Hiring a Marketer: A Small Business Owner’s Guide to Making the Right Choice

Hey, business owner, do you like money? Of course you do! Do you like chucking your money into a fire? Of course you don’t!

Unfortunately, that’s a possibility when you try to deviate from your skillset and navigate marketing all on your own and hey, I don’t blame you for trying! You’re obviously a go-getter since you started your own business, but as a wise woman once told me, it’s often better to “do what you do best, and hire out the rest”.

A Little Bit of DeuBetter Lore

Before I was a marketer, I was a 21 year old small business owner. I’ve always been the creative type, and I used to make little charms, magnets, and more out of polymer clay. I was pretty good at it, and so I decided to start selling them on Etsy, and create a Facebook page for my brand. Granted, this was back in 2012-ish when Instagram was just a baby, Snapchat didn’t exist, and Vine wouldn’t be known until at least a year later.

Facebook seemed easy enough; I make posts, people will see the posts and definitely follow me, and then they’ll buy my products – cha-ching! Unfortunately for me, despite my awesome business name and graphics, I didn’t actually know how Facebook worked. I didn’t know what an algorithm was, nor did I understand that I had to *earn* my followers and *convince* them to buy from me. My modus operandi back then was “If I build it, they will come”.

Ultimately, I ended up with one sale that wasn’t someone I knew, one commission from a friend, and one sale from another friend. I closed up shop after less than 6 months. If I hadn’t deactivated the Facebook page, I would link you. Sorry!

I say all this to say, if you’re reading this article, you’re probably starting to realize it’s time to hire a marketer. If you’re considering a freelance or agency option versus hiring in-house, I’d say you’re ahead of the curve. Outsourcing your marketer is generally more effective for small businesses on the cost front – no payroll taxes, and no benefits. You’re also probably wondering what you should be looking for in a freelancer or agency – let me break it down for you.

Experience and Portfolio: Beyond the Resume

Anyone can hype themselves up and appear like the perfect fit for you, but then end up not being able to walk the walk and consequently become a poor ROI leaving a bad taste in your mouth about freelancers, agencies, and maybe even marketing in general! That’s why it’s important to ask for a portfolio or examples of work.

Additionally, if their portfolio doesn’t appear to have anything related to your industry, you’ll want to ask questions to make sure they can speak the language of your business. Think of it the same way you think of an interview – find out a bit about who they are, what they know, and what they’re capable of. 

Understanding Your Business Vision

Say that you’re hiring a freelancer to market your pet sitting business. Would you rather hire someone who booked a photoshoot just for their dog (me, thank you again Alexis), or someone who is more like the antithesis of Steve Irwin? The former, of course!

It’s just as important for prospective freelancers and agencies to understand your business from a high-level perspective as it is for them to understand their role in working with it.

Pro-Tip: If you are hiring someone for the long haul, ask them where they see your business going in the future. Does their answer align with your own thoughts or open your mind to the possibilities? Are they excited to talk about your business’ potential? If so, you might have a winner!

Communication and Availability: Keeping the Lines Open

Something I recommend steering clear of is the “set it and forget it” approach when hiring marketing services. It might sound like a great idea at first – you’re entirely hands off and able to focus on other parts of your business! However, incongruence between your in-house staff and your marketer can lead to an overall decline in sales and lost trust with your customers.

Whether it’s during the interview process or during onboarding, make sure that there are clear expectations for updates, reports, and meetings. Make sure that your marketer is okay with occasional unexpected texts and emails if you know you like to send them. Since you likely won’t be seeing this person on a daily basis, trust, transparency, and communication are paramount.

Additionally, make sure your personalities jive! In my opinion, there are few things worse as a small business owner than having a staff member that you have no common ground with. I’m not saying you have to be BFFs, but at least make sure they seem like someone you wouldn’t hate having lunch with.

Cost vs. Value: What’s Your Return on Investment?

As mentioned previously, outsourcing your marketing is often more cost effective than hiring in-house. In North Dakota, employers have to match Medicare and Social Security taxes, plus pay the North Dakota State income tax, which varies between 1.1% and 2.9%.

That means, if you were to hire a marketer in-house at the current average salary ($58,408), you’re paying at least $642/year on income tax alone, plus $846 for Medicare and $3,621 for Social Security.

Most of the time too, a small business doesn’t need 40 hours of work per week. For example, a standalone restaurant can see results by focusing on one social media platform and maintaining their Google Business Profile.

By outsourcing your marketing you can save money on payroll and save wages by paying for only what you really need.

When it comes to making sure you get your ROI from your marketer, ask them what KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) they will use to evaluate the success of their efforts, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about those KPIs during report meetings to ensure you fully understand the information shared with you.

For example, Red Brick Gifts is a brick and mortar retail store that I work with, and when we are promoting a special sale or shopping event on Facebook, we use gross sales as one of the KPIs to determine the success of a given campaign.

Adaptability and Problem-Solving Skills

Marketing is as much art as it is science. You can crunch numbers all day, but ratios and decimals won’t give you the magic words and pictures you need to make a great campaign. Left-brained and right-brained folks are skilled in separate ways, but marketers who can weave logic with creativity are some kind of wonderful.

Look for someone who is equal parts Fix-It Felix and Wreck-It Ralph – that is to say, they know how to make an excellent strategy, but also have no qualms about tearing it up when it isn’t working.

Humility is also important – look for a person who values integrity and honesty when discussing their performance. The last thing you want is someone who was overconfident in the interview stage and valued their ego too much to tell you that they aren’t actually familiar with Instagram’s algorithm, when Instagram is your only social media.

Your Business, Just Better with the Right Marketer

Remember, it’s not just about finding someone who can crunch numbers or draft a pretty post; it’s about finding a marketing maestro who resonates with your business vision, communicates like a dream, and brings true value to your table.

Think about it – with the right marketer, those dreams of skyrocketing sales, a booming online presence, and a brand that resonates with your audience can all become a reality. It’s not just marketing; it’s building the future of your business.

So, are you ready to take your business to the next level? Want to avoid the pitfalls and find that marketing gem? Let me throw my hat in the ring! I’m all about turning your marketing woes into wows. With a blend of creativity, strategy, and a little marketing magic, I’m here to ensure your business isn’t just good; it’s better.

Drop me a line, give me a ring, or send a carrier pigeon – whatever floats your boat. I’m here to chat, strategize, and help you make those marketing moves that matter.

It’s your business, just better. Let’s get real and transform those dreams into dazzling results. Together, we can make marketing the least of your worries and the biggest of your triumphs!

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About DeuBetter

DeuBetter Branding & Media specializes in empowering small businesses with the digital marketing tools and knowledge they need to thrive. We’re your friendly guide through the world of marketing online, committed to making your business better.

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