How to Make Money as a Marketing Consultant (3 big ways)

When done right, owning your own marketing consulting business can provide you with freedom, flexibility and choices in your career.

That’s because when you know how to help companies gain customers, keep customers longer, grow sales revenue and earn more profits, you can almost write your own terms.

And if you have great communication skills and have the ability to bring fresh new ideas to table, the companies you work for will  happily pay you long into the future.

But in order to make being a Marketing Consultant work for you the way you want, there are some guidelines that you need to follow. One of the important guidelines is getting paid.

Marketing consultants generally make money based on value provided. The three basic ways marketing consultants get paid:

  1. Marketing consultants get paid based on an hourly rate, or
  2. Marketing consultants get paid per project, or
  3. Marketing consultants get paid based on gains, such as a % of revenue gained or some other form of compensation.

Depending on several factors, estimating how much you can make as a marketing consultant is difficult. 

To begin, and depending upon your experience and focus, marketing consultants can make money from a variety of services including, copywriting, email marketing, web development, direct mail advertising, strategic planning, product positioning, sales pipeline development, sales training on and on. 

Therefore, your income as a marketing consultant heavily depends on whether this is a full-time job or just a side hassle. 

Consultants also choose to earn an hourly or per-project basis. Regardless of your preferred option, setting appropriate fee rates is a great determinant of your income.

How Much Do Marketing Consultants Make?

Putting an exact figure on the amount that marketing consultants earn is nearly impossible. 

However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and job websites, the average income of marketing consultants in the U.S is $61, 688. 

Entry-level consultants earn $34,000, while the average hourly rate is $29.66.

Like other occupations, the income of marketing consultants also varies from one state to another. 

For instance, Texas is the highest paying state for marketing consultants, as professionals earn an average of $90,580. Other high-paying states include Delaware, Virginia, and North Carolina.

What Should I Charge for Marketing Consulting?

Whether you are a new or an experienced consultant, pricing your services is generally challenging. 

If you set your price too low, some clients may perceive that you are an inexperienced beginner without much experience. Similarly, potential customers may be afraid of working with you if your prices are too high. 

That said, you can determine your fees for marketing consulting using either of the following methods;

1. The Hourly Method

Similar to a job income, an hourly method is a good option if you prefer a simple approach of charging your clients per hour worked. Here, you simply set an hourly rate, track hours worked, and bill your clients. 

This is a great option for beginners with a few consulting projects. However, if you have developed some experience in the field, the hourly billing method may not be suitable. That said, how do you determine our hourly price?

Use this formula to get an idea of fair hourly rates;

Hourly rate = yearly income ÷ hours worked in a year

40 hours a week for 50 weeks a year:
$60,000 annual income / 2,000 (40 hrs x 50 weeks)  = $30.00 per hour

In this situation, the yearly income is the total amount of money you expect to earn within the year. 

While this is a personal figure, you can use the average annual income estimations provided by various job sites, such as Indeed and the BLS. 

The hours worked also vary, depending on whether you will be working full time or part-time. Most people work between 40 and 50 hours per week, thus a cumulative 2000 hours every year.

Note that these estimations shouldn’t be exact and vary depending on the nature of your work. For instance, you could anticipate making at most $60,000 by the end of the year as a freelancer. Therefore, you should consider and anticipate downtimes between gigs as you try to find new work. As such, you may end up working only for 1500 hours at the end of the year. You should anticipate such uncertainties and find ways of compensating for them when calculating your hourly rates.

Besides being an independent contractor, remember that you are responsible for your taxes, time-off, healthcare, and other work-related benefits. These costs are not cheap, and you should factor them into your hourly charges.

2. The Project-Based Method

The project-based method is a wonderful pricing option for consultants. If you are new to the world of consulting and just getting started, this is often an easy way to start the relationship with a new client.  After all, if you can bring business or add value in some unique way (the job of a great marketing consultant), then many companies would love to work with you this way as they don’t have to pay money out of pocket until value is created.

On the contrary, one of the main challenges of the hourly method is that clients are uncertain how much the entire project will cost. Such uncertainty around projects can stop them from moving forward. While the project-based pricing method can be complicated, it eliminates this uncertainty. Your clients will know upfront how much the project will cost.

The following steps are used to determine project costs using the project-based pricing method;

  • Create a list of project deliverables – you should highlight everything the client expects from the project. For instance, if you are taking on a branding consulting project, your client will expect some research on design themes, logo options, competitive designs, website redesign, and more.
  • Estimate how long the deliverables will take – you should use your experience to determine how long it will take you to complete each deliverable. You can use time tracking apps, such as Toggl, to track time spent on every deliverable.
  • Add the total time/hours spent and multiply by your hourly fee. For instance, if you anticipate the project will take 40 hours, multiply by your fixed hourly rates. As a rule of thumb, you might consider multiplying the final figure by the constant factor of 1.5. This accounts for the time spent making revisions, adjusting to meet client expectations, marketing, and more.

3. The Value-Based Method

Experienced consultants should use the value-based pricing method. As the name suggests, this method is based on the tangible and intangible value that you provide to the client. 

As such, you are not charging the client for your time or deliverables. You are charging them based on what they care about, which is the results or outcomes. This option has a huge amount of positive possibilities for both the consultant and the client. 

One benefit of this option that the consultant really likes is that this option removes the “trading time for dollars” equation and frees up valuable time and resources to be creative and truly deliver a lot of value.

Is It Hard To Get a Job as a Marketing Consultant?

Most beginner marketing consultants believe that being successful as a marketing consultant is through full-time employment. However, due to tough competition on the market, finding a reliable full-time marketing consultancy position can be challenging. Fortunately, you can opt to become self-employed by starting your marketing consultancy firm.

The market and job opportunities for independent consultants have increased, partly because more companies no longer invest in marketing and advertising companies. Instead, they prefer working with individual experts who are affordable and flexible to execute marketing systems and campaigns and even train their internal teams. However, being a self-employed marketing consultant also has its fair share of pros and cons.

Regardless, getting marketing consultancy jobs won’t be a challenge if you have the right qualifications. 

To get a job as a marketing consultant, you should have the following;

  1. An undergraduate or MBA degree in business, marketing, or communications
  2. An extensive portfolio highlighting your success stories in marketing
  3. Several years of experience as a full-time marketing expert
  4. Proven experience of working in various industries
  5. Strong communication and copywriting skills
  6. Marketing knowledge and expertise in various areas, including SEO, social media, PPC, lead generation, and more
  7. Experience in marketing automation using HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot, and other software
  8. Strong Microsoft Office, PowerPoint, Excel, and Salesforce skills
  9. A good understanding of marketing strategies and tactics

The above-mentioned are basic requirements that all marketing consultants should have. However, the best marketing consultants shouldn’t satisfy themselves with a marketing degree and several certifications. They should learn continuously and work on improving their skills to update their clients with modern marketing best practices. Like other fields, marketing is constantly evolving, and keeping up with industry standards is important.

Marketing consultants should also constantly run campaigns to keep client flow running smoothly. Even if you have established your practice with referrals and repeat clients, you should promote your business constantly. 

Businesses hire marketing consultants when they need effective branding and marketing strategies. Working with the best marketing consultants can provide long-lasting value to businesses, which is often reflected by the fees charged by these experts. If you want to become a consultant or you’re new to marketing consulting, you can use this guide to price your services and estimate your income.

Sharpen your skills, build your website, get active in social media of your choice, run ads, build your referral network and get involved with Your Strategic Marketing Partner -- do activities like this and you will always enjoy your marketing consultancy business.

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