Directories should be a part of every consultant’s marketing strategies. The secret is to be listed in the right directories – those used by potential clients. So give some thought to where you might look to find someone like yourself.
Most directories provide search capabilities (expertise, location…), so consider your search categories. If you don’t see a good match, contact the directory owner and suggest a new category. This is particularly important if you serve a narrow niche.
Directories alone, however, are not enough. They are just a starting point, so you need to have other pieces in place. A web site is ideal, since most directories allow only minimal information. Be sure to include your web address and e-mail in the listing.
Don’t have a web site? Set one up — even if it is a single page. Nowadays, a phone number is not enough — most people want to check you out before initiating contact.
The good news is that many directories are inexpensive or free. So where are these directories, and how do you get listed? Here are several options:
- Professional organizations – Good for visibility with professional colleagues, which often lead to referrals. Most have on-line directories, although some still offer printed directories. Often free, but may include a nominal annual charge.
- Trade magazines – Good for visibility with potential nationwide clients. Most have on-line directories, and some include printed directories as part of annual Buyer’s Guides. Often free, but for a nominal charge you can often enhance your listing. If offered, I recommend doing so.
- Civic/business organizations – A good choice if your clientele is primarily local, such as legal, accounting, architecture, etc. Examples are Chambers of Commerce, Business Round Tables, etc. You may want to participate in the organization for even more visibility.
- Technical answering services – For years, we’ve belonged to Intota (formerly Teltech), an organization that connects businesses with peer recommended experts. Over 10,000 experts in the science, engineering, medicine, regulations, and business. Free for consultants, and you even get paid to answer simple questions (which often lead to longer consultations.)
Finally, directories are best used in conjunction with other lead generation methods, such as web sites, professional activities, articles, presentations, etc. In fact, our experience has shown that multiple methods multiply your success.
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