If you are an independent contractor, you face some challenges when it comes to helping people find out about your services. Competition with larger companies can be intimidating with the limited time and resources available to most independent contractors. That being said, an effective marketing plan that utilizes some creative strategies can help grow your reach, capture new leads, and secure new clients. Here are some ideas on how you can take the promotion of your business to the next level.
Your first priority is to create and build a strong personal brand. Step back and look at your business from the standpoint of a client. You need to be able to clearly communicate what you do, explain what sets you apart from your competition, and create consistent messaging. Attract their attention, engage them, and keep them coming back for your services. Authenticity in how you communicate your message is key.
Consumers expect to be able to find a professional-grade website and will look elsewhere if you don’t have one. A professional website helps to identify who you are, what you have to offer, and increase brand awareness. Follow up-to-date SEO practices, too. Your appearance in search results is imperative to the success of your business. Platforms such as Squarespace are available to help you create a modern, responsive website. Agencies like Strategy Driven Marketing can offer even more in the development of a top-notch website.
Blogging serves several purposes. It lets you showcase your expertise, reach your target audience, and engage with your current clients. Featuring a blog on your professional website can also help drive traffic and new clients your way.
Posting high-quality content is more important than posting poorly crafted content every day. Decide how often you can dedicate time to writing and then commit to a publishing schedule. Write about topics relevant to your industry and to your target audience. Keep your focus on edifying, enriching, and educating your site visitors.
Creating and contributing content is one of the simplest and most effective ways to market your business. Research other blogs, publications, and websites that have a similar target audience and propose relevant topics that you can write about. Avoid the temptation of duplicating the blog articles you post on your own website. That being said, there is no harm in reworking or updating one of your articles for presentation in a different venue. Getting your name and the name of your business out and about on the Internet will increase your credibility, help drive traffic back to your website, and increase awareness of your services.
Local marketing strategies go beyond posting ads in local publications. Putting your name out in your local community can help bring your business name to the front of people’s minds. Find ways to get involved - write a Q & A or how-to article in your area of expertise and solicit the local newspaper with it. Connect with your library or another source to lead a free class or workshop. Volunteer your services at local non-profits and seek out sponsorship opportunities in the community.
Email marketing is an affordable and effective way to maintain and build relationships with your current and prospective clients. Create a form on your website where visitors can sign up to receive emails from you. Consider writing a weekly or bi-weekly newsletter that includes recent news, insider tips, or information about your services. Follow all legal guidelines and be sure to give your contacts the ability to opt in or out at any time. For more, see our article:
Maintaining a social media presence is a great way to connect with current and prospective clients. Frequently engage followers on your social networks. Once you’ve determined where your target audience is, create a company page on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter. Post relevant industry updates, show behind the scenes glimpses of your services, and provide links to any new blog posts. Be sure to differentiate the content from your personal account and maintain a sense of professionalism and customer-oriented focus on your business accounts.
Video content is today’s version of sliced bread and can help your target audience gain a more authentic sense of who you are. Video can be integrated into your marketing efforts in a number of ways. You can post videos on your blog page, Instagram or Facebook feed, or you can create a YouTube channel. Your video content can show you offering advice, answering frequently asked questions, or interviewing thought leaders in your industry.
Ask (satisfied) previous and current clients for referrals. When prospective clients hear about your business from people they trust, it lends credibility to your skills. Put extra effort into maintaining relationships with repeat clients as they are the people who bring stability to your business and will help you attract future customers. Make a habit of taking the time to say thank you and let clients know you appreciate their business. It will pay off when you circle back to ask for a referral you can use on your website, social content, and printed materials.
You are the best spokesperson for your brand. Face-to-face networking is just as important as the online efforts outlined above so, take your efforts offline, too. Mentor someone who is new to independent consulting and find other ways to get involved in your industry. Attend relevant conferences, local business meetings, and promotional events. These efforts will add a personal touch to your marketing and brand awareness efforts in addition to providing you a unique opportunity to share your story with others, one-on-one.
It is important to remember that marketing is an ongoing investment that involves advertising, client support, public relations, media planning, and more. The marketing plan for your independent consulting business should integrate strategies that let you grow your client base over time while still allowing you the flexibility you need to respond to changes in your clients’ needs.
The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing understand, first hand, your challenges and are ready to help you with all of these efforts. Contact us today to learn more about the services we offer and how we can create a personalized marketing plan that works with your particular business goals and budget. Let’s get started!