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It’s not uncommon for small business owners to start out their businesses by themselves. But, over time, you’re going to have to hire more help — unless you want to get burned out before your business even takes off. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an entire staff right away. It could start with a salesperson, customer service representative, and then an IT specialist. You know, your core A-Team.

After that, you want to take your business to the next level. You can do this by cranking out more sales. That means that you’re going to have to bring in a marketer. But, is it really time to step aside and make that first marketing hire? Here some telltale signs that can tell you it’s time.

Marketing isn’t a priority.

Entrepreneurs and small business owners are known for juggling multiple responsibilities at once. It’s just a part of the job. However, which tasks are your priorities? In most cases, it’s probably the ones that ensure that you get paid so that your business can remain operational, such as invoicing or making sure that a product is shipped out on time.

Where does that leave all of your business’s marketing needs? Probably at the bottom of your to-do-list. Since marketing involves responsibilities like building your online presence, handling your brand’s reputation, conducting market research and analysis, and advertising your business, it’s an important field that deserves the proper time and attention.

It’s more challenging than you thought.

Marketing your business isn’t just purchasing ads and being active on social media. It involves projects like designing a website, creating a logo, knowing how to effectively reach customers. As well,  generating content like video, white papers, and infographics.

No one is saying that you aren’t capable of pulling off all of these tasks yourself. It just turns out that something such as marketing will prove to be more challenging than you thought. And there’s no shame in admitting that!

There has been a decrease in word-of-mouth referrals.

Have you or your sales team noticed that there has been a sharp decline in word-of-mouth referrals? That should be a red-flag that it’s time to hire a marketer because word-of-mouth is a major influencer in purchasing decisions. Thanks to online review sites and social media, it’s easier than ever for customers to share their excellent, or poor, experiences with your brand. A marketer can ensure that your customers are encouraged to leave reviews and handle any potential PR crisis.

Your sales team notices that there aren’t any qualified leads.

Besides word-of-mouth referrals, if you and your sales team also see that there aren’t any qualified leads coming in, that’s another reason for concern. Simply put, without leads, you don’t have sales. And, without sales, you’re harming your cash flow.

By bringing marketer onboard, your brand will be able to attract those all-important leads. For example, they can start generating leads through content marketing by creating specifically for your audience. As well as promoting that content where your audience spends their time online.

You don’t know what strategies are working.

Let’s say that you have a spike in sales? What if you suddenly started receiving phone calls or emails asking for more information? Or, as already mentioned, your sales plummet? What was the culprit? Was that free white paper you published last month? Or, are you not reaching the right audience at the right time?

Knowing what marketing strategies work and which ones don’t is a necessity because you don’t want to waste your time and resources on tactics that aren’t working. Instead, you want to focus on what’s effective so that you can generate more leads, and eventually, convert those leads into sales.

Your market or industry has an upcoming event.

Whether if it’s a workshop, conference, or trade show, industry events are ideal for networking, introducing your business to a new market, and getting some free press. But, are you able to deliver a clear, coherent message to this audience? Not all entrepreneurs are comfortable making their pitch or speaking in front of groups of people. A marketer is comfortable in this setting and should be able to make your business appear attractive and professional to others in attendance.

Marketing automation isn’t cutting it.

Don’t get me wrong. Marketing automation is an amazing assist for business owners of all sizes. However, there are a lot of people that believe myths like you’re able to just “set it and forget it.” It’s a massive time-saver, you don’t need much experience, and it can be handled by just one individual.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Marketing automation can only help you go so far if you can’t dedicate the right amount of time and resources to it, along with understanding how it works! A marketer will know how to get the most out of your marketing automation platform since they’ll be able to use this system in conjunction with your brand’s story and strategy.

Finding your first marketing hire.

Pretty much every enterprise-level business has an entire marketing staff. Chances are that you don’t have the budget to hire a full-time online marketing specialist, content producer, editor, social media manager, PPC specialist, and graphic designer. That’s why you should determine your exact marketing needs first. For example, a

For example, a SoLoMo maven is a social, local, mobile marketer who has their fingers on the pulse of the customer and uses the latest media channels, apps, and platforms. Let’s say your audience isn’t using Snapchat and prefers traditional channels like print or radio. Then you would likely have a need for a marketer who is specialized in that area.

However, if you want to get the most bang-for-your-buck, look for multi-channels marketers who are familiar with digital, traditional, and in-person campaigns.

Once you’ve determined your needs, start looking for your first marketing hire as soon as possible. Remember, it takes time to not only find a talented specialist, but also one that first your brand. When you do find the perfect match, you also have to consider that this new hire will also need time to learn more about your brand’s story and vision so that they can effectively speak for your brand.

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Hi, I'm Albert. I'm a content ninja. When I'm not writing and brainstorming content ideas, this New Jersey native spends his time traveling, blasting music, and keeping his chocolate lab at bay.

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