October 4, 2009
In your consulting business, chances are you have spent a lot of time thinking about the specific services you can offer to clients. You’ve probably spent a great deal of time and effort working on processes, so that when clients come to you you’re able to offer them real solutions.
Unfortunately, many solo professionals don’t put the same kind of time and thought into their marketing message. They put up a website, perhaps, that goes into great detail about how it is they can solve their clients’ problems. Then, they can’t understand why no one is buying.
It’s because they haven’t developed a core marketing message. What, exactly, is your core marketing message? It’s the message you want to get across to your potential customers. It’s the thing that will convince potential customers that you have the answer to their problem. The success of your business will, ultimately, depend greatly on how clear and effective your core marketing message is.
One of the reasons you’re marketing your business is so that people will choose to hire you. That sound’s rather basic, but it can be overlooked. Your marketing message needs to say who you are. Making sure your name, or your business name, is included in your marketing efforts will help insure that, even if the potential client doesn’t hire you right away, they’ll remember you for when they are
ready to buy.
In the process of introducing yourself, don’t get carried away. Talking about yourself can distract your potential customers and, in many cases, push them away. They’re not interested as much in who you are as they are in what you can do for them.
In some niches, it can be useful to provide some biographical information. For example, you might say, “I am Dr. Rogers, and I am a physician at State Hospital” or “I am Jan Smith, a certified clinical psychologist.” If your niche has recognized certifications or associations, you can certainly include this information in your marketing. As a general rule, however, brevity is best.
The next thing you need to focus on in your core marketing message is a problem that needs to be solved. People buy things, and they pay consultants and coaches, to solve problems. This is true for just about any consulting business. If you’re a writing coach, your clients have a problem with their writing ability (or with selling their writing, perhaps.). If you’re a weight loss coach, your clients probably have a weight problem. If you’re a back pain coach, your clients have back pain.
It seems basic, but identifying the specific problems that your coaching solves is integral to your core marketing message. You want to reach people that have a need, and then say, “Hey! You there! I can fix that!” That is how you get clients’ attention. That’s how your potential clients know you’re talking to them, and how they know you have something that they just might want to listen to. Think about some of the most effective commercials and marketing campaigns you’ve seen.
Acne medications don’t start out their advertisements by talking about ingredients. Instead, they say, “Are you tired of not looking your best?”
They identify a problem right away: with acne, you don’t look your best. Your core marketing message should address a problem or problems of your target market. Make a list of the top problems in your target market – perhaps three to five problems – and decide which ones you can solve. Focus your marketing efforts on these.
The natural thing to do, once you’ve identified a problem, is talk about solutions and processes. However, when it comes to your core marketing message, solutions and processes need to take a back seat.
You see, people out there who have a problem aren’t looking for methods. They aren’t looking for a process. They aren’t even looking for solutions.
What they want are outcomes.
The person with back pain doesn’t want medicine. They don’t want exercise, physical therapy or coaching. They want to be free from back pain. The person with acne doesn’t want hydrocortisone creams or UV treatments. They want to get rid of their acne. It’s not enough to identify problems; potential customers know they have problems. Identifying problems is just how you get their attention. You need to tell those potential customers exactly why they need you. You have to be able to identify specific outcomes. You need to know what your potential clients want to get out of the situation, decide if you can provide it, and then offer it to them.
As the next step in the process of developing your core marketing message, you need to consider each of those problems you identified previously. For each problem, ask yourself, “What is the ideal outcome your potential customers are hoping for?” Once you’ve identified those outcomes, they become an amazing tool in your marketing efforts.
A Note About Process
Just because the process of solving problems shouldn’t be included in your marketing message doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it. Before you attach a given outcome to a problem, you’d better be sure you have a process in place that will solve the problem and provide the desired outcome. If you can’t create the outcome, you have to strike it from your marketing message.
Putting it All Together
So, now that you have identified the various components of your core marketing message, it’s time to actually formulate and articulate that message. Your core marketing message says something along these lines:
“I am _____. I work with _____ who have this problem_____. I help them to _____.”
So, you might say, “I am John Sebastian. I work with older men and women who have lower back pain. I help them to manage their pain effectively and lead normal, productive lives.”
Establishing a coherent core marketing message that identifies who you are, identifies the problem you can solve and gives the potential customer a look at what life looks like after their problem is solved is key to success in your consulting business.
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