It’s easy to consult on other projects and see what people need from an outside-in perspective, but it’s sometimes more challenging to figure out what your own business needs. Even as a mid-market consulting firm, you will need to continue to drive your lead generation efforts. You’ll probably be working doubly hard to keep up the pace and provide your business with the constant stream of leads that it needs.
The good news is that it’s not as much “work” as you might think. Finding new clients will be a little different for every consulting firm, depending on what you’re looking for, but the basic tactics are the same across the board. Feel free to try out different techniques and efforts to see what is most effective. Your marketing strategy should be an ever-changing process that grows with your business.
What works for client acquisition now might be different than what worked before, and it will likely change in the future, as well. This is why the experts refer to lead generation and marketing as ongoing efforts. At this stage in the game, five tactics need to be part of your new client acquisition strategy.
Cost: Free, unless you pay for networking events, memberships, etc.
Professional networking is essential to your business success today. There are several different ways that you can put this tactic to work, including attending business events, trade shows, networking events, online forums, and so forth. You can also join professional associations and get your business listed with all the best directories. Today’s consumers make buying decisions based more on reputation than anything. Make sure yours is ready.
Consider a backlinking strategy that will help you build your network and position your firm as an authority within the industry. This will give you even more leads as people see just how much you have to offer. And the best part of this tactic is that it’s completely free unless you pay for trade shows, business networking events, memberships, or other related expenses.
Cost: Free, unless you offer incentives
Word-of-mouth marketing is still the best option for several industries, including professional services like consulting. Potential clients like to hear from other clients that your consulting firm can deliver what they need. There are three main ways that you can benefit from word-of-mouth and you should use them all: referrals, reviews, and testimonials. The latter two are similar, but usually, testimonials are on your website while reviews are elsewhere online.
Whatever you call them, you need to make sure that people are talking about your business, and in a good way. You can start a referral program or include some bonus freebies for those who give you a good review online—find a way to get people talking. You’ll want to make sure that you have a solid review strategy that includes your website, social media profiles, search engines, and business directories so that people can find the firsthand information they seek.
Professional businesses often wonder if they “really need” social media. The answer is always going to be yes, or at least for the foreseeable future. People enjoy social media. They spend hours each day on various social networks, connecting with friends and family, watching funny videos, and sharing memes. They’re far more likely to engage with companies that are also present on social media.
Having a social media profile and doing little else is no longer enough. You have to get engaged and show an active presence on social media if you want to attract the best leads for your consulting firm. Share content regularly, drop links to blogs, interact with clients and other businesses, and so forth.
As an alternative, you can spend a little money here to get your own social media marketing consultant to help you come up with an effective strategy, but that’s not required.
In the business of consulting, people want to know they’re working with the best. You should take the time to position your consulting firm as an industry authority and make sure that people see you as the best option for your knowledge, expertise, and services alike. You can do this without spending any money by handling your reputation management. Create blogs, articles, and other content to share with people. Get backlinks and build your reputation online.
You can also outsource this process to a professional marketing agency or reputation management firm. They will help you create content and resources that position your consulting firm as one of the best in the industry. They can even help you come up with a regular content marketing and social media strategy to keep this reputation growing.
Outsourcing is changing the way that businesses today operate. Although it’s been around for a long time, many people have associated “outsourcing” with “bad service” because of those offshore companies that are used by some businesses. The reality is that outsourcing is a resource that can change the way that you handle your consulting firm’s communications and admin tasks, and so much more.
When you partner with the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai, for example, you’ll have a 24/7 answering service available so that you never miss a lead. Not just that, though. Our team can also assist with your lead intake, appointment scheduling, and even your live website chat service. Not chatting yet? Maybe it’s time—let us help!