inbound marketing consultantConsultants aren’t the answer for everyone. But neither is sending a terrible company newsletter, failing to differentiate, or letting your Twitter feed go dark when you’re fresh out of ideas. We all heard growing up that being mature is sometimes about knowing when to ask for help. Unless your company has a goal of 0% or negative growth in the next quarter, the right inbound marketing consultant might make all the difference in the world. Here are some scenarios where they’re the very best:

1. You’re Not Differentiating

Even if your business website has wonderful SEO, and your Facebook Edgerank is glorious because all of your fans “like” your posts every time, if your business isn’t efficiently differentiating from competition, it might as well not be around. According to Simon Clough, Global Marketing Director at Clear “the battle cry ‘differentiate or die’ has never been more relevant.” You might have trouble getting a clear vision of just how your company is different than the competition, or how to apply the primary rules of winning over prospects’ hearts. Here are some tips to help you with that:

  • Have a Defined Purpose: How will your product or service make a difference in people’s lives?
  • Be Loveable: Your marketing should win hearts and minds, not a purchase.
  • Be an Experience: Is the voice on your social media feeds consistent with your blog and lead nurturing campaigns?

2. You’re Not Sure How SEO and Content Marketing Fit Together

inbound marketing consultant

Five years ago, SEO was much different (and I daresay easier) than it is today. A little knowledge of best practices and some solid keyword research were almost all a brand needed to improve their rankings. As search engines get better and better at understanding the experience of the people behind the 100 billion search queries each month, SEO has become more about quality content marketing. If you’re unsure whether your content is truly optimized for humans, or how to translate your keyword research into stuff people actually want to read, the right consultant has the experience to help.

3. You Don’t Know Your Buyer Personas

Do you truly know your customers? Is your marketing optimized to the people you want to acquire as leads and customers? There’s a good chance that you understand them better than you think, but you might need a consultant’s help to truly optimize your marketing campaigns for relevance. While the following list is by no means exhaustive, there are a few ways you can make your blog articles, social media, and offers really hit home among the right prospects:

  • Write in Their Words. Speak their language, whether that’s dry technical talk or up-to-date catchphrases.
  • Utilize Their Favorite Formats. Do eBooks or video tutorials have a higher conversion rate? Only your prospects can tell you how they like to consume information.
  • Address Their Pain Points: Map your product or service solutions to fixing their problems.

4. You Don’t Know How Your Prospects Search

Keyword research has a pretty bad reputation among some of us, due to the fact that it’s mistakenly associated with horrible SEO-optimized drivel of years past:

inbound marketing consultant

image credit: Search Engine People

Let me be the first to tell you that there is no inbound marketing consultant (or content specialist, or search engine) who thinks the keyword-stuffed crap above is going to help is worth a penny.

When your content is correctly optimized, no one (except for maybe SEO experts), will think “that’s some great optimization” after reading it. Your keyword strategy should provide insight into the terms and topics that are driving search in your industry, so you can create compelling content that’s tailored to trends.

5. You’re Not Putting the Time into Social Media

32 hours a week. According to Forbes, that’s how much time it takes each month to manage a single social media platform correctly. That’s 4 whole work days without any goofing around. Brands are increasingly turning towards a solution of partial outsourcing, where they work closely with service providers outside their company to maintain the right voice, but also ensure that all Tweets go out as planned. If you’re not leveraging social media to prospect leads, nurture contacts or promote your content correctly, you could fall behind your competitors if you don’t call in some help.

And if your magical, new inbound marketing consultant works with a team of social media experts who are willing to do the legwork on behalf of your brand? You’ve struck marketing gold.

6. You’re Not Communicating With Your Sales Team

87% of the terms that marketing and sales use to describe each other are negative. But why not 100%? After all, the sales team are a bunch of lazy peacocks, and marketing only generates leads that suck and aren’t qualified.

I’m being facetious, but SMarketing is a really good idea. If marketing and sales learn to be friends and work together to generate and close the right leads, your business will grow and everyone will be happy. If that sounds too wondrous to ever come true, putting some metrics into place could be the next best thing. Enlisting the help of a consultant to establish a Sales/Marketing service level agreement (SLA) can be the next best thing to a sales and marketing team who love each other.

7. Marketing Metrics Make You Squirm

inbound marketing consultant

“I just don’t really like data that much,” said no decent marketing consultant ever. Here’s the deal: Numbers aren’t optional, unless you’re satisfied to be mediocre or maybe even terrible at your job. However, you don’t need to have the analysis skills of a Wharton graduate to hack it on the Internet today. The right consultant can teach you the numbers to monitor and why. With the help of HubSpot, analytics are within reach for virtually anyone.

8. You’re Not Watching Your Competitors

Do you know how to perform competitive analysis? That’s just fine if you don’t, because it’s a little tough to read your competitor’s mind from the outside. However, consultants are usually pretty good at getting an outsider’s perspective on an industry, and can help you stay a few steps ahead of other companies on your niche.

9. You Have a Million Questions

If you don’t have any questions about marketing, that’s even more concerning. The Internet is a huge, dynamic place to try and sell your product. Inbound marketing consultants are really just professional students who take homework breaks occasionally for calls with clients.

10. You Have No Idea What to Blog About

There’s really no good way around this issue, and it’s more common than you think. It’s easy to blog for the first few months, but then get stuck when the easy topics dry up. Too many companies either ignore their content calendar and let their blog go dark, or start writing the same old stuff over and over again. Be ye not so foolish, and enlist some help, quickly.

11. You Don’t Know How to Curate Content

57% of marketers are currently utilizing content curation, and 25% are totally flubbing it. That latter part of that statistic is fake, but there are some definite right and wrong ways to go about curating content. For one, you can’t blast everything out that’s ever been published in your niche. That’s going to feel like noise to your followers, and low-quality curated content can reflect badly on your brand. If you need help finding and sharing the right materials, ask a consultant for insight!

12. You Think Offers Are Coupons

Oh no. You’re trying to convert leads on the Internet without a really intriguing eBook, whitepaper, or webinar on the other side of a landing page form? Sorry, but it’s not 1999. People don’t just go around handing out their email addresses anymore, because the spammers wrecked it for the rest of us. Conversions are about having something great to give, and consultants are usually pretty good at generating persona-appropriate ideas.

13. Your Email Marketing is Newsletters

Do you blast a long, boring story about your CEO’s Hawaii vacation out to your entire email list once a year? Has your email list been stagnant for so long, that the majority of your contacts have AOL or Hotmail addresses? Yikes.

Segmenting email lists, following the CAN-SPAM act, nurturing leads, and scrubbing your lists can sound pretty overwhelming initially. However, a consultant can definitely get your email strategy straight.

We’d love to hear your input. Are there any other inbound marketing tasks that the right consultant can help with?