Does anyone have any suggestions on marketing a services business, particularly a management consultant's service?
A consulting business may be delicate or quite tricky to market. It's like selling your skills to the skillful, your expertise to the expert especially for top level management consulting. So how do you recommend a consultant market their services? What is the most effective and what has not usually worked?
Give it away!
The best way to get people to pay you is to give what you know away (but do it smartly). Here's an example:
I wrote an article on here a little while back. How to get traffic to your website without 1st page Google rankings. WOW! now that is something a lot of people want to know. So - I tell them what you can do to achieve this. BUT...I don't tell people HOW to achieve it. This is the difference. By sharing the WHAT, I establish my expertise. The HOW establishes the paycheck.
Hope this helps and makes sense.
Hi Frank, this is a really good question! A lawyer might answer "it depends..." and in this case I think that's the right approach. If you are asking on your own behalf, that might result in a different answer than if you are an internet security consultant, or an industrial chemical safety consultant. It depends.
A common theme though, is to answer some of the questions a potential client would have, in advance.
"How do I know the consultant is an expert in this field?"
"How can I be sure I won't be wasting my money with this consultant?"
"What if this consultant gets it wrong? Will it hurt my business?"
A different question for the consultant services business, is whether they are fishing in the right pond. How do they (you) know?
Providing upfront answers to these, in any context of marketing, will help open the door to a more fruitful discussion. What can you 'give away' as part of your marketing campaign, that would already be useful to any of the target customers you have identified? If you can give away something good, clients can get an idea of what you could do for them and choose to engage.
What works - being seen to be an expert in the field and recommended by others
What doesn't work - networking with other similar consultants in the hope of a referral. e.g. Forget BNIB etc., unless you are an accountant or a similar 'local service provider'.
I hope this gives you a few ideas of your own, and also prompts a few more answers for you, too.
We market through the web, we volunteer our time to small business centres, and networking with the right professionals who refer business as well as customers. Traditional marketing like cold calling, direct mail, traditional advertising we found does not work as someone needs to be "ready" for consulting and in a lot of time are in trouble and are not going to "be sold to". They want to find what is right for them. Inbound marketing works a whole lot better where they can find out about you, your expertise, and skills without interacting with you first. They feel more comfortable approaching you versus the other way around. You still have to market yourself - just in a very different way.
As an independent consultant, networking and referral work the best for me. As for networking, I utilize my own networks as well as the professional online community (e.g., LinkedIn) to first introduce myself via messaging and to see if i can schedule a call with them. It's been working pretty well but I have to admit it may be because I'm in an consulting business that does't' have too much competition yet (e.g., I'm a behavioral economist who consult on research and business strategy).
I also gave a talk recently on the topic related to my expertise at regional conference and it created some leads.
The only real thing that will make you marketable is to walk the walk and talk the talk
in other words don't be the consultant that says "I'm will help you build your business but lack you the ability to build you own"
it will show thru...this might help ...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34cOXw46biI
Play to your strengths. Give your consultancy of the topics/skills/services you know 100% through and through. Base your clients on your expertise and they will come back for more.
Just my thoughts
Demonstrate what the added value in knowing the market updates those really worth investing your time and follow them, and find out the speed and the priority of implementation of own unique measures
I would focus on a blanketed digital integrated marketing campaign. Please feel free to contact me to further discuss opportunities and suggestions concerning marketing a service-based business.
the best way is marketing services business is through networking and recommendations. You need to create a PR approach and develop relations. The best way is to penetrate the lobbies / guilds.. once you get a break-through then you can get further projects through references.
Frank, I am in the midst of doing this. Give me a call to chat if you'd like. I am about to launch my website today, so tomorrow would be better. BTW, I developed my website myself using wix.com...in retrospect I wish I had used wordpress.com instead, but oh well. If you are interested, please go to my LinkedIn page (Mitchell Bolnick) to find my contact information.
Reach the audience thru SEOs and a smart web. It pays to invest in having a great simple website. 3 second rule-you have 3seconds to capture the audience's attention on your website. A further 7 seconds to keep them wanting to read more on your web pages.
There are many rules of thumb on how to do this, what to show, and how much to reveal.
My business is not developing websites, it's how to startup your business, elevate success and resell.
Start building case studies of companies you have helped. If you are just starting, do it for FREE for a couple, then start charging but build case studies. Consulting is a referral game because from a marketing perspective it's a very noisy place and unless you have a huge marketing budget, tough game. With that said, naturally you need the main pieces of marketing collateral in place, professional pieces but they don't need to be big and expensive just brief and attractive. Less is more. Lastly to stand out, get dialed into the new technology / marketing with social media and now mobile media because that makes you relevant and modern. a sharp mobile app with your brand can give you a unique separation from the crowded consulting space. Best Wishes.