On Saturday I wrote about using blogs to help land yourself a job. But I haven’t forgotten about the other side of story, those employers that are attempting to bring on the right kind of talent to grow their marketing.
There comes a time in every business when marketing becomes vital. Sometimes it happens right from the start, other times marketing waits until the initial launch cools off and it’s time to grow. Either way, when the time does come, many small business owners are lost.
- Hire staff
- Contract an agency
First you should decide whether you want to hire staff or work with an agency (the answer may be both). Remember that it still takes time to manage an agency, so contracting out your marketing does not fully solve your problem.
If you decide an agency is the way to go, you’ll need to start the agency search. A good first step should be to ask people in your professional network if they have any recommendations. Reach out to other business owners, likely not your direct competition, and anyone who might have direct experience working with an agency.
If you don’t find any there, try a quick Google search. Define what it is you’re looking for: search engine marketing, SEO, display ads, print advertising, etc. That will help you narrow your search and place a few requests for proposal to see what you get back.
In the end, you want to choose an agency that you’re most comfortable with. Relative location is a small, but sometimes important factor. Experience, both in the marketing channel and the industry, is vital. Keep a tight leash and don’t sign any long term deals until you’re comfortable with their work and success.
If you go the staff route, you want to find people that can wow you. Marketing is a difficult field because it’s filled with all kinds of people. There are creatives, numbers and analytics types, technology types, and those with management experience across a broad array of marketing activities. You want to weed through the initial applicants and find those people that have direct experience doing what you want to do. This makes training easier and quicker, and will reduce the time you need to dedicate directly to managing their work.
Try social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook to see if anyone is available within your immediate network. A lot of people look down on Craigslist, but it’s never served me wrong. Just be sure to be selective with who you bring in. Ask for samples, give skills tests and quizzes, and meet with people multiple times, preferably in different settings. You want to be comfortable with your employee personally, and trust that they know much more than you do about the marketing work they’re going to be doing.
Making the right hire can save you a lot of time, money, and energy in the long run. Like anything else, it’s something that you get better it with practice.
Best of luck!