Every business needs marketing to develop and grow, but most face a number of problems related to this need. It's either they don't have any real marketing expertise in-house, or they have some expertise, just not in all the areas that they need. This presents a great opportunity for you if you want to start a career as a freelance marketing consultant.
The businesses you are targeting may only have a few options, which include employing new people to give them the right skills in-house, or contracting a large marketing agency to do it for them. This again presents an opportunity for you to offer a service that's different, but one that gets real results for the business.
You can't just decide to become a marketing consultant and expect to start making money instantly. Here are the steps you will need to take to make your efforts a success.
Know the Industry Inside Out
You have to know your industry well before you begin, and you have to commit to career-long learning if you want to be successful. You have to know what works and what doesn't work now, and you have to stay up-to-date on new initiatives, standards, and marketing opportunities for the future.
But how can you do this? You can sign up for a course in your local area, or register for an online course, many of which are free. You should read authoritative blogs on a regular basis, and join communities of other marketers on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other platforms. In these communities, you can join in conversations, meet other people in the industry, and increase your knowledge.
Find Something That Makes Your Offering Stand Out
As a freelance marketing consultant, you should have as wide a portfolio of clients and services as possible, though it is also good to have a specialty. This is something that you do exceptionally well, which means better, faster, or cheaper than the competition.
This sort of niche focus will give you the "wow" factor that can make you stand out from other practitioners in your industry. It could mean specializing in creating effective campaigns in a particular industry, or you could specialize in a particular form of marketing such as email marketing.
Understand Why People Use Freelancers
Never forget why businesses choose to work with freelancers. Many people think it is just because of cost (i.e. the perception is that freelancers are cheaper than alternative solutions). While that is true in many cases, it is not the main reason why people choose to contract freelancers.
The main reason is the personal touch that a freelancer can bring to the marketing operation of a business. No matter how good a large marketing agency is, they can never offer the same personal attentiveness that a freelancer can offer. This type of service is highly valuable to a business, as they know the freelancer will be available when needed, and that they understand their business.
You should build your brand and your offering around this. Not only should you offer expertise and value for money, but you should deliver an unrivaled level of personal service.
Once you have all these elements in place, you can go out to win your first marketing clients. Good luck!