52 Ways to Market Your Consulting Business

Most consulting business owners say to me that their number one challenge is getting more clients.

And to get more clients means you need to get noticed. You need to get your message out there. You need to attract your ideal clients. 

However, for the B2B consulting business owner, that doesn’t mean having tens of new clients every month. 

For many B2B consulting businesses, it is quite possible to achieve 7-figure revenues with no more than a dozen active clients each year. 

The challenge, of course, is finding those clients. The right clients. The clients with good, long-term potential.

The problem is that many micro, small and boutique consulting businesses are chasing the wrong clients! 

They're defaulting to selling to businesses that are of a similar size.

It’s like a comfort blanket. They feel an affiliation. 

But what they're really struggling with is fear.

Fear that a big firm won't be interested in their services.

Fear that they're not good enough to serve a big firm.

Fear that they won't get noticed by a big firm because they don't have a big marketing budget. 

So they stay small.

They network with small businesses. They sell to small businesses. And they make small revenues, on low day rates, working for really demanding clients.  

What consulting business owners really want!

All of that said, when I asked the consulting business owners in my Facebook group and LinkedIn group what they’d rather have:

More clients providing roughly same average revenues each OR more revenues from existing clients? 

The majority preferred to have more revenue from existing clients. 

That stands to reason, because getting new clients is hard work. 

But you won't get more revenues from small clients because there simply aren't enough opportunities with them. 

Instead, if you target mid and large corporates, you can develop relationships where you have access to lots of opportunities over very long periods of time. Decades even. 

However, for that to happen you first you need to get their attention. And the best way to do that is to focus on the problems that they face, rather than the services that you offer. 

52 options

In this article I’m going to explore 52 different ways that you can market your consulting business in your quest to find new mid and large corporate clients.

That’s one for each week of the year - not that I suggest you implement all 52. 

During the time that I’ve run my consulting business, I’ve deployed 44 of the methods outlined in this article. There are undoubtedly others that I haven’t tackled, and new ones that will come up in future. 

If you think there’s one that I should have included but didn't, then do say so in the comment section at the bottom of the article.

The problem with marketing in a consulting business

In consulting businesses the problem I see the most with marketing is that it's an ad-hoc affair. It’s done because someone says it needs to be done, or because there's an urgent need to fill the sales pipeline with more opportunities. 

Marketing is simply shotgunned in the hope that something hits, and this can lead to two misconceptions:

  1. A particular marketing channel works great for you - based on the fact that it’s worked once, so it must be good and is chosen above all others!
  2. A particular marketing channel doesn’t work for you - because you tried it once, didn’t get an immediate result, and so gave up too soon

It also leads to the often quoted phrase:

Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, I just don’t know which half.

The quote is from renowned pioneer of marketing, John Wanamaker (1838-1922).

But let's pause for a second. It's a quote about marketing from a person who died nearly 100 years ago! So does it really have any relevance in today’s world of marketing?

I don't think so. Today you have access to free technology, like Google Analytics, that enables you to be very clear as to the success of your marketing channels. You can track everything. You can even see where on your homepage someone is looking! 

The secret to successful marketing channels

The fact is, every marketing channel can work. Note 'can' and not 'does'. 

Whether a marketing channel is right for your business will require testing. That's why I've personally implemented 44 of the channels laid out below. To determine which ones work. And I can tell you that what works for my coaching business is different to what works for my consulting business. 

Unfortunately, that's contrary to what everyone else out there is saying. 

Before you embark on any marketing initiative you must first determine what your goals are, as without goals how can you possibly measure the effectiveness?

Once you've settled on the right channels for your business, you need to follow the following three marketing success secrets (that I learned the hard way!):

  1. Be consistent: For example, if you’re going to have a weekly newsletter, then publish it weekly! (I’m guilty as charged on this one - a new year’s resolution of mine for 2019) You can't honestly test a channel if you don't follow through. The overwhelming majority of people are inconsistent, which leads to making wild assumptions about a channel's success.
  2. Be persistent: Despite what many ads on Facebook and LinkedIn will promise you, there is no silver bullet marketing tactic. The reality is that each and every one requires persistence before it pays off. Although there are some that have a much greater chance of success
  3. Be patient: Good things come to those that wait! You’ll be tempted to tweak and change because you lack the required patience. Set a timeframe that’s honest and reasonable to test a marketing channel, which is probably 3-6 months. Most people don't want to hear that because they leave marketing until it's too late. It's those businesses that are relying on referrals and luck!

The List

You've stuck with me this far so let's get into the list. It's difficult to categorise the channels because there’s so much overlap. However, I’ve done my best to create some form of grouping, which is as follows:

1. Linkedin Profile

2. LinkedIn Company page

3. LinkedIn Group (owned)

4. LinkedIn Groups (others)

5. Linkedin Published Articles

6. Linkedin Advertising

7. Linkedin Inmail 

8. Facebook Public Profile Page

9. Facebook Company Page

10. Facebook Private Group

13. Facebook Groups belonging to others

11. Facebook advertising

12. Facebook Messenger Bots

Other social media

14. Twitter

15. Instagram

16. YouTube

17. Medium

18. Quora

Podcasting

19. Podcast

20. Appearing as a guest on a podcast

Website

21. Website

22. Blog 

23. Guest blogging

24. Lead magnets

25. Infographics

26. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

27. Chatbots

28. Google Ads 

Webinars

29. Live Webinars

30. Evergreen Webinars

Email Marketing

31. Email newsletter

32. Cold email

Networking

33. Attend networking events

34. Joining a formal networking group - BNI, etc. 

35. Join local groups like the Chambers of Commerce of Institute of Directors

36. Toastmasters

37. Create your own network

Events

38. Exhibiting

39. Run your own exhibition

40. Run a training event

41. Give a talk

Hitting the phones

42. Cold calling

43. Telemarketing (i.e. outsourced cold calling)

44. Warm calling

Traditional marketing channels

45. Referrals

46. Publish an article in print media

47. Advertise in printed media

48. Direct mail

49. Billboard advertisement

50. Publish a book

51. Sponsorship

52. Business cards

Conclusion

So there you have it - 52 marketing channels for the B2B consulting business. 

If you apply all of them in your business, do let me know as I’ll apply to get you a knighthood or damehood!

This marketing topic is a beast can easily become overwhelming. This is not helped by all the promises of immediate success in the ads that we see daily on Facebook and the likes. 

The truth is, every consulting business I’ve ever worked in or supported through coaching, has defined a mix of marketing channels that is appropriate for them and their firm. 

It’s not especially relevant what others are doing as every business is unique. Although there are some fundamentals that no B2B consulting business should be without. 

It’s also important to recognise is that there’s no such things as free marketing. Whilst distinctions are often made between paid ads and ‘free’ activities, like blogging, the reality is that they all take a lot of time to create and maintain, and they all need money in one way or another. 

For example, every blog article I produce takes around 1 day to write, edit, review and distribute. That’s 20% of my working week! From a consultant’s billable cost, that's an opportunity cost of £60k+. 

It's for that reason that you need to choose marketing channels that you can sustain, and that are effective.

Effective, that is, to get you in front of those mid and large corporates where there are the greatest opportunities for you to hit your business and revenue goals!

And, as I said at the beginning of this article, regardless of which channels you use, you need to be consistent, persistent and patient!

Want to see what other consulting businesses are doing?

Participate in our marketing survey and see what other consulting business owners are doing here.

Need help getting more clients in your consulting business?

If you’d like help ensuring that your marketing is effective this year, then click the button below to schedule your free breakthrough call. 

Images courtesy of Unsplash and the following photographers:

Melany Rochester

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