Need Clients? The 5 Best Ways to Market Your Consulting Business

Direct mail. Direct mail is a powerful way to drum up new business because it’s targeted to exactly the audience you want to reach. You create or rent a targeted prospect list, then send your prospective clients a sales letter, brochure, flier or “lumpy envelope” with a gift enclosed, all describing the consulting services you offer.

Cold calls. Another way to reach out to prospective clients is through cold calling, which is the process of contacting prospects who weren’t expecting a sales call from you and trying to sell them on your services. Most people absolutely abhor cold calling, but when you’re starting a new business, it’s a good idea to try a mix of techniques to land new business, which means you should give it a shot.

Advertising. Because traditional advertising can be expensive, it’s important to spend your advertising dollars wisely. Depending on the type of services you offer, it may be necessary to advertise in specialized trade journals or magazines. In addition to placing ads in the full print run of a publication, you also should consider advertising in any specialty sections that might include a “Consultants Directory” or “Directory of Consulting Services.”

Newsletters. Newsletters can be an effective tool when it comes to rounding up clients for your consulting business. Through newsletters, you can present news of interest to potential clients and remind former clients that you’re still alive and kicking–and available if they need help again.

Referrals. This often-overlooked method of finding new clients is an easy marketing activity. All you have to do is wait until you’ve finished your consulting assignment, confirm that your client is completely satisfied, then ask for a referral. Rather than putting your client on the spot, send a note or a short letter thanking them for their business and asking for the names of any colleagues, friends or business associates who might be good prospects for your services.

This excerpt is part of Entrepreneur.com’s Second-Quarter Startup Kit which explores the fundamentals of starting up in a wide range of industries. In Start Your Own Consulting Business , the staff at Entrepreneur Press and writer Eileen Figure Sandlin explain how you can start a profitable consulting business, no matter whether your consulting business will focus on HR placement, computer troubleshooting, or anything else you can dream up. In this edited excerpt, the authors describe five methods you can use to market your new consulting business. Once your new business is established, it’s time to start marketing your services [...]