The Foundation Of Marketing For Consultants: Magnetic Messaging
If you had 1 sentence to communicate the value that your consulting business provides, what would you say?
The worst thing you could say is this...
"I'm a management consultant."
Because it says nothing about…
- who you help,
- the problems you solve,
- the results that you can create, and why a client might hire you.
Yet many consultants attempt to market themselves merely by communicating their "type" of consulting.
Management consultant. Marketing consultant. Strategy consultant.
You get the idea.
It's not surprising. The consultants whom I work with are subject matter experts. They are experts at their craft. Nobody knows how to solve specific problems better than them.
But when it comes to marketing — attracting the attention of their ideal clients — they're like a fish out of water.
According to our 2021 "How To Become A Consultant" Study, marketing (along with sales) is the top challenge for new consultants.
At the foundation of your marketing is your messaging: communicating the value that your consulting business creates for your clients.
If you don't market your consulting business, your potential clients won't know you exist.
And you can't build a lucrative consulting practice if you're invisible to your ideal clients.
However, if you write clear and compelling messaging, clients will begin to recognize and know your name. They'll be excited about the possibility of working with you.
And they'll even seek you out and ask to work with you.
By the end of this post, you will understand how to write and use messaging that helps you attract more consulting clients.
What Is Messaging? (& Why It's So Important)
Messaging is how you communicate the value that you create for the marketplace.
Common names for messaging include "value proposition" or "unique sales proposition."
The word proposition comes from the mid-14 century word proposicioun — "a setting forth for a topic or discussion or discourse."
That's exactly what your messaging should do: set forth for a topic of discussion with your prospective clients.
Without effective messaging, you won't have effective marketing.
And without effective marketing, you'll have an empty pipeline — which means no prospective clients to work with.
Our version of messaging is called Magnetic Messaging. We'll cover how that works next.
The biggest problem consultants have when it comes to writing their messaging is being too general.
They aren't specific about who they serve. They aren't specific about the problems they solve. They aren't specific the results that they create. And they aren't specific about why clients should hire them.
This lack of specificity is a complex problem. The novice marketer fears specialization. They want to keep their options open. They feel as though if they get specific, they'll close too many doors and end up working with nobody.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Take Jason Fearnow, for example.
Before working with us, Jason struggled to understand how to position himself as an authority in his industry.
As a natural resources and construction consultant, Jason's expertise help companies save millions of dollars.
But his messaging around that was vague and ineffective.
We helped Jason use the Magnetic Messaging formula to create effective messaging — which helped quadruple his monthly income.
Here's how it works.
The Magnetic Messaging Formula
Here's the Magnetic Messaging Formula:
"I help [WHO] to [solve WHAT problem] so they can [see WHAT results]. My [WHY choose me]…"
Let's break this down.
- WHO: Who it is that you serve. Example: CPG brands.
- WHAT problem: The problem you solve for your clients. Example: Selling effectively to women.
- WHAT result: The results you create for your clients. Example: Achieve a 300% ROI.
- WHY choose you: Why clients should choose you over your competition. Example: 20 years of experience leading brand-building strategy and activation across a range of categories and business models.
Here's a real example from one of our clients, Amanda Hill — Founder & CEO of Female Forward:
"Helping Brands Grow With Women: We help CPG brands sell more effectively to women and achieve a 300% ROI by positioning your brand to appeal to women."
See more examples in our article on powerful value proposition examples.
You can imagine that if a CPG executive who's looking to make their brand more appealing to women read that message, they'd be curious to know more. They'd check out Amanda's website. Perhaps they've reached out to her for a call.
And that's what an effective magnetic message does.
It points out to clients how you can solve their problems and get them results.
This understanding of how marketing works helped spark a big mindset shift in Jason Fearnow's mind.
Before, he viewed marketing as merely selling a product.
"Hey, do you want to buy my consulting service?"
It was always uncomfortable for him to do.
But now, after using the Magnetic Messaging formula, he knows that marketing is a means of helping solve a client's problem.
You can't solve a client’s problem if they don't know that you exist.
Next, we'll dive a bit deeper into how to use your Magnetic Message so you can get it in front of your ideal clients.
How To Use Your Magnetic Messaging
Now that you've written your magnetic message down, you have to test it in the market.
It won't do you any good merely written on a piece of paper.
You need to go and put it in front of your ideal clients and see how they react to it.
Here are 3 simple ways to put your magnetic message to work.
1. Email Signature
Put your Magnetic Message in your email signature.
Your email signature is the perfect place for your magnetic message. Doing this puts your message out there to your network.
If everyone in your network knows who you serve, what you do for them, and why they might recommend you, you'll get more referrals.
This is the power of well-composed messaging. It instantly makes you more referrable.
On the subject of email, we also recommend emailing (or even better, calling) everyone in your networking and telling them your Magnetic Message.
And then, asking them: "Do you know of anyone who might find my work valuable for their organization?"
This is an effective way to plant the seed of your message — and even get some introductions from your network.
2. LinkedIn profile
Put your Magnetic Message in your LinkedIn profile — specifically, your tagline.
So, instead of "Marketing Consultant," you might say "I help SaaS companies drive top-line revenue growth with an automated demand generation engine."
See the difference?
Nobody cares about what you do — they care about what you can do for them.
LinkedIn makes it very easy to find and message your specific ideal clients.
When you're doing your outreach to new potential clients, and your tagline summarizes the value that your consulting business creates, they'll be much more receptive to speaking with you.
3. Consulting Website
Put your Magnetic Message on your consulting website. It should be one of the first things your prospects read when they land on it.
I'm sure you've read websites where after 30 seconds, you still didn't know precisely what the website was about.
It was muddled with jargon, vague wording, or useless information.
By writing your Magnetic Message on your consulting website — and writing the rest of the site around that messaging — you cut through all of the noise.
Right away, you're appealing to your ideal clients by showing them who you help, the results you can create for them, and why they should choose you.
You can use the rest of your consulting website to demonstrate proof of your ability to do that.
A consulting website can be one of your best marketing materials. But it starts with powerful messaging.
By following these practices, Jason Fearnow quadrupled his monthly income.
Improving his messaging gave his prospective clients a better sense of the value he could offer. This lead to more conversations and more clients.
And more clients lead to other business improvements: like restructuring his pricing so that he could earn more with every project.
It all started with writing, promoting, and improving his Magnetic Messaging.
So, how can you emulate Jason's results for your consulting business?
Imperfect Action: Write Your Magnetic Message
The first step is to use the formula to write your first Magnetic Messaging draft.
"I help [WHO] to [solve WHAT problem] so they can [see WHAT results]. My [WHY choose me]…"
It won't be perfect your first try — or your first few tries.
Get something on paper, and trust that you'll improve it over time.
The second step is to put your Magnetic Message to work.
Add it to your email signature, your LinkedIn profile, and your website.
Everyone in your network should know who you help, what you help them with, and what makes you stand out from your competitors.
The third step is to commit to continually improving your magnetic message.
Challenge yourself to make it more specific, more exciting, and more compelling.
You'll know you've got a truly Magnetic Message when your potential clients will read it and reach out to you to learn more.
Armed with a compelling and specific magnetic message, you'll make all of your marketing and sales work much easier — and more effective.
Michael Zipursky is the CEO of Consulting Success® and Coach to Consultants. He has advised organizations like Financial Times, Dow Jones, RBC, and helped Panasonic launch new products into global markets, but more importantly, he’s helped over 600 consultants from around the world in over 75 industries add 6 and 7 figures to their annual revenues. Over 36,000 consultants read his weekly consulting newsletter. Michael is also the author of the Amazon Best Sellers ACT NOW: How successful consultants thrive during chaos and uncertainty, The Elite Consulting Mind and Consulting Success®, the book.