In my post, Don’t Waste Money on a Marketing Partner Again! I discussed some of the things entrepreneurs and small business owners can do to protect themselves from spending money with “marketing experts” that don’t always deliver. Today I thought we would break it down even further with the top 5 questions you should ask when hiring a marketing partner.
Tell me about the most interesting project you have worked on in the last year and why. The answer to the why part of this question is key. You want to see how passionate they are about what they work on. And their most interesting project should excite them and get them really talking about what they do. As a marketing professional, I find that I can, if allowed, go on and on about the projects that have interested me the most. I love working on them. I believe in the “product” and my client so talking about them excites me.
How do you keep clients informed of what you plan to accomplish and when? To me the power of having information and knowledge only comes from sharing it with others. I like to keep my clients in the know. To that end, I create and manage projects using detailed project plans with deadlines. And if a deadline relies on the client or other third parties they have asked you to work with I make note of that. This way the expectations are clear.
What will be my role as the client in the marketing process? I have had a potential client ask me this before. The question surprised me because most of the time what is required of them is small. After all they are hiring me to do a job for them. That shouldn’t dramatically increase their work load. So, in most cases what I need is their guidance, approval, and to pay for the things they want done. Sounds really simple, right? Well if your involvement is a lot more than that you need to ensure it fits with what you are trying to accomplish with hiring someone.
What is your approach to social media? For me this is a really big one. You want to know how they feel about social media and how they incorporate it into their marketing plans. In my post To Tweet, or Not to Tweet? That is the Question I talked about how to pick the right social media platforms for your business. Understanding how a marketing partner will approach social media will tell you a lot. If they simply say you have to be everywhere just because everyone else is they might not be right for you. If they say that you need to evaluate if your audience is really using the platform before you spend time and money on it then listen closely.
How will I be billed for services? In Don’t Waste Money on a Marketing Partner Again! I mentioned this topic but it makes my top 5 list because I think it is VERY important. Although many consultants may want a deposit up front, especially if you haven’t worked with them before, you should NEVER pay up front for everything. Remember you, only pay for things they have to buy for you not their work. You want them just as invested in your project as you are and that investment goes down once you have paid. You don’t pay the mechanic before your car is fixed. So don’t pay a marketing partner until they have done the work you hired them to do.
So, there are my top 5 questions to ask when hiring a marketing partner. And as always remember there is no perfect mold for picking the right partner for you. These are just a few questions to get you started in the process of finding a partner you can trust, feel comfortable with and that you can afford.