What works best when it comes to marketing for consultants? If you are already a consultant or thinking of becoming one, your first major challenge is to determine exactly how you will find your first clients, or even just your first client.
So where do you start when it comes to marketing your consultancy business? What is the best method of marketing for consultants, and by best I also mean one that does not cost you a fortune but will produce new clients for you – and quickly?
The good news is that the best method, or methods, are not expensive. They can take time, but it is time you absolutely must spend if you plan to run a thriving consultancy business, and I assure you that will be much more fun than running a failing one (and I speak from experience of both sides of the fence).
The main point is always to start from the position of your clients, and my own very short and to the point marketing definition will help you to do this: Clients First!
So whatever type of consultancy business you are running, or intend to run, think about what your clients will want or need to see from you before deciding to engage your services.
At this point please let me save you a lot of time and stress. You may well have read before now that there are two types of marketing for consultants or for businesses generally, the type of marketing where you try to win an instant instruction for your services, and the type where you generate leads, helpfully called lead generation.
Lead generation or instant contact marketing for consultants?
What you may not be sure of is which type of marketing you need to undertake for your consultancy business. In my experience, and I have tested this substantially and at great expense, most consultants should generally target ‘lead generation’.
There is a very logical reason for this, in that if someone is considering choosing a consultant to help them with any aspect of their service, by the very nature of the service it is unlikely to be an urgent or instant requirement but one for which your client is likely to do a fair amount of research.
Contrast the position of looking for a consultant with someone who is looking for a heart surgeon, or even a solicitor to move house, when this would definitely call for instant instruction marketing (e.g. call us now on xxx or complete our online enquiry form), but for a consultant it is definitely a case that a prospect is going to take their time to ask you to help them. The reason for this is that they want you to prove that you know your onions before they part with their hard earned profits.
Therefore, you absolutely must be able to offer any prospects landing on your website something of value in exchange for their email address. This will allow you to follow up using an auto responder (email marketing software) until they are at the point where they are ready to buy your consultancy services.
So when I mentioned above the one best method of marketing for consultants, and hinted that it is slightly more than one, this is why. The reality is that you need three key tools in place as soon as possible for your consultancy business;
- An informative content rich website which proves your expertise as a consultant;
- A free gift of value for your prospects in exchange for their email address; and
- An email autoresponder (I use AWeber and love it)
Once you have a free gift of value you can add a download form to a landing page on your website (these are automatically created by most email marketing auto responders so are very easy to set up) and then send some traffic to that page to grow your email marketing database.
I remember setting an initial target of 500 people on my email marketing list and thinking it would probably take forever and that I would probably never get past 1,000, but I hit 500 within 12 months and past 1,000 within the next six months, so if I can do it, I assure you that you can too.
Most importantly, the results of having such an email marketing list are that you can create a steady and consistent stream of new consultancy client instructions.
Email marketing for consultants
Therefore, the first method of marketing for consultants is an email marketing list. I put this first for a very specific reason. It will take you five minutes to get it up and running and as soon as you have it you can start adding the people who you speak with to it.
Websites are vital too for a consultancy business (later), but they take time to create (usually weeks, sometimes months). However, your email marketing list takes minutes to set up but allows you to start talking every week to a growing list of prospects for your consultancy business. You can even start this building this whilst you are still working by adding contacts who could become clients to it.
Start your email list, then start emailing it ideally once a week, but at least once a month.
If you sell a slow burn consultancy service, the sooner you start communicating with your prospects on a regular basis, the sooner you will start getting enquiries for your services.
Fast client acquisition marketing for consultants
If you need clients quickly, either because your consultancy business has not been doing so well, or you are just starting, what can you do to quickly generate new clients?
Well, this depends on whether you already have your email marketing list.
If you do, a simple email asking if your prospects are still interested in “the solution you provide” will make your telephone ring. For me, as a marketing consultant, that email could be as simple as “Are you sill looking to attract new clients to your business?”.
If you do not have an email list, then the good old fashioned telephone is a great place to start. It might not be fun or glamorous, but if you are in need of new clients, you sometimes have to do what you have got to do.
Who will you ring?
- People that you have worked for in the past;
- People who have referred clients to you;
- People who fill into one or both of the two categories above;
- The old radio favourite – “anyone else who knows me”.
Your conversation should be simple and not pushy in any way. If you haven’t spoken with them for a while, just call to say hello and show genuine interest in them. During the course of the conversation you will ask them what they are doing and how it is all going and you will have the chance to say the same about your business.
Strictly no selling, just saying hello.
I have many consultant business friends who do this every three or four months when they want a quick surge of new business. It always works; if you handle the call properly and don’t sell or be pushy.
Website marketing for consultants
Once you have an email list and you have had a ring around to make your telephone ring, clearly the next step is to ensure that your website is up to scratch. It has a crucial role to play in proving your expertise; because that is what you have to do.
Your future consultant clients don’t want an average consultant; they want the best consultant for their needs.
Therefore, your website’s job is to prove your expertise.
It has to have sufficient pages explaining each of your different services, lots of feedback from satisfied clients (if you are a new consultant this will have to be from people who have worked with you in previous roles and sang your praises and any press or media coverage you have had.
It also needs the auto-responder form prominently displayed on every page to grow your email list, and contact details easily accessible when needed.
Google Adwords Marketing For Consultants
Now that you have a good website for your consultancy business, you need to send more people to it. The fastest way to do this is to use Google Adwords. This way, as soon as someone types in a search related to your services, e.g. ‘business continuity consultant’ or ‘sales consultant’ plus your Town or City name, you can appear in front of them.
It is for this reason that Google Adwords is such a powerful form of marketing for consultants.
Grow your website
Once you have a good website, you have to keep growing it.
What is so good about this is that the informative content that you write will serve several purposes:
- It proves your expertise to visitors;
- It tells Google that your website is updated and provides many more opportunities to send more visitors to it; and
- It forms the basis of your email marketing newsletters.
These are pretty much the only methods of marketing for consultants that you will need.
Do each of them well and consistently and they will deliver you the steady flow of new clients that you need to create a successful consultancy business.
How To Grow Your Consultancy Email List
I managed to grow my email marketing list simply by writing articles for my target audience and letting Google do the rest. I didn’t have the budget when I started to try Google Adwords and so I had to be patient, but if you have even one or two hundred pounds a month you should be able to grow your list much more quickly than I was able to.
So do you have a website, a free guide and an email marketing autoresponder in place? If not, you should put this right as quickly as possible. It will be the best investment in yours consultancy business that you could make.
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