You’re a whiz at organizational development. Or strategic planning. Or time management. Or the topic that’s your passion.
But unless your specialty is marketing, you might not know the first thing about how to promote your consulting business.
You’re not alone.
During the more than 15 years I’ve worked as a consultant with the Milwaukee-based Summit Group, I’ve been in awe at the hundreds of smart, savvy consultants who we’ve met at our monthly breakfast meetings and at networking events around town. Except for business cards, a few brochures and their LinkedIn connections, many consultants don’t realize the wide variety of ways they can market their practice.
My best advice: Don’t market your practice. Market your expertise.
When I lead a three-hour workshop for the Madison Area Business Consultants on May 12 at MG&E Innovation Center on How to Build Your Expertise, Promote It and Attract Your Best Clients, I’ll explain exactly what constitutes expertise, how to achieve it, keep building on it, and how to promote it.
Here are 11 promotion ideas you might not have considered:
1. Refer to yourself as an expert—everywhere.
That includes in your professional bio, on business cards, marketing materials, proposals, invoices and packing slips. (This assumes that you have a respectable level of expertise in your field.)
I typically begin my bios with the phrase “Publicity expert Joan Stewart…” It lets readers know immediately that I’m at the top of my game. “Publicity expert” also appears in my social media profiles.
2. In content you publish content—everywhere.
The best way to publish is by blogging because you own the property. If that’s an impossible commitment for whatever reason, offer to guest blog for others, as long as they reach the same target audience as you do. It’s also smart to publish on your LinkedIn profile. (More on LinkedIn in #8 below.)
If your topic is difficult to illustrate, consider a collection of how-to tips that you create in PowerPoint and upload to Pinterest. My board on 50 Tips for Free Publicity has 3,142 followers and it isn’t even complete.
3. In a short tagline after your name.
Use this instead of your job title. You’d be amazed at all the places this will appear: under your photo in newspapers and magazines, in industry directories and in articles others are writing about you.
4. In your 15-second elevator pitch.
At many events where I speak, audience members sometimes introduce themselves with their 15-second elevator pitches before the meeting planner introduces me. Almost no one refers to themselves as an expert! I know because I’m listening carefully.
5. On your nametag at events.
I’ve seen this several times, and it’s a always conversation starter. “Exactly what do you do?” Chances are good the guy asking it won’t remember your name. But he’ll remember you’re the privacy expert who can keep his company’s computers from being hacked.
6. At your website—everywhere.
Use the word expert or expertise on your homepage, in your bios, on your Contact page and anywhere else you can slip it in.
7. In the titles of your YouTube videos.
If you create talking head videos, put “John Smith, Privacy Expert” in the headline. Your video will appear in search results when someone searches for “privacy expert.”
8. On LinkedIn—everywhere.
Include the word expert in your headline and throughout your profile. Use it in the “Experience” section and when you invite others to connect with you.
Refer to yourself as an expert when you start or participate in discussions within groups. Journalists and bloggers are trolling groups looking for story ideas, sources and experts.
9. In Comments at other people’s blogs.
This is an excellent place to flaunt your expertise and get a link back to your website. Yet most people never consider this. If readers have taken the time to read the entire post and they’ve made it to the Comments sections, they’re interested in the topic. And many of those readers might be looking for solutions to problems. Who better to help solve them than you?
10. In anything you’ve written.
This includes blog posts, guest blog posts, articles, White Papers, your own newsletter, status updates on social media, letters, print books, ebooks, special reports and email.
11. In your email signature.
During a typical week, how many people see your emails? If you don’t use the word “expert,” you’re missing the chance to let them know you stand above many of your competitors.
If you can join me in Madison May 12, you’ll be able to participate in a fun activity that really gets people thinking. I’ll be asking for volunteers for several “hot seats.” One by one, consultants will take turns sitting on a chair in the front of the room. They’ll explain their business and their goals. Audience members join me in throwing out ideas on what the consultant can do to perfect or promote their expertise. At an easel nearby, a volunteer note-taker is busy recording all the ideas. The person on the hot seat leaves with a long list of suggestions.
And audience members realize that even though they might be too close to their own business to market it, it’s a blast helping someone else market theirs. Hope you can join me on May 12! To register, contact Kathy Watson. You can get her contact info and other details here.
How do you promote your consulting practice? What clever ways have you seen other consultants use to promote theirs?