June 20, 2024

How to Market Your Consulting Business: 11 Best Practices

Reading time about 13 min

To win new clients and establish long-term success, you need to know how to market a consulting business.

Say you’re a consultant starting a new business. Suddenly, you’re not just a consultant. You’re also the marketer drumming up business and the salesperson closing the deal, all while juggling the actual work you’re getting paid for.

From social media to CRM for consulting, there are many ways to grow your new consulting business. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the best digital marketing strategies for consultants. 

Read on to learn how to market a consulting business, backed by real-life examples.

11 Best practices to market a consulting business

Here are the best strategies to use when learning how to market a consulting business.

1. Research your audience

Surely, you have a good idea of who your target audience is. But do you really know them inside and out? If you haven’t yet talked to a number of people who fit your target market, it’s time to start. 

One way is to secure a few introductory meetings by tapping into your existing network. When you frame these interactions as research calls, emphasize that you’re not trying to sell anything. People are often more than willing to lend a helping hand and share their insights.

As an alternative, consider offering a few complimentary consultations. This way, you’ll engage directly with potential customers, showcase your expertise, and gain valuable data to refine your services and marketing approach.

What answers should you seek from these interactions?

  • Uncover the specific problems your target audience faces in their personal or professional lives. What are their biggest frustrations?
  • Understand what your audience wants to achieve. What are their dreams and ambitions? What do they strive for in the long run?
  • Determine what truly matters to them. What principles guide their decisions? What do they consider essential in their lives? 
  • Learn about their past experience. Have they worked with consultants in the past? If so, what were your experiences like?
  • Discover where your audience seeks information. What websites, publications, or social media platforms do they trust?

Document the findings in a spreadsheet, and try to spot recurring patterns. Use these shared characteristics to create detailed customer personas. Each customer persona should capture a different slice of your target audience, including their demographics, personality, pain points, goals, etc.

Semrush customer persona example

Creating your own customer persona (Source)

2. Focus on one social platform 

To put yourself in front of your prospective clients, you need to pinpoint the platform where they actively seek and engage with brands like yours.

When it comes to social media marketing, it’s tempting to build a presence across every major social media channel. But you shouldn’t. Tailor your marketing efforts instead to the specific format and preferences of users on a single platform.

Currently, there are two major platforms where individual consultants build strong brands: LinkedIn and Instagram.

While LinkedIn remains a go-to platform for B2B networking and professional development, Instagram has become extremely popular among B2C consultants. Many experts in the B2C niche find a more receptive audience on Instagram, as their ideal clients are often underrepresented on LinkedIn.

3. Speak to your customer personas

It’s relatively easy to grow your following by appealing to a wide audience. It’s more difficult to do so when you talk to a very specific group. And however enticing it is to cast a wide net, you need to always keep your ideal customers in mind.

One common mistake that professionals make on social media is talking to their peers instead of their potential customers. Take, for example, a business development consultant who shares a funny joke that fellow biz dev pros love. While it might get a ton of likes, if their target audience is small business owners, it won’t do much to attract new clients.

It’s worth taking this path once in a while to boost your engagement metrics. However, your long-term strategy should be laser-focused on your customer personas.

4. Claim your expert status

Demonstrating your expertise is the key objective of building an online presence. Don’t be afraid to give away some of your valuable knowledge for free.

Remember, what may seem obvious to you as an expert might be valuable knowledge to your audience. Start with the basics and spice up “boring” topics to make them more engaging. Get creative with different formats, from short videos to eye-catching carousel posts. Share interesting statistics from your work, delve into case studies, or offer tips and tricks.

Next comes networking events. Attend conferences, participate in local meetups, and appear on podcasts. This will not only broaden your reach but will also gain you recognition in the industry.

Kevin M. Yates is a learning and development (L&D) consultant with over 11,000 followers on LinkedIn. He regularly participates in conferences and interviews, establishing himself as a thought leader in L&D. 

LinkedIn post by Kevin M. Yates, a L&D thought leader

Kevin M. Yates is a frequent guest at business conferences

5. Build a personal brand

The truth is, there’s tons of thought leadership content on the web. While it’s a valuable component of your marketing strategy, you need something else to stand out in the crowd. You need a personal brand.

A personal brand is the unique combination of your expertise, personality, and values that set you apart from other consulting firms. 

So, how do you build one?

Start by adding your personality to your content. The level of personal detail you share will depend on your specific niche and the platform you’re using to establish your presence. For instance, Instagram encourages more personal content than LinkedIn.

Julie Solomon is a brand strategy coach with over 150,000 followers on Instagram. She mainly posts helpful tips for businesses, stories of success, and inspiring messages. But she also occasionally throws in pictures of her family and makes videos in daily life settings. This helps people feel like they know her, not just her business.

Instagram post by Julie Soloman, a brand strategy post

Julie greeted her followers with a photo of her daughter

Of course, you don’t need to turn your professional account into a family album. But adding a touch of your personality can make a world of difference.

What else makes you stand out? Develop a personal style that sets your content apart. This could be through regular “talking head” videos, a unique design for your carousel posts, or even incorporating a quirky personal detail into your content.

6. Connect with other experts

Substantial follower count won’t come overnight. It will take a long time of posting consistently before you get a substantial follower count. While you’re working on growing your audience organically, consider partnering with other industry experts to accelerate your reach. 

Note: You don’t have to partner with your direct competitors, although networking with them isn’t off the table either. In fact, some competitors might even refer clients to you.

Focus on connecting with professionals in related fields who cater to the same target audience. For instance, if you’re a marketing consultant, you might partner with an in-house CMO for a joint webinar or podcast.

Webinar post on LinkedIn

A joint webinar of a writing coach and a freelance writer

7. Create a simple marketing funnel

Valuable content and a strong personal brand are great for attracting attention. But how do you turn that attention into paying clients?

You need to map out a path your target audience will take from discovering you to actually booking your services.  

This path is called a marketing funnel, and it offers a visual representation of the interactions between you and your prospects that lead to conversion, just like the one below.

Example of a marketing funnel for a consulting business: awareness, consideration, conversion

A marketing funnel for a consultancy business

The three stages of the funnel align with three types of content:

  • Top-of-the-Funnel (ToFu) content aligns with the awareness stage, where your goal is to attract an audience and introduce them to your brand and expertise.
  • Middle-of-the-Funnel (MoFu) content corresponds with the consideration stage, where potential clients are evaluating their options. MoFu content delves deeper into your services and showcases your unique value proposition.
  • Bottom-of-the-Funnel (BoFu) content aligns with the conversion stage, where potential clients are ready to make a decision. BoFu content is more sales-oriented and focused on persuasive calls to action.

While we’ve talked about ToFu content at length in previous sections, it’s time to work on your MoFu and BoFu strategies.

Further reading: What is a Sales Funnel: Stages, Examples & How to Build One

8. Offer freebies

Ideally, somewhere between the awareness and consideration stages, you should be able to capture your audience’s contact information. This way, you’ll stay connected with them beyond the one social media platform and gauge their interest in your expertise.

So, how do you get them to willingly hand over their contact details? Freebies, or lead magnets, are the answer.

A freebie is a valuable resource or service offered to potential clients at no cost or in exchange for something other than money, e.g. their email address. It can be a webinar, checklist, template, newsletter, mini-course, or any other asset that your audience may find valuable. 

Once you’ve made up your mind, you need a form to collect users’ contact information and simple automation to unlock access to a gated resource once the form is submitted.

In Brevo’s marketing platform, you can design beautiful forms and landing pages to promote your freebie. Just navigate to the drag-and-drop editor and craft one in a few clicks.

Newsletter signup form in Brevo

Designing a lead generation signup form in Brevo

You can easily share the link or a QR code that Brevo automatically creates for you, or you can embed the form directly onto a landing page.

When someone fills out your form, their contact info goes straight into your email list and is stored in Brevo’s CRM system. All you need is to set up an automatic email that delivers your freebie right after someone submits the form.

Lead management automation

A lead management automation in Brevo

Now you can create more email outreach sequences to nurture your leads (remember to get their permission for marketing emails on your form) and move them down the funnel. 

Further reading: Marketing Automation for Agencies: The Top 10 Tools

9. Collect social proof

Your words are only as good as the proof behind them. To win the trust of potential clients, you should back your MoFu content with testimonials, positive outcomes, and case studies from your existing client base.

If you’ve helped a client achieve significant results, ask them if they’d be willing to share their success story. Document every piece of positive feedback and don’t hesitate to brag about your achievements once in a while.

But social proof isn’t just about testimonials and case studies. If you’ve won awards, been featured in publications, or spoken at industry events, share these accomplishments.

And don’t wait for recognition to come to you. Chase opportunities to collect social proof, either by reaching out to your clients or applying for speaking engagements.

10. Set clear fees

Consulting services can vary widely, making it tricky to nail down your pricing and packages. That’s why it’s important to establish a clear framework for your pricing structure.

While you can certainly tailor your packages to meet individual client needs, having a baseline pricing structure makes your services more transparent and easier to price when clients come knocking.

Plus, it might be helpful to share a general idea of your fees publicly. This can help filter out potential clients who aren’t a good fit.

11. Simplify the booking process

Don’t make people jump through hoops to book your services when they reach the bottom of the funnel. Set up a simple but user-friendly online booking system that allows them to easily select their preferred date and time and make a payment (if applicable).

For example, instead of making potential clients fill out long forms and wait for a response for up to 48 hours, try using a simple booking landing page. This lets them easily pick a date and time that works for them. You could even offer to take payment right then and there or just offer a quick chat to iron out the details.

Online appointment schedulign system for Revnx Financial

Revnx Financial uses Brevo Meetings  to implement seamless meeting scheduling functionality

With Brevo, you can create a sleek scheduling page that integrates seamlessly into your existing workflow. Allow clients to book appointments at their convenience, even outside of your regular business hours.

You can always send a follow-up email later, but you won’t be losing clients due to long wait times.

Market your consulting business with Brevo’s free tools

Now you know how to market a consulting business. Ready to get started?

Brevo will set your marketing strategy up for success. Set up email marketing campaigns, collect leads, and move them down the pipeline with Brevo’s free sales and marketing tools.

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