If you’re a small business entrepreneur with a growing company, you may have faced the process of finding a great marketer – maybe in the form of a virtual chief marketing officer like me. And while the difficult task of finding someone to handle your marketing is complete, the process of making sure your working relationship brings optimal results to your business has just begun.
In order to give your new marketing hire or agency vendor the best chance at providing you and your business with the greatest results, you as the business owner need to help set them up for success. Here are tips on how to work with your marketer to guarantee great sales results.
Make expectations clear. This is the linchpin of every business relationship – and the frequent culprit of burned bridges. If you expect a weekly check-in, ask for it. If you want to be as hands-off as possible and lots of questions lead you to believe your marketer isn’t taking initiative on their own, express that. If you feel your marketer should also cover some administrative tasks, be sure these tasks are talked about upfront.
After years of navigating corporate marketing relationships and now having run my own digital marketing agency for a while, I came up with a front-heavy onboarding system that helps tremendously with the common expectation gap. Before I even have an initial conversation with a business owner, I ask them to fill out a survey (about 10 questions) that requires them to think through what they actually need and what they want from me. It covers everything from whether the client prefers to communicate via phone or email, to budget to describing what their entrepreneurial personality is like (think: ambitious and aggressive, cautious and passive, ideas-oriented, process-oriented, etc.) Then, we talk through these expectations in our introduction call. It’s a game changer.
How can you be sure you make expectations clear between you and your outsourced marketer? Write out a job description. Not for their sake but for yours. You’re probably not going to hand over a job description to someone who isn’t a full-time hire, but doing this will ensure you know what you’re looking for and help them understand the full picture of your expectations.
Be reasonable about early results. Any organic marketing takes a lot of time. SEO, social media followings, email sales conversions, podcast audiences all require consistent content, regular engagement or maintenance, and a LOT of patience. The only way to speed this process up is to drop $$$$ on ads or hire a lot more manpower pushing content and engagement.
So if you’re looking at your lonely marketer to do create overnight results that only a big ad spend and six-person marketing team can do, don’t be surprised at the disappointment of the one month mark. What you’re investing in is better results after 6 months or a year than you could have achieved on your own. You’re also (hopefully) investing in a business relationship that will tighten and become more fluid over time, creating a dynamic and effective partnership that increases in positive impact on your and your business.
Divulge all the details. The other day, I had a casual check-in with a client that was supposed to be quick answers to seemingly insignificant questions. What I received instead was a casual mention that this client was planning to drop some of their current customers and focus more on attracting customers at larger companies. Wait, what? I need to know these things.
Include your marketer in your business thoughts and decisions – the sooner, the better. These changes, or potential changes, may make a significant impact on your marketing approach. And if you don’t see your marketer as a business mind or trustworthy enough to handle knowing some insider info, you need to find a different marketer.
Say what you’re thinking. Going back to expectations, don’t expect your marketer (or any employee/vendor for that matter) to be able to read your mind. If you’re frustrated by something, concerned about something, interested to learn more about how they do something, then SAY it. Let them know what you’re thinking – even if it’s that you are happy to be hands-off with little time checking in and appreciate their initiative to operate without a lot of involvement from you.
What you don’t say is still sending your marketer a message, either that you’re completely happy with their work or you don’t care and they can do whatever they want. So if you don’t want them assuming these things, make sure you speak up!
Give them full access. In my client interest guide – the one I allow anyone to download from my website – I mention my requirement to have full access to marketing accounts for a reason. In order to do my job right, I need to be a holder of the business’ login credentials, fully allowed into the back end of platforms and accounts. This is understandably scary to some business owners. There have been times when a client will give me the lowest form of permission, which I can’t do much with. Then there’s a back and forth as I explain why I need more access.
When you hire a virtual marketer, you need to be prepared to trust them with your login passwords and account permissions. In some cases, you’ll need to make them an admin with the highest level of control. Hire someone trustworthy and go all in. The last thing you want is to waste time making them work around limited views and having to repeatedly explain why they need more platform visibility or permission.
If you’re struggling to work with your marketer, I can help. I’ve led creative teams, worked directly with CEOs, juggled multiple types of entrepreneurial approaches, as well as navigated all these situations and more with small business owners. Maybe your next consultation needs to be advice on working with your marketer – hired or outsourced. I’m here for it! Schedule your 1-hour call/zoom/meeting today and let’s make your boss/marketer dynamic easier for you.