Earlier this month, I was happy to be featured in this post on SoftwareAdvice.com titled 4 Things to Think About When Hiring a Marketer.
Excellent Stephen Colbert gif aside, the article provides lots of valuable information for small business owners in particular on the decision to hire a marketing professional or not.
It shouldn’t come as a massive surprise that a lot of small business owners grapple with this question. For many, it comes at the point where they’ve seen success and want to expand to a new customer base.
They know they want to grow, but time is the biggest thing holding them back. At a certain level, it becomes about efficiency. Brands, especially smaller brands where a handful of people are wearing a lot of ‘hats,’ need to find solutions that help save time and increase efficiency through things like automation.
That’s where technology comes in.
The other main hold up at this step is typically cost. Most growing small businesses don’t have the budget (or the need frankly) to have a full-time marketer on staff. So, it becomes more about if any outside marketing consultants should be hired at all.
I’d like to go out on a limb and say yes (of course, I would).
But, first why not take a look at a couple of marketing tools small business owners can use first to help get their marketing on the right track, without breaking the bank.
Having these three marketing tools is crucial for any small business owner looking to improve their marketing.
Customer Relationship Management Tools
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools are all the rage right now. They aren’t the clunky and expensive behemoths of the past that took advanced courses to know how to run.
In fact, even inside most industries, specific CRMs exist that serve the unique needs of that segment. From Market Research Analyst Andrew Friedenthal of Software Advice, a lead generation system reviews company:
As the CRM market diversifies, with a greater number of vendors offering more niche systems, those businesses are now turning to software to address their unique needs. Because of this increased diversity, the market for lead generation technology tools is more competitive, and thus many of our buyers might be overestimating how much they need to pay for a system on a monthly basis.
The research backs it up. Software Advice just finished a Small Business Buyer’s Report and found that just under 70% of those surveyed had a monthly budget of $75 or less for a CRM marketing tool.
Thankfully, there are tons of marketing tools to choose from that help with lead generation, contact management, and automation.
Email Marketing Service Providers
Another area of marketing that has come a long way is email. The current crop of Email Service Providers from the basic free MailChimp to more advanced Infusionsoft make these must have tools for any brand, regardless of size.
After all, the old saying ‘the money is in the list’ is right. According to Jon Morrow of SmartBlogger, earning $1 per email subscriber per month is a standard guideline.
So, with 10,000 subscribers on a list, a brand which is effectively using email marketing should see about $10,000 per month.
Makes the appeal of email all the greater, right?
If you are a small business owner who hasn’t started collecting emails on your site yet, it’s best to focus on that as soon as possible (today).
Social Media Marketing Automation Tools
For a lot of small business brands, one way to see high engagement levels with customers is through social media marketing.
Being active on social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn provides tons of access to customers thoughts, feelings, and struggles on a product or service that was virtually impossible to see in real time in the past.
The majority of any time on social media should be spent focusing on engagement rather than posting or hunting for content. Once again, there are social media marketing automation tools that make it easier to do that.
The caveat here is that social media automation is not a be all end all, set it and forget it type of thing. Interaction with fans and followers and engagement is a must, so these tools just allow for a more streamlined way to do that.
Of course, there are tons of marketing tools out there for brands of any size with any budget to use. But, for the small business owner who is looking to do a little more advanced marketing without blowing a huge budget can get started with these three tools.
From there, if hiring a marketer sounds like the most logical next step, be sure to check out what needs to be considered.