Steps to Build an Online Presence for Your Consulting Business

Posted by Joyce Claravall - April 26, 2019 • 6-minute read

Steps to Build an Online Presence for Your Consulting Business
You have mastered your field and gathered enough experience to share it with those seeking insights about the world of business. Though there may be a handful of referrals, this hasn’t been enough to keep your business afloat. This is a common concern for business consultants everywhere. According to research, finding and developing new business is the most challenging aspect of being a consultant.

One reason behind this is that you may have limited reach. As a business consultant, getting your name out there as a thought leader in your chosen industry is extremely important. You’ll also want your previous and current clients to talk about you and how you made a positive impact on their business. The best way to prompt this is to make your presence felt online.

Though there are a lot of people on the online scene, there is a unique space that you can fill out given your credentials and experience. You can start by following these 5 steps:

1. Know Your Customers

Before you start marketing yourself as a consultant, you need to understand who your target audience is. This includes knowing their goals, challenges, and pain points in order to provide value and solutions for their business’ needs.

Create a buyer persona—a semi-fictional representation of your intended customers. Basing these personas on real people that you plan to reach out to and transact with (or already have in the past), can help you internalize your entire process when dealing with actual prospects. The buyer persona can help you create valuable, tailor-fit content, as well as products and services that align with the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups.

This 11-minute read blog from HubSpot will show you just how easy it is to create a buyer persona.

Meeting - Build an Online Presence for Your Consulting Business                                               source: rawpixel.com, via Pexels

2. Understand the Market and Your Competition

Beyond getting to know your customers, it's essential to familiarize yourself with market trends and your competition. Keeping up-to-date with the developments in your industry and how these shape the business landscape will help you determine your unique selling point. By doing an in-depth analysis of your competitors, you will know the different options available for your potential clients, thus helping you identify what sets you apart from everyone else.

When identifying your unique selling point, it’s important to know how you can help solve your client’s problems, and how these differentiate you from other consultants. This will allow you to build a strategy that targets specific problems clientele experience that only you can answer.

Performing a competitor analysis also gives you helpful insights on how well other companies run their service. Acknowledging that your competitors are better at certain aspects than you are will help you identify personal points of improvement.

3. Capture Your Customer’s Attention

Now that you’ve successfully created your buyer persona and studied the latest trends in the market, it’s time to increase brand awareness with strategic content and offers. Set clear goals and objectives for your strategy. If you’re hoping for wider reach and more authority, your prospects need to get a better idea of who you are and your capabilities as a business consultant. This involves choosing the right medium to introduce yourself and connect with people.

Outside of going for traditional networking and referrals, take advantage of online connections through social media. 96% of marketing efforts now take place on social media platforms to increase customer awareness and meaningful exchanges. There are different platforms to choose from: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even YouTube. Knowing where your customers spend most of their time is one way to determine which channel—or channels—you should use.

Posting a photo of a conference or event that you recently participated in, or sharing the latest news from your industry helps start conversations. It would also help if you include compelling copy to accompany your post or image. These are key factors in building an online presence and brings us to our next step.

Mobile Device and Mac Book

source: Tim Bennett, via Unsplash

4.Write Creative, Informative, and Meaningful Content

Beyond social media, publishing a blog on your website will help you boost traffic and gain attention. Given your tenure as a business consultant, you have enough unique experiences to use as inspiration for content. For example, you can opt to share your thoughts and insights on the latest financial strategies, or even create educational and informative content covering the different trends in your industry. This would help establish your credibility and authority as a consultant.

Your content strategy would also benefit greatly from  putting together an editorial calendar where you can plot the flow of your blogging schedule. Determine the best publishing dates for your articles and categorize them based on a theme or by target audience. By using the editorial calendar, you can create consistent content while developing a strategy to increase your online authority.

Another popular way of delivering informative content is through the use of videos and infographics, especially since customers today tend to spend a third of their online activity viewing videos. Infographics are especially useful when sharing statistics in a visually pleasing and engaging way. Be creative and strategic with the content you put out on your social media page and website.

5. Ask Your Clients to Provide Reviews

According to BrightLocal’s survey, 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as a referral from their close friend. Encouraging happy clients to leave commendations or honest insights on the quality of your performance gives your target audience an idea of how you work from people who have been in their same position. Featuring reviews on your website also generate unique content about your services, providing you a better chance at ranking on search engines. These reviews are meaningful content that make your website more visible and credible to people who might need your expertise. And in the long run, honest reviews also provide a unique perspective of your service and allow you to further improve as a consultant.

Establishing your authority online takes time and research—but this is a worthwhile investment that benefits you in the long term. So get to know your customers and what they want, build up your authority through publishing informative content, and encourage client reviews. Keep these in mind and you’re well on your way to increasing your reach and presence online.

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Written By

Joyce Claravall

Joyce Claravall

Joyce is a Content Specialist at StraightArrow who harbors a love for great stories. She likes watching screenplay reviews, pop music breakdowns, and reading up on current events. She believes in saving the best for last: so she eats the crust of the pizza first. Her weekends are spent outside of the city catching cuddles with her favorite person in the world as they design their boardgame together.

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