Once your new business is established, it’s time to start marketing your services to potential clients. After all, if your consulting service has no clients, then you have no business.
But you must remember that selling your consulting services isn’t the same as selling a car or a house – your job is harder because you’re marketing your services to people who may not even be aware they need those services.
Here’s a look at some of the conventional methods favoured by consultants to get the word out about your business:
1. 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 “lumpy envelope” with a gift enclosed, all describing the consulting services you offer.
Here are some tips for creating attention-getting direct mail:
- Personalise your sales message. Use a mail merge program and address each envelope to the recipient by name. In the same way, your sales letter inside the envelope should be directed to that recipient by name.
- 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. Then make it easy to respond or request information. Give your phone number, e-mail address and website URL – and include a postage-paid postcard or envelope, too, so it’s impossible not to get back to you if the interest is there.
2. Cold calls
Another way to reach out to prospective clients is through cold calling, which is the process of contacting prospects who weren’t expecting a sales call from you and trying to sell them on your services.
Most people absolutely abhor cold calling, but when you’re starting a new business, it’s a good idea to try a mix of techniques to land new business, which means you should give it a shot.
There are some ground rules for successful cold calling.
First, be prepared to be rejected. To get at least one prospect to say yes, you may have to make between 20 and 30 contacts with people who have the authority to hire you.
Next, try phoning between the hours of 6 and 8:30 a.m. — it can be a great time to catch someone when they might be more receptive to your sales pitch. Second, practice your pitch, both out loud and in front of a supportive business colleague or friend. Ask for feedback on the effectiveness and sincerity of your delivery, and make adjustments as necessary.
Because traditional advertising can be expensive, it’s important to spend your advertising dollars wisely. Depending on the type of services you offer, it may be necessary to advertise in specialized trade journals or magazines.
In addition to placing ads in the full print run of a publication, you also should consider advertising in any specialty sections that might include a “Consultants Directory” or “Directory of Consulting Services.”
Another useful though expensive advertising tool is your local Yellow Pages. You’ll automatically receive a line ad (consisting of your company name and phone number) in the Yellow Pages when you install a business phone line, but you might want to consider taking a larger ad in the book – people often assume that since you’ve spent extra money on that display ad, you may be more established and even more professional than those consultants who didn’t advertise.
Newsletters can be an effective tool when it comes to rounding up clients for your consulting business. Through newsletters, you can present news of interest to potential clients and remind former clients that you’re still alive and kicking – and available if they need help again.
A typical newsletter published by a consultant 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.
This often-overlooked method of finding new clients is an easy marketing activity. All you have to do is 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.
Ask These 3 Questions To Determine Where To Spend Your Marketing Budget
Stretching your marketing budget is imperative, especially when there aren’t that many marketing rands to stretch.
As you grow your business, it’s important to be creative and efficient with your money. When it comes to marketing, there are a number of cost-effective ways to spend and save your money. So, if you’re worried about marketing on a limited budget, here’s some helpful info to know.
First, great marketing is about highlighting wants and needs and attaching them to desired outcomes. It’s possible to do that regardless of budget — and every company’s strategy will be different.
For example, when my consultancy worked with Dollar Shave Club to grow its platform beyond viral videos, we focused on establishing a unique voice, which led to creating an editorial component. When we worked with Arnold Schwarzenegger on his fitness and nutrition products, we focused on creating a core mission and understanding why he was involved in the product. And when we worked with Four Sigmatic to market its coffees and teas, we focused on customer acquisition and retention.
3 Questions that Cut Through the Clutter
Those projects all started with the same three questions: What is the value and purpose of your product or service? Who is your target audience? And what is the best platform on which to reach them? That’s where you’ll want to invest most of your attention before you determine where to spend your money. (Notice my word choice: Your planning is an investment; where you spend is a cost.)
1. In general, we prefer to use digital campaigns
It’s easier to track what works and what doesn’t. Plus, digital creates multiple opportunities to engage. Think of it this way: 10% of your audience will buy, 10% won’t and 80% will be on the fence. Would you rather have one shot to convince that 80%, or multiple? By retargeting through something like Facebook ads or Google, or even creating a distribution channel like an email list, you can communicate repeatedly.
2. If you don’t have an audience, spend money fishing in small ponds where you know you can get a bite, and then set yourself up to communicate repeatedly
(This is where creating content as a form of acquisition or building an email list can be incredibly valuable.) Depending on your product or service, this could mean a very targeted ad to a small audience on Facebook — rather than attempting to reach millions — or setting up a pop-up shop, or getting a spot at a local farmers’ market.
3. If you already have an audience, turn them into super-fans who will bring their peers into your universe
Identify previous buyers and give them direct access to you through focus groups or calls. Reward them for their time with product or a gift certificate. When you show your consumer that you care about and appreciate them, it not only increases the likelihood of repurchase but also helps them personally invest in the soul of the business. Not to mention, their insights will help you understand why they bought and how to replicate that process.
Whatever you do — and no matter how big or small your budget — keep finding better answers to the core marketing questions and your success won’t hinge on any one platform.
Gen Z Is Coming! Are You Ready?
How do you market your company to this generation?
According to the CNBC, about 61 000 Gen Zers are on the verge of entering the workforce and consumer market in the US alone.
They are digital natives; they have grown up in a world of vines, txts (yes, we know) and internet. Their attention span is shorter than ever, they are more connected than any other generation, and they are brilliant multitaskers. Gen Z is a more tolerant generation but also more cautious; studies have found less risk-taking amongst this group and an increase in thoughtfulness and questioning authority.
So, on the one side of this coin, how do you market your company to this generation?
1. By being transparent
Be upfront about your business, what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. They have lost faith in corporations. Thus, you must stop relying on and hiding behind small print. Yes, you need terms and conditions to protect your company, but when it looks like a miracle weight-loss advert of the 80s (“Eat anything you want just take this pill. Ts&Cs apply.”), you’ll lose customers.
Related: Investing in Young Entrepreneurs
Gen Z consumers want to see you are real; they don’t want models or celebrities but regular people who can assist them in a manner that speaks to them. And they will hold your business is socially accountable. Instead of producing millions of T-shirts at the cheapest possible price, they want local, equality and free-trade, and they want to know what businesses are doing for the environment and society.
Gen Z won’t accept your claims at your word; they want to see evidence in your company culture.
2. By offering options
A jewellery purchasing study has found that most Gen Zers don’t have a preferred shopping platform. What this means is your messaging, availability and culture need to be spread evenly across all contact points – sales, call centres, website and digital advertising. In fact, many Gen Z consumers rely on mixing their contact points.
That being said, they want immediate action. If they see something they want online, they will go to the shop just to have the item right now. More than immediacy, they also want custom-made or made-to-order products and services. They shy away from traditional made-to-stock methods, which creates plenty of room in the production industry.
3. By being forward thinking
We have to always remember what was mind-blowing inventions to other generations are the norm for Gen Zers. They hold brands and businesses to high expectations, and instead of being loyal to brands, expect brands to be loyal to them. As Gen Z is more focused on individuality, they are also proving to be a generation with a high entrepreneurial output. All this shows that they don’t want the norm; they don’t crave what’s new today, they want tomorrow, sustainability and innovation, and they want it now.
On the other side of the coin, how do you attract this generation to work at your company? In much the same way.
1. By being transparent
As much as you are hiring them based on what they bring to the table, so too are they looking at what you can afford them. But, they don’t just want to hear you tell them about the benefits, they want to see it – and they are not after just money. Gen Zers want to be financially secure, but also one that is fulfilling; one where they find purpose in their jobs and company.
2. By offering options
Gen Z employees don’t want to work eight to five, they don’t want to be chained to a desk, and they don’t want to be micro-managed. Give them flexibility on how they want to conduct their work and how they can communicate with their colleagues. Create an understanding workspace for their needs and help them improve their skills – for instance, it’s been reported that a stumbling block for Gen Zers is communication. Growing up with emojis and text messages make face-to-face conversations, business calls and writing emails difficult for them.
Gen Z employees want to work hard and grow their skills. Even though they’re growing up in a super-paced society, they want to climb the corporate ranks at the given speed. What they crave, with urgency, is gaining value from their jobs.
Related: The Z Generation
3. By being forward thinking
They are lateral thinkers, and their creativity is not just outside the box but has broken the box completely. Gen Z is incredibly tech-savvy, and they will challenge the systems and procedures you have in place if these are not providing the needed speed and data required. Thus, they crave to work in an environment where they can push boundaries and ultimately help the company move forward. Hiring from the Gen Z pool can provide you with innovative insights into your business that can grow it towards tomorrow’s giants.
The only way to be sure you are future-proofing your business is by guaranteeing it caters for future customers and employees, by relying on forward-thinking enterprise resource planning software, for instance. Epicor ERP software ensures that their clients stay agile and innovative through trusting top minds to build and develop intelligent systems that open doors for Gen Zers. It’s Epicor’s innate tech-savviness that allows them to visualise the landscape of tomorrow and develop the software to support it today.
Free Sample Marketing Plan Template
You don’t need an MBA to write a marketing plan for your business. While no two businesses are alike, all solid marketing plans need to provide specific information. Use this sample marketing plan template to get you started on the right foot and cover all the essential information.
Your marketing plan should provide a comprehensive blueprint of the business, its market and associated market activity, its position in the market, target and expected customers, offerings, competition, solutions and contingency plans.
Using a sample Marketing Plan Template can save you a lot of time in creating your own marketing plan.
Download a Sample Marketing Plan Template
Use the free templates below to help make sure you’ve covered all the important bits:
Recommended Marketing Reads:
- Smart Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses
- Mega Guide to Online Marketing
- Marketing Toolbox for the Entrepreneur
- The Ultimate Marketing Tool Library for Entrepreneurs
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