As a digital marketer you will be well versed in tactics for attracting prospects to your clients’ businesses, and converting them into leads and customers. No doubt you will be using many of these digital marketing techniques in your own business, reaching potential clients in the online world.
But if you’re finding your digital activities are not as effective as you want, it may help to look at an offline marketing and networking approach to build relationships and trust with business clients.
From talking to friends and associates who work as digital marketing consultants, I’ve noticed that building their client base is often a problem for those people who work mostly with B2C clients. I think that in some cases that’s because B2C digital marketing tactics do not always transfer to B2B sectors where relationships and trust have a higher currency.
Perhaps the most significant barrier for digital marketers is that clients generally want to meet you and find out more about your business in person. While websites, social media, and digital communications can provide some of the tools to start relationship building, nothing beats face-to-face contact on a regular basis to build a professional partnership.
To do this most people need to look for a more local client base; one that they can easily reach without booking flights or long train journeys! In my experience most towns and boroughs within our cities support business communities that are crying out for digital marketing support – you really can build a consultancy business on your doorstep.
So how can you reach those businesses offline and establish your digital marketing consultancy in your local area?
Offline Tactics For Local Digital Marketing Consultancies
Business networking – there are numerous business networking events happening throughout the week in a typical UK town. Some allow flexibility where you can drop in and out, others are members only and promote long term professional relationships. Whichever group you attend, it pays to go regularly and build trust with other businesses over time. One of the key things business owners want from a digital marketing consultant is someone they can trust. Many businesses have had their fingers burnt, paying large sums for ineffective campaigns that don’t deliver results. As such they are cautious and will want to feel confident in your abilities before they will sign up for your services.
Workshops – a great way to build trust and also demonstrate your skills is to run workshops or deliver talks about digital marketing. Many networking groups will facilitate this for you, but equally you could book a room at a local venue and promote your own event. Although most business owners don’t have the time or skills to manage all their own digital marketing, they do want to be educated about it. Having the big picture on what digital marketing can do for their business, how it works, and what results are possible, allows them to make better decisions about what support they need. As the person offering them this advice and support, you’re in the perfect position to take the next step and offer your consultancy services directly.
Run a business hub – in response to demand from local businesses there has been a noticeable increase in business and digital hubs being set up around the country. These differ from most regular business networking events as they promote a collaborative approach to business support where members freely share their expertise and support others. Typically the people running business hubs also have another business to run and there’s an opportunity for some cross pollination between the two. People running consultancy business such as digital marketers make ideal business hub owners, as their services are exactly what many of the business hub attendees need. As a hub owner you will have ample opportunity to build relationships with local business owners, to offer advice and to showcase your skills.
Of course all the above ideas can also be supported online, for example through social media business networking groups, online workshops or digital support groups. These online platforms can enhance real-life business relationships and help consultants establish their reputation and influence in the local area.
If you would like to talk to me about building an offline client base using the ideas above, please get in touch. You’ll also find more information about how I have built our business hub community here.