Effectively marketing a small business is no small feat. Building an effective brand and selling your services can be a challenging process for all small businesses, especially in a competitive environment. Things are even more tricky when your business is “you.”
Below, we explore eight tips for marketing your consulting business. With a bit of thought, effort, and dedication you’ll be on your way to cultivating a distinctive and respectable brand.
1. Consider Your Personal Brand
When you start out as an independent consultant, it’s important to remember that you are now your brand. There are many new, emerging ways to market yourself to ensure your small business is visible not only on the Internet, but also in your community and among your colleagues. Remember, everything you do, say, or publish online reflects on your business.
2. Write an Effective Sales Pitch
If you’ve done any research on starting a business, you’re likely familiar with the elevator pitch: a concise, compelling statement describing your business. You should be able to give a potential client your elevator speech in no more than 30 seconds. Although this technique may be more common in traditional business, it will help highlight what’s important about your personal brand and share information quickly with others.
3. Create a Professional Website
A credible website is the backbone of a good brand. Your website will likely be the first place potential clients look when they’re researching your credentials, so make sure it is well written, up-to-date, and professional. The quality of your website often speaks to the quality of your work, so be sure to employ professional design help if needed, and ask for candid feedback from friends and colleagues.
4. Prove You Are a Thought Leader
Establishing yourself as a thought leader is one of the most effective marketing tools for independent contractors. Blogging via your own website or through a channel such as LinkedIn is a creative outlet that allows you to share your expertise and reach an audience you may not connect with through traditional marketing methods. Speaking opportunities are another way to promote your name and voice. Reach out to professional organizations, conferences, and local media and offer to share your expertise.
5. Invest in Growing Your Social Network
Social networking has become a marketing force to be reckoned with. What better way to speak directly to people with similar interests and leverage word of mouth referrals to win new clients? To brand your business online, start with LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. Your professional profiles should contain important information clients may need and must be updated with current content. To maintain professionalism, don’t spam your social network contacts at every opportunity. Work to find a balance between sharing what’s interesting to you and what’s related to your business.
6. Hone In On Your Target Audience
Your target audience is the people who have the most to benefit from the services you offer. Take time to define your target audience and to understand their specific needs, where they spend their time online, and what the best ways are to communicate to them. This research will help you focus your marketing efforts towards the people who are the most likely to respond positively.
7. Incorporate Video
Give listeners and viewers a sense of who you are as an expert and as a professional with video content. Engage with followers on Instagram, or create video blogs. By sharing your personality, you can begin to build a circle of trust and drive new clients to your business. For best results, get a friend or colleague to help set lighting and edit for introductions and titles.
8. Take Time to Network
One of the biggest secrets of consulting success is developing a strong network. There are many ways to network, be it attending relevant conferences, local meet-ups, and promotional events to connecting with people online and setting up virtual meetings. Regardless of how you choose to network, be sure to connect with people who have varying interests and levels of expertise. Creating a diverse network will help you spark innovation, collaboration, and creativity.
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