When developing online advertising plans for your consulting business, your expanding practice must be disciplined. New firms find it tempting and a bit overwhelming to be faced with aggressive advertisers. All advertisers have a schedule that will boost your image, spread the word and guarantee results – so they all say.
Your job is to sift through the faulty offers and find the most effective advertising venue for your consulting business.
This requires discipline. But you need to ensure you stay within your well-considered marketing plan. Be strong. When in doubt, let your budget show you the way. Your advertising budget puts a tangible marketing-advertising correlation up front and on the table, right where it belongs. When contemplating your advertising options, never lose sight of what you need to accomplish in order to land in positive ROI territory .
Seven Advertising Guidelines for Consultants
- Stay within your budget – Be firm, be strong and be patient. You designed a multi-tiered marketing strategy with a specific advertising expense. You should not compromise the overall plan for advertising. Each year evaluate your strategy and increase the budget on effective programs and reduce it on the tactics that aren’t working.
- Bigger is not always better – Diversify your advertising. Increasing your advertising expense does not necessarily mean you will increase your leads. Be careful not to be “sold” by an advertiser. That is their job.
- Creative advertising doesn’t always work – Spend enough time watching TV or reading the newspapers and you’ll find a many advertisements that come across as being ‘cool’ ‘interesting’ and ‘creative. The problem is that the day after you’ve read that ad you’ve forgotten which company it was from. More importantly you haven’t taken any action because the ad was just a creative prop to propel your awareness of the company’s brand. Unless you have millions stashed away to support such a long-term campaign – screw it. You need to focus on advertising that generates results. Even if these don’t come in the short-term, your advertising needs to be tested and tracked so you have an indication of what is working and what isn’t.
- Engage the viewer – After you bait the hook, you must set the hook. Once you have the reader’s attention, successful online marketing consultants prompt a response. Offer an incentive or a quick response for each query.
- Be thorough – A successful online advertising campaign is your opportunity to explain what you do and how you do it. Make sure the reader can relate to your product line and your value. Remember that understanding value of your consulting services is more about understanding your service than the cost.
- Rise above the competition – You need to know who your competition is and you may want to know how they are conducting themselves in the public’s eyes, but their message is secondary to your marketing plan. Never waste money discussing and therefore promoting the competition. If your marketing plan stays on track, the competition will be watching you, rather than you watching them.
- Know the score – Your consulting firm should set reasonable goals for growth and you should track those goals by tracking lead generation. If you are getting leads but not adding clients, your system is breaking down. Track all advertising feedback and have those halftime pep talks when necessary.
These days online promotion and advertising should be a core component of every companies marketing budget.
The internet medium allows any dummy to test and track results, and you can get those results in days, not in weeks or months like old school direct mailers had to wait.