Tools For Consultants To Grow Their Business Online
It’s funny because I often meet people in real life that either have a consulting business or they are thinking about starting one. I have a certain adoration for people who are experts at what they do whether it’s in media, finance, education, food if you’ve found your greatness I’m often enamored by that confidence. When I hear them share their stories about what motivates their genuine love for their work or the story of a life changing event that created that AHA! moment I often find myself in a very lucid trance imagining what their website could look like and how they can share this story with the world.
I know it might sound like overreaching but it’s the god’s honest truth, I literally think, Wow! Do you know how many people can benefit from hearing this? Although I can’t necessarily build a digital presence for every consultant I meet I’d like to do more than just say,
Yes, please just give me a call and we can talk about how to set up your website
Because the reality is only a small percentage will ever reach that point with me. Ultimately, this is my way of cloning myself and hopefully doing a little good in the process. The interesting thing about being a consultant is that not every tool mass marketed for digital media fits the consulting mode. Even still there are some fundamental tools you should a least be aware of and this post will help do just that.
Basic assumptions of this post and what you should expect
- You are a consultant or coach interested in building your online presence.
- You may have an existing website but you’re interested in upgrading or enhancing it.
- You schedule meetings often and feel like you need a better system in place.
- You’re actively searching for passive or evergreen methods to acquire leads.
- You’re interested in learning more about paid but affordable promotional methods.
- You’re not a programmer but you’re dead set on setting up a system to improve workflow and productivity.
If the above sounds like you continue to read below. I promise integrating many of these tools into your work flow will drastically improve the speed at which your business grows or produces.
Tools to Manage a Consulting Business Online
Email Marketing Tools
Email marketing is the primary medium of communication on the internet. As a consultant unlike many other aspects of sales, you’ll find that a keeping the lines of communication open is paramount to closing a sale. However, the absence of email automation as a tool for consultants makes communication a little challenging if you do not plan on cloning yourself.
To scale your consulting business you need to a way to both send out automated messages but at the same time retain some form of personalization. The more you dig deep into email marketing the more complex it can become. When you become extremely adept at creating funnels you can architect complex systems to manage every stage of your funnel.
This is where SAAS CRM’s like Infusion Soft or Active Campaign or Hubspot CRM come into play. However, when you’re first starting out email marketing tools like
- Convert Kit
are more than sufficient. Many of the internet’s fortunes rely heavily on services like Aweber or Convert Kit. More recently, Convert Kit a bootstrapped company has really made a name for itself by making the process of creating a scheduling campaigns significantly easier.
Mailshake as an email marketing tool for Consultants
In 2017, Mailshake has been an extremely refreshing email marketing tool. While the app is primarily built for Cold Email Outreach this is one of those hidden gems that works extremely well for consultants. Especially those who have a growing list of contacts In Real Life. With most other email platforms aside from transactional platforms, it’s a bit complicated to import your list of contacts. And more importantly, segment them without requiring an additional optin step.
Mailshake interfaces with your Gmail account. It allows accomplishing many tasks related to email marketing with extreme ease. Some of these tasks include:
- Importing .CSV files
- Personalize and customize personalizations
- Review personalizations before sending to ensure the email appears properly when your contacts receive it
- Create automated campaigns based on conditions e.g. if a contact clicks on a link
- Schedule Campaigns in advance
It’s basically everything you need to promote yourself consistently with the least possible effort. I’ve personally set up email servers to send automated emails in the past and this by far is the simplest method imaginable.
Project Management Tools
As a consultant managing multiple projects is one of those “money making activities”. With all the time you spend organizing your plans, client communication, and employee / freelancer communication it’s wise to create a system that allows you to manage all the moving parts with greater ease.
Basecamp is a staple in the digital world. It basically incorporates all the tools you need for managing a project into one platform. However, it can be a little pricey depending on your level or business or size of the team.
Alternatives to Basecamp include
Depending on the size of your time, current budget, and management style some of these platforms may work better for you than others. Personally, I’ve found that Trello works great for smaller projects as well as projects require many public facing plans.
Asana is also another excellent tool. It’s great for medium size teams and multiple projects. It’s relatively easy to use especially if you’re accustomed to creating lists.
Jira, on the other hand, is often synonymous with Agile teams. One of the benefits of using Jira is that it’s sorta like the WordPress for Project Management. Meaning that Jira allows you to incorporate add-ons from their marketplace and allows third-party integration through their Rest API. This concept, in general, is always beneficial because as we all know there is no one size fits all scenario when it comes to business. Some Jira add-ons and integrations that standout to me include BigGantt and Zapier.
You really can’t create a post about Product Management without Slack. It’s not just because Slack is cool 😛 but primarily because it helps you and your team communicate in a very agile way. Admittedly, some of Slack’s features can have you stuck in a parade of techy fun (giphy and such) but when it comes to communicating with your team and automated basic processes Slack is a winner.
There is a bit of a learning curve involved with slack but it’s pretty minimal to use properly. If you can manage to use Twitter you should be able to use Slack as well. Also, if you plan on using Slack be sure to aggregate your communication so that this tool actually makes you more efficient.
Meeting / Appointment Scheduling Tools
Appointment setting and management is a huge task. In the past, you’d hire an assistant to just manage your calendar. While you can still hire a personal assistant doing it for just your calendar alone is unnecessary because there are many tools for consultants that solve the appointment scheduling challenge. Today you can use software to showcase availability / business hours, send confirmations, automate scheduling, send automated reminders.
- Time Bridge
Next Level Calendar Scheduling
In the past, I created product funnels for consultants. Not many but a few. Unlike e-books, membership sites, or product downloads the product for a consultant is booking time. So I would build out the funnel including an optin page – sales page – and then a success page. On that success page, I would have to find a way to integrate calendar scheduling so that process was also automated for the buyer. It’s not incredibly difficult but it’s definitely a lot of moving parts if building a funnel is not something you do every day. Today you don’t have to be a professional techy 😛 you can just use tools like
to automate the process of paid time blocks. If you in the service industry and charge by the hour or a flat rate that requires you to show up to a call/webinar or perform an in-person service VCita and Bookafy will definitely be worth both the cost and setup time.
Accounting and Invoicing
Automating accounting processes or creating a system to keep track of your expenses and revenue is not as daunting as you’d imagine. If you fear the general ledger and you’re not quite ready to outsource to an accounting firm internet guides like me have you covered. There are a bunch of different accounting SAAS available on the internet. Some of my favorites include FreshBooks Cloud Accounting and Zoho. Take a look at what meets your business’ needs first. I’ve found that most of these services offer free trials, so a win-win situation if it works well for you.
Tools to Grow Your Consulting Business Online
So now that I’ve walked you through a pretty lengthy list of tools you can use to manage your consulting business. I will now be sharing tools you can use to grow your business.
Automated Webinar Tools
In 2011 – 13 I owned a website called AutomatedWebinarGeneratorx lol 😛 I was pretty confident that automated webinars would be the next best thing. I was right but I’m usually right about 5 years in advance great news if you’re an investor. Anyhow, I used the website to promote Ever Green Webinar Systems which is basically now Webinar Jam. Now that you learned a little about my past you should know that the point of this story is to help you make money while you sleep.
Automated Webinars help you generate high – quality engaged leads and sales by simply providing a method that allows you to conduct webinars 3x a day a present a sale without actually having to be awake across multiple time zones.
My absolute favorite webinar tools include
- Webinar Jam
- Easy Webinar
Regardless of the promotional method, you’re using to present your offer online whether it’s ads or content marketing automated webinars work.
Social Media Scheduling and Content Curation
You might be asking yourself why you should even bother with social media marketing. There are many industry nuances which speak to the effectiveness of Social Media Optimization, how the use of social media also improves SEO, and how you can measure social media ROI. The simplest rationale that explains why social media matters is, it introduces your offer to people who would not see it otherwise.
That being said, for most consultants or professionals, social media cannot encompass all your time. It’s all fine and well if you’re a digital marketing consultant or social media marketing consultant but there’s definitely a vast range outside this niche that will benefit from social media as a marketing or growth tool. This is why we use tools like Hootsuite and Triberr to schedule social content in advance. We also use content curation tools like Feedly and Pocket amongst a slew other aggregators like
We use tools like Hootsuite and Triberr to schedule social content in advance. We also use content curation tools like Feedly and Pocket amongst a slew other aggregators like AllTop and Zest.is to find high-quality content we can share in true Jab jab right hook fashion. There are many tools that you can use to get the job done but my favorite are those listed below.
There are many different bulk social scheduling tools but HootSuite is definitely a staple in social media marketing. As a consultant, you might want to outsource scheduling and to be honest you’ll find that most social media managers worth the expense can use HootSuite effectively. If you decide you do not want to outsource but instead manage this task on your own HootSuite’s bulk composer is definitely the way to go.
Triberr is more than just a social media scheduling tool *I’ll explain more later* but for the purposes of filling your content queue with content created by people in your Tribe, Triberr is literally the only SAAS online that can accomplish this through reasonable automation.
- Feedly / Pocket / BuzzSumo
If you spend any breath of time searching the internet, monitoring feeds, or content alerts Feedly, Pocket, and BuzzSumo will help you manage content curation.
Social Media Management Tools
There are a bunch of tools online you can use to manage social media activities. At a minimum, you should be monitoring your social accounts and engaging with clients on networks you make yourself available on. Although the list of tools for social media management can be quite lengthy the list below will include tools that are essential in the social media management community.
- Sprout Social
- For Twitter TweetDeck
- For Pinterest Tailwind
- Google Alerts
Social Media Growth Services
Generally speaking a good social media manager you hire on retainer can grow your social media accounts. However, there is a huge difference between management and growth these days. Social Media in 2017 has grown far beyond the scope of just managing responses and scheduling content. Social media growth hackers are becoming more and more popular because the task behind growing social is no easy feat. Right now these people are essentially the hidden secret of every growing digital business. The term growth hacker is pretty broad, encompassing programming hacks, bot creators, social strategists, community builders, ninja content marketers, essentially those employing measurable digital marketing tactics that have a consistent potential for growth. Most social growth hackers won’t actually call themselves social growth hackers. The ones that teach or share proven methods usually end up being consultants or CEO’s who offer courses that teach you these strategies.
Avoid without regret those who tell you they can grow your Twitter or Instagram account for $99 a month. It’s more appropriate to identify the growth strategy the will work for your social account and THEN outsource the execution of those strategies.
However, they are a few hidden gems you can use for social growth that are the hidden secrets to grow your following and get your content shared on social media.
- Quant Social
Quant Social uses their proprietary algorithm to follow people on Twitter using your account as well as tags or handles you select. Whenever I meet a business person outside of the digital realm most of them can’t stand Twitter. I personally, love it 😛 but for those who can’t stomach
I have to divulge I do work with Triberr. However, I used this platform for many years before I was given the opportunity to work with them. I never recommend something I don’t use myself. Triberr is a platform unlike any other on the internet. It allows you to build Tribes around shared interests. It then gives your Tribes the ability to share each others content on social media platforms using social scheduling and automated content importing. The key here is that when you build a tribe your content then has the potential to be shared across a network of like minded influencers. Thus growing both your social reach and the reach of others in your tribe.
Landing Page / Funnel Creation Software
If you have nothing else online you should have a funnel or landing page. The growth of your consulting business depends on a steady flow of acquisition from lead acquisition to sales acquisition. To acquire leads you need an optin form or some method to capture your visitor’s information. This will allow you to communicate with your potential clients over time. Landing pages are the medium you use to capture this information. To be honest with you creating landing pages requires a post or course of its own. It’s not something that can be covered in a few paragraphs. However, I want to provide a basic rundown of what tools you can use and what you need to pay attention to when deploying a landing page or funnel. To begin with below is a list of landing page software as a service.
- Combined CRM ,Affiliate Management, Funnel Builder (Landing Page / Sales Page)
- Software as a service
- Combined Payment Processor and Landing Page Service
- WordPress + Plugins / Software / Themes
- Thrive Landing Pages
Instapage and Gumroad are the easiest to use if you want to get up and running quickly. The drawback between these options and the others is that they lack some of the features as the other platforms. For example, Clickfunnels integrates a CRM and Affiliate management. Whereas Optimize Press integrates with most membership sites. On the other-hand, while these two are not necessarily as complex as others the decreased complexity can be beneficial since we all know simple is hard. These platforms execute simplicity and elegance pretty well.
For the past couple of years Clickfunnels has grown in popularity for many reasons. First, their marketing is stellar 😉 but more importantly, the product does something which many landing page software fails to do, which is to create a comprehensive suite that supports the product creator on all ends from marketing to payment processing and design. If you’re unfamiliar with the product creator, Russell Brunson, he’s essentially the internet guru behind some of the most popular internet marketing info products launched over the past decade. Suffice it to say Russell understand’s what it takes to launch a product online. He took that experience and created something that solves the friction product creators face.
Obviously, I have an affinity for really cool software. If I had to make an analogy which I love to do, I would say Clickfunnels is the Basecamp for Funnels. That being said let me play devil’s advocate, here. There’s, of course, no one size fits all platform.
There are various benefits to building landing pages within your CMS itself (like WordPress or Shopify). In many cases, the flexibility and depth behind Clickfunnels might not be necessary. Meaning that you may already have an existing CRM, you might not want to launch an affiliate program, or you have an existing infrastructure that supports a custom build. These are all considerations you should make before deciding on using any platform.
Now let’s move on the WordPress. It’s no secret I kinda dig WordPress. It’s IMO the most flexible CMS known to man 😛 With WordPress you don’t need to be a programmer to build impressive web properties. There’s a headline I love about WordPress by M. Munford that reads,
WordPress powers at least 25% of the world’s websites today. Basically, anything you need to do with a website you can do with WordPress. And if that WordPress plugin doesn’t exist yet, it’s not difficult to find someone who can build it for you.
As you know I’ve been a self-taught WordPress junkie for a while now. I even bought the very first version of Optimize Press which was painful in comparison to Today’s OptimizePress. That being said OptimizePress is one of my favorite funnel builders for WordPress. Another one of my favorites is Thrive landing pages. It’s easy to use and simple to integrate landing and sales pages.
There are a bunch of different Content Management Systems (CMS) and website builders online. From Drupal, WIX, Squarespace, Blogger / Blogspot, WordPress Shopify, the list goes on and on. Of course, there are also successful sites built on aforementioned platforms. But
1. I don’t talk about something I haven’t done or used
2. My observational bias is that in many cases when content creators begin to amplify marketing, content production, and customization they usually choose to migrate to WordPress. Which is definitely a pain I always choose to avoid if I can. I prefer WordPress.org over WordPress.com because it’s open source and gives you the opportunity to choose where you host it and how you customize the site. None of this might be so important when you build your first website but as it grows it will begin to matter more and more. Some of my favorite WordPress themes or WordPress membership sites include:
- Headway DIY Themes
- Elegant Themes
- Theme Isle
- Theme Forest
25 Places To Promote Your Consulting Business
At the end of the day after you spend your time promoting and building your presence both on your website and social media you can still amplify your reach by promoting your business or content on other websites in most cases completely free and in other cases for a reasonable amount. Google and Facebook are definitely not your only options for advertising. Here’s my big list of places you can use to promote your consulting business or website content.
- StumpleUpon – Submit Your Website
- Create How To’s About Your Industry on WikiHow
- Answer Questions on Quora
- RSS Submissions (Just hire someone to do this) Overwhelming list of places
- Product Hunt – It’s much cooler to be hunted tho’ 😛
- Google My Business
- A Bunch of Press Release Submission Sites
- Guest Blogging
- Email Signature Generator
- Ninja Outreach
- Solo Ads
- List Builders (they still work)
- Directly on Blogs
This post was obviously a long one. But I for one believe your business requires this type of attention. If you’ve landed here an have a quick tip you might want to share with other consultants please feel free to comment below! Thanks for your time and Attention!