If there’s one thing that’s sure in today’s business world, it’s that being visible on the Internet is an absolute must. For any kind of B2C (business to consumer) marketing, if your online presence isn’t clear to your audience, you basically don’t exist. With that in mind, it’s worth knowing the best marketing practices for service-based businesses, which is precisely what we’ll go over right here!
Why You Instead of Others?
When it comes to the marketing of a service-based business, there’s one crucial question that you need to ask yourself before doing anything else: why should your target audience choose you over your competitors? It’s a simple enough question, but one that you may not find easy to answer.
After all, any service-based niche means a lot of competition online, meaning that finding your unique selling point is simultaneously more challenging and more important. But one thing is certain — you must be able to pinpoint this and market it as your biggest strength. And we’re not talking about vague stuff like “excellent quality” or “great customer service”; you need to do better than empty platitudes all businesses award themselves.
Get to the gist of it — is your turnaround time better than others? Do you have more precise ETAs, a more approachable pricing scheme? Find your biggest value to your customers, and express it in just a couple of clear and straightforward words. Whatever marketing tactics you end up using, this fact will be their paradigm.
Explore Marketing Channels:
Right from the start, we mentioned how important it is for a service-based business to be visible in an online world. When it comes to the best marketing practices for such companies, visibility is an absolute priority above everything else. Brands can use all sorts of channels to reach their customers nowadays. Actually, scratch that — not only “can”, but “must”.
It’s a simple fact of competition, just like everything else. Sure, having a website is important and neat, but it’s far from enough. And you can be sure that your competitors won’t wait for people to discover their website, like in the analog phonebook days.
Indeed, a successful business uses all sorts of avenues to reach its customers. A professional marketing campaign contains a combination of PPC advertisements, search engine optimization, email campaigns for lead generation, short online spots on video platforms, social media marketing — all of these have to be used in concert. Remember, you’re not making a one-off online campaign; you’re building a constant presence online and promoting your brand as a whole.
Also, these online marketing efforts need to be in line with the nature of your business. For example, if your customer base is a very specific local community, you can use the Internet to show your support for local interests and issues, as well as to interact with consumers directly.
Don’t Enter Price Wars You Can’t Afford:
We’ve already mentioned that it’s imperative to play to your strengths, which are probably constant regardless of the current marketing trends. However, you also need to pick your battles carefully, and you need to know if you’re a heavy-weight or not.
In other words, don’t try to compete on price as a small business. You may think that making unreasonably attractive offers will attract more customers and build brand recognition, but that’s not a long-term solution for a small business that wants to grow and develop. The 2020 pandemic has shown that many small businesses don’t have a financial safety net that would allow for such practices.
Remember — you’re selling a service, not a commodity, which means that, as a small business, you need to stress value rather than price. Offer as many different options for payment as you can, or bundle your services together logically. Depending on your niche, customers will value the different quality of life solutions, so make sure that you’ve got those.
Don’t Be Afraid To Go Old-School:
So far, we’ve only talked about tactics for online marketing. But while exploring every avenue of the Internet in your search to please your target audience is important, you shouldn’t entirely disregard certain analog marketing practices.
Of course, with the rise of streaming services and the decline of regular television, TV ads are most probably a waste of your time. However, smaller-scale and affordable analog marketing efforts can still be incredibly cost-effective. For instance, many people wrongfully underestimate the value of business cards.
First of all, printing out business cards is not a huge investment; you can order hundreds of those for less than ten bucks. And yet, they can be a wonderfully profitable marketing opportunity when it comes to small service-based businesses. Even in the digital era, networking with local companies in complementary niches is always a good idea. So, feel free to leave a couple of stacks of your business cards in the lobbies or other logical areas of these friendly businesses. This sort of word-of-mouth advertising is a marketing strategy for service-based businesses from which start-ups can significantly benefit.
As you can see, there are more than a few best marketing practices for service-based businesses. And it’s not so much the matter of choosing some of these, as it is using a combination of all of them in concert. If you manage to do that, you will achieve the most critical goal of marketing in the service industries, and that’s establishing a long-lasting relationship with your customer base! Once you’ve built trust, everything else will come far more easily.