As a consultant I review sites and determine what isn’t working, what is, what needs to be done, how the site is doing on search engines, etc.
What I discover a lot of the time is that many business owners are not real clear about what exactly Internet marketers do, but they have paid for many consultants and/or agencies to come in to help their staff “learn the ropes” so to speak.
There is a repeated pattern:
- Hire agency/consultant to advise/train.
- Employees say they get it.
- Later, no results.
- Get a new agency/consultant and try again.
- Employees say they really get it.
- No results.
It is a repeating pattern, nothing changes and nothing improves. Why is that? Well, I am going to explain some of the reasons why and also give some truth to business owners out there.
1. Writers and Marketers are Special People with Defined Skills
Sometimes the people you have in-house don’t have the skills they, and you, need to perform a task.
You can’t just choose a person and tell them they are in charge of writing, because writing isn’t easy! Writers can’t write about anything that will help your company unless they have an experienced marketer that can help them target the right audiences. Writing effectively is hard. Marketing is a lot of research and hard work. Not everyone can do either of these jobs.
Assigning a task to random people does nothing for you. In the end you are losing money because you are paying people to do tasks they don’t really know how to do, with absolutely no results or ROI.
Whoever does your writing or marketing within your own business must be chosen carefully. Skills and experience need to be examined closely. Creative minds that think out of the box are needed. Some people can be taught, but after nine years in this business I can tell you that the ‘teachable’ people are a small minority.
Many times it is more cost effective to hire an experienced consultant, writer and/or an external company that will do these tasks for you, the right way.
2. Some People are Lazy and Play the Blame Game
What I find about half the time, and it is really sad, is that the person that the business owner seems to trust the most in their business is the biggest liar there. Sometimes they are great at making a boss think they are getting work down and they are accomplishing goals, but the truth is they are not doing the work that they were asked to perform. Is it because they are bad people? No! Most of the time they just don’t have the skill set to perform the tasks at hand and they will never admit it. Additionally, they are often very good at the blame game to try and cover the fact that they don’t have the skills they need.
If your company has a high turnover rate with marketing companies and consultants you need to determine why. Who is the point person that deals with your external marketing people? Do people get along with this person easily? What are their drawbacks and how could this impact your relationships with other businesses?
Be honest with yourself too: are your more comfortable with your employee with the “lacking skills” because they are not challenging you or pushing for change? Guess what? People that care keep learning and pushing for changes that will help the company.
Whenever there is a situation when one person is always claiming “everyone else is bad, doing it wrong, and has problems” you have to find out what the real story is. Someone that blames everyone else isn’t being honest. The odds of hiring 5-10 bad companies/consultants in a row is very minimal (if you have done your research). Not everyone that comes across one person can be bad, so something is broken.
Bottom line, not everyone is cut out for this kind of work and sometimes their behavior pushes away consultants and agencies that could have made a positive difference for you. Be honest with yourself in regard to who you will trust the most.
3. You Get the Quality You Want When You Pay for It!
We all want our staff to go that extra mile and do the work that we need, but, as I said above, not everyone is cut out for it. Employees with missing skills and lack of experience are often stressed about not completing their tasks successfully. They know that can’t do it, but don’t want to lose their jobs. Be open to hearing the truth and having those employees do different tasks.
If you are in this situation you have two options. 1. Really pay out the big bucks to have someone trained in-house or 2. Pay the people, externally, that know what they are doing and that are focused on doing it right.
When it comes to writing, I am a huge believer in hiring real writers with Internet marketing experience, especially when it comes to writing for websites and blogs. Someone could have worked at a newspaper for 20 years and yet have no clue how to write for the web (even though they think they do). You can hire individual writers or companies that will create content for you.
When it comes to marketing, I believe you either have the brain for it or you don’t. All good marketers will be able to give 2-3 examples of successful strategies they have used. They will also be able to explain why they chose certain strategy(ies) and break down the results for you. By Googling alone you can see if they are telling the truth or not.
So the Truth?
The truth is you need to examine your people closely before you do anything. Know their strengths and weaknesses; we all have them and there is nothing wrong with having some weaknesses. Understanding weaknesses can help a business owner determine what an employee should or should not be doing.
Assign tasks to the employees that can perform them successfully and assign the right kind of people to work with your consultants or agencies.
Be honest with yourself about whether or not your staff has the ability to create content for your and/or handle your marketing. Sometimes your best bet is to pay people externally to get the quality work you are looking for.