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Stand Out from the Digital Clutter [A Key Lesson for Consulting Firms]

Your consulting firm has adjusted to the lack of in-person meetings, conferences, meals, and walk-the-halls opportunities. Since you can’t attract or court Belinda Buyalot in person, you’ve moved your consulting firm’s visibility-building, marketing, and business development efforts online.

So has everyone else.

The digital world is a dense, tangled jungle of feeds, streams, messages, blogs, podcasts, webinars, emails, and more. Belinda—and every other potential client—faces an overwhelming barrage of online marketing. You’re just one voice in a deafening, screeching chorus.

Your consulting firm doesn’t stand out.

But there’s a way to break through.

Say Less

As your smart parents told you years ago, “If you want someone to listen, whisper.”

The digital version of a whisper is a tight, sparse message. Lots of white space—literally and figuratively.

Eliminate Message Clutter

Many consulting firms under $25 million tout three, five or even ten services for a long list of industries. That’s clutter.

Clutter doesn’t help you win consulting clients!

Trim that clutter down to a tight, sparse, powerful message. Like this:

You’re a fashion retailer.

You want to increase upsell conversion online.

We know how.

Eliminate Content Clutter

Say less in your:

Writing and social media. Pen your first draft, then edit out at least 50%.

Webinars, podcasts and speaking. Draft your presentation, then keep only one idea. Slow down when you present.

Marketing materials. Insist on clean, simple materials. (Your prospects can always ask you for more information.)

Website. Fewer words. Your website ultimately serves one purpose: compel prospects to contact you. Delete anything not directly serving that purpose.

Fewer words. More space. Higher impact.

There’s irony in asking you to comment on this article, but chime in anyway: Where do you think you could say less?


38 Comments
  1. Jose Silva
    July 15, 2020 at 6:18 am Reply

    Perfect.

    • David A. Fields
      July 15, 2020 at 7:44 am Reply

      I appreciate the concise, positive feedback, Jose!

  2. Nils B
    July 15, 2020 at 6:26 am Reply

    Hi David,
    definitely true! “If I Had More Time, I Would Have Written a Shorter Letter” as Blaise Pascal the mathematician said. Also: if you can make it short, it shows mastery of the subject and the content has a tight focus, making it easier for readers to determine whether they identify with the statements or not.

    • David A. Fields
      July 15, 2020 at 7:48 am Reply

      Totally agree, Nils. Nothing communicates deep, comprehensive understanding of a topic better than a simple framework, well-presented. I’m glad you highlighted that point!

  3. rick
    July 15, 2020 at 8:12 am Reply

    David –
    I’ve been struggling with how to describe my work in fewer words. But I caught consultants’ disease (its been going around). . . . I just read your email and voila:

    You lead change.
    You need to begin building strong support from Day One.
    I can show you how.

    I’ll let these words sit for awhile, but I like them. Thank you so much.

    Rick

    • David A. Fields
      July 15, 2020 at 8:28 am Reply

      Simmer, reduce, concentrate. Works for cooking and messaging!

      One thing to consider, Rick, is whether your message is tapping into an urgent, expensive-to-leave-unsolved, client need.

      Thank you for sharing. Keep me up to date on how your messaging evolves, Rick.

      • rick maurer
        July 15, 2020 at 8:54 am Reply

        Thanks, that is a good save. I will let you know how it works out.

  4. Kenny Jahng
    July 15, 2020 at 8:50 am Reply

    As a StoryBrand certified copywriter, this totally resonates with me. When we revamp a website we typically remove hundreds if not thousands of words and yet usually the time on site increases and opt in leads increases.

    #ConfuseYouLose

    • David A. Fields
      July 15, 2020 at 10:21 am Reply

      Data from an expert! Thanks for providing the quantified proof that fewer words lead to stickier websites, Kenny. Very helpful input.

  5. Debbie
    July 15, 2020 at 9:57 am Reply

    Thanks, David. Couldn’t agree more.
    You’re a business executive.
    You want to create a more productive workplace.
    We know how.

    • David A. Fields
      July 15, 2020 at 10:24 am Reply

      Nice, Debbie. As a gentle nudge: can you define your target tighter than “business executive”? Right now, you don’t even need the first line–it doesn’t clarify what you’re doing.

      I appreciate you contributing your ideas and being willing to hear feedback from me and others.

      • Debbie
        July 15, 2020 at 12:29 pm Reply

        Thanks for the input. I was thinking about: business owner, an executive with P&L responsibility, or adding middle-market. Then it felt rather long.

        • David A. Fields
          July 15, 2020 at 1:05 pm

          That is long, Debbie. Always think from the point of view of the person you’re talking to. Who thinks of themselves as a business executive? Everybody! The newly graduated 22 year-old in management training thinks she’s a business executive. So does the sales rep toiling (from home) in Toledo.

          This is treading into Fishing Line territory, which was not really the subject of the article. Nevertheless, you’re heading in the right direction, and figuring out how to be precise with only a few words is harder than it looks!

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