Many consulting firm leaders think marketing their consulting practice is like baseball:
- You get up to bat with your articles, or blogs, or tweets, or speeches (a.k.a. your marketing).
- At some point you’ll hit one out of the park; i.e., one of your marketing tactics garners a passel of viewers or readers or listeners.
- Your hit drives in a client, or multiple clients.
- The crowd roars its appreciation.
[Warning: there’s a fair chance this metaphor will go astray because: 1) You may not know much or anything about American baseball, and 2) the truth is, I don’t know much about American baseball because… well… it’s not hockey.]
In fact, marketing your consulting firm is a bit like baseball, except the rules you think apply are a myth. In reality:
- Instead of four bases between you and a new client, there’s about 45 bases. Or maybe 85. The number’s tough to determine.
- Runners you hit onto base tend to wander away from the game.
- The home run fence isn’t 400 feet away. It’s about six miles over the horizon.
- Oh, and there’s no one watching from the stands.
If one of your LinkedIn posts’ views inexplicably skyrockets from your average of 8 to a record-breaking 800, in all likelihood no one will call you to inquire about your services. That’s also true if your viewership reaches 8,000 or 80,000, or even if your article snags you two minutes on TV. (Sorry.)
However, if you continue to market your firm consistently, registering occasional hits, at some unpredictable time in the future, a client will stride across your home plate.
Consider most of your ongoing marketing as reminder advertising, not persuasion advertising. When your reader/listener/viewer experiences the problem you solve, they’ll reach out to you if they remember you. And they’ll remember you if they’ve interacted recently with your marketing.
What about your home run marketing?
It’s absolutely possible you’ll hit a home run. Not likely, though, and you don’t need it. Most $50 million consulting firms have never produced a bestselling book or a viral video. That definitely holds true for $5 million consulting firms and $500k solo practitioners.
To win consulting clients through marketing, in addition to those you earn through high quality work and referrals, build five attributes into your marketing efforts:
Quality – Hit the ball hard when you connect, with content and delivery that’s good and occasionally great.
Frequency – Step up to the plate often. Repetition, short of being a pest, ensures clients remember you when their need occurs
Duration – Play the game month in and month out, rain or shine. Consistent effort over the long run is your ticket. Driving a new client home requires a marathon, not a sprint.
Format – Choose heavy-hitting marketing vehicles like speeches over low impact vehicles such as social media.
Groundwork – Hit singles relentlessly through one-on-one contact via networking and outreach.
You will experience visibility spikes now and again as you market your consulting firm. When that lightning strikes, what should you do?
- Cheer and feel good about yourself
- Follow up with anyone you can identify who viewed your materials. (Capturing names is half the battle with marketing your consulting firm.)
- Write, post, speak, participate, etc. again. And again. And again.
The myth of marketing consulting firms is that it’s easy and short term. The reality is it’s extraordinarily effective only for those who play the long, long game.
How has marketing worked for your consulting firm? Please share–other readers want to learn from your experience.
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.