Running a consulting business is not easy. Apart from the HR placements, computer trouble-shooting and other miscellaneous activities, you really have to educate people on why they need a consulting business in the first place.
There are plenty of ways to popularize your business, but using internet marketing is still one of the best and most prominent ways to supercharge it. Internet marketing can definitely complement the cold calls, advertising and direct mail campaigns that you undertake to establish your business.
So whether you have just started out with your consulting business or working hard to establish it, here are some sure-fire ways to do it.
You must be thoroughly bored with people telling you content is king, but then there is no other way to put it. Create content — that is the only way to bring people in. Blogs, social media platforms, emails, everywhere you look, you see content. Good content gets shared, and thus, plays a major role in building brands.
If you are a startup consultant and people are not aware of your services yet, this would be the best way to get them to sit upright and take notice. The more quality content you produce, the more credibility you are going to enjoy with your target readers.
Content marketing is an integral part of internet marketing, so it’s absolutely essential to have a proper content plan in place. Your content plan must answer the following questions:
Content that is inspiring, helpful, and solves a problem will resonate with your target audience and get more eyes on your business. For more information on content marketing and how it will benefit your business, I recommend you check out one of our earlier articles: The Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing.
Freebie marketing is a great way to rope in a new audience and get more people interested in what you have to offer. You can publish a short eBook or whitepaper and offer it free of cost.
It doesn’t have to be extensive, just a brief publication related to your industry will suffice. Since it is free, it will gain the attention of your target audience and pique their curiosity.
The key is to give people a glimpse into your consulting business, emphasizing how the knowledge and expertise you possess can help them overcome the hurdles they face. You can also use the freebie as a lead magnet, so people have to sign up with their email IDs in order to get access.
Since a free resource is likely to get shared a lot, you will see an exponential increase of email subscribers that you can reach out to with your products and services.
Publishing a book is no longer a daunting task. You can write and release a book or eBook covering important aspects of your consulting niche. This will not be a free resource but a paid one which will help you establish yourself as an authority on the subject.
You can publish a paperback through a book publishing site or even your website. Another option is to release a PDF/Kindle version of the book, like I did for my eBook, 31 Days to Start an Online Business.
These books help readers understand your niche and the extent of your knowledge. Your name on print establishes you as an author and gives you more credibility. And as a bonus, the book becomes a passive income stream for your business.
This must be one of the oldest tried and tested methods of advertising, and is still one of the best. Even top consultants do it — emails are the best channels for communicating with the right people. The pop-ups that you see in other websites are by-products of websites trying to collect email addresses of their visitors.
Lead magnets help you capture emails and build a solid database, but it doesn’t end there. You need to keep the communication going with your subscribers.
Once they sign up for your free resource, set up a sequence of emails that are periodically delivered to them. You can nurture the relationship, and build it up in such a way that you can eventually promote your business and pitch them some sale offers.
Once your subscribers know they can trust you to help them, they will be more likely to try out some of your products, or sign up for your consultation services.
Partnerships can make or break your business, so it’s important to choose your partners well. You should be on the lookout for related businesses with whom you share a target audience.
For example, a web design company can partner with an SEO consultant as they share the same audience — people who want to use their website to boost their business prospects.
You can reach a mutually beneficial agreement where you share potential leads or become referral partners. You might agree to refer people periodically to each other’s business. Another option is revenue sharing, or giving the partner a small commission for each referral that results in a sale.
Exploit all the online platforms to establish your business and grow it. Using main platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram and others is the most cost effective way to attract more customers. Learn how to use these online platforms to the best of their abilities so you can benefit from them all.
Spend time to grow your network with the help of strong followers. While people say that strength lies in numbers, it lies in quality as well. It would certainly be good for you have 200 very strong followers than 1000 average followers in your networks.
The challenge in running a consulting business is to get good clients, and the most important challenge is in maintaining them. You need to be attentive on social media to find out what your audience is looking for.
Maintain the flow of conversation with your audience on social platforms, so you can understand what their needs are, the problems they face, and thereby identify how you can assist them.
If you run a consulting business then LinkedIn is a major resource to tap, because you can have your own company page and a personal LinkedIn page. Together, these two accounts can help you get closer to your customers. LinkedIn can help you brand your company, build important connections and expand your network.
But that’s easier it’s said than done. It is imperative that you study and research how your market will be using LinkedIn to reach you. Just having a profile on LinkedIn and a list of groups is not enough.
You need to find your customers and analyze their profiles. You can use LinkedIn as a lead generation tool as well and explore the main modes of communicating through LinkedIn.
They broadly fall into these five methods:
Most companies do not realize that they need the services of a consultant, but with internet marketing it is possible to get across to them and make them understand it is important.
Interested in supercharging your consulting business with online marketing? We can assist you…
Get ready to take your business to the next level. Lots of free resources, worksheets and eBooks to help you get started.