Finding marketing consulting clients is one of the biggest hurdles you’ll face as an independent consultant. However, marketing consulting is a great way to make money, be your own boss, and work on your schedule.
- 59 million Americans performed freelance work in the past 12 months, more than one-third—of the entire U.S. workforce.
- And 51% of post-grad workers did freelancing work in 2021.
But it’s also challenging. Most people don’t know how to find potential clients or are afraid to start.
And there are so many platforms out there, and it isn’t easy to know which platform is best for you.
We’re going to give you seven tips that will help you find marketing consulting clients. These tips include both online and offline strategies that have helped us find clients over the years. So let’s dive right in!
1. Reach out to potential clients directly.
Directly reaching out to potential clients can be a great way to get new business. We put this tip first because so many people don’t do it. But you should!
You can find potential marketing consulting clients by visiting a potential client’s website, then sending them an email. Or reaching out to them using social media.
Shoot, we’ve even found clients by checking out your competitor’s website.
Many freelancers fear cold outreach. However, cold outreach is one of the best ways to find marketing consulting clients. When you reach out to potential clients, you’re letting them know that you exist. That’s half the battle!
And more importantly, you can provide a solution to their challenges.
Your message should be friendly and professional. It should also include a brief explanation of who you are, what you do, and why the client should work with you.
When possible, include a link to your portfolio or your social media profiles. You can also provide a link to your services or other pages on your website that prove you’re an expert freelance consultant.
If you don’t hear back from a potential client after a week, feel free to contact them again. Don’t worry. Sending follow-up messages is common.
2-3 follow-up emails are usually enough to get your potential client’s attention.
Pros of reaching out directly to clients for marketing consulting jobs:
- It can be an efficient way to find freelance jobs.
- You can explain who you are and what you do in your email.
- You can reach decision-makers that you wouldn’t have spoken to otherwise.
- You can control the messaging and how you’re perceived.
- It helps you stand out from the competition because not many freelance consultants are good at it.
Cons of reaching out to potential clients include:
- It can be hard to get your email noticed in a crowded inbox.
- Not all potential clients will be interested in your services.
- You may not hear back from a potential client after a week.
- Follow-up emails can feel pushy, especially if you’re a new freelancer.
2. Use a freelancing platform.
There are many great freelancing platforms. But not all are created equal for finding marketing consulting clients.
Some platforms offer freelancing consulting opportunities for all niches. Other freelancing platforms are niche-specific.
These platforms allow you to list your services and browse for opportunities, as well as keep track of your earnings.
They also feature listings from companies looking to hire freelance consultants long and short-term.
Look into each platform’s services and determine which one will work best with your goals.
Pros of using a freelancing platform include:
- Freelance consultants have access to a wide range of jobs.
- You can find high-quality clients you may not have otherwise had access to.
- The freelancing platform can act as a middleman and help protect you from nonpayment or other unfortunate situations.
- Platforms often have built-in or integrated payment systems, so it’s one less thing for you to worry about.
- They often have freelancers and agencies you can network with and find collaborators.
Cons with freelance platforms:
- Sometimes, the jobs on these platforms can be low-paying.
- Freelancers may have to pay a fee to join some freelancing on some sites.
- Platforms often take a percentage of your earnings.
- You’re competing with hundreds of other freelancers for jobs.
3. Search job boards or freelance industry sites.
Searching job boards is another great way of finding marketing consulting clients. Job boards, such as Indeed, allow you to search for jobs by location and keyword.
To find freelance jobs on Indeed (or other job sites), input your country and enter keywords into the search bar, such as freelancer marketing.
You can also choose whether you want to see just full-time jobs, contractor, part-time, or remote. Then, click on a job title to get more information about it.
Pros of using job boards:
- They allow freelancers to search for jobs by keyword.
- You can get a sense of what freelancing opportunities are available in your area
- Sometimes you can find out how much companies pay for freelance consultants.
- Almost all job boards have an option for freelancers to upload a resume or portfolio.
- You can see the freelancers’ reviews of clients.
Cons of using job boards:
- Some freelancers have reported receiving spam emails from agencies.
- Businesses try charging freelancers below the market rate.
- Freelancers may have to compete with in-house employees for jobs.
- Most freelancers only offer their services through a resume and portfolio submission, so you may not be able to get a sense of what they can do until you’ve contacted them.
4. Use social media to connect with potential clients.
Social media can be an excellent tool for finding marketing consulting clients. Platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn allow you to search for keywords related to your services and connect with potential clients.
LinkedIn offers Profinder for freelance consultants to find work. It’s a freelancer-focused LinkedIn feature that allows you to search for jobs and projects based on your skills, location, and budget. You can also send proposals to clients, get paid through the platform, and more.
To get the most out of LinkedIn, make sure you create a LinkedIn Services page.
Twitter also offers a great way to connect with potential clients. For example, you can use hashtags to find people who are looking for freelancers in your field, or you can search for keywords related to your services.
Facebook and LinkedIn groups help freelance consultants to engage with potential clients by sharing their work, asking for advice, and more. Consider a social selling strategy to get the most out of these groups.
Social selling uses social media to build relationships by answering questions and providing solutions to minor problems for free.
As a result, you participate in discussions with potential clients and become known as an expert in your field.
Pros of using social media:
- Freelance consultants can connect with potential clients in various ways, such as through posts, tweets, LinkedIn messages, and Facebook messages.
- You could learn more about the client’s needs and how you can help them before you speak with them.
- You will connect with other freelancers who may refer you to quality clients.
- It’s a great way to connect with a giant network of potential clients that you may not have been able to communicate with otherwise.
Cons of using social media:
- Social media can be time-consuming to participate in all the discussions you find relevant.
- You need to be careful about how you represent yourself and your business on social media.
- The client may not want to speak with you on social media first.
- It can be challenging to stand out in a flooded social media market.
5. Attend industry events.
Attending industry conferences is a great way for finding marketing consulting clients and connecting with other freelance consultants. You already have something in common with potential clients when you’re at an event.
You can start a conversation by asking them about their work and why they are at the conference. Then, as you speak with potential clients, continue to build a relationship while learning about their needs, challenges, and goals.
Sometimes you can find attendee lists from the previous year’s event. If so, reach out to potential clients from that list. See if they are attending again and schedule a time to meet.
Or, consider starting your own event. For example, develop a free workshop or webinar to help potential clients solve a small problem.
Pros of finding marketing consulting clients at industry events:
- You can learn more about the client’s needs and how you can help them in a neutral environment.
- You will build a relationship with the potential client with common interests.
- You could meet and get referrals from other freelancers or consultants in your field.
Cons of finding marketing consulting clients at networking events:
- Finding the time to attend industry conferences can be challenging.
- The quality of attendees can be hit or miss.
- If you don’t pre-schedule meetings, finding time to meet up with potential clients can be tricky.
- You must find a way to stand out in a crowded room of people.
6. Partner with freelancers in your field.
Partnering with freelancers who offer different services than you is a great way for finding marketing consulting clients.
For example, if you’re a freelance management consultant, partnering up with an SEO freelancer can help you expand your client base and get referrals from their clients.
Referrals are one of the best ways to get more freelancing clients. When a fellow freelancer refers you to a client, that’s a warm lead. In addition, the client likely trusts the person that referred you.
That trust can help you get the freelance project, even if you don’t have the most experience.
A personal connection can go a long way towards building trust between a client and freelancer. Don’t forget that referrals are one of the best ways to find new clients once you’ve established some connections.
Partnering with freelancers in your field will help you learn more about freelancing. Your partner might have more efficient or effective ways to find clients or run your business.
Pros of partnering with other freelancers include:
- You can get referrals from other freelancers.
- You will learn more about marketing or running your business from your partner.
- You will build your network of fellow independents and trade services.
Cons of partnering with other freelancers include:
- It takes time to build connections with other freelancers.
- It can take a lot of time to manage freelancing partnerships.
- Not all freelancers will have the desire to partner up.
7. Ask for freelancing client referrals from your former colleagues.
Reach out to former colleagues to ask for client referrals. Tell them about your consulting business, and what you’re looking for in a marketing consulting project, and ask if they can help you with finding marketing consulting clients.
Be clear about the value you provide and the services you offer.
Former colleagues are an excellent resource for finding freelancing clients because they know your strengths and weaknesses. They can also refer you to clients that are a good fit for your skills.
Pros of getting referrals from former colleagues:
- You can put them to work for you, and you don’t have to spend time finding potential freelancing clients on your own.
- Your former colleagues know your skills, and they can refer freelancing jobs to you that are a good match.
- They can refer you to clients they know, like, and trust.
- Your friends and former colleagues have a network different from yours, including potential clients you couldn’t reach without them.
Cons of getting referrals from your former colleagues:
- Not everyone will have freelancing contacts they can send your way.
- Former colleagues may be too busy to help you find freelancing work.
- You may not feel comfortable asking for a referral from a former colleague.
- Your former colleagues might not want to refer you to their contacts.
Sure, finding marketing consulting clients can be a challenge, but using the proper techniques can help you connect with more potential clients. Try out some of these tips and see which ones work best for you.
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to reach out to clients directly. Cold outreach isn’t fun, but it can be one of the most effective ways to find marketing consulting clients.
And take time to build your personal brand. A personal brand shows clients that you’re an expert in your field and serious about marketing consulting. In addition, having a solid personal brand can help you stand out from the competition.
Last but not least, ask for referrals. Most freelancers will tell you that referrals can lead to many marketing consulting clients. So don’t be afraid to ask clients for other colleagues or companies that might need your services as well.