The top tips on how you can be a successful marketing consultant
Marketing consultants are professionals whose primary jobs are to evaluate a business’ current marketing strategies and activities and to suggest improvements. A company may also hire a marketing consultant for planning and executing different marketing campaigns. In recent years, marketing consultants have also been engaged to train young marketing professionals.
Why are marketing consultants important?
Marketing consultants work as self-employed professionals, i.e. they are their own bosses, and companies typically hire them for their marketing expertise. They have emerged as a cost-effective alternative to hiring large consulting or advertising firms, which used to be the norm before marketing consultants became popular.
So, if you’re an aspiring marketing consultant, the good news is that the demand for consultants in the world of marketing is skyrocketing. All in all, you’re sure to do well if you establish yourself. However, how does someone become a successful marketing consultant? Read on to know all the answers, as we take you through the best tips to put into practice for becoming a top-notch marketing consultant.
1. Qualify yourself
Nowadays, many individuals from non-marketing backgrounds are also becoming marketing consultants. However, studying marketing formally is bound to help in the long run. Ideally, it would help if you pursued a BA or an MA in the field of business and marketing. This would improve your understanding of all the technicalities and theoretical aspects of marketing, which would allow you to communicate more effortlessly with other professionals in the marketing field.
You would also need strong writing and communication skills to succeed as a marketing consultant. In today’s times, there are numerous online courses aimed at improving writing and communication skills. So, you don’t need to pursue a formal education to communicate and write better. It would help if you also had a dynamic understanding of technology and design, along with solid know-how of marketing principles and ethics.
The rise in automation in the marketing world also calls for some experience in handling software like HubSpot, Marketo, etc. However, different marketing consultant roles demand other skills, so it’s best to learn a combination of these skills.
2. Find work and perform well
Once you’ve learned and mastered all the skills you need to, it’s time to find work. During your first few years as a marketing consultant, you’ll be highly dependent on referrals. The competition’s quite fierce already, and clients won’t be willing to put their trust and faith in you right off the bat. So, patience is vital.
You’ll also need to be active at promoting yourself on platforms like LinkedIn. And of course, you have to deliver where it matters the most – your work. If you really have a knack for marketing, it will shine through in your career, which is sure to bring you more referrals and repeat clients. As your CV grows, you’ll steadily work your way up the ladder and start getting work that pays well.
It would help if you also remembered to keep educating yourself, even when you’re working on a specific project. The field of marketing is an ever-evolving one, and if you don’t evolve with it, it’s quite likely that you’ll be left behind by the industry.
3. Identify your niche and cement your reputation
You may have to take on a wide variety of projects from different niches during the initial stages. However, eventually, you have to specialize in a particular place. After all, hopping, skipping, and jumping from one slot to another isn’t likely to help prospective clients understand what you’re really good at. And to find out the right niche, you have to take a deep, long look at yourself to understand what your interests and passions are.
For instance, if you’re passionate about music, you can establish yourself as a marketing consultant for companies whose work revolves around sound and music. If the world of finance interests you, you can become a marketing consultant for companies that deal exclusively in matters of finance.
Once you’ve identified your niche, it’s time to focus all your efforts on it. This will help you get better at marketing businesses in a particular place, and also help prospective clients understand your specialization.
4. Ask clients the right questions
Your clients may not have any marketing expertise, but as a marketing consultant, you will. This matters because when a client makes certain demands, you’ll have to ask questions to know whether those demands are aligned with their marketing goals. Sure, it’s easy to say yes to anything that a client requests, but before you nod your head in approval, ask yourself – ‘can I do something better than what they’re asking me to?’
Remember, the more questions you ask of your clients, the higher your understanding of them will be. So, don’t be hesitant to ask questions. The client’s answers will provide deep insights into what the needs are and how you can fulfill them.
We recommend having a thorough conversation with the client before starting work on a particular project. This will go a long way towards minimizing mistakes, which may prove costly to the long-term marketing goals of your client.
5. Price your services according to labor and overhead costs
Not each project you’ll be working on as a marketing consultant will be the same. That’s why it’s important to price your services right for every project. It’s also important to take both labor and overhead costs into consideration when setting your price.
For instance, if a company wants to hire your services for an entire year, you’ll have to plan how much you want to take home from the project. For instance, if you wish to 200,000 AUD from a year-long project, you’ll need to divide it by the number of working days in a year to get a per-day amount.
Next, you’ll have to bring the overhead costs into the equation, i.e. recurring business expenses that include phone and internet bills, fuel, etc. Add up the estimated overhead costs and divide the total by the number of working days in a year. Once you get to the per-day amount, add it to the labor cost per day, and there you have it – the price of hiring you for one working day.
6. Make the most of social media
LinkedIn is arguably the most important promotional platform for consultants in today’s times. However, this doesn’t mean that your online presence has to be restricted to LinkedIn. You should also actively run and manage profiles on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
You should also invest in your own website, where you can provide more valuable information to existing and prospective clients about yourself and your marketing consultancy business. It’s also important that you link your website to your social media profiles. This way, more people (potentially clients) will get to know about you and what you do.
If you want your expertise to be known, you could also consider guest blogging on websites that are related to the marketing sphere. Speaking at conferences is also a great way for your ideas to be heard. Also, whenever you complete a project successfully or speak at an event, remember to add it to your website in the form of a recorded video or audio. This will help you stay relevant.
We’d also like to state how important a marketing consultant insurance policy is in today’s times. For instance, if a client has unreasonably high expectations and your services fail to live up to them, the client may file a claim. In such a scenario, professional indemnity insurance for marketing consultants will come in handy.
Your business may also be damaged if its physical office is damaged by a disaster such as a storm or a fire. So, before you start operating as a marketing consultant, you should definitely consider a marketing consultant insurance policy.
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