The sad reality is more than 60% of small businesses close within the first three years. Yes – 60%! One of the main reasons for this high failure rate is a lack of planning, especially a lack of planning when it comes to marketing.
Now, the thing that gets me out of bed each morning is helping fellow small business owners find the right marketing approach. As a marketing coach, I get enormous satisfaction from helping others set clear marketing goals, develop a competitive offering, understand how to engage with their customers and work out how to make their marketing dollars go further.
However, without a marketing plan and coordinated strategy, your business risks becoming one of the 60% that never make it beyond three years in operation.
Why You Need A Marketing Coach
It’s important to find a marketing coach to guide you through the process of developing a plan and identifying the best strategies for implementation. A marketing coach can create an effective and coherent approach to help turn your ideas into reality and guide you on a path towards greater success.
A good marketing coach can assist you to understand the marketing world and work with you to create an individual plan of attack best suited for your business. They can help you build a marketing plan, launch the plan and help you maintain it, resulting in an upswing in sales and a surge in more business.
When You Need A Marketing Coach
Call me biased, but ideally, every business would start out with a marketing coach to maximise success! A good marketing coach can help build a sustainable business model and help you get serious about your business. They can also be a good sounding board, allowing you to share your business journey with someone who has been there before.
If engaging a marketing coach at the outset isn’t an option for you, it may be time to seek out a marketing coach when you:
- feel you need the opinion of a trusted professional
- want to increase profits but you’re not confident how
- want to develop self-confidence in finding additional clients
- acknowledge that you need to be held accountable in order to succeed
- are ready to work with a coach that has an unbiased view of the business
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How A Marketing Coach Can Help
As a marketing coach, it’s my job to work with you to identify the best tools and strategies to help your business attract interest and build sales. This means that each project is different because every business requires an individual approach to achieve growth and success.
Having said that, there are some common ways that a marketing coach can help your business thrive.
- deliver a professional, objective review of your current marketing
- plan, guide, choose & direct new marketing programs for new audiences, products or services
- explore new directions for digital, social, web or inbound marketing
- grow skills and add an experienced perspective to your business
- prioritise multiple projects and initiatives to focus on what works
- builld your marketing capability
In short, an experienced marketing coach provides expertise, support and advice when it comes to planning and developing your strategy for success and growth. Professional marketing coaches are here to help you increase sales, develop skills and get the most from your marketing investment.
How To Choose A Marketing Coach
It can be daunting to choose a marketing coach, especially if you haven’t previously worked with a coach or consultant. If you’ve never engaged a coach before, these strategies will help you undertake due diligence, avoid a coaching mismatch and above all protect your valuable marketing investment.
Undertake Due Diligence
The first step in choosing a potential marketing coach is to undertake some basic due diligence checks. These will help you determine whether the coach is reputable, legitimate and qualified to help you with your marketing.
At a minimum, you should check that your prospective coach has the following:
- Australian Business Number (ABN)
- Website (detailing their services, specialities, approach & blog with free resources)
- Social profiles (marketing specialists should be active online)
- Qualifications (what qualifies them to help you?)
- Experience (what experience do they have in working with businesses like yours?)
If you have any concerns about the legitimacy of a potential coach, seek more information from them. Legitimate marketing coaches will be able to readily supply these details and be happy to discuss in more detail their qualifications, experience and areas of marketing expertise.
Research Their Coaching Approach
If you’re satisfied they are a legitimate business, the next step is to understand their approach to coaching to see whether they will suit you and your business. Their website is the best place to start but also ask them for a meeting to discuss how they’d work with you.
It’s important to understand how they will be delivering their services and also how they see their role as your marketing coach. Aspects to consider include:
- Delivery (will the coaching be delivered online or offline?)
- Style (does the coach mentor clients 1 on 1 or in a small group?)
- Role (are they hands-on in the business with you or more like a mentor?)
- Approach (do they help with planning, strategy and implementation?)
- Expectations (what do they need from clients to achieve results?)
Incompatibility between coach and business owner can lead to relationship breakdown, poor results and a wasted investment. To avoid disappointment, it’s vital to understand how your prospective coach plans to work with you before you engage their services.
Understand Their Methodology
Another important consideration is the methodology used by the marketing coach. Different marketing specialists use different methods and it’s important to connect with a coach whose values and approach most closely align with yours as a business owner.
For instance, my methodology focuses on building the skills of my clients. When I work with you, I want you to develop your own marketing capability, so I concentrate on building skills and developing a road map to set you on the right path. Yes, that means that you may eventually no longer need my services, but that means I’ve done my job!
If your marketing coach doesn’t even look at your sales and marketing goals before making recommendations, that’s a real red flag. Btw, it’s also a concern if they don’t seem to have any clear process at all! A mismatch in methodology can impact the results of your partnership and ultimately affect the success of your investment. Elements to consider include:
- Business experience (does the coach understand the reality of small business?)
- Track record (what are their past results in helping clients?)
- Industry understanding (have they worked in your industry before?)
- Flexibility (do they have a one-size-fits-all or a more flexible approach?)
- Processes (do they offer a free introductory session to gauge compatibility?)
Some of this information will be available on their website but you’ll get a better understanding of how they work and how they could help you by having a chat in person or over the phone. This is another important step in choosing your marketing coach to ensure you find the best fit.
Consider Testimonials & Client Feedback
As a business owner, you’ll understand the power of testimonials, reviews, recommendations and feedback. It’s what your customers use when deciding to come to you for products and services and it’s equally important for you to consider when choosing a marketing coach.
There are several ways you can gauge client feedback when deciding on whether to work more closely with a prospective marketing coach:
- Ask to speak to their previous clients in your industry
- Review online testimonials and feedback
- Check out social media and Google reviews
- Seek recommendations from business owners you trust
- Search online forums and business groups for more information
When considering testimonials, reviews and feedback be careful to filter out paid or bought reviews. While reviews can help you make an informed choice you can’t always rely on everything you read online so ensure you seek personal recommendations too.
Think About Your Marketing Goals
Last, but not least, have a think about your marketing goals before you engage a marketing coach. You don’t have to have all the answers (that’s why you’re engaging a coach!) but it helps to have some idea of what you want to get out of the partnership to make the most of your collaboration. Ask yourself these questions before you sit down with a marketing coach:
- What are your marketing goals? What do you want to achieve?
- How do you see a coach helping you to achieve your goals?
- What are you prepared to contribute in terms of time, money and effort?
- When are you hoping to see results?
- Is your goal realistic, achievable and possible within your timeframe?
A good marketing coach should be able to help clarify your goals and work with any reasonable budget. As an aside, if your prospective coach DOESN’T ask these questions, then that’s a big red flag!
Once you’ve chosen your marketing coach, prioritise building a positive working relationship with them. In my experience, the relationship between client and coach is the key to success. If your partnership is built on mutual respect, integrity and honesty from the start then you’ve most likely found a long-term strategic business partner to help you reach your business goals.
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How Marketing Sense Can Help
When it comes to marketing, you need to think about how you’re going to create awareness, build interest and get your audience to consider purchasing from you. That’s where I can help.
Working across all industries over the last three decades has built my knowledge across a vast range of marketing disciplines. I think it’s safe to say I have worked in every marketing discipline from loyalty to retention to digital to brand. That’s helped me to support small businesses by recommending the right approach, based on their particular goals.
Having worked as a marketer for over three decades and being the boss of my own small business for 8 years, I have a real ‘from the coalface’ understanding of the challenges and the opportunities that business ownership brings. It also helps that I have a strong business background, having grown up surrounded by business owners and entrepreneurs.
Marketing Sense is here to guide you toward marketing success. Give us a call to discuss your needs and make sure you download your FREE copy of our Brand Statement Worksheet to get crystal clear on your business, your offering, your audience and your competition.
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