A third of consulting business owners that we recently polled said they knew they were not generating any kind of positive return from their marketing investment, or they suspected that they weren’t.
This saddened us. And it proved something we knew already: that consulting business owners have lost faith that their investment in marketing will deliver them a tangible return.
According to our growth experts, if you want to build a sustainable consulting business then you have to crack the marketing challenge. So we hosted a networking and learning event to help our members start to tackle this problem head on.
We invited Matt Hodkinson, from Influence Agents, to share his wisdom on the topic. Matt is The Consultancy Growth Network’s specialist marketing advisor. In his workshop, Matt talked through his strategy for measuring, managing and delivering a tangible result from your marketing investment. He explored 9 of the most common barriers to delivering scalable and sustainable lead generation systems (see his 9 box model for accelerating inbound marketing below) and gave away some 30 actionable tips for consulting business owners to implement now to improve their marketing performance.
He also empowered our audience to score themselves and identify the areas of greatest weakness. This allows for greater focus in “plugging the holes” in the marketing engine, to generate more revenue, faster.
Here follows a few samples of what Matt shared with our members during his session.
Speaking so that you’re heard
Matt emphasised the need for consulting businesses to be precise about who they are speaking to, and be clear about how they can elicit a very simple thought in the mind of their buyer: ‘This is for me’.
He shared a tip for how to shape your messaging to achieve that aim:
According to Matt, part of being heard is about putting your consulting business in a place where you are speaking to someone with:
- a proven challenge you can help to solve
- the perception that you have a relatively risk-free solution to that pain
- no other options on the table because you have invalidated them.
“When we go through this process with our clients,” says Matt, “there are about 11 different aspects to consider. They all eradicate certain thoughts that your buyer may have, leaving you with a competitionless offer that they can’t ignore.”
Mapping the buyer journey
The marketing funnel has been dead for some time. In its place is the frictionless flywheel: the more customers you bring in and delight, the more that feeds your lead generation system, which expands your customer base. Importantly, this builds pace rather than being a linear process.
Matt shared his experience of using geru.com to help map a buyer journey and plan for marketing activity that helps the flywheel gather momentum.
Testing the quality of your connections
Matt finished by explaining how to put your persona-led content under the noses of the right people. Matt covered all three of the main channels for connecting with your audience: email, organic social and social advertising (paid social).
As a channel, Matt believes that email deserves its own module of the process. “Bruce Lee used to talk about the art of fighting without fighting,” said Matt. “I talk about the art of pitching without pitching. Make sure you add value with every single email that you send, at whatever stage of the conversation you are at. Never use generic messages like ‘Did you see my last email?’. Instead, send them a link to a useful article or a link to a video you’ve created that covers a topic you know they’ve been struggling with.”
Matt also explained why A/B testing your email communications is so critical:
The full recording of Matt’s session, along with recordings of all our events, is available to members of The Consultancy Growth Network.
Article | Sales and marketing
Ali El Moghraby
Head of Marketing
The Consultancy Growth Network