Every week, I write about web design, copywriting, and digital marketing for independent consultants and small firms. Friday Fusion is a collection of said writing from Quora, LinkedIn, and email conversations with consultants. You can follow me on Quora here, connect with me on LinkedIn here, and email me here.
Should you put your service/product “price” on your website, if that service/product requires first a consultation over the phone? I.e, financial services
If you’re selling a “product”, put your price on your website.
But if you’re selling consulting services, never put your price on your website.
Price the client, not the job.
I’m a firm believer in value-based pricing for consulting services: pricing your services based on the value you can create for your client.
Example: You’re a conversion-rate optimization consultant. Your client, an eCommerce company is currently grossing $80K per month. Their website’s sales conversion rate is 1.4%. You’re confident you can raise it to 2% over a 6-month contract. That’s a 40%+ increase in revenue — hundreds of thousands of dollars per year added to their business. Instead of charging hourly for your services, you charge them based on this financial upside (10% to 20% of the ROI you can create for them).
Value-based pricing is better for you and your client.
- It’s better for your client because it forces you, the consultant, to think about the value you can create for your client (and often requires you to put skin in the game).
- It’s better for you can earn far more per project. And, you’re no longer incentivized to spend longer on the project to earn more (like you are with hourly billing).
Here’s the thing — you cannot do value-based pricing if you put the price of your consulting services on your website.
By allowing your client to see your pricing before you know anything about them, their business, and discussing the value you can create for them, you’re preventing your ability to price their project based on value.
So, if you’re selling products — a-fixed price, fixed-scope offer — by all means, showcase the price on your website. Your product is the same no matter whom you sell it to.
But if you’re selling high-touch, custom consulting services, don’t show your price on your website. How can you show a price when you don’t even know what you’re doing for your client yet?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using your name as a consulting company brand?
Choosing your name versus a branded name depends on the type of consulting business you want to build.
Do you want to build an independent consulting business that’s more a lifestyle business?
Or do you want to build up a consulting firm that you eventually sell?
Advantages of using your name
- You can build a powerful personal brand, since you are your business.
- It’s much easier than creating a unique branded name.
- It forces you to put “skin in the game” — when everything is under your name, your reputation is on the line (this is a good thing).
Disadvantages of using your name
- If you plan on building a team, you might find that clients don’t want to work with who you hire — they want to work with you.
- It can be harder to sell a consulting business that’s named after yourself.
- It might make you look smaller and less prestigious.
The strongest brand is your name. “Get me Joan Larson is a far better dynamic than “Get me an excellent strategist” and Joan happens to be a possible name among many.
—Alan Weiss, Million Dollar Web Presence
I’m a big of naming your consulting business after yourself.
Consulting is a form of entrepreneurship where you’re selling your thinking.
Improve yourself, and you improve your business. Improve your business, and you improve yourself. You don’t get that same direct connection with a branded name that’s not tied to your identity.
“Entrepreneurship is the greatest form of personal development that exists.”
What are the best ways to distribute content?
Writing content is the easy part. Distributing it — so you can generate traffic — is the hard part.
Here’s the kicker: content distribution starts before you even start writing.
What you should be doing before you distribute your content.
- Find a specific keyword or phrase you want to rank for. Figure out how many people search for it per month (use Ahrefs or Ubersuggest to do this). You eventually want to rank first on Google for that phrase. When you rank first, you won’t even have to distribute it — it will distribute itself.
- Reach out to other writers who serve a similar audience. Build relationships with them. The easiest way to do this is to link to their content within your content. Everyone loves that. It will make your content better too. Win-win.
- Tell people what you’re working on. Give them a hint. Tell them what they’ll be able to do after they read it. Get them excited about what’s coming.
What you should be during while you write your content:
- Aim to make your content better than anything else out there. Write more. Include video. Include imagery. Make it easy to read and understand. Make it 10x more valuable than whatever else is out there on the same topic.
- Add a few “Value Shots”:
- Value Shot 1: Providing actionable tactics & techniques
- Value Shot 2: Citing scientific or historical data
- Value Shot 3: Weaving in a relevant personal story
- Value Shot 4: Shooting an extra video
- Value Shot 5: Adding beautiful or unique visuals
- Value Shot 6: Creating a comprehensive, step-by-step guide
- Value Shot 7: Injecting humor and personality
- Give your readers a specific action step at the end of your content. They should be able to do or understand something new after reading it. If your content can get them a result that they desired, they will gladly join your audience.
What you should do after you’ve published your content:
- Share it everywhere your audience hangs out online:
- Your email list (and ask them to share it, too)
- Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc (and included a share button at the bottom of your post, so they can share it — if it makes them look good, they often will)
- Cross-post it on other publishing platforms:
- Niche industry publications (add “rel-canonical” to your version of the content to avoid duplicate content penalties)
- You know all of those people you’ve been building relationships with? Email them. Tell them you’ve just published your post. Kindly ask them to share it with their audience. Offer to reciprocate when they publish something new.
- Build backlinks to your content. Eventually, you want it to rank first on search engines. You can’t do this without other people linking to your content. So ask people to link to it. If it helps their audience, they often will. But if you never ask, forget about it.
None of this matters if you aren’t consistent.
You can’t just do this once. Do it over and over and over again — for every piece of content you produce.
With each iteration, you’ll build your network, your database of content, your audience — and your traffic.
Your content will become your marketing and sales. And that’s when the real fun begins.
How do you follow up with a client who requested a quote and/or more information, but then didn’t follow up on the information?
Derek Sivers explains this point of view in one of his blog posts.
In the post, he gives the example of a music publisher in New York. She was bombarded with new music.
Like your potential clients, the publisher received dozens of “pitches” per week. In her case, it was music:
Whenever someone sent their music, it would go into an inbox. That inbox was completely ignored.
Whenever someone contacted her to follow-up the first time, to ask if she’d received it, she would take their music out of that first inbox, and put it in a second inbox. That second inbox was also ignored.
Then if they followed-up with her a second time, asking again if she’d had the chance to listen, she would take their music out of the second inbox, and put it in a third inbox. That third inbox would get a listen if she had some spare time.
Finally, if they followed-up a third time, she would take their music out of the third inbox, and make it a priority to give it a real listen.
If you believe in your product, you know it will help your potential client. Following up more than once shows that you truly care about them. You believe that your product or service will improve their situation. It would be inconsiderate of you not to follow up.
Following up by providing value — sharing an article, a case study, etc — is the best way to do it. That way, you’re adding value with each follow-up.
But how you follow up isn’t as important as the fact that you do it — repeatedly.
“Repeatedly follow-up to show you care.”