How to Create a Marketing Plan for Consultants & Crush your Competition
Learn how to grow your consulting business with the right marketing plan. Practical tactics, growth hacks, and tools to help you scale.DOWNLOAD TEMPLATE
We all know how hard it is to hustle as a digital marketing consultant. You have so many pans in the fire and have to juggle them all without getting burned. You have to find new customers, send out contracts, chase payments, make sure everyone is satisfied, and still have time to service them all.
Probably the hardest part of the equation is customer acquisition. Every consultant needs a comprehensive marketing plan template to get all their strategies in order and execute them well.
In this post, we break down the entire marketing process that's required to grow a consulting business. Here are the top strategies you should use to market yourself.
Let's dive in.
Identify your target market
Who are your ideal customers?
Create a customer persona for different types of target customers that you're trying to reach. Describe the characteristics, interests, demographics, and unique needs of each of your customer personas.
Differentiate your service from the competition
If you don't differentiate your offering, your value proposition, you will get eaten by your competition. It's super important to be able to describe your unique value proposition in one sentence.
What makes your company unique?
Think of your ideal customer and identify the problem that you are solving for them. Are you able to execute faster or better than other companies? Do you have access to a unique talent pool or a specific technology that gives you an edge?
Establish your online presence
It's super important to establish your business online as soon as possible. You don't want to wait on that because first impressions are really important. When someone hears about you they will go online to check you out.
And most likely, they will land on your LinkedIn page.
If your social media profiles aren't optimized or if there isn't any content about you online then they will likely move on to another consultant.
Here are some of the best ways to establish your online presence.
Claim your local listing on Google
Claim your Google profile and optimize it. Add your name, address, phone number, and get your customers to leave some reviews. It will also help with your SEO consultancy efforts and give you a better standing with Google.
Create & optimize your social media pages
This is pretty self-explanatory. Make sure that all of your social media pages are optimized, look good, and are ready to attract potential clients. Use effective tools to schedule posts on a regular basis and respond to every comment and message that comes in.
Invest in graphic design
Don't be cheap on the graphics. Get a graphic designer on Fiverr or a similar site to spruce up your pages. If you have the budget for it you should create and only post branded images to all of your social media profiles.
Use graphic designers for your pitch decks, which is a slide deck for your potential clients. Look snazzy but also stay true to your brand.
Here’s an example of a slide deck we did about Facebook ads.
Establish yourself as a thought leader
You may be asking yourself - what do I do with all this social media content? The answer is that you have to use it to strategically position yourself as a thought leader in the industry. Here's how to do it.
Create lots of video content
It's 2022 people, blog posts aren't enough.
You have to stop being camera shy and make some videos! Studies show that 86% of marketing professionals already use video as a marketing tool. 78% of them say that videos have directly helped them increase sales and 86% of them say that videos helped increase traffic.
Video content is much more personable and ranks better on social media platforms. It also lasts longer, especially if you put it up on YouTube or re-purpose it as podcast episodes.
Create viral LinkedIn posts
Our very own marketing survey showed that LinkedIn is the #1 place marketing leaders go to learn marketing and get new ideas. Look up what other industry experts or influencers are doing on LinkedIn and see what strategies you can glean from them.
Here's a list of high-level suggestions:
- Spend 30 minutes daily commenting on other peoples' posts
- Publish a post 2-3 times per week
- Learn how to write viral LinkedIn posts
Here's a great process Josh Fechter did to reach 25M+ views on LinkedIn in only 4 months.
Speak at local events and conferences
Written and video content is not enough.
You should also participate in events and conferences (both in-person and virtual). Go to networking events to create new partnerships and meet potential clients. Host an event and invite all the top influencers in your industry. Attend local meetups regularly.
Get featured in thought leadership articles
Last but not least, get featured in expert roundups, written interviews, and thought leadership articles on online publisher sites. Leverage the connections you've made with industry experts and influencers (from all those videos and events you've been going to) and see if any of them would like you to publish a guest post on their blogs.
You can use a tool like PressHunt to reach out to relevant journalists and pitch them your business and your expertise. You can also use a platform like HARO but it will take significantly more time to get published. Alternatively, you could DM various content editors of relevant publications on LinkedIn and see if you could contribute a piece.
Offer a referral program
Referrals are an incredible marketing strategy for any business because they convert better than regular leads. We all know this instinctively when we ask our friends to recommend products or services to us, and are more likely to buy that product based on that recommendation.
Studies show that:
- 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know
- Referral leads have a 30% higher conversion rate than leads from any other channel
- Customers referred by a friend are 4X more likely to buy.
If you do this right, your referral program could get you the most ideal clients.
Pro tip: Don't just depend on your customers for referrals. Use Slack communities to meet other marketers, make friends, and ask for referrals.
Establish partnerships with other businesses
Partnerships are a great way to get more leads for your business. You can partner with another marketing consulting firm that has different competencies than you or a bigger marketing team and share leads with them.
Host events and webinars with other industry leaders and launch giveaways or promotional events together. These kinds of partnerships are a great way to build a community of like-minded people.
For example, here’s a partnership we did with Storetasker, a Shopify development platform. If their clients need marketing help they go to us, and if our clients need Shopify dev work they get to work with an expert developer through Storetasker.
Join associations and online communities
One of the challenges of being a marketing consultant, in any industry, is that you often lack community. Joining local associations as well as online communities is a really powerful way to find mentors, make partnerships, and get more referrals.
How do you find these communities?
- Search for slack groups
- Join Facebook groups
- Join Discord spaces
- Connect to LinkedIn influencers in your niche
- Look for your local associations
Here’s our very own Slack community we created for our expert marketers.
Write all this down in a marketing plan
Don't let all these marketing efforts go to waste. Write them down in a detailed marketing plan. It's like a business plan that's specifically for your marketing campaigns.
A digital marketing plan should include:
- Your marketing goals
- The general marketing strategies you will be employing
- Specific marketing tactics
- Your marketing mix (each marketing channel and type of content you'll be using)
Optimize your marketing strategy at each level of growth
Your marketing plan shouldn’t be a static document. It should change and expand as your business grows. Make sure that you write down the things you’ve tested and the results you got for each tactic and marketing channel.
Go above and beyond for your clients
It’s much easier to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one. So make sure that you go the extra mile to service your customers. Send out regular NPS surveys to see how satisfied your customers are, jump on regular calls, and make sure that everyone is happy.
Also, make sure you ask your happy customers for reviews and publish them on all the relevant review platforms for your industry. It will help you get more clients and scale your business.