The marketing plan for your consulting business needs to be thoughtfully charted. Begin by charting your course for a 12 month journey. This will allow you to see the bigger picture. Once you have an outline for this you can dig deeper into the details of your month to month plan.
It’s important to make sure that your marketing plan is realistic. As your client list builds you’ll spend most of your day working on client projects, sending emails, making calls and doing your day to day administration. This leaves little time to actively promoting your consulting business – but this is a must.
Give It The Time It Deserves
So how should you go about it? Plan ahead and stick to your plan. The easiest way to go about this is schedule off an hour or two each day for your marketing activities. At minimum a half day each week. It’s important that you make this a set time and don’t waiver from it. If your time is from 7-9 am then don’t answer emails or pick up calls that may come it at this time, even if they are regarding your current consulting projects.
Very few emails or calls that come in are life threatening with urgency. Your business needs to be treated with urgency because it is your lifeline.
Get Into The Details
Okay, so now that you’ve decided what your goals are for the next 12 months and how you’re going to go about making them happen in general terms it’s time to get into the details.
If your goal is to bring in 1 new client each month and make an additional $20,000 this year you need to have a clear plan of how to make this happen. Just thinking or telling someone that this is your goal doesn’t do you much good.
Decide what method would be best to adding new consulting clients. Would it be a referral system, a direct mail piece, going to a networking event each month, et cetera. Whatever it is, look at your marketing plan and schedule in each month what activity you’ll need to take on to make your goals a reality.
The next step is to break these monthly activities into weekly ones and make a planning list to ensure you’ll have everything you need to get the job done. For example, if I’m going to 1 networking event each month, I would write down:
- Select event
- Prepare business cards
- Find out who might attend this event that I want to meet
- Prepare a follow up plan to keep in contact with anyone I meet
- Rehearse my ‘elevator pitch’ so I can succinctly tell people what I do and get their interest
- Go to the event
- Review what I did well at the event and what I can improve next time
- Send my follow up emails or make those follow up calls
As you can see, if my plan only included the words ‘attend networking events’ I’d be neglecting all the critical aspects that make going to these so successful.
And that’s the beauty of this marketing plan exercise. What started off seeming like a large task gets dissected into pieces. Now if you’re thinking, “yeah, but that’s a lot of pieces to think about” you’re right, there are many pieces…
Make It A Success
To make your marketing plan pay off keeping on top of these little pieces is key. But the beauty really is in the details here. Take each of these little pieces and put them into the weekly level of your marketing plan. Then you can set each week based on what you need to accomplish.
It’s a lot easier working on small aspects of a larger project than just going ahead and trying to tackle a 12 month beast all at once in vague terms. So remember, start off with your 1 year view, then break it up into monthly goals, then into weekly activities and lastly into your daily to dos.
While this approach will take a bit of getting used to, the momentum that it provides is the best way to make your marketing plan work and make it a success.