You’ve made the decision to work with a marketing consultant, or are giving it very serious consideration – fantastic news, well done on taking a vital step towards improving your marketing strategy and attracting more business! But there’s just one teensy fly in the ointment – you’re not entirely sure exactly what to expect from your shiny new consultant, so how will you be able to tell if they’re doing a good job of marketing your professional services? And, how will you know if you’re getting the right return on your investment (ROI)?
All marketing consultants are different – they each have different skills and experience and will have their own approach, but broadly speaking, there are some common marketing techniques that any consultant worth their salt will employ when marketing a service business. It’s important to get to know your consultant a little too though – you’re going to be working quite closely and spending time in meetings with this person (even if they’re only on Zoom), so try to choose someone you can get on with – someone who has the right level of skill and experience, but is still approachable and friendly.
Marketing your consulting and professional services business
So let’s get down to the detail – the actual tasks and activities that a marketing consultant will carry out for your business – how they will actually ‘get marketing done’ for you. While it depends on the specifics of your business, here are some of the typical things a marketing consultant will do to kickstart the marketing for your consulting or professional services business:
- Get to know your business and your target customers, and assess your position in the competitive market by carrying out some initial research.
- Review and assess your current marketing activities by carrying out a marketing audit.
- Develop a strategic marketing plan which includes strategies to build brand awareness, attract new clients, retain existing clients and achieve your business goals.
- Critically assess your business’s brand identity and strategy, and make recommendations for any updates required. If a refresh is needed, they should be able to source and brief the right designer and project manage the delivery of the work. If you don’t have a brand identity yet, they’ll help develop one that fits your business.
- Review your website, then either scope out a new one, or plan out any revisions required to your existing one. And consult an SEO expert to ensure the site is optimised, fast, functional and populated with the right keywords to perform well in Google searches, while also working hard to sell your business with clear calls to action (CTAs), good case studies, and a good user experience (UX).
- Write new copy for your website, brochure or other collateral, or hire an expert copywriter to do it and brief them clearly on what’s required.
- Create a content strategy for a fixed period (3 months is a good time frame), that focuses on specific themes and content pillars, plots out the content to be created on your website and social platforms, drives visitors to your website and sells in your services.
- Review and systemise your marketing activities to ensure your marketing works effectively from start to finish, and every client (or potential client) touchpoint delivers a consistent positive experience so your prospects travel smoothly through the six stages of the customer journey (or sales funnel), from becoming aware of your business, right through to becoming loyal long-term customers.
The stages of the Customer Journey
- Create a customer retention strategy to keep those loyal customers onboard for as long as possible, and turn them into referrers for life.
- Design and install a marketing results tracking system to capture the metrics required to assess how well your marketing is performing (your ROI) – then report this to you on a monthly basis and make recommendations for tweaks and changes to continually improve performance.
Cookie-cutter marketing just won’t cut it
It might seem like a long list, but it still doesn’t cover everything a marketing consultant may do for your business. Of all of these things, perhaps the most important ones are 1. getting to know and understand your business, your target customer, and the competitive environment you’re operating in (so they can recommend the best marketing strategy for success), and 10. putting a tracking system in place so you can measure the success of your marketing. Without this tracking, you won’t know what’s working well and what needs to be changed or dropped altogether, and importantly, you won’t have a clear view of your ROI. Who wants to spend more money on something than they need to? Not us for sure!
The other activities will depend on the specifics of your business, and what (if any) marketing processes you already have in place or have tried in the past. But the key feature of a good marketing consultant is that they will bring a tailored approach to your business, rather than try to shoehorn your business into an off-the-peg strategy to save time or costs.
One final, extra thing a good marketing consultant will do for your business, is to act as an extra pair of eyes and ears looking out for opportunities, and be a brand ambassador and evangelist for your business, by telling everyone how fantastic you are. Marketing peeps tend to be very well networked both on and offline, and active on social media. They will happily talk about and recommend their clients wherever they go!