You might think I’d lead with MONEY. That agencies tend to have fees and charge more. And yes, that is a major factor, especially for small businesses with more limited marketing budgets…but there’s so much more to it than that.
1. Consultants Tend to Be Experts in Their Field
You want a SEO ninja or conversion wizard or scaling master? While some consultants can tick off a few boxes, they generally have deep expertise in 1-3 areas, 5 tops. They’re honest about this. If they are like me, they’ll have a rolodex with other consultants who they can refer to or who they work with regularly who can fill in any other areas you need help with.
2. Consultants Can Help You Grow Your Business Faster
As to point #1, due to their expertise and vetted referrals, you can quickly assemble a truly talented team who can focus on just the areas you need help with to scale your business to the next level quickly.
3. Consultants are Flexible & Adaptable
Consultants are not steeped in process, nor stuck in what worked a year ago. With the speed of change in all areas of digital marketing, from website design to social media/Google advertising to content marketing, you want to hire those who are current and know how to have you ride the wave of the next trend. Agencies can be quite bureaucratic and slow to adapt or deliver in a timely manner.
4. Finding a Good Consultant is Easier than a Full Time In-House Employee
There is a lot involved in hiring a full-time employee. Finding one person who can cover all the marketing needs you have is something I’ve never actually seen.
I’ve seen so many job postings where the employer lists “required skills” where they want one person to come in house and be able to tick off all the boxes, from design to SEO to content to video to analytics to…you name it. I’d love to be proven wrong, but my experience goes back to point #1 – most people have deep expertise in, at most, 5 categories, not 20, not all.
So first piece of advice, first identify the top 3-5 areas that will move your business forward. Then find the consultant with expertise in those areas and/or with a vetted referral they work with who can tick off those and even more. With new tech, reviews and online listings, it’s often much easier to find consultants who will deliver more reliable results than slow-moving, process-oriented agencies.
Bottom line, consultants provide your business with agility, on-demand expertise and cost savings. Even more of a bonus is if you hire that consultant who has a rolodex of the best freelancers to fill the critical roles your company needs in order to grow. Speed of results comes with those who can be nimble and who are masters in their fields.
One final note of utmost importance. Whether you’re considering a consultant or an agency, it’s key to take the time to find someone who shares your values, understands your industry and needs, and who walks their talk (i.e. high level of integrity). Don’t fall for the bait and switchers. Do your due diligence.