- To promote a consulting business effectively, establish a good brand identity, and showcase a differentiated value proposition.
- Implement a good mix of inbound and outbound efforts while marketing your consultancy.
- Identifying unmet needs and tailoring your services to address that will make promoting your business easier.
A study shows 87% of clients’ trust is most important for purchasing consulting services.
Therefore, a significant role of promotional activity for any business is to build trust first.
And this is essential if you want clients to adopt your services.
Initially, a potential client wants to know…
- What do you offer, and how can that help them to overcome their pain points?
- How many others have already adopted your services?
- Why should they choose you?
If you prove your business to be a trusted and authoritative firm, you will easily promote your business to the right audience and make more money!
- Promote your consulting business: Step-by-step process explained!
- 1. Define your unique value proposition
- 2. Identify your target audience
- 3. Establish your brand identity
- 4. Distribute valuable content effectively
- 5. Participate in networking events
- 6. Incorporate outbound marketing
- 7. Offer free resources and consultations
- 8. Referrals
- 9. Partner with complementary businesses
- 10. Create thought-leadership content
- Frequently asked questions
Promote your consulting business: Step-by-step process explained!
You will need a good mix of inbound and outbound marketing to market your consulting business.
It includes everything from researching audiences to creating targeted thought leadership in your space. Such a defined process ensures more business opportunities with the most promising clients.
Let’s start with our step-by-step process to help you successfully promote your business and acquire many clients.
1. Define your unique value proposition
The very first thing you should do before you jump into promoting your business is to determine your skills and services.
It would help to recognize what gives your business an edge over your competitors.
Mention why a prospective client should consider your consulting services over your competitors.
Determine how your business will solve a customer’s issue and what benefits you’ll offer once they utilize your services.
With these pointers in mind, establishing a clear statement in your proposition will help you stand out from your competitors.
“Mention the years of experience and showcase customer testimonials to finetune your business proposition in that space.”
To define your UVP, you must;
- Conduct market research on your buyer persona
- Make a list of all the features and benefits of your service
- Choose or highlight the features that are most suitable to solve unmet needs
- Include your USPs (unique selling points)
- Combine all the points into a short, crisp sentence.
- Write several versions and take the best one as your UVP.
For example, Oliver Wyman, one of the fastest-growing management consultancies, has leveraged an interesting statistic in the sub-text that immediately incites trust from visitors.
2. Identify your target audience
There can be various attributes to look at while determining your ideal target audiences, like demographics, psychographics, and buying persona.
When targeting B2B clients, consider the size of the company (small, medium, large, or enterprise level) you want as your client.
Then, determine the location you want to cater to.
After you’ve done this, you can move to demographic factors such as age, gender, educational level, and income.
Create a hypothetical persona based on demographics and pain points to use as a ground on which you make all your promotional decisions.
Here’s an example of a persona for a digital marketing consultant that targets small businesses struggling to increase their online presence.
You now have a standard persona template for your business.
With it, you clearly understand your most promising customers and can tailor your approach to nurture and convert them effectively.
Here are some benefits of establishing an ICP for a consulting business.
- Targeted marketing: Consulting businesses can create more client-centric content resources that will give you a boost in promotion.
- Improved sales performance: Focusing on prospective clients increases the chances of closing more sales.
- Customer satisfaction: Enabling personalized marketing and sales efforts leads to customer satisfaction.
- Max ROI: Targeting ICP will maximize your ROI (return on investment).
3. Establish your brand identity
Brand identity refers to all the elements that showcase a company’s visual aspects, such as the color, logo, and design brand’s message.
Gaining trust is the ultimate goal of establishing brand identity.
But how does trust relate to brand identity? Trust is one of the factors of a good brand image.
Even though the brand image is perceived differently from the brand identity, they are correlated subjectively.
Customers may not recognize your brand without a brand identity and will therefore consider alternative services.
Let’s assume you’ve gone toothpaste shopping at your nearest department store. Naturally, the first thing that comes to your mind is Colgate. Right?
Three brands of toothpaste are available on the shelves, Colgate, Crest, and Close-Up. Regardless of your preference, you always think of the toothpaste brand instead of the word “toothpaste.”
That’s brand identity.
To create a memorable brand identity,
- Define the values your consultancy can provide: Give customers a clear idea about your company’s mission and vision. They should be able to differentiate your services well from the rest.
- Insert your brand voice into your content: Identify the best tone and voice that resonates with your audience.
- Follow strict brand guidelines: Visual elements such as logos, font styles, and color palettes should be standard in all your company’s assets and media.
- Develop an excellent social presence: Post the latest industry news and tips consistently on social channels where most of your ideal audience is active.
LinkedIn and Facebook are the best platforms for consulting businesses to share valuable information and attach links to blogs and case studies.
4. Distribute valuable content effectively
When your marketing goal is to popularize your consulting business more effectively, you must create valuable educational and promotional content.
I believe you should always create content with your customers in mind.
As Ann Handley says, “When we create something, we think, will our customers thank us for this?“
Stop making content about you and create content to satisfy your readers. That’s what most content marketing experts like Ann Handley say.
Identify what can be helpful to your target audience.
Every business is different; what works for your competitors might not work for you. Also, every business differs in terms of budget and resource aspects.
Once you’ve decided what type of content your consulting firm should create, start making efforts in this direction and leverage it fully.
Here are three effective content distribution channels your consultancy can utilize.
Content distribution channels
|Type of media||Examples|
|Owned media||Website copy, blogs, articles, social media profiles, posts, emails, and newsletters|
|Earned media||Customer reviews & testimonials, social media shares & mentions, word-of-mouth, and referrals.|
|Paid media||Display ads, PPC ads, social media ads, and influencer marketing.|
- Owned media
Any content posted on your website and social platforms is owned media. It includes blogs, social media posts, landing pages, e-books, whitepapers, and videos.
Blogs: You can cover a wide range of information on various topics. Include information about common challenges faced by your audience with their respective solutions. E.g., Create articles in ‘how-to’ formats.
With blogs, you can link back to your service pages or any specific landing pages where the visitor is more likely to convert.
Showcasing your services and their benefits impressively on your landing page can help you successfully promote your consultancy.
E-books: These work as great lead-generation magnets. In addition, it provides in-depth information to people searching for a related term.
Use them as gated resources on your website with catchy titles to get leads and promotion hand in hand.
Whitepapers: A highly informative document generally contains factual evidence that helps influence key decision-makers. It is a suitable option for discussing your specific service in detail.
Here’s an example of the kinds of whitepapers FTI Consulting, Inc. leverages. They established themselves as experts and thought leaders by showcasing insights and solutions to specific problems.
Newsletters: Leverage weekly newsletters to your email list. The newsletters can contain the latest industry trends, tips, product updates, and information.
You can practice email marketing lead generation if you have insufficient contacts in your email list.
If your readers found your blog helpful, you’ve attained success in some way toward promoting your consulting business.
Social Media: Create content for specific social media channels your audience is active in. Marketing your brand to all social platforms is ineffective.
So, create consistent valuable content that is both entertaining and informative and post it only on the right channels.
Podcasts: The US has the highest number of podcast listeners. The number of active podcast listeners in the US alone is predicted to cross 100 million this year.
So, leveraging podcasts in your content marketing plan is a great option.
Meme marketing: This is another way of talking about your brand through social media from an entertainment perspective. That’s meme marketing!
- Earned media
If owned media is your content, earned media is the link-builder to your owned media.
It includes unpaid promotional gains like social media shares, retweets, online reviews, mentions on third-party sites, etc.
If you’ve published quality content, you can expect likable well-earned media.
An example of earned media, Charlotte Business Journal, features Rapidops in the top 5 fastest-growing companies among 50 others in the US.
- Paid media
It includes any type of media you pay to promote. Paid media promotions are quick and reach a vast number of targeted audiences.
The other purpose of paid media is to increase traffic to your website and social media accounts.
You can use paid media to inform your audience or persuade a visitor to take a specific action.
You can accomplish that with the help of PPC, Facebook, or LinkedIn ads.
Display and video ads are some other common ad formats that work well.
5. Participate in networking events
Networking events can present tremendous opportunities for promoting your consulting business.
You can answer questions on a challenging topic, provide solutions, or teach your audience something new.
Here are three ways to establish your expertise and simultaneously acquire engaged and warm leads right off the bat.
One advantage that events offer is the vast amount of interested audiences.
Only people interested in your service would attend your event and learn more about what you offer.
In fact, you can showcase your services, talk about your services or educate the attendees about a particular topic in your industry.
Building interest this way can help you acquire new leads and build a brand identity.
For a boost, run advertisements that target a similar audience to your followers and get more people to attend your event.
Ensure to plan an itinerary to keep the attendees interested and engaged.
Share the location and time of your event on social media to inform your followers about the event.
Webinars allow you to provide industry-related information for free. Also allows you to upsell.
Talk about a specific issue that your potential clients face and are facing. Then, make the content relatable and present solutions that effectively solve your audience’s challenges.
Remember, the goal of a webinar is to provide information first and foremost. So don’t make it obvious that you’re only hosting the webinar to sell.
Also, don’t try to sell or pitch your business until you convince your attendees that choosing your consultancy is the right decision.
Want the maximum signups for your webinar event? Try these…
- Create a catchy and informative page for an upcoming webinar and pop up once any visitor lands on your website for maximum signups.
- Shoot an email with a signup link for your upcoming webinar and track the results.
- Run a social media ad to promote your upcoming webinar with the values it will deliver.
It is imperative to make your webinar exciting and engaging to meet your agenda.
Here are a few tips to make your webinar successful:
- Play videos of customer testimonials that have given positive feedback. It builds trust among your attendees and positions your consultancy as a credible source.
- Encourage participation by requesting attendees to answer questions and polls. Try to keep the session entertaining by also providing fun facts and statistics. It increases the chances of them remembering you.
- Offer takeaway handouts or resources that they can use after the webinar. It could be a checklist, guide, or a link to a helpful article or video that provides more information about the topic you discussed in the webinar.
Ensure that your attendees get value from your webinar, as only they will remember you.
Attending industry-specific conferences related to your niche.
People gather to discuss and talk about a particular issue or topic.
Here you can find potential businesses to partner with.
If a business is complementary to yours in any way, that is a sign of a potential partnership you can take.
Here’s how you can leverage conferences:
- Hire a speaker to represent your brand at presentations.
- Sponsor a conference in exchange for talking about your brand during general presentations.
- Panel discussions include experts, so try to speak at such discussions.
- People generally ask questions to panel speakers and may also interview them later. Here you can answer people’s questions and show your expertise.
- You can set up a booth at a conference to showcase your services and testimonials.
6. Incorporate outbound marketing
While some companies include outbound efforts as part of their marketing strategy, others with weak outbound marketing strategies may not utilize this approach.
As per a study, 32% of marketers say outbound marketing is on par with inbound marketing for lead generation. See the pie chart below.
Therefore, you must not neglect outbound marketing strategies, as they can help you in promoting your consulting business with the same efficacy.
- Cold calling
That makes an average of 65% of buyers who prefer phone call connections and will meet with the seller.
So, cold-calling isn’t dead yet and is still one of the most effective ways to initiate a sales discussion.
- Cold email outreach campaigns
Aside from calls, you should incorporate cold email outreach campaigns into your marketing efforts.
If you have some information for a particular email, consider personalizing emails and the subject lines and then delivering the email.
Targeting with direct mail containing a highly personalized message tends to give higher open rates.
The more often an email is opened, the better its likelihood of being read.
Make sure you’ve stated the business value your consultancy provides. Keep the email short and on-point. Add CTAs, and a good email signature to let them know who sent it.
However, these factors alone don’t guarantee that your prospects will read your emails.
You must create a visually appealing email and arrange each element correctly.
Creating an effective cold email requires proper research on what your prospects do and their role in the company.
Following up with them consistently and acquiring clients is another matter. That’s the only way to reap the benefits of your outreach efforts.
A good mix of 4-7 cold email follow-up sequences gets 3x more responses as compared to campaigns with less than four emails per sequence.
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7. Offer free resources and consultations
Promote free resources and consultations on your website and social media platforms to attract potential leads.
You could also provide free or low-cost consultation services.
Utilize web forms to ask for a visitor’s email in exchange for your free resources.
Depending upon your business requirements, you can ask for more information.
Here are 8 lead generation form examples you can take inspiration from.
After getting enough leads, you can begin your sales follow-up efforts to promote your services.
A referral is another outbound marketing option to generate traffic to your website and simultaneously get more leads.
According to a Nielsen Media Group Study, 88% of global respondents trust recommendations from known people.
Additionally, it’s a great way to generate extra revenue as well.
BNI members worldwide have generated over $20.6 billion in revenue over the past 12 months with referrals alone.
With referrals, you get added trust when a happy client has spoken to someone on your behalf.
Here’s how you can leverage referral marketing for your consulting business to get new potential clients:
- Ask for referrals or create referral programs
If your past and current clients are happy with your services, you could ask them to refer to your business.
Have a clear picture of the type of clients you’re looking for.
For example, let’s say you provide cloud migration services to B2B and B2C companies.
You could say, “Hey, Stacy, do you know anybody looking to migrate their IT infrastructure to the cloud? If so, would you please consider recommending my business?”
Decide what incentives you’d like to offer.
Create pages where customers can sign up for your referral program and get their links.
Send automated emails with a referral link and the benefits to customers who recently bought your services.
You can also create a reminder campaign for clients who haven’t referred a friend yet.
- Incentivize them
Offer rewards or coupons to previous clients who have referred you successfully.
An email automation tool can help send bonus emails like shopping coupons or other bonuses.
With an email automation tool, you can set text reminders upon successful referrals and automate emails to the referral source.
Here’s an example of what an automation journey would look like for the same.
Let your work speak for itself. Customers will always share valued work with their network.
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9. Partner with complementary businesses
Partnerships can give your consulting business access to new clients and geographical locations you could not access before.
Many prospects may want to utilize services similar to your offerings, but most are too busy or unaware of your services.
Partnering with other businesses or consultancies could help you reach a broad audience and market your services.
With it, you can diversify and expand your consultancy services. Sharing resources with other companies could help reduce costs.
Let’s say you offer IT strategy consulting services for B2B firms.
You can partner with a marketing firm to market your services at reduced costs, and in turn, you can provide technical support for their IT infrastructure.
This way, you’ve shared your resources and enhanced each other’s business. It also helps reduce overhead costs by a significant margin.
Moreover, partnerships can influence a 60% larger deal size. In addition, it allows businesses to collaborate on digital transformation, product innovation, and client experiences.
For instance, on March 15th, 2023, TCS partnered with Envestnet Data and Analytics for innovation opportunities and to deepen client relationships.
Potential businesses your consultancy can partner with
- Startups: If your business specializes in emerging technologies like AI or ML, you can use your expertise to help startups navigate their digital landscape and optimize their business processes.
- Strategy consultants can provide startups strategic advice on decision-making, goal planning, and data analysis.
- NGOs: Partnering with an NGO can enhance a business’s brand image across various health and education sectors.
- Corporations: You can increase your brand recognition by collaborating with well-known large corporations. This partnership’s secondary benefits include access to human capital resources and technology.
- Government agencies: Your business will be able to work on lucrative government contracts. Partnering with government firms is one of the finest ways to increase credibility by leveraging a broad audience.
- Educational institutes: A wealth of research is available to educational institutions where you can work together on research initiatives and promote innovation to address particular business concerns.
10. Create thought-leadership content
The entire purpose of thought leadership content is to become recognized as an expert. Plus, you can use it as a go-to resource in your field.
Why did I bring up thought-leadership content as a promotional strategy?
Because through thought leadership content, your consultancy will receive an added layer of trust, and potential clients will start recognizing you as a brand.
With such content, you could also increase your chances of being mentioned in media reports.
In addition to that, you can establish your blogs as reliable and knowledgeable resources.
- Increases interested audience exponentially
- Demonstrates you as an established and differentiated source of information
Further, TL (thought-leadership) blogs contribute to establishing brand identity.
Here’s an example of a few thought-leadership articles by Rapidops, packed with value.
Rapidops has confidently shared its opinions on the manufacturing sector as a consulting company specializing in digital transformation.
The first step to promoting your consulting business is to find the right audience and then use specific content distribution channels.
You build trust and authenticity in your space with the right content properly distributed through the right channels.
Apart from publishing content on websites and social media, perform outreach through emails and calls to help customers recognize you and build a good brand identity.
You may never know which cold prospect could become a warm lead.
Many C-level executives prefer phone calls for sales reps during the initial stages. So be sure to incorporate outbound efforts.
Participating in networking events and conferences is a great way to find warm leads and distribute your knowledge to a small business or independent consultant (business, marketing, or sales consultant).
Leverage social media marketing fully to drive leads for your sales pipeline as everyone is present on either of the platform.
Without prospective clients, your business or consulting career won’t grow. So, promoting your business to drive ideal clients to your website is critical.
Frequently asked questions
Where can I promote my consulting business?
1. Utilizing distribution channels
- Owned Media – Landing pages, blogs, case studies, newsletters, social media content, emails, videos, and podcasts
- Earned Media – Social media shares, and third-party review sites
- Paid Media – Run Google and social media ads
2. Leveraging networking such as organizing or participating in events, conferences, workshops, and webinars.
How do I get more clients for my consulting business?
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