In the small business world, consultants are often thought of as nice to have or as an expensive outsider looking in. But consultants can provide skills and knowledge that might be lacking in a company or business. They can also tap into a company's hidden potential and improve upon an existing business model. \r\nMore and more companies are hiring marketing consultants to develop their brand presence online and in print. Small business owners sometimes struggle to focus on the marketing side because they are so busy with the day to day logistics of running a business. This is where a marketing consultant can be a great asset, providing expertise and leadership that will take a business to the next level. \r\nOffering your services as a marketing consultant can be an excellent way to put your skills and experience to use, and work on a flexible schedule for a variety of clients. If you're looking for a dynamic career, becoming a marketing consultant might be an excellent fit for you. Ready to jump into this role? We've created a comprehensive guide to offering your services as a marketing consultant so you can take on this role with confidence. \r\nWhat does a marketing consultant do?\r\n \r\n \r\nA marketing consultant's role is to examine the current marketing strategy of a company or brand and create a new marketing strategy to help the company or brand thrive. They are also responsible for executing the strategy and measuring its effectiveness. \r\nA marketing consultant will analyze a client's current marketing strategy, including their target audience, brand message, and presence in their market or industry. They will then determine what's working and what isn't to create a new marketing strategy using metrics, data, and other company information. \r\nOnce the new marketing strategy is in place, the marketing consultant will measure the results and present them to the client to determine the effectiveness of the strategy. This role involves executing the complete process, from conception to completion. Presentation of the results is required so your clients can understand the value of your work and get the best return from the new marketing strategy. \r\nWhat are the advantages and disadvantages of starting a marketing consultant service?\r\n \r\n \r\nAs a marketing consultant, you can enjoy a lot of the advantages of the freelance consultant life, including a flexible work schedule, a roving office space, and a variety of different tasks on a day to day basis. Being a consultant is rarely dull or humdrum, as you're often faced with many different challenges, requests, and problems to solve. If you thrive on a busy, multifaceted work schedule, this role may be ideal for you. \r\nYou also get to work with a variety of clients, often in different industries and can apply your skillset to support clients at different levels in their industry, from corporations to small business owners. \r\nThere are disadvantages as well. Being a marketing consultant can be an all-consuming job, especially if you are juggling multiple clients. You may end up working long hours on a client's marketing strategy or have to attend many meetings with clients to get their strategy right. \r\nYou will also need to be patient and collaborative with your clients to build trust with them. So if you struggle with working collaboratively with others or managing your time effectively, this may be a challenging role for you. \r\nWhat skills and background do you need to be a marketing consultant?\r\n \r\n \r\nAs a marketing consultant, you'll need to have a mix of soft skills and technical skills to communicate effectively with your clients. \r\nTechnical skills\r\n \r\n \r\nIn terms of technical skills and educational background, you may have an undergraduate degree in marketing, communications, business, or an MBA with a focus on marketing. Ideally, you would have a portfolio that showcases your marketing experience, including successful projects and strategies you have created. \r\nYou may also have expertise in a specific niche of marketing, such as experience working for clean energy companies or creating strategies for online retail shops. You may brand yourself as a digital marketing consultant if digital is your specialty and focus. \r\nYou may also have expertise in the marketing process, including: \r\nCopywriting and communicationBrandingSocial media marketingSEOOnline marketingMarketing automation software like HubSpot, Eloqua, and MarketoPrint or TV advertisingPublic relationsMicrosoft Excel, PowerPoint, Office skills\r\n \r\n \r\nSoft skills\r\n \r\n \r\nCritical soft skills for a marketing consultant include creative thinking, critical thinking, intrapersonal skills, and the ability to communicate data-driven analysis to clients. An effective marketing consultant will also be collaborative and team-oriented, with a willingness to engage in your company's story and target audience. \r\nMany successful marketing consultants have strong empathetic skills and can listen effectively to clients to determine what strategy will work best for them. In many ways, this role requires you to take in the message the company has told its customers in the past, and figure out how you can improve upon this message. Solid listening and collaboration skills will help you do this effectively. \r\nHaving a combination of these technical and soft skills as a marketing consultant will ensure you can create a detailed marketing strategy that considers the company's business portfolio and goals. \r\nWhat are the typical responsibilities of a marketing consultant?\r\n \r\n \r\nA marketing consultant is expected to engage with a company or brand and identify new ways they can connect with new and existing clients. You will evaluate existing marketing at the company, including social media, advertising, and consumer reward programs, to determine their effectiveness in terms of generating sales and reaching the target audience. \r\nYou will also be responsible for shaping the company's new branding, brand identity, and target audience. You may add to the existing strategy, take elements away, or present an entirely new strategy to the client. \r\nAs a marketing consultant, you will help to improve customer engagement with the brand through social media, including creating social media campaigns for the brand. You will also manage email and social media marketing campaigns as well as online advertising using SEO (Search Engine Optimization). \r\nAnother key responsibility is tracking and monitoring marketing analytics to determine any pain points in the marketing strategy, or areas that could be tweaked. As part of this due diligence, you may have to provide online digital marketing training to staff so they can manage the strategy on their own once you move on. \r\nIn rare cases, as a marketing consultant, you may be asked to do damage control for the company if there is an issue or incident that negatively impacts the brand or the company's reputation. \r\nWhy do companies hire a marketing consultant?\r\n \r\n \r\nA company will be on the lookout for a digital marketing consultant if they are struggling to do digital marketing properly and build an online audience for their product. They may need a marketing strategy with short and long term goals so they can grow and thrive. \r\nCompanies will hire a marketing consultant if they need support with monitoring key metrics to determine the success of their marketing strategy, from daily traffic on their website to social media engagement to potential leads. They may also realize there is a gap in knowledge among their staff and need digital marketing training to address this gap. \r\nSome companies hire a marketing consultant because they want to improve their connection with existing clients and feel it is time for them to also expand into new markets to attract new customers. \r\nMarketing consultants often offer specialized skills and experience that is missing at a company or organization and can provide an outside perspective on what the challenges or issues at the company are. They offer a fresh perspective that many companies need in order to improve their operations and expand into new markets. \r\nHow much do marketing consultants typically earn?\r\n \r\n \r\nMarketing consultants often earn a salary based on their experience in the industry. According to Neuvoo, at the low end, if you have one to three years experience, you may earn around $30,000 CAD. If you have 4-6 years of experience, you may earn around $50,000 CAD, and if you have 7-10 years of experience, you may earn around $70,000 CAD a year. Veterans of the industry, with 15 plus years experience, can earn up to $90,000 CAD a year. \r\nHowever, some marketing consultants charge based on the client and the amount of work required for the project. They may charge by the hour or by day to ensure they earn enough for their work. So, for example, if you want to have a take-home salary of $65,000, you would need to charge $250 a day if you work 260 days a year to account for weekends, etc., or $31.25 an hour for an eight-hour workday. \r\nYou may also factor in your overhead costs, such as transportation, an office space, or other business-related expenses and add this to your daily or hourly fee to ensure you cover your costs as a consultant. \r\nHow do you become a marketing consultant?\r\n \r\n \r\nNow that you've learned all about what a marketing consultant does, you might be wondering how you can offer your services in this role. Becoming a marketing consultant can be a great way to create your own opportunities and put your skills to good use. Though you may have the background and the skills, getting started as a marketing consultant and sustaining your career takes a few key steps. \r\nAsk for referrals and client testimonials\r\n \r\n \r\nWhen you first launch into a career as a marketing consultant, you need to stand out from the pack and show potential clients you are worth hiring. Let potential clients know you are trustworthy and accountable by asking past clients to give you testimonials on your website. Try asking for recommendations from past clients or employers on LinkedIn to boost your profile. \r\nGetting referrals and testimonials will help you stay in touch with past clients and potentially get referred to other jobs through your existing contacts. They will also help you maintain and grow your network. \r\nDo your research on potential clients\r\n \r\n \r\nPart of being an effective consultant is always being prepared; after all, you never know when your next client will appear! Keep tabs on clients in your industry who might need your services and stay up to date on any announcements, major news, or changes. Research their top executives and their products. \r\nIf you start to notice a certain company is growing quickly or might be in need of marketing support, reach out to them and show that you've done your research. If you stay in the loop, you'll be better positioned to support them and succeed in your role. \r\nSeek out a mentor\r\n \r\n \r\nWorking as a consultant can be a challenge, as you're often working on your own. Having a mentor can provide a great support system and help you thrive in your role. A mentor can be a great source of advice and guidance. \r\nLook for consultants who have worked in the industry for years and who have the experience you'd like to have. Reach out to top marketing consultants in the industry and ask them to go for coffee or meet up for lunch. \r\nPromote your knowledge and expertise as a marketing consultant\r\n \r\n \r\nCreate a website with a portfolio to promote your work and connect with potential clients. Keep your website and portfolio updated with past projects to showcase your latest and greatest work as a marketing consultant. \r\nYou can also start a blog to share your thoughts and experiences as a freelance marketing consultant to boost your profile and attract new clients. Or you can update your social media with your thoughts on the industry to promote your services. \r\nStay up to date on the latest marketing trends and tools\r\n \r\n \r\nMarketing is a 24/7 industry and is constantly evolving. Impress potential clients by staying informed on the latest trends and tools in the industry, from phone apps to social media management tools. \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\nAs a marketing consultant, you'll be able to help small businesses grow their audience and thrive. Now that you have a better idea of what this role requires, you'll be better prepared to offer your services as a marketing consultant and launch a career.