Are you a consultant or coach who is looking for more business? Below are 29 marketing strategies for consultants that you can use to get more leads and increase your revenue.
- Four common challenges for scaling a consulting business (or coaching business)
- First things first – determine your marketing strategy before deciding upon tactics
- Build your own platform
- 1. Establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry by writing and publishing thought-provoking content (blog posts and articles).
- 2. Develop a strong social media presence
- 3. Create helpful resources and tools online
- 4. Practise and perfect your pitch
- 5. Build strategic partnerships with other consultants and service providers
- 6. Publish a book
- 7. Create a podcast
- 8. Post videos regularly on Youtube
- 9. Email marketing – send out a regular email newsletter
- Leveraging your existing network
- Leveraging other people's audiences
- 13. Get involved in speaking opportunities
- 14. Sponsor industry events
- 15. Get involved in relevant paid online communities and forums.
- 16. Networking – Attend industry events and meet other consultants who may be able to refer clients your way.
- 17. Ask for referrals
- 18. Guest blogging
- 19. Guest podcasting
- 20. Get featured in the press
- 21. Paid Advertising
- 22. Trade shows and conventions
- 23. Business Directory Listings
- 24. Sponsor a popular newsletter or podcast
- 25. Giveaway Contests
- Cold outreach to potential clients
- Other strategies you might not have thought of for reaching new clients
- Now that you've seen our marketing strategies for consultants, which approach will you use next to grow your business?
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Four common challenges for scaling a consulting business (or coaching business)
Scaling a business is hard. But it’s especially difficult for consultants and coaches because of these four common challenges:
Challenge #1: Marketing channels and industries are always evolving
It’s not uncommon for a social media platform to change its algorithm, which can significantly impact a consultant’s lead flow.
Similarly, a new global event, law, or regulation can make an entire industry obsolete. For instance, COVID-19 caused many consultants to reevaluate their small businesses and Marketing strategies.
Consultants and coaches must therefore be nimble and adapt their marketing strategies as the landscape evolves.
Challenge #2: Cost of acquisition increases when scaling.
In other words, it becomes more expensive to attract new clients as a business grows.
A small professional services firm might be able to get by with a couple of hundred dollars in marketing spend per month, but a larger one might need to shell out tens of thousands of dollars.
To keep marketing costs manageable, it’s important for small business owners to track acquisition costs, explore more cost-effective channels, and measure marketing campaigns for return on investment (ROI).
Challenge #3: More competitors
Competitors are always a threat, but they become an even bigger problem when a business is trying to scale. As a business grows, it will inevitably attract more competitors.
This can make it difficult to stand out in the competitive environment and win new customers. Especially if small consulting businesses are using the same tactics to acquire clients.
To prevent this from happening, they need to continuously innovate. This can be a difficult and costly undertaking, but it’s necessary if they want to stay ahead of the curve.
Challenge #4: Finding the right marketing support
Hiring and building a marketing team is challenging for any business, but it can be especially difficult for consultants and coaches. This is because they often need specialized skills that are either hard to find or expensive to hire.
To overcome this challenge, many consultants and coaches choose to outsource their marketing to agencies or freelancers. This can be a great way to get the specialized support they need without breaking the bank.
The key to outsourcing or hiring properly is to educate yourself on what’s currently working in marketing to ensure you’ll know what to look for and what questions to ask.
Now that we’ve discussed some of the challenges consultants and coaches face let’s move on to the 29 marketing strategies you can use to get more clients.
First things first – determine your marketing strategy before deciding upon tactics
A common mistake businesses make is thinking that tactics are interchangeable with strategy. This couldn’t be further from the truth! A tactic is a specific action you take to achieve your goal, while a strategy is an overarching plan that guides your tactics.
Before we jump into specific tactics, we must have the right strategy in place.
For example, say your strategy is to scale your business revenue by three to five times in the next twelve months. A few potential tactics you might use to achieve this goal are:
Increasing your prices
Adding new products or services
Marketing to a higher-paying clientele
Focusing on a niche market
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing a strategy. It really depends on your business, marketing goals, and resources. But once you’ve decided on a strategy, you can start thinking about which tactics will help you achieve your goals.
Now that we’ve gone over the difference between tactics and strategy let’s dive into some specific marketing ideas you can use to get more clients.
Build your own platform
1. Establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry by writing and publishing thought-provoking content (blog posts and articles).
Is having a personal brand & building influence important in this day and age? Most definitely!
In this short video, the author of Key Person of Influence, Daniel Priestley, shares why personal branding is more relevant today than at any other time.
Independent consultants who are seen as industry leaders at the top of their game know how to leverage content marketing to generate new business.
You can attract more clients by starting a blog and writing articles focusing on the topics or industries you consult. Be sure to include keywords that potential clients would be searching for, and make sure your blog is easy to find on Google and other search engines.
Pro tip #1: Get good at identifying search intent and working out which keywords your prospective customers are searching for online.
Pro tip #2: What you do off-platform is just as important as what you do on-platform. In other words, if you want to be interesting to people, you need to do interesting things. Then share that on your chosen audience-building platform. (Shout out to Amanda Natividad for this nugget)
2. Develop a strong social media presence
Social media marketing on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook groups are great ways to connect with potential clients.
Share your blog posts on social media, join relevant groups (like our private FB group for authentic marketers), and engage in conversations to get noticed.
Now I know what you’re wondering…
“What about Tiktok, Anf?”
Here’s the thing – every business is different, and what works for one might not work for another. Experimenting with different platforms is important for seeing what works best for you and your target audience.
Social media platforms can go away as quickly as they appear, so you have limited time to benefit from them. Remember when Clubhouse was all the rage? Are you still using it now? (Exactly!)
3. Create helpful resources and tools online
An online tool or software that helps prospective clients solve a common challenge can be a great way to get their attention. Make sure you have a call-to-action directing them to sign up for your email list to take advantage of the free tool.
A few examples of businesses that have done well with this strategy are:
HubSpot, a marketing software company, with their Website Grader tool
Moz, an SEO software company, with their MozBar toolbar
Bean Ninjas, an accounting company specializing in supporting eCommerce brands, with their Xero toolkit for eCommerce that includes a profit margin calculator and annual forecast template.
- Dent, a business brand accelerator, with their Key Person of Influence Scorecard. In the video below, CEO Glen Carlson explains the psychology behind scorecards and why they work fantastically as a lead magnet.
4. Practise and perfect your pitch
“You get what you pitch for” – Glen Carlson, Dent.
If you want more people to know about what you do, it helps you get out and practice your pitch in front of a group of people who are in your target audience. There are pitch contests and opportunities to practice your pitch as part of networking groups.
If you don’t put yourself out there and practice, it’ll be harder to attract clients.
Here’s a great two-minute tip from Glen Carlson on drastically improving your pitch.
5. Build strategic partnerships with other consultants and service providers
One way to get more clients is by building relationships with other consultants and service providers in your industry. These relationships can lead to referrals, joint ventures, or even strategic partnerships.
6. Publish a book
Being a published author can do wonders for your credibility and help you attract more clients. If you’re not ready to commit to writing an entire book, consider writing a Kindle eBook or white paper instead.
The key is to provide value and solve your target market’s problem.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Write an eBook on a topic related to your industry
Compile a guide of helpful resources for your target market
Share your expert knowledge in a white paper or research report
- Collect a series of customer case studies and turn them into a book. (One of our clients actually did this.)
Once you publish something, be sure to promote it on social media and on your website. It pays to have a strategic marketing plan for getting your book in front of your target market.
If you want to go the extra mile, consider hosting a book launch tour, and speaking at events or webinars related to your book’s topic.
If you’re interested in the steps required to write and self-publish a non-fiction book and connecting with other would-be authors, I’d recommend joining book coach Natasa Denman’s free Author Your Way to Riches Facebook group. Also, look at the free resources that Grammar Factory Publishing Company created.
For tips on launching a successful and profitable digital product, check out this interview that we did with Steph Smith. Steph shares how she approached selling 1,783 copies of her first ebook.
7. Create a podcast
Podcasts are becoming increasingly popular, so why not start your own? This is a great way to build authority and attract new clients.
Just be sure to choose a topic that will be of interest to your target audience.
Some ideas for podcasts that would be of interest to prospective clients are:
Solo episodes sharing your expert knowledge.
Interviews with other experts in your industry.
Roundtable discussions with clients and members of your community.
Interviews with clients sharing their insights and featuring them as a case study of the results you helped them achieve
A few podcasting tips:
- Don’t forget to promote your podcast on social media and on your website.
- You can also submit your podcast to directories like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher Radio.
- Include a call-to-action in each episode directing listeners to your website, where they can sign up for your email list or download your free resource (lead magnet).
- Follow up email list subscribers with relevant email campaigns and marketing automation to guide interested listeners (subscribers) to sales of your consulting services.
- Podcasts are the ultimate business networking and relationship-building tool. I’ve heard it described once as “3 coffee dates in 1”. Developing relationships with inspiring go-getters, strategic partners, and influential leaders has definitely been the biggest benefit of launching and producing the Authentic Influence podcast. So keep this in mind and make the most of it.
Related resources on how to build a successful podcast:
- How to grow your podcast audience & launch a book ft. Nick Loper of Side Hustle Nation
- How to grow your podcast downloads using the FISH strategy with Charley Valher
8. Post videos regularly on Youtube
Did you know that Youtube is the second largest search engine after Google? Posting videos regularly is a great way to attract more clients and build your credibility.
When creating videos, focus on topics that will appeal to your target market. You can create helpful how-to videos, share tips and expert knowledge, or even conduct interviews with other experts in your field.
Be sure to promote your videos on social media and on your website. You can also embed them in blog posts or create a playlist on Youtube.
You can also collaborate with other Youtubers with a similar target market. This is a great way to get exposure to a new audience and attract more clients.
If you’re new to Youtube marketing, check out this interview that we did with Youtube expert Rob Balasabas. During the interview, Rob breaks down his Youtube content blueprint.
9. Email marketing – send out a regular email newsletter
Email marketing is a great way to build upon existing marketing efforts to keep in touch with your past clients and attract new ones.
It’s a good idea to include helpful tips, resources, and articles in your email newsletter to show your expertise and build credibility.
You know that your newsletter is providing value when you get comments like this:
When your newsletters and emails are viewed as a valuable resource, it becomes much easier to send promotions and offers for your consulting service or coaching program. Just be sure to include a call-to-action (CTA), so recipients know how to take the next step.
Email marketing is also a great way to keep your list subscribers engaged, so they remember you when they’re ready to hire a consultant or coach.
You can segment your list based on interests and preferences to ensure you’re sending them relevant and valuable content.
And don’t forget to promote your email newsletter on social media and on your website! Include a sign-up form on your website so visitors can subscribe to receive your emails.
Want help building an email list? Check out our guide on creating an email list from scratch.
Leveraging your existing network
10. Schedule 100 coffees with prospective clients and referral partners
While online marketing is all the rage, sometimes a good coffee date is all you need to get in front of a prospective client.
Chances are that there are already individuals in your network who could benefit from your services.
Here’s a super cool strategy courtesy of Jenny Vandyke.
By scheduling 100 coffees in 90 days with prospective clients and referral partners, you’ll be able to assess the hot button topics for your ideal clients, explore how you might help solve their challenges, and even get introduced to potential clients.
The goal here isn’t to pitch specific services with every meeting.
Instead, the focus needs to be on quality conversations where you learn more about the person you’re meeting and better understand their individual goals and what’s stopping them from achieving them.
You can then naturally transition to discussing potential solutions (products or services) that you might offer and gather feedback. The key is to listen more than you talk and to be genuinely interested in helping the other person succeed.
This strategy can be especially effective if you focus on scheduling coffees with individuals who are already in your network and fit your ideal client profile. These people already know, like, and trust you, making it more likely that they’ll want to do business with you.
At the end of each meeting, simply ask if there’s anyone in their network with whom you could meet who might also benefit from a similar conversation. If they say yes, great! You’ve just been introduced to a potential new client. If they say no, don’t worry – you’re still building rapport.
This strategy takes time and effort, but it’s worth it if you’re looking to attract more clients.
11. Host regular meetups or exclusive VIP dinners
Don’t underestimate the power of association.
People want to know more about you when you’re the host of the party (especially if it’s an amazing party with influential guests and respected industry experts).
You become the center of attention, and people will start to associate you with being someone who knows people of power and can bring together influential guests.
You can host monthly meetups or exclusive VIP dinners to make this strategy even more effective. This will keep you top of mind, and people will be more likely to reach out to you when they’re looking for a consultant or coach.
Say you’re friends with a well-respected industry expert with a large following (or know someone who can introduce you to one). Ask if they would be willing to do an exclusive interview for your meetup or dinner party. You can also invite other respected individuals in your industry and potential clients.
An exclusive event like this one creates value through the relationships established, networking possibilities, and expertise shared by the key influencers who are speakers. It also allows you to show off your hosting skills and give people a taste of what it would be like to work with you.
Hosting regular events like this is a great way to attract more clients who are looking to work with someone who can open doors for them.
Recommend resource for becoming the ultimate host:
12. Host an online summit or virtual event
Online summits and virtual events are a great way to attract more clients and establish yourself as an expert in your field. You can reach a wider audience by hosting an online event, building relationships with key influencers, and generating leads.
The best part about online events is that they don’t require a lot of upfront investment. All you need is a topic, a list of speakers, and a platform to host your event (like Zoom or Google Hangouts).
To make your event more exclusive and valuable, consider charging a fee to attend or for access to the event recordings afterward. This will help you attract serious leads who are willing to invest in their own development.
You can also partner with other businesses to promote your event and reach a larger audience. By working together, you can cross-promote your events and attract more clients.
Another benefit of hosting an online event is that you can turn all your speaker recordings into a digital product (like an online course) and sell it afterward. This is a great way to monetize your event and attract even more clients.
3 Tips for Getting More People Signing up for your Event (case study from an actual virtual summit)
Want to get more people talking about your event and sharing it with their colleagues? Take a page out of Demand Curve’s playbook for their popular Growth Summit.
Tip 1: Offer a free ticket in exchange for registrants inviting friends. Implement an “invite 3 colleagues to get in for free or pay the full ticket amount” offer on your event registration page. (This is such a clever strategy!)
Tip 2: Make it super easy for registrants to share on social media that they’ve just signed up.
Tip 3: Deliver an epic experience, such that well-respected leaders in your industry tell their followers how awesome your event is.
Leveraging other people’s audiences
13. Get involved in speaking opportunities
Similar to practicing your pitch, getting involved in speaking opportunities is a great way to get more exposure for your business. Whether it’s giving a presentation at an industry conference or being a guest speaker for a webinar or podcast, speaking opportunities will help you build credibility and establish yourself as an expert in your field.
To find speaking opportunities:
Contact local organizations directly and inquire about giving a presentation or workshop.
Reach out to event organizers and let them know you’re interested in speaking
Submit a proposal to speak at an industry conference
Look for guest speaker opportunities on podcasts or webinars
This is an effective way to get your name out there and show potential clients what you’re capable of.
Pro tip: To get the most value out of your speaking engagements, ensure your talks are recorded. This gives you video content that can be repurposed to generate leads.
14. Sponsor industry events
One strategy that worked particularly well for many years for one of our clients, an accounting firm, was to sponsor industry events.
They would choose an event their ideal client would likely attend, and they would sponsor it. As part of the sponsorship package, they included a printed flyer with an exclusive offer for participants in every event show bag. This put our client’s business in front of their ideal target market, and they saw a significant increase in leads as a result.
This is a great way to get your business in front of your ideal clients and show them that you’re invested in their industry. It’s also a way to build relationships with other businesses that may be able to refer you to potential clients.
15. Get involved in relevant paid online communities and forums.
Paid communities are worth the investment because, unlike free groups, the members of paid communities are usually there to take action. When someone pays to be part of a community, that also shows they are more committed to the group, which means they’re more likely to take your advice and engage with what you’re offering.
Paid communities also tend to have better quality content since people are usually there to learn and grow together. They tend not to be filled with spammers and suffer the same problems as free groups.
Getting involved in relevant paid online communities and forums is a great way to build authority, establish yourself as an expert, and attract potential referral partners and clients.
Related: Should I join BNI?
16. Networking – Attend industry events and meet other consultants who may be able to refer clients your way.
Research shows that you’re 24% more likely to gain new customers through in-person networking than online. So it’s safe to assume that traditional methods of marketing like good old-fashioned networking is still one of the best ways to get in front of potential customers.
Some networking tips:
Make a list of relevant industry and local events in your area
Research who the host, sponsors, speakers, and attendees will be. Make a short list of folks who you would be ideal to meet and build relationships with.
Attend the event and introduce yourself to as many people who are on your shortlist as possible.
Also, give yourself space for serendipity – you never know who you might meet and what opportunities may come your way.
Follow up with the people you meet after the event, invite them to meet online or in person, and stay in touch.
17. Ask for referrals
Many consultants and coaches are terrible at asking for referrals, even though it’s probably the easiest way to get more clients.
When you deliver great results to a happy client, simply ask them if they know anyone else who could benefit from your services. If they do, offer to make an introduction. It’s that simple.
You can also offer existing clients a referral fee or discount for any new customers they bring you. This is a great way to incentivize them to help you grow your business while also providing value to their network.
Related podcast: Why word of mouth and referrals will never go out of style
18. Guest blogging
A great way to get exposure for your business is to guest post on other blogs. This will allow you to share your expertise with a wider audience and show potential clients what you know. Just be sure to choose blogs that are relevant to your industry, and always link back to a valuable resource on your website to build your email list simultaneously.
By the way, if you work in marketing or have some cool marketing strategies to share with our B2B audience, why not submit a guest article to this site?
19. Guest podcasting
Similar to guest blogging, guest podcasting can work well for attracting new clients. This is a fantastic approach to gaining exposure and teaching what you know to new audiences. Just be sure to choose podcasts that are relevant to your industry.
Don’t forget to direct podcast listeners of any shows that you guest on to your valuable free resource (lead magnet).
20. Get featured in the press
Getting featured in the press is a great way to build credibility and attract more clients.
For example, one consultant leveraged media well by writing an article on a popular website, reaching out to her target clients, and telling them that she had been featured. This resulted in several new clients for her business.
You can start by pitching story ideas to reporters and editors of relevant publications that your target audience reads.
21. Paid Advertising
Paid advertising can work well for consultants if it’s done correctly. The key is to focus on quality over quantity – you want to attract the right kinds of clients who are willing and able to pay your rates.
Google AdWords and Facebook Ads are two popular platforms that consultants use to run paid advertising campaigns. There’s a lot to learn about running ads on these platforms, so it can be helpful to hire someone who is experienced in this area to help you get started.
You can also test LinkedIn Ads, but they’re typically more expensive, and the quality of leads can vary.
Retargeting ads are a type of paid advertising that allows you to show ads to people who have already visited your website or taken some kind of action (such as signing up for your email list).
This is an effective way to get more clients because you’re targeting people who are already interested in your work. We recommend working with an expert to get these set up, as they can be tricky to do on your own.
22. Trade shows and conventions
Similar to conferences, there are three ways to benefit from trade shows and conventions – either as a sponsor, speaker, or attendee.
If you’re a sponsor, your company’s name and logo will be featured prominently at the event, which can help increase brand awareness. You’ll also have the opportunity to set up a booth to promote your business.
Being a speaker at an event can help you build credibility and attract new clients. And if you’re an attendee, you’ll have the chance to network with potential clients and build relationships.
23. Business Directory Listings
There are many online and offline directories that list businesses in different categories. Getting your business listed in as many relevant directories as possible can help you attract new clients.
Some popular online directories include Google My Business, Yelp, and others.
24. Sponsor a popular newsletter or podcast
Due to the rise of pay-per-click ad costs, this approach has become more popular in recent years.
You can contact the owner of a popular newsletter or podcast in your industry and inquire about sponsoring their work. This can work well if your target audience is subscribed to or listens to the publication.
For example, if you’re a business coach who works with consultants, you could sponsor a popular podcast that consultants listen to. This would help increase brand awareness and attract new clients who are interested in your services.
You’ll also need to test your offer to determine what type of response you get from your target audience.
25. Giveaway Contests
People love free stuff that’s valuable to them. That’s why contests and giveaways can be an effective marketing strategy for consultants.
You can run a contest or giveaway on social media, your website, or even in-person at events. The key is to make sure that the prize is something that your target audience would find valuable.
For example, if you’re a business coach who works with consultants, you could give away a free coaching session or an ebook on how to start a consulting business.
Make sure to promote your contest or giveaway in as many places as possible to reach the widest audience possible. And don’t forget to follow up with the winners!
Contests are also a wonderful opportunity to partner with another business in your industry. This can help you reach a whole new audience and build relationships with other businesses.
Cold outreach to potential clients
26. Direct mailing
Direct mail marketing involves sending physical letters or postcards to potential clients. This can be an effective marketing strategy, especially if you’re targeting businesses in a specific geographic area.
To ensure your direct mail campaign is successful, start by creating a list of potential clients you want to target. Then, design a compelling offer that will entice them to contact you.
It’s also important to create a strong call to action that tells the recipient what you want them to do next. And don’t forget to include your contact information!
Once you have all of your direct mail campaign elements ready, send it out and wait for the responses to come in.
We recommend using a service like Postage Ninja to help with your direct mail campaigns. They offer discounts on postage, which can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Just make sure you’re targeting businesses that would be interested in your services.
Direct mail can be an effective marketing strategy for consultants, but it’s important to do it right.
27. Cold calling or cold emailing
While cold calling may not be everyone’s favorite, it can be effective if done correctly. Make sure you have a well-crafted elevator pitch and target businesses that would benefit from your services.
Sales coach Hazel Butters argues that there are multiple reasons why picking up the phone is FUN and great for business. At the top of her list of reasons to pick up the phone is having a two-way conversation and the ability to demonstrate and share value.
Cold emails can also be effective for landing new clients.
Cold emails can also be effective for landing new clients.
Want to write cold emails that don’t suck? Watch as cold email expert Laura Lopuch gives a live breakdown of a cold sales email pitch & how to improve it.
In this video, Amanda Natividad of Sparktoro shares how she gets an 80% response rate on cold outreach.
Other strategies you might not have thought of for reaching new clients
28. Volunteering or providing pro-bono work for worthy causes
Perhaps you could allocate some time and resources to working for a cause or organization you are passionate about. This is a great way to build up your portfolio, gain exposure, and make valuable connections.
Doing pro bono work is also a fantastic way to let your clients and community know that you care about more than just making money. This can help build trust and credibility, which are essential for any business.
29. Join the board of a local organization
Joining the board of a local organization can help you network with other professionals in your community. This is a great way to meet potential clients and referral sources.
Serving on a board can also be an excellent way to give back to your community and make a difference.
The amount of time you need to commit to serving on a board will vary depending on the organization. Some boards meet monthly, while others may only meet quarterly or annually.
Now that you’ve seen our marketing strategies for consultants, which approach will you use next to grow your business?
Marketing strategies for consultants and coaches can be summed up with a few main points:
It’s important to understand what services you offer and who your target market is.
Having a strong marketing plan to reach your target market and ensure that you’re focused on the right things is necessary.
It’s beneficial to use a mix of marketing techniques to identify what works best for your business. These may include building their own platform, leveraging their existing network, leveraging other people’s audiences, cold outreach, and volunteering their time and talents.
That’s it for our list of marketing activities for consultants and coaches! We hope you found this helpful and that you can use some of these ideas to attract your ideal customers and grow your client base.
Let us know in the comments which strategies you’ll be using and if there’s anything that’s been working particularly well for you already.
(Blog featured image photo by Andrea Piacquadio)