How to start a marketing consulting business

Tired of your 9-to-5 job?

Have experience in marketing?

Then a marketing consulting business can be the right fit for you!

A marketing consultant is a professional who advises companies on efficient marketing strategies that can generate more leads. This will ultimately increase the company’s sales and profit margins.

A marketing consultant should also be able to investigate and analyze the behaviors and inclinations of customers in order to develop positive tactical results while at the same time satisfying customers ‘ needs.

Starting a marketing consulting business can be incredibly rewarding and potentially lucrative for marketers that are interested in starting their own business. There is a high demand for these businesses due to the fact that companies are increasingly looking for tactics that will help them to attract more customers, boost their sales and profits.

Marketing Consulting Business

So if you are thinking about starting a marketing consulting business, continue reading this article.

1. Define your niche

The phrase, “Jack of all trades, king of none,” applies even in the world of marketing consulting. There are a lot of areas in marketing and becoming an expert in all of them is impossible.

By focusing on two or three areas of marketing, you are more likely to succeed in your consulting business. You can provide service to a niche market that needs such services and provide them value. In this way, you can differentiate yourself from other consultants and succeed.

To find your niche, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are your areas of expertise?
  • What marketing problems do businesses in your area suffer but are not being solved by the existing businesses?
  • Which kind of business is being ignored by the current consulting market?

By answering these questions, you can identify your target market and position your business accordingly.

2. Get the skills you want to provide

You now know what you want to offer to your prospective customers. Make sure you have the skills to back up what you are offering.

An undergraduate degree in marketing can help you get basic marketing skills. If you can’t find any degree in marketing, a degree in business or communications can suffice as well. Just ensure that the degree covers topics such as marketing, advertising, branding, copywriting, perception, and attainment of specific groups or budgeting.

In addition to a degree, you may need to skill yourself in areas such as graphic design, search engine optimization (SEO), writing, and knowledge of marketing tools. The need for these additional skills will depend on what you want to provide as a marketing consultant.

As marketing is constantly changing, it is necessary to keep yourself up-to-date with the latest trends and happenings. Marketing blogs and research papers can be a great way to be updated with current trends.

3. Build your portfolio

When you pitch your services to your potential clients, you might be asked to present your credentials. This is where a portfolio can help.

A good portfolio contains work samples from your previous projects. If you are starting, a portfolio consisting of voluntary works or works done for friends can work. If you have not done any such voluntary works, you can create mock-ups showing a hypothetical situation relevant to your target market.

In order to have a good portfolio by the time you start your own consulting business, begin from your university days.

4. Set your rate

Pricing for your consultancy can be difficult- too much can drive customers away and too little can put you to struggle. This is why you should do prior research before setting a rate.

Consider the following when setting your rate:

  1. Industry rates
  2. Costs that you incur for running your business
  3. Your experience and expertise
  4. The time you will invest for your clients

You might need to do trial and error before finding a rate that will be suitable for both you and your clients.

5. Start building your consultancy business

Once you gather the experience required for a marketing consultant, you can start building your consulting business. Develop a business plan and meet all the legal requirements for starting your business.

You must plan for both the short and long term. For the short term, plan how you will approach your potential clients- how to pitch, negotiate, and execute the project. For the long term, plan how you will position your business, how much revenue you project for the future, and what you want to achieve through your consultancy.

You may want to have a physical location for your business. Rent an office space (depending on the number of employees you hire) or hire a co-working space. If you run solo, your home space may be sufficient.

6. Grow your client base

You have started your consulting business. Now start working on the most important thing for your business- search for clients. Growing your client base will help build your network that will help you succeed.

A robust presence online is crucial to increasing your client base. Using social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to advertise your business’s offerings and gather feedback from the customers. To raise your profile and communicate with future buyers, write blog posts that lead back to your social media accounts.

Here’s what I do, Maximum 6 clients meeting per month. Don’t be too greedy if you create the buzz around yourself. Rry to keep the balance between work and class.

7. Develop a personal brand

Try giving your consultancy a  suitable business name and brand to improve your ability to attract valuable customers. Decide how you will position your business to them in order to stand out and be selected.

Branding is really critical as it lets you set a level of quality for your business and attract new clients. As you develop a brand, know your consumers, and what their aspirations are. Make sure your business promotion matches the brand you intend to build. For example, if your plan is to work with companies in the IT industry, you need to know what is achievable in the industry and be able to smartly showcase your skills.

It’s not a day’s work to develop your brand. It does not come overnight. But with perseverance and constant effort, you can build a great personal brand for your consultant business.

8. Build your network

Whatever path you choose to take to achieve your goal as a marketing consultant, proper and constant networking is vital to your success. Start building up your network and clientele when working with your clients. The bigger your network and the more customers you have, the easier it will be for you to work as a consultant when you want your business to take off.

Networking helps you to interact with those in your industry, keep in contact with key individuals, get acquainted with prospective clients, and pursue introductions that will help your company progress. When you meet someone at a professional level, find a way to relate to them.

You may want to trade contact details and send a follow-up email or you may want to use professional networking sites such as LinkedIn. You never know who you might want to reach out to later, and online tools make it easy to find people, no matter when you meet them or where.

Conferences and business events give you more chances to broaden your network. Volunteering to be an industry speaker at an event can increase your visibility among peers and potential clients.

Conclusion

A marketing consulting business is indeed rewarding. But as the world of marketing is constantly changing, a marketing consultant must adapt himself/herself to these changes. Once you have created your plan, review it frequently to ensure you are making choices in line with your market and goals, as well as making any necessary adjustments along the way.

Finally, remember that to be a marketing consultant you must possess brilliant sales and marketing skills. In addition, you must have worked in the marketing industry for a good number of years to be well experienced in strategies for attracting customers and boosting sales.

The prospect of running your own business can be scary after spending many years in the relative security of a salaried position. But, there are limits to how far you can go when you’re working for someone else.

For the brave marketers who dare, starting a consulting business may be the most rewarding, life-changing decision they ever make. Will you join them?

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