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Are you ready to add a marketer to your business?

“Are you my marketing angel?” the post read. It went on to give a full blown job description of all the marketing this marketer angel was going to need to produce for the business owner, including strategy, setting up and reading analytics, social media posting, marketing automation, blog writing, SEO and email marketing. There may have also been some event preparation and design in there somewhere too.

The ad caught my attention because of two things. The first was that it was an entry level position in terms of pay. The second was that the role was for five hours a week. It is very unlikely that such a marketing angel would fit the brief and parameters!

I completely understood the desire of this business owner to find someone to run their marketing. After all, if it’s not a core love of yours, and you know your time is better spent in other areas of the business, it makes sense that marketing is one of the first things you outsource.

It’s so easy to undervalue marketing in terms of the time it takes, and how much you should pay someone. There is a huge range of options when it comes to marketing, and from using outsourced overseas help, to people just starting out, right to intermediate or experienced marketers, and then to Agencies or in demand freelancers, it’s hard to work out what you should offer, and what you’ll get in return.

If you’re at the beginning stages of outsourcing, use a range of freelancers or agencies to help you with the areas you know you can’t do. Take one area at a time, ensure it’s working and then slowly handover more as your capacity and budget allows.

A skilled person will often charge more, but take far less time to complete a task. I’ll always ask how long someone would normally take to write four posts, organize the images and schedule them. Or how long it would take them to write a 750 word blog, and edit it ready for publishing, on a topic they don’t know very well. Again it depends what skills you need. I can write this column in ninety minutes, but can take hours to complete a simple admin marketing task, for instance.

We work with a lot of small business owners who either have a goal of adding a marketer to their teams or they’ve tried it before, and been burned. Because we’re almost completely a strategy and training only company, our whole focus is helping small business owners run their own marketing within the business as much as possible, and helping them get the team they need around them. It is very possible, but it is also something your business needs to be ready for.

If you really need help with marketing, and are not ready for the commitment of a regular team member, the alternative is to either hire a virtual assistant for set tasks each week, or using an agency or freelancer for specific technical marketing, such as Facebook ads, AdWords, or SEO.

One of the misconceptions most business owners have is that outsourcing means you no longer have to think about marketing anymore. The truth is that you will still need to be involved, from offering messaging and branding direction, to being available to talk to to get your thoughts and ideas, to approving material before it’s made live. Outsourcing still needs a time commitment from you.

As you grow your business, you may be ready to bring on a team member. It’s really important to have clarity on what are the most important skills this person will need. People often think of a marketer as an expert generalist, who is good at every type of marketing, and can also think strategically, know how to use every tool or platform under the sun, and get it all done in twenty hours a week.

The truth is different areas of marketing takes different types of people. For instance, I’m a strategist. I’m very good at seeing the big picture. I made a fatal flaw when I first started Identify as I originally was a do-er, creating and posting content for clients. I can create a strategy, identify the message, show you how to do it. But you’ll only get six weeks of great, consistent posting from me if that’s what you need! Thankfully we have a team who love that side of marketing, and can help take my big picture thinking and break it into little repetitive tasks that make it all work.

Some marketers love numbers and analytics. They adore spreadsheets and research. They might not be so skilled in creating imagery or writing blogs. Conversely, those who are about to create content, and make videos often will not have a deep interest in analytics, SEO and technical marketing.

For most small businesses, you need a do-er, who loves admin, attention to detail, and can work to a plan. While many people think of marketing as creative, much of it is admin and task heavy, which ultra creative personalities can find difficult.

Often you need to look at your primary needs, goals and plans to work out what sort of skills you need. Many of our clients first get someone to help with social media posts, content and video creation. However for you it might be you want someone who looks after SEO, Google Adwords and Facebook ads. These may well be two completely different types of people. (Although Facebook ads are unusual in that they require both a high level of technical and creative ability to get incredible results.)

While I love marketing, and its constant evolving changes, it does require a certain amount of passion to keep skilled up on what’s happening. I’ve set up a training session in the morning for an afternoon webinar, only to find that in the four hours before kick off, the platform has completely updated, and I have no idea where everything is!

Choose someone who knows how to google to find answers, or can get help if they need it, without pulling you in to help them every time. A confidence to try new things, find the right answers, test new options out and work out problems independently will be invaluable.

Give them time every week to stay updated. Encourage them to do some of the many courses, or training available to learn and upskill. Engage a marketing strategist/coach to help them get support, and keep them focussed, if you don’t have that capability in your own business.

Be as specific as possible about the outcomes you want to see from your marketer. Most marketing skills are transferable to a particular platform, or app. What we want to see is an ability to create, and do so consistently, keeping your brand voice. We want to see that they understand that marketing is about building trust, and community rather than creating sales posts.

Of course you want to check if the work they are doing is making a difference. The truth is a post on social media can be a complete waste of time, or it can generate leads for your business. We need to be able to measure what’s working and what isn’t.

If you’re wanting to set KPIs avoid ones such as “Double our page followers”, or vanity metrics such as reach. Instead, choose to measure instead whether there is an increase in engagement (people liking or commenting on posts), website visits, website enquiries, marketing generated leads overall, and real metrics that lead to business growth.
In the book Clockwork by Mike Michalowicz, there’s a recommendation that if you want to have a new staff member, to put money aside for one, and not employ anyone until you have three months income ready. This is excellent advice in particular for adding a marketing person to your business, as there is a definite lag in seeing results as they take time to learn about your business, and start creating material for your marketing. You might want them to “hit the ground running”, but all you’ll get is a race to nowhere.

Finding the right person can make a huge impact on your business. They could very well become your marketing angel.

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