If you’re a business owner you’ll eventually get to the point where your question changes from, “Do I really need marketing help?” to “How do I find marketing help? And how do I know who’s good?” So, here’s the 11 key criteria to base your decision on:
1) The Work. Many marketing experts are personable, persuasive people who don’t necessarily have the talent or range of work to back it up. So, you’ve gotta spend a few minutes on their site to see the work they show. And, if it doesn’t turn you on, rule them out.
2) Credentials and Experience. Your main guy/gal had better have there bio on the website, and it’d better be impressive.
3) Results. Ultimately, it comes down to this. Do they have impressive, believable testimonials? Do they include case studies? (A few, or a bunch?) Do they talk about results?
4) How well do they market themselves? I know, it seems like a no-brainer for a marketing firm, but you’d be surprised. And, the excuses are laughable: “A blog? Oh, we’re way too busy for that.” Or, “Yeah, well, I know our website sucks, but I guess we’re like the shoemaker with no shoes.” And “no clue” I would add. There’s no excuse for any marketing firm not to be an example of smart, effective marketing.
5) G-Cred.(Google Credibility) is what shows up when you “Google” something, or someone. It’s an easy and very important litmus test of any marketing service or person.
6) Do they know Social Media? And, more importantly, are they on top of it? Do they have a great blog? Podcast? Facebook brand page? Video page on YouTube? Twitter account?
7) Awards. Have they won many? Have they won any?
8) Press. Pressworthy creative work is a fabulous, free, added benefit for any client. So, have they gotten any? And, if so, are we talkin’ the local paper or New York Times?
9) Are they a Thought Leader? Have they been published in the trades? Do they speak? Have they been interviewed? Are they on Wikipedia?
10) Do they make it easy to work together? Spending money on marketing help can be a scary proposition for a small business owner, especially for the first time. So, have they developed a way that makes it less scary to get started and test the waters?
11) Passion. One of the most important and most overlooked items on the list. If you’re passionate about your business or product, work with someone equally passionate about theirs. It makes a difference. (See: “The Power of Passion“)
Bottom line: If you want the best marketing results, find the best help. This will help you do that.