Any consulting business requires advertising to attract work. Where and how to advertise your consulting business, though, depends on the services you provide, the businesses location and intended market. Also, a factor is the size of your advertising budget. Below are ideas on how to most effectively advertise your consulting business.
Consider Your Market
Your consulting business is most likely geared towards a particular market. Where, when and for how long you advertise your business depends on where your targeted market shops, visits and does business. If your business is geared towards accounting firms, you would not want to advertise in movie theaters during tax season, as that typically is their busiest time (and they will most likely not be spending much time in movie theaters). Similarly, purchasing print ads in a magazine not read by your market will be a waste of time and money. Seriously consider where you are best able to reach your targeted market prior to submitting and running advertisements.
One of the most overlooked advertising options is the events and meetings hosted by charities and non-profit agencies. Schools, political groups and professional associations regularly host fundraisers and meetings attended by large numbers of their members. Often a business can purchase space in a pamphlet or otherwise contribute and be recognized at a much lower cost than regional or national newspapers, magazines or other options would charge. Depending on what you purchase and the amount of your donation, these advertising expenses may even be tax deductible.
The amount of time and energy you put into an advertisement directly relates to how professional it, and by extension your business, appears. Do not be cheap or lackadaisical about your advertisements. Instead, spend an appropriate amount of money as the market and advertising medium require. For example, it would be inappropriate to place a poorly drawn and misspelled advertisement in an artistic or educational magazine. However, do not exceed your advertising budget. Advertisers often have multiple sizes of advertisements available; if you cannot afford a full or even a quarter page spread, maybe you can afford a business-sized advertisement. Always remember that what fits in your budget should also appear professionally done, even if not.
The Importance of Snail Mail
It is faster to delete an email than to rip up a letter. Sending a letter to your target market explaining your business and expertise in the area is more likely to be read than a mass email. Your letter does not have to be complicated; a simple letter of introduction stating your credentials, that outlines your consulting focus, will suffice. Always put your contact information on the letter.
Get Yourself Out There
Offering to give lectures, talks or assist local groups or charities is a great way to advertise your business. You are the face of your consulting business, and participating in a lecture or speaking engagement shows your knowledge of the area. Offer yourself to local charities, political groups or business organizations as a speaker; you may be surprised at how well-known your company becomes from this method of advertising.
The goal of any advertising campaign is to obtain recognition for a company. As a consultant, you must show that you are an expert possessing essential knowledge to companies within your field. Always keep your target market in mind when deciding where to place advertisements, and remember that personal interaction always trumps electronic contact.