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A few tips for hiring a marketing consultant

I’ve noticed that quite a few buyers are struggling to find marketing consultants. Even though I don’t sell any marketing services myself on this platform, I do have some experience being on both sides so I figured I might share some tips that helped me.

This should also come in handy to buyers looking for SEO services. Buying backlinks, on-page SEO and whatnot is not always the right way to go. You should consider hiring a professional who will outline a proper strategy for you and if SEO is part of it then the consultant will help you find the right gigs.

Disclaimer: Keep in mind that these are just tips based on my personal experience. There’s no extensive research behind it and it won’t guarantee that you’ll end up with a 5-star experience. You still have to use your common sense when hiring freelancers to work on your project :wink:

FINDING THE RIGHT CANDIDATES
This is probably the toughest task because there are hundreds of sellers out there. However, once you go through a fair amount of gigs you’ll start to notice a pattern and eventually a few will stand out from the rest.

  • First, go to Fiverr search - pick the right category and use the filters on the left. Don’t be too specific, use the filters that matter the most.
  • Visual filtering of search results - a professional seller won’t use stock photos or poorly designed clip art cover photos. It’s not a rule, but a marketing specialist knows how to represent their business and it starts with the cover image.
  • Gig description - open like 10-20 gigs on separate tabs and start going through the descriptions. Try to look for a seller who can clearly communicate the value they can offer. Try to avoid sellers promising things they can’t possibly deliver. Red flags are “100% satisfaction”, “unlimited revisions”, “all-in-one service” etc. If you didn’t find anything good, then repeat, pick another 10 gigs.
  • Profile info - check for credentials. For example, have they previously worked with clients you might know. A seller stating “I have 3 years of experience in X” doesn’t mean much. “I have 3 years of experience working with X projects or in a company called Y” has more weight to it, but take it with a grain of salt as none of it is verified. Sellers with their own photo or a professional logo tend to be more trustworthy as opposed to a stock photo of something or someone.
  • Reviews - focus on the quality of the reviews not the quantity. For example, “Great service!” doesn’t mean much. If it was that great then a one-off buyer would have taken more than 5 seconds to write a decent review. Returning clients is actually a good sign as they have already seen the results and wanted more, but you might wish to check their profile as well. A lot of one-off buyers write their reviews before seeing the actual results.
  • Price - you get what you pay for. If it’s too good to be true then most likely it isn’t true. I can’t give you guidelines here as it depends on the service, but use your common sense.

INTERVIEWING YOUR CANDIDATES
Once you have picked out 4-5 candidates, create a template with a set of interview questions. The response time, communication style, quality of answers and questions to you will help you determine who’s the right consultant for you. Your first contact might look something like this.

Hi there,
My name is [first name] and I’m [doing what and where]. I’m looking for a marketing consultant to help me with [be specific and focus on the end goal not the actions].

I’ve read your gig description and I think you might be able to help me with [your primary goal]. However, I do a have a few questions about [summarize in 4-5 words].

  • Ask about their experience working on a project like yours.
  • Ask what they think would be the best approach to achieve the primary goal, but keep in mind that it won’t be a detailed action plan as at this point they know nothing about your business and research takes time.
  • Ask about their work process. (Don’t expect a detailed response because a detailed plan will be outlined once you’ve gone through proper project scoping. The goal is to check if there is a basic process and if it makes sense to you.)
  • Ask questions about the gig description if it wasn’t clear enough
  • Ask for the estimated cost & delivery time

Thank you in advance! I will be looking forward to your response.

[Your name]

EVALUATING RESPONSES

  • Don’t expect detailed answers. It’s an interview, you haven’t hired them yet to work on your project.
  • Focus on how they respond and if they have actually given some thought or just replied with a template.
  • Give them at least 24h to respond. Don’t jump on the first response.
  • Evaluate their use of language and communication style.

FINALIZED PROPOSAL
Once you’ve made your choice, let them know that you’ve picked them and would like to get a detailed proposal/offer. It doesn’t have to be an extensive 15-page document, but it should include

  • high level objectives / deliverables
  • your requirements
  • actions that they will take to achieve the objectives
  • expected results (measurable targets would be ideal, but it really depends on the objectives)
  • communication & checkpoints (with longer projects you need to be able to check-in to evaluate progress)
  • any agreements or requirements to you such as providing additional info by X date.

This proposal will decide your refund eligibility so make sure you dot your i’s and cross your t’s :wink:
Be prepared to fill out a discovery form as some sellers do the project scoping before they make you an offer. Some may list only high-level goals and fine-tune the actions when you’ve placed an order with them.

THANKS FOR READING
That’s it folks, hopefully this comes in handy :slight_smile:
If you decide to comment here then please ask relevant questions or add additional tips. Let’s keep it clean and simple for buyers. Complaints about a specific gig or service in general will be considered off-topic.

19 Likes

I would disagree somewhat with a couple of the interview questions, or rather with what people might consider the answers should be in this case.

This does not mean ask them to explain exactly what they are going to do.
It needs to be remembered that assessing a client and their site takes time to really do properly. To put that in context, I would estimate that 50%+ of the time I work for clients on a consultation is spent actually assessing the site, competition, industry etc and not creating the plan itself. I won’t spend more than a couple of minutes looking at the site or details of a new client inquiry and can give some brief feedback or initial thoughts on that basis, not an in-depth report!

Again, this should be general depending on the price of the gig and not a set step by step breakdown of how the gig will go.

2 Likes

I totally disagree with interview questions unless your project is controversial or you have very specific demands. Most people don’t, so interview questions are annoying.

I don’t know about others, but I’m here to get orders, not to chat with strangers. I’m nice to anyone that messages me because I don’t want account warnings, but that doesn’t mean I like it.

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An interview on a $10 order is silly.
An interview on a $200 order is necessary.

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Agree, that’s a good clarification Eoin.
Under the evaluating responses I did mention that detailed responses will be given when the buyer actually pays for the service, but I will edit the response to make it more clear :wink:

For example, work process could easily be something like “First we will go through a discovery where I ask you to fill out a form so that I can learn about your business & requirements. Then we’ll have a quick call to outline achievable objectives, map out high level goals and once you’re happy with the course we’re taking I will execute the plan. We will review the results in X amount of days and agree on further actions.”

It’s not super detail, but enough to say that the seller has some kind of process in place. They are not winging it and there’s an actual logic behind it :slight_smile:

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Yes we know and now the buyers who find these tips useful know it too.
If anyone should ask these questions from you then you’re free to say that you’re not the right seller for them.

Thanks for your input though.

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Nice “chat” or answering multiple questions often leads to more orders. If you don’t want to talk to buyers, or even just replying with short answers, buyers will realize that you are not seller for them and they will move on.

For example. Potential client message me asking about book formatting. Can you do this in book, or that in book, etc. I always answer them with explanation. If you just say “Yes”, this could lead or to not getting order, or to get order and less star for communication with seller.

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You think all those people charging $100 to $1,000 are getting bombarded with messages?

I never said they wouldn’t. I agreed with most of what you wrote, except for the interview questions.

Besides, sellers that wish to be contacted can say that in their gigs. We should never assume every seller wants to be contacted.

I met one TRS seller who spends 1-hour a day answering messages from the night before, while he was sleeping. Time is a limited resource, and if I was in his place, I’d rather spend it doing orders than answering queries.

1 Like

This post is about hiring a consultant and communication is a crucial part of their service.
A few questions will help both sides to decide if they are a good match or not. You might argue which questions you should ask, but hiring a consultant without even talking to them significantly increases the chances of getting a 1-star experience.

Every buyer has to use their common sense and decide if they follow these tips or not.

If interview questions are important for the buyer and the seller has not said that “don’t message me” it’s a fair game. A seller can respond with “not interested” or specify in their gig description how buyers should or should not contact them.

I doubt that seller offers consulting service and it doesn’t even matter because there are always exceptions. Personal preferences of a few sellers don’t make reasonable tips invalid.

You’re not offering a consulting service. Apples & oranges.
Even if you did, these tips are still relevant in most scenarios :slight_smile:

1 Like

Yes, as a matter of fact, I am – and I do. And many of those initial “messages” turn into sales, and most of those new clients state that the reason they hired me, was because I took the time to answer their questions and talk to them like a Human being.

That’s a great seller. I applaud his dedication to winning the sale.

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Bombarded, no.
Asked questions by interested potential clients before orders are placed for a consultation - yes, almost every time.

Also, how do you think this underlined part of the TRS assessment description correlates with a seller who basically refuses to or clearly does not want anything other than a quick and easy sale?

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Most sellers are not going to say “don’t message me” because they don’t want to appear unfriendly. Also, responding messages takes time, even if you just write “not interested.”

Well, I was a TRS and I didn’t get demoted for the way I treated buyers. Besides, a message-sender is not a buyer, in fact, we don’t know what he is until he proves his intentions.

2 Likes

This is basically what it comes down to.

I unashamedly send over 90% of people messaging me packing. It is clear from their very first communication that they are 99% ego and less than 1% aware of how to put anything which I can provide them with to practical use.

That said, you can tell when a longer, fuller response will be worthwhile. I swatted several ‘I need SEO article’ people away yesterday and responded in a much fuller way to a buyer who then placed a $125 order for 5 articles. - It’s all just about fine-tuning your ‘that’s a catch’ buyer radar and filtering out the ‘this is never going to go anywhere but a lunatic asylum’ buyers.

I see where you are coming from. However, even for a $100 - $200 order, I wouldn’t be willing to go through this kind of interview process FOC.

Personally, I think it would be much better for buyers who need this kind of 1 to 1, to shortlist sellers and then message them saying:

"Would you be willing to answer a few questions like the following?"

Before then saying:

"I don’t mind if you send me a custom offer for $X to make an allowance for your time. Please do not send me an offer, though, unless you are able to answer all questions fully and preferably with examples of any past work which you might feel is relevant."

I realize that some people might disagree with this. However, even a $200 order is just $160 after commission less for international freelancers when exchanging earnings to their own currency.

Of course, this would work best if Fiverr had some kind of ‘request consultation’ feature.

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Once you have answered a couple of messages like this you can then answer future messages within 5 minutes.
It’s not as time consuming as it sounds. Couple of these per day, convert a few of them and get $500-700 from clients of whom 50% generally become regulars for taking an hour per week to invest in it.
In addition, marketing consultations when done well, creates clients who become monthly clients.
5 minutes is a good investment.

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Yay! Another quarter for me!

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I’m not looking to hire a marketing consultant, but I do appreciate the tips. I’m starting to learn how to be a decent seller here, but I’m a complete novice when it comes to buying.

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Like with everything, it’s different strokes for different folks. That said, if you can magic $500 - $700 in 5-minutes out of someone who wants a consultation on a $25 order, good for you.

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Miscommunication/misunderstanding.
Converting just a couple of those messages will give orders cumulatively worth 5-700 per week which then half of become ongoing clients.
All for a total of 1-1.5 hours of messages between all of them.

No, I don’t spend 5 minutes on a consultation for a $25 order. I spend 5 minutes to convert an inquiry into a consultation which is priced from $75-195. THEN for implementing some or all of the plan I charge the relevant amount asa weekly or monthly order.

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I totally agree with you here. I probably don’t spend as much time on consultations as I could because I find myself limited on time and sometimes I literally turn away business. I also don’t think I’m likely to become a TRS with my current efforts and I’m totally okay with that for now.

I think that with the current expectations Fiverr puts on sellers, those who want to achieve or even maintain TRS might have to choose specific business practices. That may include cultivating relationships with almost every potential client. I could be wrong, but that’s how I read the writing on the wall.

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3 posts were split to a new topic: Levels Evaluation Discussion/Rant