Hiring a consultant will probably be one of your largest marketing investments this year. You want to see results as soon as possible. Here’s how to maximize your return on investment before you engage a consultant:
1: Know Your Goals
These questions will help you pinpoint specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-sensitive (SMART) goals:
- How many new visitors do you need per month to hit your lead generation goals?
- How many leads do you need to meet your revenue/sales goals?
- How much time would you like to save by outsourcing content creation? Note that time saved here releases team members to add value to other activities. For example, outsourcing blog post writing frees your sales team to spend more time with clients, potentially increasing existing client sales.
- How much incremental revenue do you need to generate in the next 3, 6, or 12 months?
Vague non-measurable goals are the #1 reason why content marketing projects fail. Don’t spend a dime on help until you know what you need.
2: Know Your Numbers
Be prepared to answer these questions:
- What percentage of website visitors or initial calls become clients?
- Who handles generating leads and how much time do they spend on this activity every month?
- What percentage of your marketing budget is allocated to lead generation every year?
Your answers identify the tools your consultant has to deliver results. For example, you can’t generate leads with zero traffic. You can’t execute content marketing plans without internal resources to approve and manage projects. You can’t hire quality help without a budget.
3: Know Your Value Proposition
Write down the answers to these questions:
- What problem does your product solve?
- How much money does your product make or save for your customer?
- How much time does your product save?
- How many satisfied paying clients do you currently have?
- How does your product compare to its competition? Note that “do nothing” is a competitive alternative. In the B2B space, many leads decide to “do nothing”. You need to know how to make the case for “doing something”.
These answers will form the foundation of your content’s story. The best content marketers are master storytellers. They understand how to turn their product into a valuable ally that is weaved seamlessly into their customer’s story.
4: Know Your Customers
We’ve talked about your goals, value proposition, and metrics, but the most important questions focus on your customer.
- Describe your ideal customer. Be as detailed as you can. We suggest using a persona-driven approach to get a complete and actionable picture of your customer.
- What is frustrating your customer right now? This question will uncover your customer’s core needs.
- How has the customer been solving the problem? This answer will identify your real competitors. You will need to position your product against these current solutions
- How will your customer make a purchase decision? Can you map out your customer’s buying process? How does this process align with your selling process?
We use this information to target content directly at the gap between what the customer has and what the customer wants.
5: Know Your Limits
You are getting help because you are missing experience, expertise, or capability. Capability, in this case refers to your team’s ability to focus time on executing a strategy.
Knowing your limits helps you accurately communicate your needs and expected deliverables from your content marketing consultant. This ensures that you receive an accurate proposal and specific costs with little confusion along the way.
Taking One Step Back to Take Two Forward
We’ve found that the preparation for working with a consultant is a challenging exercise for most businesses. Consider scheduling time to talk through these questions with your potential consulting candidates. Their approach to answering these questions could shed light on how they work with clients.