Keys to Success: How Marketing Consultants Can Grow Their Business

Jan 19, 2015 Beth Smedinghoff


For many consultants, while they may not view themselves as such, are actually in many ways similar to entrepreneurs. And like any other entrepreneur, they have to learn how to promote their services and expertise in order to build their businesses. 
According to David Siteman Garland, the author of Smarter. Faster. Cheaper. and the host of the popular web series The Rise to the Top, the increase of consultants is rather easy to decipher and much easier to succeed at thanks to the Internet: “If the car dealer down the road advertised, then you felt you needed to advertise or be left behind. But now, the barriers to successful marketing have crumbled and the Internet has evolved to be one of the greatest places where you can DIYDS (Do It Your Damn Self). You don’t need to be a tech genius or have an advertising degree to hop on the opportunity.”
This is awesome news for consultants. While in the past, they may have outlined a full marketing plan complete with paid, owned, and earned media channels for their clients, it was difficult for them to actually use the same channels promoting their own work – mostly due to cost, timing, and resources. Now, marketing consultants can essentially use themselves as case studies to their potential clients. Here are a few of our favorite ways, via Entrepreneur Magazine (@Entrepreneur):
Direct mail
Direct mail is a powerful way to drum up new business because it’s targeted to exactly the audience you want to reach. You create or rent a targeted prospect list, then send your prospective clients a sales letter, brochure, flier or package with a gift enclosed, all describing the consulting services you offer. Make sure you:

  • Personalize the  message.
  • Put a compelling message on the outside of the envelope.”Free,” “Limited time offer,” and “Act now” are all powerful attention-getters that can induce the recipient to open the envelope.
  • Stress the benefits of your offer, and give all the pertinent details in your sales letter.

Newsletters can be an effective tool that allows you to present news of interest to potential clients and remind former clients of services they may need again in the future:
A typical consultant newsletter will include:

  • News of importance to the industry. You can collect information from a variety of sources, including magazines, newspapers, professional journals, websites, etc. Just make sure you credit the source of each news item you use.
  • Editorials and opinions. Here’s your chance to sound off on a particular subject related to your consulting field.
  • Tips for success. Tell your readers how they can do their jobs better.

By far the most powerful, but often-overlooked method of finding new clients is an easy marketing activity. Wait until you’ve finished your consulting assignment, confirm that your client is completely satisfied, then ask for a referral. Rather than putting your client on the spot, send a note or a short letter thanking them for their business and asking for the names of any colleagues, friends or business associates who might be good prospects for your services. Not only should you be able to trust the individual referring, but the person or company that is referred to you should feel more comfortable knowing someone else they trust has been satisfied with your work.
While there are many ways to market consulting services, the key is to keep it personal. If you have to resort to using paid advertising or “in your face” tactics, then credibility may be lost. Instead, use relationships and do the best work you can – it will certainly speak for itself.
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