Calling yourself a “consultant” demands further clarification. A consultant who… What specific problems do you handle? And who needs what you know? Everyone? (Never true) Businesses selling to seniors? (A precisely defined niche) Success depends on how clearly you can define yourself and what you offer. How easily can potential clients understand it?
You provide clients more than your expert knowledge and problem-solving skills. Your delivery style (tricks) are every bit as valuable as your knowledge base. We all relate to some businesses (personally and professionally) more effectively than to others. Great match-ups require something akin to a mating call to help a consultant find and connect with ideal clients.
Every consultant is unique in important ways. Your challenge is to express those significant intangibles — so they set you apart from others using the same job title. Do clients understand what you can do for them? How you’re different from the competition? Why they’d prefer you?
Article Marketing is Your Ideal Stage
Whether you’re selling a service, speaking or training, nothing persuades like offering a sample. Writing articles that highlight your style and expertise does that for you. A meaty, 600 to 800 word article is long enough to deliver a tangible taste.
Once it’s widely posted, the message can be read by thousands. Some readers will search for what else you’ve said, or click over to your website. Writing repeated in-depth articles further establishes your niche, point of view, and expertise. They’re building your name recognition and readership in short order.
Your stock-in-trade is information, so packaging it into articles makes you a content creator. The Internet voraciously demands a steady diet of new material. Websites, ezines (and now blogs) efficiently deliver ideas to targeted readers. But sad to say, too many articles consist of rehashed, low-grade material. Stand out with fresh, professional-quality information. Being a cut above builds respect and trust — a must for doing business down the road.
Local Search can Further Define Your Market
Unlike a plumber or day care center, most consultants needn’t be confined to the local arena. Your Internet exposure connects you to a national or global audience, if that’s your goal. But if your target market is closer to home, articles still help to position you.
Recent research by The Kelsey Group show that 70% use the Internet to make local buying decisions. And nowadays, 36% of search engine queries request local search results. That means the person includes a geographic term in their search engine query. For example, a query with: “employee benefit consultant” + Denver only lists the small pool of appropriate Denver providers.
Every consultant needs to make sure their information appears in local search queries, [http://www.yellowpagesage.com/localsearch.html]. The trend toward local search is growing quickly. Businesses can easily be left out—which makes them unfindable by online searchers. Who can afford to miss 70% of their client base? Having your own website isn’t necessary — but still helpful for a variety of reasons.
Potential Clients will Check You Out Online
Surveys reveal that over half of respondents consider search engines a better source of buying information than Yellow Pages, newspapers or magazines. When someone enters your name or company into Google (in quotes), what comes up?
It helps if your name is unusual. If not, follow up with “search within results” for a qualifier term (like your specialty, “employee benefits”) to find your cites.
In just a few moments, searchers get a picture of your professional standing and scope of recognition. They’re likely to be swayed by what they see. Who mentions you, and what are they saying? What kinds of links come to your website? If you’ve been publishing articles, they’ll also show up — enhancing your credibility and incoming links.
In my own case, a Google search for my name showed about 100 cites before I started article promotions. Now that’s well over 3,000. So many cites boosted my website traffic and Page Rank as well.
If you haven’t gone “ego surfing” on Google for mentions of your name, you should. Because the public will. Make sure there’s plenty of stuff for them to find that does you proud.