6 simple and efficient marketing strategies to boost your consulting business in 2021
Did you know that almost 32% of the consultants say they struggle to get new clients for their business?
Consultants who have around 1-3 clients per year market their business less (only 25% market their business daily) than consultants who work with 6+ clients per year (38% market their business daily).
This shows that the number of clients you get directly depends on how frequently you market your consulting business.
Promoting your consulting business in 2021 might seem intimidating at first. But with the right set of consultant marketing strategies and implementation, you can easily reach the right audience’s ears.
In this blog, we will go through 6 simple yet efficient ways in which you can promote your consulting service to build a client base and increase your income.
Before we dive in,
There are 2 basic things to be kept in mind as a business owner before we get to know and start implementing our marketing plan for consulting businesses.
a. Identify your niche
To make your consulting company successful, you have to be smart to choose who you promote your business to. Targeting the right audience is necessary.
Some factors that should be considered while finding the right target audience are:
- Experience and expertise in the field
- Your prior years of experience in the particular field come in handy while starting out a consulting service.
- Focus on key skills that you should be an expert in (like problem-solving, interpersonal & communication skills, ability to work under pressure, etc)
- FACT: The more the competitors the larger the market.
- Do market research of consultants who are operating in the same locality/area as you.
- Analyze their pricing models, types of clients they serve, etc.
- Your prior professional reputation in a locality matters when you are establishing your business.
- Put your existing network to good use while identifying your target audience.
- Potential client’s needs, expectations, demographics, etc.
All these factors would ultimately determine how you market yourself as a consultant to your chosen audience and also help you define your USP.
b. Define your USP
You have now already defined your target audience and researched about them. The next step is to list the needs of the audience that your business can provide solutions for. This can be done by conducting a short survey on your potential/existing clients.
It is also important to analyze your competition. Identify what your business can do better that can set you apart from competitors. By increasing value to your services, providing credibility, building relationships & trust you can create your USP. Use your USP to develop your own promotional strategies.
So far we have covered the basics on what basis we choose our target audience and how to set your USP. So now let’s jump right into our 6 effective marketing strategies for consulting firms that would help boost your business today!
1. Claim your local listing on Google
About 97% of the people learn more about the company online than anywhere else. 88% of these searchers who search for local businesses on a mobile phone either visit or call the business establishment within 24 hours.
It’s important to have your consulting firm listed on Google. This way, you can help your potential clients find you easily on Google search. You can create a business listing through Google My Business. Google My Business (GMB) is a tool that is free to use and helps your business to appear on Google search results and Google Maps.
GMB lets potential clients see your business information, website, open hours, physical location (on Gmaps), and read reviews from former/existing clients. A strong GMB page means customers can easily reach you, increase your website traffic, and withstand future algorithmic changes.
Once you have created your listing you have to maintain it regularly by
- Writing an awesome and catchy business description
- Keep track and respond to your FAQ and reviews section
After your listing is verified by Google, you can directly start accepting appointments from your claimed listing using Reserve with Google (RwG).
RwG lets searchers who need your services directly book appointments from Google search, website, and maps. RwG lets you add a “Book now” button to these channels from which you can start taking appointments.
You have to have a partnership with a consultant scheduling software like Appointy to let your potential clients make appointments anytime and anywhere via RwG.
2. Establish yourself as a thought leader in the industry
You may already be an expert in your field since you are a self-employed professional, but being a thought leader means producing content that can reach your potential audience and provide them with value.
In the long term haul, thought leadership can reinforce a consulting company’s foundation by increasing its reputation and legitimacy. A well-planned approach with the correct set of ideas can set your path right for achieving your thought leadership goals and make you one of the most influential businesses in the industry.
What can you do as a thought leader?
- Be a trustworthy source for people and businesses in the industry/community.
- You can establish yourself as an industry leader and shape the conversations that take place in your field.
- More access to opportunities and renowned people in the industry.
What type of content can you share as a thought leader?
Here are some most effective ways to establish yourself as a thought leader with your content:
1. Speak and present at events and conferences:
When it comes to generating new business, After referrals, 20% of the consultants chose networking and events to be the next best marketing technique (we’ll talk about referrals shortly)
You have an opportunity to showcase your expertise in the specific industry to audiences who are interested in hearing about them. share some of your skills and update them on several industry trends specific to their industry.
You can present topics based on a specific niche (For example, Social media marketing for management consultants). You could also share a success story from your experience as a consultant.
Make sure to use this as a great networking opportunity to talk with potential clients and several other businesses to form bonds and ultimately increase your influence and credibility.
Another form of content that you can create and promote is by writing and maintaining your own blogs or by contributing to other’s blogs. It lets you share your thoughts and expertise in a written format that can reach audiences in any part of the world and lets you grow your following.
You can get these followers to sign up for your newsletter and make them your potential leads. Providing value and consistent posting are the backbones of building a strong blog readership.
Some blog ideas that you can write for your audience:
- Preview a case study related to your industry
- Share your views on upcoming industry trends
- Share research findings and data
Experiment with your written content and review which topic resonates well with your audience and write your following blogs tailored to the same. You can also partner with bloggers from other industries and share each other’s blogs to expand your audience.
3. Webinars and workshops
You can host webinars and workshops on topics that your audience has been recently creating a buzz about. Webinars can be used to promote your content to people around the world. Conduct FAQ sessions, share industry-based information, Interviews with other industry experts, etc.
For example, if you are a Finance consultant and if your younger audience (age group 18-30) is talking about stalks and investment at a young age. Then you should hold a webinar for the same where you can give them insights and ideas about investment opportunities, how to go about it etc.
Podcasting for your business can be efficient in many ways. Firstly, the audio format is way easier to grasp than video. You can listen to podcasts while doing other things whereas videos need your undivided attention. The production requirements are also comparatively low for podcasts.
It helps you build an audience and provides a ton of networking opportunities while you interview some of the renowned people in your industry. Ultimately, it is a long-term consultant marketing strategy.
Ensure to promote all the content you post and events you attend on all your social media handles. This builds your profile and ultimately increases reach.
3. Use social media to increase reach
The most efficient way in which social media can be used for marketing consulting companies is by building an active follower base, sharing valuable content, and networking with potential customers.
Most of your success depends on which industry you are a part of, how well you connect with people, and the quality/interactiveness of your posts. A good amount of time and effort has to be spent, but you would get fruitful results in doing so.
What do consultants use social media for?
The goal is to use social media to reach more prospects, develop relationships, promote content, and ultimately send potential clients to visit your website.
A website is a tool that helps you with your growth and social media is what fuels this growth.
The ultimate goal here is not to sell your service. It’s more about building connections, providing value, and helping your follower base.
Choose the right platform to post your content
As of now, there are 2 main platforms for consultants worth promoting on.
LinkedIn is best for consultancies to connect with the prospective target audience and hopefully convert them from a new contact to a client by offering value at each stage of the transition. They are also the source of new connections/leads.
Explain what your consulting is all about and what services you provide in your bio. Make sure to list out your key achievements, certifications, associations you are a part of, and testimonials/reviews from current and former clients.
The primary purpose of Twitter is to direct your target audience to your website, podcast, or blog. The golden rule of Twitter is to provide value first and promote only with value.
Twitter, unlike LinkedIn, is a very casual platform. It’s more of a platform where you provide value to your audience, join different conversations, and get a general idea about what your audience is talking about.
Some ways to interact with your network and grow your audience are to use relevant hashtags in your posts, Re-share content of people and businesses in your network, hold Q&A sessions to answer doubts and communicate directly with your follower base, make it more personalized so that people get to know about you.
Type of content to post
Some content types work better for consultants than others. Here are some of the content forms which you can share on your social media:
- Blog posts
- Case Studies
- Podcast interviews
4. Offer referral programs
37% of the consultants agree that referrals are their primary means to get new clients. Consultant referral marketing is a marketing technique that uses word of mouth and recommendations to increase the number of clients through the network of existing clients.
How do referrals work for consultancies?
When existing clients refer your consultancy to someone, you are already halfway there towards meeting your goal! The person getting referred to will get to know about the services you provide and since the referral is coming from a trustworthy source, the person getting referred develops trust in your brand.
Why do consultancies need referrals?
Referrals are an economical way to get new customers for your consulting service. The only expense would be on what you reward the referrer. Here, the client himself/herself would act as a channel for marketing your consultancy and ultimately increase its reputation and build a trust factor since the referral is a word of mouth promotion.
Incentivize your referrals
Incentivizing both ends of the party (The referrer and the person getting referred to) is necessary for this strategy to be effective. Both the party members should be awarded similar incentives. Apart from incentivizing it’s also recommended to appreciate the referrer for their efforts.
Some examples of possible incentives are:
- Could give the referrer a finder’s fee amount of let’s say 20$ and reward the person who got referred to an Amazon voucher worth 15$
- Offer both the parties a 10% discount on their next session.
- Offer a premium E-book for free
5. Co-market with another businesses to expand your presence
Co-marketing is basically a referral strategy but only between other consultancies and businesses. Consultant co-marketing works very efficiently if it involves parties owning a small consulting business or other businesses whose work in a field directly compliments yours.
Why do you need co-marketing?
Assuming you are one of the minor players in your locality’s consultant market and you don’t have a good social media infrastructure, blogs, and a marketing plan. Then apart from promotions, offers, etc., this particular strategy would give an added value. Here, both businesses can act as a promotional channel for each other to boost their business.
What type of businesses can your consultancy business partner with?
- Web designers
- Content writers
- Engineering and Legal consultants
- Marketing and sales consultants
Let’s take an example, say that you run a marketing consultancy then you can choose to potentially partner with a sales consultant in your locality. If potential customers have engaged you for marketing, it’s possible they might need help with their sales too. So you can use these connections to create list referrals from other consultants.
Co-marketing works well for consultants as you can leverage your partner’s relationship to increase your reach, get more leads, and ultimately market your consulting service with very little effort!
6. Join hands with other consultants through associations
Consultant associations bring together consultant businesses from a specific geographical area. They range from associations that are nationwide to those that have businesses in individual neighborhoods, cities, states, etc. Here are some popular consultant associations to join.
What are the benefits of being a part of an association?
- You can keep up with industry trends and strategies and the best practices that other consultancies follow.
- By participating in the association’s governing board, mentorship, and consulting groups, a member has a good amount of influence in the development of the industry.
- Interact with several other consultant businesses and professionals to expand your network, exploring co-marketing opportunities.
- This helps you get contacts at the local, state, national, and even international levels.
- These contacts go a long way while trying to expand your business.
- Enlighten like-minded people in the industry and also learn from seasoned professionals. This allows you to share ideas and also get new ideas from the community.
- Take advantage of volunteering opportunities. Volunteering helps you to increase your credibility and also helps you generate new leads.
- Gain access to several certifications and license programs for career-related courses and certifications from industry leaders. Certifications also increase your validity in the point of view of a potential client.
- These usually contain some professional resources which help in improving skill and knowledge,
- They also include online workshops, conferences, newsletters, etc
Joining consulting associations has several benefits. The resources and services they offer can help you get new leads, manage and run your consultancy efficiently. If you feel that your consulting business is being mismanaged or is struggling then it’s best to take advantage of the expertise and skills offered by these associations.
Consultancies might have different consultant marketing strategies to promote their business. Finding the right set of ideas that work best for you depends on how you like to market your consulting service and the nature of your customers.
Never stop promoting your business and it ensures you a steady influx of customers on a regular basis.
The pandemic has made consultancy businesses become more digitized! Consulting scheduling software, like Appointy, helps in automating manual administrative tasks like taking appointments, processing payments, managing employees, etc hence letting you can focus more on improving your business 🙂
We at Appointy, help business owners grow and run their businesses with our online scheduling software. This blog was a part of our ‘Manage your Business’ category, where we provide expert tips, resources, or simply talk about the challenges that small and medium businesses face every day.
If you have any thoughts on this blog, or would like to chat about your business struggles and achievements, let us know in the comments below.
We love a good talk!