7/21/2020 0 Comments
To build a robust consulting business, focus on outreach and content marketing.
You became a consultant to be of service, to use your hard-earned knowledge and experience to help your clients thrive. Every new client is an opportunity for you to lean into your expertise and make a difference. But how do you sign those new clients? How do you create a robust consulting business that provides you with meaningful work as well as a substantial income?
Content marketing alone is not enough.
When you provide relevant, useful content that helps your audience address the challenges they are facing, you demonstrate your expertise, expand your influence, and increase your impact. Content marketing helps your audience see you as an invaluable resource. It plays a vital role in your business development efforts, but it is most effective when it supports and is supported by a focused outreach effort.
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as:
"[A] strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action."
It’s easy to focus solely on content marketing when you’re building your business. It doesn’t require you to put yourself out there, and the fear of rejection is a lot lower when you publish an article to your blog than when you engage a prospective client in conversation. But a passive approach to business development will not get you the results you seek. To consistently and predictably build your consulting practice, you must actively engage in business development.
Content marketing is most effective when paired with focused outreach.
Focused outreach is the foundation of your business development efforts. You must find your audience and engage them in meaningful conversations. Start by making a list of prospective clients. Join a relevant association, research companies and join groups on LinkedIn, and see if your public library has a subscription to AtoZDatabases, a searchable database of businesses in the United States.
Online networking can be incredibly effective if you follow-up with the people you meet and actively build those relationships. LinkedIn is a powerful tool that makes it easier to connect and engage with your audience through posts, comments, and direct messages. As you get to know people, take the relationship offline and invite them to schedule a one-to-one call to get to know one another better.
These conversations strengthen your network. They also provide you with invaluable information about your audience’s most significant challenges and how you can help them address those challenges. Ask questions and listen carefully. Then use those conversations to craft content that speaks directly to your audience’s needs.
Focused outreach informs and propels your content marketing program. In turn, content marketing strengthens your outreach efforts.
According to Tobin Slavin, one of the founding partners of SalesMAP, engaging your audience in meaningful conversations is the first step to accelerating your business development. Content marketing is the second.
An effective content marketing program:
By finding your audience and engaging in meaningful conversation, you deepen your network. By listening carefully, you learn what your audience needs at each step of the buyer’s journey. By following up with your audience and sharing high-quality content that speaks directly to their needs, you transform business development into an act of service.
How are you building your business this week? If you’re stuck, commit to putting together an initial list of 50 prospective clients. You could research various companies online or start with your LinkedIn connections. Share your goals with us in the comments, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.