During a time when customer needs are changing rapidly, businesses are scrambling to adapt and respond just as quickly. This is giving independent consultants an unprecedented opportunity to offer specialized expertise in areas that were previously blindspots for many organizations.
With demand for your skills higher than ever, you want to be able to connect with the right clients and projects to take advantage of this unique opportunity. The value you offer must be clear, and your experience should be demonstrated. This is all to say: you must be on point with how you market your consulting business.
To help, we’ve put together a five-part series that looks at different marketing tactics that independent consultants can leverage immediately to reinforce their value and drive business. In this first part, we explore four tips for building your brand—or better focusing the brand you already have.
Building a brand that stands out
Whether you already have an established brand or not, it’s important to refresh your marketing periodically to remain relevant and top-of-mind for both past and potential clients. For independent consulting businesses, this is more nuanced than, say, an ad campaign—but visibility is still the goal.
Nail down your niche
Focus on the unique perspective you bring to projects, as that is essentially the value proposition for your consulting business. By tailoring this to emerging trends—especially in the digital realm—you can better reach prospective clients who are seeking specific skill sets.
Take a look at how past wins can be translated into possible leads. If you have experience with product development, for example, consider how that might translate to value for businesses looking to transition to digital solutions. On the other hand, if your background is in finance, you might want to explore the ways in which you can help organizations deploy lean strategies during a downturn.
Polish your web presence
With the increase in companies that are turning to independent talent marketplaces to flex their teams and pivot their strategies, keeping your BTG talent profile current is a good way to get connected with them when they’re looking for what you offer.
If you don’t already have a professional website, now is the time to put those wheels in motion, too. Research shows that a polished online presence helps establish credibility, and it affords you the opportunity to show, rather than tell, your value to prospective clients. Several plug-and-play site builders, such as Wix and Squarespace, make it easy to get a polished, mobile-responsive consulting site up and running, which you can then use to highlight your talents and attract new leads. We’ll take a closer look at how to do that in part 2 of this series.
Show your work
Once you have a professional site in place, you have a platform where you can tell your story and show off your track record of success. Go beyond just posting your CV—you want to illustrate what’s listed there. If you can disclose the clients you’ve worked with, display their logos or wordmarks proudly, as it helps establish social proof and build trust with prospects.
Whether you can disclose past clients or not, there are plenty of additional ways to show the value of your work. A particularly effective strategy is to share mini case studies, where you describe the support you’ve provided and use metrics to prove your results. And don’t forget to highlight any collaborative and/or tailored solutions you helped deliver. Direct engagement is something you can offer that the big firms can’t.
Go social with your brand
With COVID-19 keeping everyone isolated, people are glued to their screens. A recent report from Global Web Index found that nearly half of all U.S consumers now turn to social media for their daily news. Your potential audience has never been more captive.
Overall, your primary social media strategy should be to extend your influence by posting shareable content. It’s smart to shape your content to fit the channels you choose to focus on, and it’s doubly smart to employ multiple channels. LinkedIn posts, for example, are at their most shareable when they offer thought leadership and professional experience, whereas Facebook and Twitter are better suited to direct interaction, commentary, and visual storytelling.
Social media’s main attraction is its ability to facilitate interaction and encourage feedback. Use that to your advantage by asking your audience questions related to the topics you’re posting about. Short video posts are another easy way to share compelling thoughts while giving your audience a glimpse of your personality.
Building a strong brand takes time and effort, but right now it’s an investment that has the potential for immediate returns. The key is to develop a strategy that is consistent yet adaptable to changing business needs. Next in our series on how to market your consulting business, we’ll dive deeper with concrete ways to demonstrate your expertise and establish yourself as a thought leader.
About the AuthorMore Content by Emily Slayton