Whether you’ve recently set up your HR consultancy business or you’ve been in the game for many years, online marketing will be the most powerful tool in your arsenal for finding and winning new clients.
But with so much advice out there, and with only a limited number of hours in the day to find and absorb it, it’s difficult to know where to start – and starting is the most important part!
I’m going to break it down for you. From figuring out who you’re trying to reach, to the different and most effective ways to reach them.
A step-by-step guide to winning new clients for your HR consultancy
Who are those clients you want so bad?
As a business owner, deciding who your ideal client is can be a tough obstacle to overcome. You want to help everyone, right?
Every time you think that – follow that train of thought with the famous expression “jack of all trades”.
People want a more personal approach. With plenty of competition in the HR consultancy industry, you need to stand out loud and proud with a tailored client acquisition strategy.
No one wants a jack of all trades, because they are a master of none. And YOU, you’re a master of what you do.
Creating your ideal customer persona profiles
I have a great workbook for creating customer profiles which you can sign up to access here, but here are the basics:
Grab a piece of paper or open a fresh Word doc. Now write down your ideal client’s name. Don’t overthink it, just pick a name. I’m a fan of alliteration, so if you’re looking to target the finance industry, Freddy Finance sounds both like a great customer and a terrible superhero.
Next, hash out the basic demographics:
- Occupation – what role do they hold? They should be a key decision maker.
- Hobbies and Interests – where do they spend their time?
Again, don’t overthink it. Just jot down ideas as you can always change them as you learn more about them.
This next bit is really important – what are their goals and their values? Think about their priorities both professionally and personally. Do they align with your own?
Finally, think about the potential objections they may have about investing in an HR consultant – is it letting go of that part of their business, or maybe it’s a concern that they will have to spend a lot of time managing a consultant?
You may want to believe that there are no objections, but these objections are content ideas! Embrace them by listing them down one side of your page – and for each objection, on the other side of the page make a list of the resolutions.
Objection: Freddy Finance things he will need to hold a consultant’s hand so that they truly understand his business
Resolution: You are a financial expert, specialising in businesses just like Freddy’s, and you are regularly sharing value-adding content about the finance industry
It’s tagline time!
A tagline will not only serve you well on your Linkedin profile (more on that later), it is also a great way of keeping focus when you slip into the temptation of trying to appeal to anyone and everyone.
There is a lot of conflicting advice out there about how to structure a tagline – but here’s the formula that I learned from the Linkedin legend Helen Pritchard.
Helping [target client industry] to [goal] by [result]
Helping finance professionals to stay compliant by providing expert HR and training consultancy services
Write down a few variations of your tagline until you are happy with it.
Whip up your website
If you have a website, open it up and see if it truly reflects the message of your new tagline, and if not…update it! Review the pages and scrutinise – are you really communicating to your customer persona, or do you need to rewrite it to so it’s focused on their needs?
Generic copy on your website might answer the basic questions a potential client would need to know, but will it convert them from visitor to customer?
Fall in love with Linkedin
Yes, there are other social networks out there but Linkedin is your new best friend. Update your tagline on the platform with the one you devised earlier, and go through your profile to make sure it’s up-to-date.
Now it’s time to start searching for your ideal clients and start connecting! Go to the search bar and type in phrases that are relevant.
For example, if you offer outsourced HR services, your ideal client may be Hannah the HR Director. Search “HR director [industry]” e.g. “HR director finance” and different variations of these phrases.
For each search, filter by people and then 2nd connections. Don’t bother with 3rd connections unless you find no results for 2nd. Start sending connection requests (but don’t go mad, Linkedin can limit the number of requests you send!).
There are differing opinions on whether you should send a note with connections – I wouldn’t bother. Any message you send at this stage will feel salesy, and can be a turn-off.
So you’ve shown up on Linkedin, but now you need to stay active.
Set a schedule for posting regularly on Linkedin
The goal with your Linkedin is to provide value-adding content regularly. This doesn’t need to be 1,000+ articles, it can just be a short update with a few tips!
While I wouldn’t recommend using scheduling tools (they can stifle the reach of your posts), I would recommend creating a spreadsheet with the content you plan to share, then natively sharing it when you can. Aim to post once a day as a minimum, but if that’s not realistic, make it a minimum of 3 times per week.
Blog, blog, blog!
As an HR consultant, it’s important that you consistently show up online. Blogging not only helps your target client by providing value it will also help your business get found online on search engines for the queries your audience are looking for answers to.
With your industry, it’s a no-brainer to create a library of useful articles. From advice on dealing with GDPR to commentary on the latest news, there is so much that can be talked about that you may as well capitalise on it!
On the same piece of paper or document you’ve been working on so far, start jotting down the areas of expertise you could utilise for your blog. Don’t worry about titles at this stage, this is the very beginning of your blogging strategy, so it’s just about deciding the topics to cover.
Now, be strict on yourself and schedule in time to start creating your blog content. Be realistic with what you can manage – few business owners find the time to write streams and streams of blog content so think about what works for you.
…There we have it! Yes, it feels like a lot, but by working through these exercises, you will gain more focus and feel more energised to start finding those dream clients and create the content to reel them in.