marketing, startups

The Ultimate Guide to Effective Marketing for Consulting Startups

13 Powerful Ways to Actively Promote Your Consulting Services and to Attract More Ideal Clients

 

Are you a consulting startup struggling to land more customers? I know how tough it can be to find your first customers, to proof your expertise, and to establish trust. These 13 steal-worthy advices will change your idea of marketing for consulting services and will help you to acquire more ideal customers.

By the way, have you already defined your ideal client? If not, don’t hurry to scroll down yet! My first point will help you to get started.

1. Find your Ideal Client

What type of clients do you want to attract? This question is so important that it has become nearly the first question I ask during strategy meetings with my clients. Later everything what you do in terms of marketing will be based on the answer on this question – from branding and positioning to crafting your main business message. It will allow you to tailor your marketing strategy to fit exactly your ideal customers.

Many consultants think that they’ll lose opportunities narrowing down their key audience. But exactly this step (focus on your ideal client) will make him/her to feel special. If you’re an early stage consulting startup, focus on your ideal client, specialize. Believe me, this is your chance to make yourself a name!

 

Positioning

2. Don’t undersell yourself trying to attract more clients

Consulting services are relatively expensive and they will attract only those clients who can afford your services (think of Apple product – iPhone). In case of consulting – you are the product. Offer your introductory consulting rates only for a limited time aiming to attract new clients. But make sure the ideal client knows what your normal rates are.

Besides, presenting your services as cheap, devalues your service in the minds of your clients.

3. Define your specialty

The more you show difference between your services and the services of your competitors the less you have to compete. Let’s not compete by offering the same thing as someone else. Define further your specialty narrowing it down.

Imagine you have a chain of hairdressing salons for men and this is the only information you delivered your potential customers. In this case you’re not different from other salons in your town unless you make your services cheaper. You won’t be able to compete with the gay friendly salon, the one specializing on rich and single clients, or on curly hair only.

 

How to find your first Consulting Clients?

Ask questions to find out where your ideal clients are.

  • What events do they attend?

4. Do Networking

Get acquainted with as many people as you can. Even if they won’t buy your services, they will probably know people who need them. Print out your name cards and always have them with you. Do not give them to everybody you meet (I hate wasting paper) but just to those people who you believe your ideal clients are. Go and check if there are any appropriate networking events in your city.
I often go to small internations.org events (big events are more like parties and it will be difficult to find the right connections) or XING business dinners.

  • What websites do they visit? – Become a guest blogger.
  • What do they read? – Provide content that matters to your audience. Your articles will generate interest on what you’re doing.
  • What associations are they part of? – Become a member of a relevant group, start actively promote your services there and make useful connections.

5. Organise Workshops & Events

This is a great way to increase your perceived value as a consultant. I do it myself and I never walked away without making at least one sale after the workshop.
My personal example: as my mission is to help startups with their marketing strategy and identity building I invite a group of people (maximum 10) representing their startups. I explain how to develop a marketing strategy and they do all what I recommend step by step. Of course, in the end it’s difficult to do everything on their own and they need my professional support.

Find time to organize small events to win more clients. Usually I make a short presentation and then initiate a discussion. Make a series of events around your industry topic demonstrating your expertise and the value you can deliver when they will start working with you side by side. Events are a great opportunity to meet your potential buyers in person and let them see you in action.

 

Look like a PRO!

6. Optimize your website

  • Your homepage is one of the most visited pages on your website. Leverage your homepage to promote upcoming events, workshops, and webinars.
  • Post an introductory video on your home page. Get in front of your potential customers and tell them why the collaboration with you will be highly beneficial for them.
  • Answer the question “how does the process of consulting work?” on your website. Give them an outline.

Recommended reading: Where to start when building a website?

7. Communicate your expertise in the right way

  • Always talk about benefits! The best you are at communicating what your services will do for your clients business the more deals you will land.
    Let’s answer the question of your customers “what does this have to do with me?” How your consulting services are going to help to improve your customer’s wellbeing, business, or even life.
  • Leave your clients with the feeling that you always know what they need, that they can rely on you as an expert, which listens and finds the best solution to their problem.
  • It is important to convince your clients that you’re the expert (ideally they have to follow all your advices). Why I’m telling this: in the consultant job even in my case (marketing and branding) often happens that the person you’re providing your services for, suddenly starts to feel like a boss and treats you like an employee. Do not let it happen.
  • Let potential customers to visualize themselves experiencing the end result of using your consulting services.
  • By the way, try to avoid telling your first client that he is the first client. Speak of real or imaginary clients you had before and prepare your perfect stories/business cases.
  • Practice refusing to do business with people whom obviously do not fit your ideal client description. Don’t be afraid to refuse the offer, I do it on the regular basis, which saves my time and nerves.

8. Write a book

Many people believe that if person was able to write a book, she must be an expert in her industry. Even if it’s not always true, writing a book helps to establish credibility and trust. Your e-book will be written for those who are not able to afford your pricey consulting services.

9. Speak on public

The fact that you’re on the stage and were chosen as a speaker for an event will already make audience to be interested in your brand. Do not speak just for the sake of your brand awareness. Include a couple of calls-to-action throughout your speech and make them willing to contact you, to do business with you. Demonstrate your client that you’re an expert.

10. Webinars

This is a perfect chance to show your expertise once again and educate your clients presenting in front of many of them at the same time! Try to mix free webinars with the ones you’re asking money for and schedule a full year of webinar dates. Do not forget about the call-to-action (invite them to collaborate with you). To make your webinar successful, make it educational and entertaining, and let your audience become the part of the conversation.

TIP: Choose the right day of the week: do not host your webinar on Monday, Friday and during the weekend.

11. Newsletters

This form of content marketing allows you to nurture relationships consistently. People receive a lot of helpful information for free, which makes them wonder what else you can offer them, if what they already get is of the highest quality.

Have you got a list of subscribers? If not, it is time to take care of it. Building a long and engaged email list is the most long-term profit-generating investment you can make. To attract more subscribers you can offer them carrot content – provide them immediate value in a form of how-to guide, industry report, e-book, template, e-course, discount, etc. Give your buyers more possibilities to subscribe allocating a couple of subscription boxes, end-of-post, sidebar, contact and in-line forms throughout your website.

Send your customers a regular newsletter covering important issues of their industry, giving useful tips, sharing interesting to your audience material (videos, stories, business cases, your promotions, and any other valuable for them information). Make the material you deliver to your subscribers unique and available only for them. If you only share the stories published on your Social Media and on your website, you don’t give them enough reasons to subscribe.

How often to send newsletters out? Do it as you like as long as you’re providing your readers with the information that truly matters to them.

And if your clients can’t wait to receive your next newsletter, you are doing fine.

12. Paid Advertising

Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Google Adwords… If you know how to use paid advertising the right way it can be very effective in generating leads and getting clients but if not… be careful. It is easy to quickly spend a lot of money without making any impact. If you want to find out which type of online advertising will most effectively work for your business and how to setup your campaign the right way from the start, get in touch.

13. Social Media

Do Social Media work well for getting consulting clients? Yes! But only if your ideal clients are there. For one of my clients (men style consulting in Connecticut) Instagram works best simply because his industry suits this social platform and, besides, he has plenty amazing pictures to publish there. He shows the perfectly chosen combination of colours and materials. Will I choose Instagram for my business? No.

Some people find their clients on Twitter, others – on LinkedIn. And, of course, it can be that your customers are not on social media at all…

Quick Take Away:

  • Find your ideal client by asking a question: what type of clients you want to attract?
  • Target your ideal customers when organizing workshops, events and webinars.
  • Do not focus only on giving information; take an action by making a clear offer to your potential customers.
  • Do networking.
  • Optimize your website.
  • Show your expertise by speaking on public and by offering your educational materials (e-books, e-courses, etc.).
  • Build your sizable email list.
  • Take your time to figure out which marketing tactic is the right fit for your brand and for your market.

Are you a consulting startup? If you need help with the promotion of your consulting services so you can land more clients, schedule a strategy meeting with me.

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