Independent consulting means tackling pretty much every aspect of your business yourself. Cause, you know, that whole independent thing.
Something I tend to see independent consultants struggle with in droves over other aspects is how they market themselves. Here are some tips you can follow to make sure you’re marketing yourself and your business efficiently:
Stay Easy to Connect With
Seems like a basic enough idea right? You market yourself, and if that marketing works, you get business. People have to be able to reach out to your for your business. Following me here?
Far too often, I see independent consultants prattle on with multiple channels to reach them on some “CONTACT” page buried at the bottom of their site. You’re not doing yourself any favors here. A phone number and email address are all people are looking for, so make them easy to find. Rather than stuffing them down through layers of your site map, plop those suckers down right at the front page of your website where everyone will see them.
And while we’re on the subject of your website…
Don’t Skimp on Paid Hosts
I’ve sang praises before about free blogging platforms like WordPress and Blogger, but let me make it clear that they should really only serve as temporary platforms to get your content rolling. You should be making the transition very quickly to a site you host yourself.
These free sites are great tools to build some momentum at the beginning, but can become significantly sticky situations down the road. Why? Because whoever runs that free platform is in control of your marketing. What if the host is down for maintenance or, even worse, folds altogether. Or perhaps a recent update changes the host’s Terms and Conditions and excludes a hearty chunk of your marketing, if not your business entirely. Say goodbye to potentially years of self-marketing work in a matter of minutes.
It’s really not worth it to stay on these free platforms for any longer than you have to. You’re running a business, so chalk up the hosting costs as overhead, migrate your content, and be on your way with you in charge.
Keep Things Appealing
I want to outline two specific ways to approach this notion. First and foremost, your appeal starts with your content and the way you present yourself. So keep things professional. Don’t go spouting off about some sociopolitical ideology of yours on your public pages. Unless your business is predicated on promoting a certain set of beliefs, things are often better left unsaid. The last thing you want is to alienate or off-put a potential client with your personal crap.
Another way to keep your content and tone presentable is to refrain from pandering to potential clients. Don’t buy clicks, don’t buy email lists, and don’t send out obnoxious notices. This kind of behavior usually gets you labeled as spam by ISP’s, and is a great way to trash your credibility real quick.
From another perspective, keeping things appealing can also apply to your visual presentation. It’s 2015, and there are virtually limitless resources you can use to make your website look stellar. Far too many independent pages look like repurposed Geocities sites, and it ain’t pretty. Keep things sleek, orderly, and easily accessible.
Also, present yourself with the same dignity as your site. Don’t have a headshot you’re proud of? Then spend the money to take a new one—first impressions really do mean the world.
Running the show yourself means you’re taking care of your own marketing. No one’s going to do it for you, so you should make sure you’re taking the right steps to keep your site as appealing and as effective as all the major consulting firms. The suggestions above are great places to start, so take them to heart and good luck on your own site!