Written by: Fabiola Oliveira
Introduction: A consultant is someone who will give you valuable advice, based on their expertise. The consultancy industry presents a diversity of areas, such as finance, marketing, strategy, management, HR, operations, IT and so on. Then, the purpose of hiring a consultant is to discover the business weaknesses and apply the best solution to each case.
If you work as a consultant, take a look at this digital marketing strategy plan to build up your business.
1. Perform a current situation analysis
No matter what stage your consulting business is at, you must analyze what is the current situation of your digital marketing and what are your business expectations. In addition, it is so important to understand what are the available resources to define the right tools to work with, so you can adjust accordingly.
Wherever online platforms you decide to use, take advantage of the most innovative tools that have been offered. In case your business already has a website, use Google Analytics to get insights about your website performance, customer behaviour, time spent on a certain page and so on.
Likewise, social media analytics also offers tools that can help you to dive in on your company insights. Some of them are free of charge and will provide you with a bunch of valuable information.
2. Define objectives and goals
Familiarized with all your consulting business insights from your current situation analysis, you must define your business goals. They are divided into short and long term goals, which will make the achievements possible.
Nonetheless, to succeed, you need to make sure your goals are SMART. Take a look at these examples to help you. SMART goals stand for:
- Specific: clear and significant. “To become a five top consultant company in my state”.
- Measurable: meaningful and motivating. “Acquire 4 new consulting contracts each month”.
- Achievable: actionable. “Improve social media presence, ask current clients to leave reviews on our website, testimonials and tag our company on social media”.
- Relevant: realistic. “In 2 years period, we will be opening a new office in a different state”.
- Time-Bound: time-limited. “Increase website traffic by 20% in September 2021”.
Now, what are your business goals?
3. Develop a budgeting plan
The next step of a digital marketing strategy plan is to define how much your consulting business will spend with marketing campaigns, so is the necessity of developing a budgeting plan.
You must consider all your marketing costs that will affect your strategic plan. The company may spend money on training, new staff members, advertisements, technology and tools, media, content creation or paid marketing for example.
Make sure you have the amount expected for each month related to each cost in a certain period (long and short term). Likewise, link your costs to your business goals, make sure your objectives are aligned to your plan, so it will make sense to spend money to achieve them.
4. Develop your online presence
Online presence is crucial for any business nowadays. People want everything in hand, so if they search for your company information and it is not quite helpful the possibility of going to your competitor is huge.
Take time to develop a powerful website, so your customers can find there what they are searching for. Update your page with as much information about your business, the consulting services you provide and problems your business solves, research the keywords related to your segment once SEO optimization works based on relevant keywords and what people are talking about on social media.
In addition, use Google My Business to add online credibility to your consulting business. By using it, you will be able to list your business on Google Maps and receive reviews from your visitors for example. It is free of charge, increases visibility on searches, you can include videos and photos, and customers can contact your company from there, so why not try?
5. Perform audience research and create a buyer persona
One of the most important steps when running a business is to know your audience. But what does that mean? It is understanding who are the people interested in your product or service, so you will not be advertising to the wrong audience. In other words, it is a way to narrow down your audience and save time and effort to dedicate those to people who really connect to your service.
To help with this step, it is crucial to perform audience research, which will give you insights that will lead your business to your target. Furthermore, it is required to create a buyer persona that can represent your target audience. A buyer persona is not a real person, it will draw the detailed characteristics of your target customers, including age, status, location, social media platforms and preferences for example.
6. Know your competitors
As well as knowing your target audience is essential, knowing your competitors is the next step of your strategic plan. It has such importance when gathering information that can benefit your business. Some examples of information you can lift up by doing a competitor analysis include identifying what your competitors are doing right or wrong, discover new trends, identify a market gap so you can develop a product or service that is in need and much more.
Here are some of the steps that can be used in your competitive analysis, but don’t limit yourself:
- Perform a SWOT analysis which will help you to find out your competitors strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats;
- Find out what media channels they have been using, how is their customer engagement and what is the relationship between them;
- Try to identify what content strategy they are using, so you can improve yours.
7. Create a social media content strategy
In order to succeed in digital media, your consulting business must create a strong online presence. Not only on your website but on social media platforms as well. Yet, the idea is to be present in the platforms that are relevant to your business segment, once the options of platforms available are huge. Examples of social media platforms most used by consulting business are:
- LinkedIn: Information Technology and Services occupies the first place in the industry ranking on LinkedIn (2019);
- Facebook: Services, as well as on LinkedIn, occupies the first place in the industry ranking;
- Instagram: In the U.S, 75.3% of business was on Instagram and per month, 1 billion people used the platform in 2020;
- Twitter: Most people access Twitter to catch up on the news and people watch an average of 2 billion videos on the platform per day.
After performing the previous analysis and knowing exactly where to find your target audience it is time to create a content strategy to connect 100% with your customers.
Develop a content strategy plan including the type of posts you will be creating, when they will be posted, what platforms you will be using, and the specific time. Make sure your contents are relevant to your audience yet appealing, so your customers can engage with your brand.
Check out this blog “Boost your social media with these five powerful tips” to learn more about strategies that can be used to enhance your social media presence.
8. Rely on your differential
In a competitive business world, you must present to your customers a plus that your competitors don’t offer. A unique selling proposition is what defines your brand as being different from the competition, it is a unique value that your business offer to the market.
The idea is not being one more consulting business in the market, it is to offer a different service, with good quality, being transparent with clients and making them comfortable so they can trust your company, as well as being advocates for your brand.
Therefore, here is where you will be using your competitor analysis, by understanding what is available in the market you can provide unique services. Make sure to apply your brand characteristics, what makes it exclusive, so that is the value your customers are looking for.
9. Implement KPIs and audit your results
Developing a digital marketing strategy plan is only worth it if you can measure your results during and at the end of the process. Again, based on your objectives and goals you can apply a measurement strategy that will help you to understand the performance of your marketing campaigns.
A KPI or Key Performance Indicator is the measurable results that indicate how successful is your company in achieving its goals. By analyzing the results, you are able to compare the numbers related to a certain marketing campaign and apply changes to the ones that need an adjustment, as well as adopting different strategies if necessary. A great example to measure your consulting business results is using Google Analytics, so you have in hand all the numbers and insights about everything you do online, your marketing campaigns and so on.
10. Develop a contingency plan
What if the objectives and goals are not met? This is a question you must consider.
As well as creating a strategic plan to stand out from the crowd, you must acknowledge the risks of not meeting the expectations. There has to be an action plan to take place when the goals are not met. For example, if the company does not acquire 4 new clients for consulting business in a month, what can be done? What strategy should be used to reach this number? By adopting a contingency plan, your company will not be surprised in case of negative results once there is already a strategy to be adopted in similar scenarios.
Conclusion: Starting or managing a business requires effort and dedication to making things running smoothly. A consulting business is so important in other business paths, as shown in 2020 statistics in the US, where the consulting market reached 64.4 billion dollars. As you can see, the consulting industry is a huge market with much potential, so the purpose of this digital marketing plan is to help your consulting business to stand out from the crowd and be unique in the market.
For more blogs and information about digital marketing: www.thedigitalmarketinginstitute.org
International Institute of Digital Marketing™ is a certifying body founded in the USA by several long-standing marketers. We have years of experience in business, marketing, and more, and have put forth our combined experience to develop IIDM.
Written by Fabiola Fernandes de Oliveira, Content Marketing Analyst Intern at IIDM™
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