We're a non-profit niche social networking company serving a minority group. We are have a volunteer working on marketing our pending web social network app, however as CEO, I'm looking forward to hire an expert in web marketing tactics mainly to help make our launch a successful one. The main role of the person is with helping us plan with our marketing strategies as well as helping us implement them. We are very hard pressed with resources, what's the best way to hire one which we can afford, at say a rate of $10/hr or even less. I really do not have trust in freelance websites because of the poor quality I've received from them so far.
I just don't think you are even asking the right questions yet.
Are you comfortable with these first? What is the single very clear reason why customers will part with their hard earned cash in exchange for your service or product? What is your uniqueness that defines you within the competitive landscape?
I assume you understand your customers, and how they make decisions, what sources of information they will trust etc? this is not just demograhics but psychographic insights.
now if you have this, when you employ your marketer, you can discuss what your goals are and quantify them. do not abdicate this thinking, this is your start-up! now some forms of marketing are easy to measure in terms of impact. like a TV advert with a call centre number, placed before a certain soap-opera. you can see the increase call rate, measure the change in conversion rate, uptake etc. but lots of marketing is really hard to measure in terms of campaign outcome, (bill boards, and events and merchandizing) so I would suggest two key things.
Firstly, delegate and make him or her accountable for a well defined result over a sufficiently long period of time. Don't be lazy and say something like "$ million revenue in the first 6 months or $ 3 million of sales over 12 months. Instead, you know the your Revenue is actually driven somethig like this: total Nbr Customers x Ave Spend per Customer, but is that good enough? No of course not, instead you will think that total customers is actually broken down over time into Retained Customers - Lost Customers + New Customers and Ave Spend is a function of #of products, frequency of purchase, discounting
Marketing is key to all of these, and the way you incentivise and what you measure will make or break this key phase of your start-up. Measure only new customers, and I promise you you will see compaints being ignored and then existing customers leaving.
Now marketers will sell you a fine story, test this by getting him or her to assume some risk and put some skin in the game. that will keep them honest. reward performance, if they exceed your expectations in a valuable way (you don't want them generating 200 000 calls into your call centre which only has 10 people now do you?) then reward this with a nice variable component. a decent clever marketing person is worth their weight in gold, and will leap at the opportunity. unfortunately there are very few truly good marketers out there. think carefully of whereand how tio actually find good marketers (not your mother's best friend's daughter, not some dumb-ass recruiting agency, .....ha!!)
I have had my battles in this space, and it took me a while as an engineer to realise nowadays, many of the world’s problems are still seen as problems of reality alone, when in fact, if we understand that value has a component of intangibility, the major component of the problem is that of perception.
tell me how is it that a bottle of "spring water", intinsically no better than the water i get out of my tap at home, can sell for more than the equivalent cost of the same volume of gasoline? marketing brilliance!
check out my website where I have lots of free stuff on this. all free for you to use. call me if you need.