The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Hiring a Marketing Coach
If you’re a small business owner who is frustrated with the amount of money you’ve wasted on failed marketing — you should find a marketing coach.
I’ve hired and paid for several marketing coaches and have found it to be money well invested.
How a marketing coach will save you money on marketing
As you’ll see below, I am an advocate for finding a coach. There’s nothing that frustrates me more than doing what I call “a thousand points of marketing”. Lack of focus is the number one contributor to marketing budget waste.
This waste is relatively invisible to you. Remember you pay TWICE when you are in trial-and-error mode. You’re missing out on billable work and you’re “paying” yourself an hourly rate as you wander in the marketing wilderness.
A Marketing Coach Made Me an Expert in 3 Months
About ten years ago, I wanted to create an online event. While I’d participated in tons of online events, I really had no idea what it took to produce one.
So, I found a marketing coach. And, boy am I glad I did. After three months of working with her to produce a virtual event, I can call myself an expert.
I learned things about producing virtual events I never would have learned on my own. Not only that, but she connected me to her network and that saved me months of wandering in the wilderness. While these are huge benefits, they pale in comparison to the insider knowledge and processes I learned that made my event super successful.
So here’s what I learned:
- It’s not about the content, it’s about the marketing. Content is important, but virtual events are a lead generation strategy and not just content. Choose presenters with large and engaged audiences who will promote your event.
- Make it easy for people to promote. By far, this was my most valuable lesson. Again, virtual events are lead generation campaigns, and the best way to generate leads is to make it easy for those speakers participating in your event can simply cut, paste and click promotional content.
- It’s not about creativity, it’s about implementation. To use the 80/20 rule, successful virtual events are 80% process, implementation and follow-up and 20% creativity. Creativity might pique interest, but it doesn’t generate registrations. Complete and detailed marketing funnels deliver results. And that’s about implementation.
How a One-Hour Conversation with an SEO Marketing Coach Saved Me a Year of Work
As an online publisher, SEO marketing is critical to the health and success of my website. There are more than 1,000 articles up on DIYMarketers. But traffic isn’t where it needs to be. When I researched “how to drive traffic” I saw things like “write longer, better content” or “get backlinks” or publish a lot of content.
Intuitively, I just knew that these things were NOT hampering my traffic. So I went in search of an SEO marketing coach. After talking with a few friends, I found one!
I sent him an email with my concerns. He ran some reports and read through the site. And inside of an hour-long conversation, he helped me focus on a specific fix to work on that will drive an additional 1,000 visits per day to the site!
The lesson here for you is that working with a marketing coach doesn’t have to go on forever. A quick one-hour conversation can change everything.
Put Yourself in Your Customer’s Shoes
Think about your level of expertise in your business. And now think about your customers, who are not experts at what you do.
How often do you find yourself educating your customers on the ins and outs of your business or your industry? More often than you realize. After all, you don’t think twice about the expertise level you’ve gained over the years. You don’t think about the subtle nuances about your expertise that you’ve learned after making mistakes that you customers will NEVER experience.
Why would YOUR experience be different when you have to implement marketing strategies and campaigns? I mean seriously, you wouldn’t expect YOUR customers to know what you know, why should you know what expert marketers know?
What Coaching is and Isn’t: The difference between a marketing coach, trainer, consultant, and mentor
One of my missions is to make you a smarter consumer of marketing services. So, let’s make a few distinctions around coaching, training, consulting and mentoring.
Coaching: A process that aims to improve performance and focuses on the ‘here and now’ rather than on the distant past or future. … Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them. The outcome or deliverable is clarity around how something works and what you need to do to be successful.
Training: Educating and teaching a specific skill and the optimization of that skill. In terms of marketing, the outcome is often a certification in a specific area.
Consulting: A consultant is somebody who gives advice to a specific group of people. A successful outcome of a consulting engagement is usually advice or a recipe to follow to achieve a company objective, leading to a company project.
Mentoring: Mentoring is more development driven, looking not just at your current marketing function but beyond, taking a more holistic approach to marketing. You should choose a marketing mentor once you have chosen a business model, marketing strategy and some specific tactics. THEN, you find someone who has followed that exactly path to success and learn from their experience
What Does a Marketing Coach Do?
A marketing coach is like a teacher. They are there to guide you along the path, but you do the work. A good marketing coach knows and understands marketing as a complete process. Their primary responsibility is to guide you through the process and “teach” you how to run the process yourself.
As you would imagine, there are marketing coaches for every level of the marketing process. There are coaches to help you create a marketing system and then there are coaches for every level of the marketing system.
The difference between a marketing coach and a marketing consultant
The lines between a marketing coach and a marketing consultant are often blurred. The primary distinction between a marketing coach and a marketing consultant is implementation. A marketing consultant’s primary role is to help you implement. A marketing consultant may start some of the work and/or manage your marketing projects.
When to choose a marketing coach and when to choose a consultant
If you’re a small business owner who intends to build a marketing machine and ultimately outsource your marketing , I’d recommend you start with a coach.
Once you understand all the ins and outs of your marketing process and marketing strategies, you can now find a marketing consultant with an expertise in your specific strategy to help you implement that strategy.
Do You Need a Marketing Coach?
In short, the answer is YES! The biggest mistake small business owners make is that they jump straight into implementation of tactics and ideas without having a full understanding of the bigger picture.
You would’t buy a piece of land and then start placing furniture where your house should be – so why do you implement marketing ideas without a foundational marketing strategy? The results are the same — furniture left out in the weather gets destroyed and marketing tactics implemented without the support of a strategy are ineffective.
How can a marketing coach help your business?
Reduce risk and loss
A marketing coach is like having a GPS for marketing your business.
All you need to do is focus on learning the process and implementing the process. Your marketing coach already knows the way. They are simply walking you through the process so that you know what to expect.
Know how and who to hire
Another benefit of finding a marketing coach is learning exactly what type of marketing consultant or employee to hire and how to hire them.
Because you’ll be going through YOUR entire marketing process with a coach, you’re going to discover exactly the type of marketing team you will need to be successful.
As they work with you, your coach will understand exactly where you will need the most help. They will also understand the nuances of marketing where you will need assistance. And, your coach will help you develop the project or job descriptions and the specific skills that you’re looking for.
Your marketing coach will give you the “names” of the specific areas of expertise that you will need. This is more important than you realize. These days, there are so many different marketing skill sets, and if you don’t know exactly where you need help, you’ll never find the right person.
For example, say you need help with social media. Each platform requires a specific skill set. Facebook ads and Facebook posts are very different. Or what about SEO? Thousands of people are SEO experts. But do you need help with content or advertising or maybe technical SEO? There are significant differences. And choosing the wrong person for the wrong task can be devastating to your business.
Save time and money
Ultimately, the biggest benefit you’ll get with working with a marketing coach is saving yourself time, money and aggravation. This cannot be understated. If you’re committed to getting and keeping customers, then you don’t want any of your effort to go to waste. A marketing coach will work with you to choose the best marketing strategy, choose your tactics and put a plan in place to move you forward.
If you’re at the point where you have no time to waste, then a marketing coach is the most efficient way to get there.
How to choose a marketing coach
If you’re following this process, the most important thing you’ll do is choose a marketing coach. In this section, I’ll explain all the different types of marketing coaches and when to choose each one as well as what to look for.
One important thing to keep in mind is that you can work with a marketing coach for as little as an hour to as long as forever. It all depends on you and where you are in the process.
Strategic Level Coaches
These are marketing coaches who will help you choose top-level marketing strategies and focus on top level tactics. Their primary goal is to help you create your marketing structure and marketing system.
Strategic marketing coach
If you are a small business owner with no marketing experience or with failed marketing experience, a strategic marketing coach is a great choice.
A strategic marketing coach will help you create an overall structure and understanding of a marketing system that will work in your business. The coach will help you uncover your unique selling proposition, marketing message, ideal clients, and which specific marketing strategy is best suited for your business. They may also help you choose the tactics such as email, webinar, or advertising to support your strategy.
Once this is complete, a strategic marketing coach will tell you where to go next. They will help you prioritize online vs offline marketing programs. They will also tell you where to go to get help. At this point, you might touch base with them to keep them posted on your progress,
Digital marketing coach
The next level of specificity is hiring a digital marketing coach. This person is an expert in online marketing. Once you have chosen a marketing strategy (content marketing, paid advertising or direct marketing), a digital marketing coach will teach you how to implement the online aspects of that strategy.
A digital marketing coach has a broad level of experience in all things online marketing. When you come to them with your marketing strategy and online tactics, they will be able to help you create the next level structure of how that marketing system is going to work.
Tactical level marketing coaches
A tactical marketing coach assumes that you have identified an ideal customer, chosen a strategy, developed an irresistible offer and are focused on implementing a specific marketing tactic to attract and convert those customers.
The marketing experts and marketing gurus you see advertising on Facebook are TACTICAL marketing coaches. They assume that you’ve identified a specific way to generate leads and they have a variety of systems to help you implement that tactical strategy.
Below is a short list of specific tactical marketing coaches.
- Social media marketing coach
- Webinar marketing coach
- Content marketing coach
- PPC (Paid Advertising) marketing coach
- Facebook advertising marketing coach
- Self-publishing marketing coach
- Speaker marketing coach
There are dozens of marketing coaches, just as there are dozens of marketing tactics. If you’ve purchased programs and coaching before and been disappointed, that’s probably because you jumped straight to a tactical coach without being clear on your overall marketing process and strategies.
What to expect from a marketing coach
If you’ve played sports, then you know that your coach doesn’t actually PLAY the game for you. Your coach teaches you how to play the game, Your coach works with you to perfect your technique. They don’t run the marathon for you. They can’t lose the weight for you. But they can take you by the hand and increase your efficiency and chance of success.
A marketing coach will teach you a process and walk you through implementing a process. They are NOT a marketing agency. Do not expect your marketing coach to do the work for you.
A good marketing coach will actually interview YOU. They do this because a good marketing coach wants to understand where you are in the process. They also want to know if they are the person who can help you.
What a good marketing coach will NOT do for you
A good marketing coach will not do the work for you. They will push you, confront you and the gaps in your marketing. A good coach will make you feel uncomfortable because you will uncover weaknesses in your offer or lead generating systems.
How much should you pay a marketing coach?
There are marketing coaches at every price point. As a business owner, the “safest” way to hire a marketing coach is by using your own income as a guide. I found this table as a reference.
Monthly Income Price Range For A Business Coach
- $2,500 per month $250-$500 per month
- $5,000 per month $500-$1000 per month
- $7,500 per month $750-$1500 per month
- $10,000 per month $1000-$2000 per month
- $20,000 per month $2000-$4000 per month
- $100,000 per month $10,000-$20,000 per month
Now, there are celebrity coaches who charge thousands per month and promise wild results. I recommend that you stick to this income based guideline because you will need to have income to IMPLEMENT these marketing strategies in addition to coaching.
Group Coaching vs Private Individual Coaching
Most business owners want private coaching. Private coaching is great because you get the marketing coach all to yourself. But, it can be expensive.
One way to save money on great coaching is to get into a group coaching program. Group coaching programs also have the benefit of being included in a group of business owners who are implementing the same marketing strategies. The biggest benefit from a group coaching program is that you can adapt what others are doing to your own business.
Group coaching programs are also a terrific source of networking and referrals.
Interview Questions to Ask a Potential Marketing Coach
Don’t just hire a marketing coach off of a Facebook ad! The whole purpose of this process is to get the best and most efficient use of your time and money.
So prepare for it.
What to have ready before you interview a marketing coach
- Create a document that outlines your marketing goals, challenges, what you’ve done thus far, what’s worked and what didn’t.
- Make a list of what you hope to accomplish. What results or outcomes are you looking for. Remember a coach will help you through the process. They cannot guarantee the results, but they can teach you a system that is most likely to generate these results.
- How much personal time and effort can you invest in this process? (HINT: expect to invest at least 5 hours per week in addition to coaching time)
Marketing coach interview guideline
- What do you consider to be your strong-suit? What is the one area of marketing where you’ve had the most success? You want to make sure that they have experience in exactly the area you want to focus on.
- When you think about your most successful clients, what success behaviors do you see most often? You’re asking this question so that you can match what their successful clients have done to your own behaviors. If they tell you that their successful clients shut down their business for 3 weeks while they go through the process, then you have to decide if this is something you can or want to do.
- What is your process? Since you’re investing in a coach to take you through a process, it stands to reason that they should be able to share their process with you.
- What can you promise me? This question will give you insight about what their guarantees are and what their commitment to you is.
- What do I need to promise you? And, of course, this is the other side of the coin. Any good coach will have expectations of their clients. Remember, they WANT you to succeed and they know what it takes to be successful. So listen closely to their answer.
- What are you learning right now? A good coach is always learning something new. While they are an expert in one area, they should be involved in challenging themselves and improving their skills in other areas as well.
So Now What?
Hopefully, the tips I’ve outlined here will inspire you to consider hiring a marketing coach. Promise you won’t spend another minute or another dime on trial and error marketing.
Written by Ivana Taylor