The Myth of "Build It, and They Will Come" in Boutique Consulting

An inbound marketing strategy doesn't exclude your need for promotion.

Marketing is all about attracting or creating demand. I recently wrote about the importance of demand in business success, and the difference between creating and capturing demand. Today, however, I want to explore one of the biggest marketing mistakes consultants make.

The belief in the "build it, and they will come" strategy (BIATWC).

You write articles and add them to your blog, but traffic doesn't come. You write social media posts in search of engagement, only to see an insignificant reach and two likes. You spend thousands to redesign your website... you got it, right?

BIATWC doesn't work for a simple reason: people can't come if they don't know what you've built. So if you want to attract prospects, you need to tell them that you built it.

This may sound strange to you, since the idea behind attracting demand usually implies that you won't need to invest in promotion. But I'm obliged to remind you that if you're in the consulting industry, you're in the marketing industry. For your business to thrive, you need to continually fuel your marketing engine.

The importance of having prospects knocking on your door is obvious. When they approach you, they are usually convinced of your credibility and value, the sales cycle is shorter, and your cost of acquisition drops. Now you may be thinking:

"But if I need to promote what I've built, isn't it me who's knocking on their door?" The answer is no. And the source of confusion is the nature of what you are promoting.

When you promote your ideas - be it unique IP, industry insights, or even curated content - you are sharing value without asking for any commitment from your audience. The result is higher brand recognition (people are aware of you and what you do) and, if done right, a mindshare.

When you promote your services - through outbound sales activation initiatives such as cold calling, cold emailing, direct mail - you are asking for a very clear commitment, which is their time. The goal is to establish credibility and trade value straight away, and initiate a sales-oriented conversation.

Both are effective and can be part of your marketing engine. But the former is overlooked by the BIATWC fallacy.

The next time you create and publish relevant content, remember that no one will see it if you don't promote it. Your unique expertise is embedded in the creation. But promotion is often the real work.

Thanks for reading. You can get more specialized and actionable growth insights for micro consultancies in our newsletter. Every Tuesday, you get one idea from Danilo, one quote from other experts, one number you need to hear, and one question for you to level up your consulting practice.

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