When you’re starting your new consulting business, I figure one of the most difficult challenges is to get your very first consulting clients. To help you with that, in this case study I’m going to share with you what I did to get consulting clients when nobody even knew me. In fact you can apply these 4 tricks right away in your own business.
This is the second article in a series where I show you how to start and build a successful consulting business with the help of my personal case study. For more information please click here to read part one, or read my general article on how to get your first consulting clients.
Trick no. 1: My Old Business Newsletter
Before starting out with my SEO and online marketing business in 2012, I used to be a co-owner in a traditional marketing company. We used to distribute leaflets, which is a pretty big market across Europe. What we did was getting printed marketing materials into mailboxes all over the country. Unfortunately our business was approaching to a very struggling end, and I decided to part ways with my partners.
But I asked for one last thing. Let them send out only one newsletter pitching my new SEO business to our mailing list. I did not even have a consulting website back then, just created one single page on a domain that I had registered for something else.
So they sent out this newsletter to a mailing list of about 5000 people. All odds were against me, especially if you accept everything that you hear from so called online marketing gurus.
- The list was quite small, only 5000 members.
- We built this list for a different business and different service (although the main topic, marketing was OK).
- Nobody on this list really new me personally, let alone that I was an SEO expert.
- It was only one email, no follow ups, no remarketing etc.
- I did not even have a real website.
But that’s not how things work in real life. For online marketing to work, nothing really has to be perfect. You just have to reach out to enough people.
And lo and behold, I got my first two consulting clients from this single email. Also I had the opportunity to continue working with both of them for years.
I got my first two consulting clients from this single email. Also I had the opportunity to continue working with both of them for years.
Trick no. 2: 50% Off For Business Aquintances
Right after this, I created my SEO website and started promoting myself. The very first thing I did is gather all my business cards and emails from past business relationships and send out a very special 50% off offer to everybody that I had have any contact with in the past.
I did not really care about who I sent this offer to. Everybody got it who I’d have any contact with. In fact one guy I sent it out to had been our SEO expert in the old business, quite a name in this field back then. He just replied with a LOL asking me if I was serious about sending this offer to him. I was. Actually I made more money last year than he did.
My prices were ridiculously low. I was offering a complete website SEO for less then $100, or even building a completely new WordPress website for the same amount. I was reaching out to people in a field that they had never heard of me. I was even reaching out to people who I hadn’t have contact with for more than 10 years. All odds were against me again, most marketing gurus would have probably talked me out of doing this.
But again, it did work. I got one client from this endeavor, and it was a pretty big international company. And they again used to work with me for years.
I got one client from this endeavor, and it was a pretty big international company. And they again used to work with me for years.
Trick no. 3: Attending Business Meetups
The third “trick” I used to get consulting clients when nobody knew me was attending business meetups regularly. I really hate to wake up early, but did just that once every week and joined a BNI group.
This is not a promotion, I’m not even working with that organization anymore. Nowadays I only use online methods to get clients. But this article is about the beginning. And back then it really was useful for me to join a group of like-minded people who were interested in my services, or who at least knew others that were interested in what I offered.
I had quite a few clients just directly from these business meetups. Also it was very useful to get a sneak peek into the market. I also learned a lot from failed negotiations, like what their main problems were, what they really wanted, or what were the prices they were willing to pay for my services.
I had quite a few clients just directly from these business meetups.
Trick no. 4: Building My Own List
Remember the first trick? I made my first clients from a mailing list. So no wonder I started building my own list as soon as I could.
I installed a popup and started running Facebook ads to get subscribers right after publishing my consulting website. I slowly started to build a list of subscribers, then I sent out mails advertising my blog articles and also pitching my services at least once a week.
And doing all this I started to get more and more consulting clients. More people new me every day, I had good references, so I can safely say that I no longer had any problems with getting clients.
And doing all this I started to get more and more consulting clients.
But this is another story, as building a list can be the backbone of your consulting business and how to do that could possibly fill an entire book not just some tiny paragraphs at the end of an article. So let me write about this some other day…