The Definitive Guide to Marketing Your Service-Based Business
When we think of marketing, the first thing that comes to mind is usually products. You’re more likely to think of companies that sell clothes, food, electronics and furniture, but what happens to marketing when it’s for something intangible, like a service or a skill? Service-based businesses need marketing as much as products, if not more. If you’re selling a set of ideas or a mental framework, you have to be able to clearly and perfectly communicate the value of that thing.
This is the role that marketing plays. It’s impossible to get more clients if you’re not putting yourself out there online on social media, your website, and all the other assets where people will be able to learn more about you. For a lot of service providers, marketing is a huge challenge, and they don’t know where to start, but there are simple strategies you can start implementing now.
How do you market a service-based business so that you can actually grow it and help more people? Here are a few ideas.
Branding isn’t just for businesses who sell products, in fact, it’s more important when you’re selling a service based on your expertise. There are thousands of people who do what you do, and if you want to stand out, you actually have to make an effort to position yourself on what makes you different. In the world of products, people have logos, posters and packaging, in professional services, you need to have a set of beliefs, manifestos, and other factors that encompass your business. This is where branding comes in. Your branding is the unique identity of your business manifested in several ways – including how it looks visually, and the values that differentiate you from other people.
Your brand could also be about the niche you service, and the unique understanding you have in that sector. Your website, social media and other marketing assets of your business need to reflect this brand, and you have to take the time to actually create it. Whether you’re a real estate agent looking to grow your database, a life coach wanting to reach more people, or seeking a plastic surgery marketing strategy for your practice, it all starts with your brand. When it’s strong, people will come to identify you easily and that will go a long way to show that you’re worth hiring.
Create a Newsletter
An email newsletter is one of the most important digital marketing pillars but also one of the most overlooked. People spend a lot more time on social media, but the truth is, if you want to create a stable business, it’s important to have an email list. It’s an important asset that allows you to speak directly to your clients and target audience. To create an email newsletter people will actually open, give people valuable content that will make their lives better. You can even make them entertaining so that people get excited when they see your email come up in their mailbox. An email newsletter also allows you to stay top of mind so that people never forget that you’re busy working hard and prepared to help them when the need for what you do arises.
Lean Into SEO
One of the biggest things a professional service business has going for it is how searchable it is on Google. Whether you’re a lawyer, a real estate agent or a personal trainer, online searches for what you do are in the hundreds of thousands, and you can capture some of them through SEO. Search Engine Optimization is a powerful way to pull in potential leads and clients, and it’s something you can start implementing yourself. Good SEO is all about understanding what people are searching for online, and crafting website copy and content in alignment with it. Because a lot of people who are looking for your particular service start online, ranking high on Google is an important marketing step that we need to pay attention to.
Invest in Reviews
Online reviews have become an important aspect of research for consumers before they hire someone or buy anything. That’s why a lot of service-based businesses are investing their time and even money into generating reviews. Whenever you finish working for a client, give them an incentive to give you a high-ranked review. The key here is for your reviews to actually be honest and based on a good client experience.
Whenever a client gives you a review, treat them to a shopping voucher or something that shows your appreciation. By filling out a review, they are taking their time to help you, so reward them for it. When it comes to reviews, the ultimate goal is for a ton of good ones to come up whenever someone Googles you or your company.
Create Client Case Studies
People hire people they feel they can trust, and in this crowded online world, people will often have doubts about whether you’re really good at your job. If there’s anything that removes doubt from your ideal clients, it’s showing your track record of happy clients you have gotten results for. Every single client experience is a case study that showcases the problem they had, and how you used your expertise to solve it. Case studies make for great online content, and they help build your credibility. Create a case study section on your website, and fill it with all the awesome stories of the people you’ve helped along the way. It will make a huge difference!
You don’t have to be a beauty guru to have a YouTube channel. There are many service-based businesses who generate their leads from YouTube because it leverages video, the most consumed type of content in the whole world. Millions of people are looking for content on YouTube, and most of it is about how to improve and enhance their lives. You can create content that does just that, or you can give people a behind-the-scenes look into your business and what you do on a daily basis.
Get Interviewed on Podcasts
If you run a service-based business, you need to be seen as an authority in your niche. People won’t hire you if they don’t believe that you’re actually someone who knows a lot about the problem they are trying to solve. You can take advantage of podcasts to build up your credibility and even generate leads.
There are thousands of podcasts you can get featured on, and if you can find out the interests your ideal clients have, you can create a list of the podcasts they listen to, reach out and ask to be featured and share the value that their audience will get. If you get featured on podcasts, you build up your profile and become more well-known which will definitely give your business a boost.
Don’t Talk About Features, Talk About Benefits
When you’re marketing something, whether it’s a product or a service, it’s tempting to list the features of it, but if you really want people to want to sign up, you have to talk about the benefits. People need to know exactly what your expertise will do for them, and how it will benefit their lives. For example, if you’re a business coach, don’t just say you will “improve the systems in someone’s company”, tell them what they’ll get when they improve those systems. They won’t have to worry about mishaps in their business anymore, they can actually enjoy their free time without worrying about work and they can grow their business and sustain that growth. Talking about benefits will communicate value to people, and knowing the outcome they will get from your service will give them something to look forward to.
Offer a Free Webinar
When you sell a service, you’re an expert, so why not give people a free class or teaching session for both current and potential clients? A webinar is a great way to solidify your expertise, and connect with the people who work with you or want to. It’s simple to pull a webinar together, all you need is the right software, a reliable internet connection, a microphone, a good webcam, and the materials you’re going to be teaching. Now all you need to do is get people to sign up for the webinar and actually attend. A webinar is a great way to grow your email list. They get access to the webinar, and you get their email address so that you can continue marketing to them and sending them newsletters.
If you want to grow your service-based business you have to make a solid and consistent investment in your marketing. You have to implement a marketing strategy that has multiple pillars and achieves many things at once. It has to communicate the value you provide, bring in new clients, and also maintain the loyalty of the clients you already have. It can be very simple if you