If there’s one sector of the consulting industry that has a lot of competition for clients – it’s marketing.
So what are some strategies to help you on your way?
First things first
You need to work out who your perfect client is.
A marketing consultant’s aim is to acquire clients, and develop their brand and sales strategy. But this doesn’t mean you should take on any client. In fact taking on any client can do more harm than good, and really impact your business in the long term.
What you need to do is think about the future of your business; where you’d like to be and the types of clients you’ll be servicing once your business is established. Don’t take on any client just for the sake of having more work. You want to be able to show and prove to future clients that you have experience working with a certain sector. So if you start working with financial clients that isn’t likely to help you get your dream consulting role with the retail giant whose branding you’ve wanted to work with since college.
You need to be selective, think about your own business and how you want to be able to market your marketing consultant business. Think about what kind of clients you want to attract, and where you can find them.
Networking is a crucial step
Networking is at the top of the list when it comes to finding new clients early in your career, or business.
Once you know what industry you want to work with, get to know what networking opportunities there are; meetings, associations, professional development opportunities, and contacts you, or family or friends might already have within the industry.
Your friends and former colleagues are a great place to start and a great source of information for potential clients.
Why not go back in time, and think of how your college probably has alumni events. Connect with them to build professional relationships and potential client leads. Finding contacts that you have common ground with can be really beneficial because there’s already a level of interest, knowledge and at times, trust.
Also, don’t forget organisations like chamber of commerce, service groups or young professionals groups that might host their own regular networking events.
Don’t forget the importance of networking online. Sites like LinkedIn, Meetup, and Eventbrite are a good starting point, and Facebook groups and Twitter accounts can also be a good way to connect with other professionals and grow your marketing consultant business. You might also be able to connect with contacts you’ve lost touch with, including college or grad school alumni this way.
Create a website and portfolio
If someone wants to know about you – chances are one of the first things they’ll do is search for you online. So you want to make sure you have a strong, up-to-date online presence.
A website is your opportunity to showcase your skills, knowledge, and expertise. You have the power to create your own marketing content with industry trends, research, and recommendations or case studies to show your worth. It’s worthwhile investing the time in, especially if you’re starting out and don’t have any large project to share. Address the marketing consultant services you provide, your background and experience, and contact information. You can begin to add a portfolio that showcases your successes, once you’re up and running.
Use your first client to get more clients
If you’ve done the hard work, and had great success with a client use these examples – they are the best advertising a marketing consultant can have. Ask the client if they’re willing to write a testimonial for your website or be a reference. And try to stay in touch with them afterwards. That could just be through email, or coffee or an end of year invitation to drinks. You want to keep these people and successes close to you.
Protect your business
Make sure you protect yourself and your business with insurance.
Professional liability insurance can help protect you from financial loss due to unforeseen circumstances like claims made on your business due to your professional service, for example due to errors and ommissions. It also shows potential clients that you take risk management seriously. Take a look at the Bizinsure website for marketing consultant insurance.