think most small businesses would answer the same way.  That is, I don’t think most small businesses have any clue how much an average customer is worth.

See, that type of information is typically figured by a c-level marketing person, or a very well tuned-in finance manager.  Small business don’t have the time – or inclination – to figure this stuff out.

Things a Marketing Consultant will help you learn

There are other things that you’ve got to know:

  • How many customers churn?
  • How much cross sell/upsell potential is there?
  • Which advertising method will drive the most new customers?
  • Who are the people coming to your website?
  • What do people want when they come to your website?
  • What is your website designed to do?
  • How many leads does your website generate?
  • What is your close ratio?
  • How does the sales cycle work when a lead does come in?

I could do this all day.

The point is, most small business owners and managers would never know to ask these questions in the first place.  Moreover, they wouldn’t know what to do with he information if they had it.  At least, they wouldn’t know how to turn it into actionable business intelligence.

And the big point – most small business owners and managers don’t have the time to dig into this stuff.

But it can be the information that makes or breaks chances for success.

Where a search engine marketing consultant comes into play…

I don’t know about you, but at my house, the community Yellow Book doesn’t even make it across my threshold.  It goes in the can immediately.

Direct mail, magazines, local papers, billboards, door hangars, flyers, and outbound selling might all still work.  You’ll have to test in a meaningful way to see if they do.  But the undeniable fact is that the single most important way to acquire new customers is through online marketing, and search engines, specifically.  To tap that, you need to talk to someone who knows what they are doing.

A great search engine marketing consultant will have a strong background in traditional marketing because the same principles apply.  But when we enter the online realm expertise must be layered with technical savvy, understanding of usability, web design experience and advanced training in SEO, Pay Per Click, Geofencing and web analytics.

If your company spends any money on marketing, and you have not consulted with a pro, it needs to be high up on the priority list.

After all, most business owners don’t know what they don’t know.