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How to Promote Your Online Service Business?

Key Takeaways;

·      Marketing and promotion is the most essential part of your business growth

·      There are critical differences between a service marketing strategy versus marketing physical products

·      Allocate your marketing budget to both owned and paid media

·      Marketing in the service industry is mainly dedicated to earning trust

 

Let's start by telling an interesting statistic. According to the Bureau of labor and statistics, the service sector is the largest contributor to the US economy, accounting for more than 70% of US jobs.

That sounds astonishing, right?

People look for high-quality and efficient solutions for their problems. You, as a service provider, are therefor them. And with the magic of the digital world, service businesses are growing dramatically in the virtual world.

Remember that not all service-focused businesses can operate online. To realize if your service business is suitable for digital platforms, take a look at Step One.

Let’s get to marketing and promotion.

Marketing a service-based business requires different unique approaches and challenges that marketing product-based businesses simply don’t have. Specifically, the fact that you are selling something that is intangible.

People cannot see or feel service, so you need to be creative to paint a clear and compelling picture of why people should do business with you.

In this article, we will talk about the specific marketing and promotion strategies that work best for service-related businesses. At first, it’s good to know what the marketing plan is.

What is a marketing plan?

When we say marketing plan, we don't mean that complicated, not easy-to-understand big companies' plans. It simply means, what are you going to do to promote your business?

It would help if you wrote down everything that is in your mind. Who are my customers? Where do they search? Are they on social media? How can I reach them? Is there any cost-effective way to convert them into paid customers?

To answer these questions, you need to put in a great deal of time on your promotion plan. You should set short-term and long-term marketing goals, along with the time frame to achieve them. In this case, you know where your online business is going.

How does promotion start?

When you search about marketing and promotion, you probably encounter thousands of methods and strategies. It isn't evident to decide which ones are better for service-related businesses.

We try to simplify marketing for service businesses as much as possible. The core part of marketing and promotion falls into four stages:

1.   Who is your customer?

2.   What type of media do you want to choose?

3.   How do you convert visitors to paid customers?

4.   What is your plan to return your customers?

We discuss the fundamentals of stages 1 to 3 in this step. Stage 4(customer retention) is going to be addressed in Step Nine.

1.   Who is your customer?

Always start with who. It’s not the matter of how but who.

The most important part of every business is its customers. Not only should you know who they are, but also you should learn about their concerns and challenges. Are they still identifying their roadblocks? or Are they one step ahead and looking for a perfect solution?  

Then you need to determine where you can find your customers. This process takes time since every customer is looking for a different solution in different media. Moreover, they search for additional content, and you need to learn what is the type of content they are looking for. That’s how you can align your communication strategies with customer’s behavior.  Now that you know who is your target audience, it’s time to move to stage two.

2.   What type of media do you want to choose?

The type of marketing channel you choose for promotion should align with your customers. You will need to know where your ideal audiences are currently spending their time.

Depending on the type of your business and target audience, you have various media to choose between. Generally, we have two types of media:

1.   Owned media

When you create a specific channel for your business and control it, you earn traffic and create a one-to-one relationship that has a lasting impact on your visitors. Owned media includes your website, blog, and social media accounts. In this type of media, you don't have to pay for primary usage. In this case, online users will find you.  

The most important part of your promotional activities belongs to drive organic traffic.  

As your business is operating online, you need to attract users to your owned media. Your website is your primary marketing channel. To get free traffic forever, you should know about SEO.

SEO is a vast topic itself, but all you need to know concludes about keywords. It means you should choose keywords that online users search. If they don’t search your keyword, they probably never come across your website. So pay attention to choose your keywords wisely.

There are so many great tools that can help you in the process, such as Ubersuggest, KW finder, and SEMrush. You can see the trend of your choosing keywords, as well as your competitor’s top keywords.  

Now that online users can find your website, you need to build an eye-catching, user-friendly website that keeps visitors exploring your website. The best way to do that is by content marketing.

Content is fundamental to your owned media since it delivers the message of your brand. Content marketing is the art of building lasting relationships with your prospects without having to sell to them.

According to Hubspot, 86% of highly effective businesses have someone for content strategy.

Content marketing is the most essential part of the marketing strategy for service-based businesses. You are essentially selling the invisible. So, don't just tell them you have a perfect solution for their problems. Show them how your business is different from others through free education.

To gain your audiences’ trust,you should write informative and educational content. In this stage, you must not be pushy. Your content exists to empower your customer. You should provide the right content that solves your audience’s problems.

If you are interested in content marketing, make sure you take the Hubspot content marketing course.

You can use the content you create for other social channels like YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook,etc. Start using social media to expand your reach, build brand awareness and benefit from word of mouth.

According to Hubspot, 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others. And for service businesses, nothing is more profitable than referrals.

The second type of channel is called paid media.

2.   Paid media

Another way to drive traffic is direct advertising through third-party websites such as Facebook and AdWords.You pay for all the marketing materials and traffic upfront. If you are looking for fast results, it is a great option.

Neither of these media is better nor worse. They both play an important role in your overall marketing strategy. You should use both methods based on the marketing goal you want to achieve to vary your promotional activities.

To conclude,

-     Owned media require investing time. Because you want to speak with people who are looking for answers and insights regularly. You showcase your value as an advisor who wants to solve their problem. This method usually brings more results over time and creates a sustainable relationship with your customers.

 

-     Paid media is a great channel to test out the market. Moreover, you can use them to promote your earned media.

The first two stages take more time and budget compared to the third and fourth stages. But you need to dedicate your time and budget to conversion and retention as well.

We summarized two types of media in the following table.

3. How do you convert visitors to paid customers?

Conversion in service businesses is all about showing the benefits of your service. By creating the right type of content, you convince your prospects that the final result will change their lives.

In the conversion stage, we want to convert our media visitors to paid customers. We need to show them what they are actually going to get is exactly what they are looking for.  

To be successful in conversion,the following types of content can be helpful,

-      Case study

-      Reports

-      Market research and data

-      Storytelling

 

Here are some other ways to turn your website visitors into customers:

●     Ease of customer communication

Service businesses are people-oriented and trust-based. You should implement various communication tools such as live chat, text, or phone calls to ease your customer's collaboration.

If they can’t communicate with you effortlessly, you probably lose many customers. Customers love live chats because they can get their questions answered quickly. It's cost-effective for your business too.

●     Offer free trials

You encourage online visitors by offering something for free. Not only are you able to showcase the confidence in your services, but also it will answer customer’s questions.

●     Testimonials

One of the excellent forms of social proof is a testimonial. It shows that other people are using your services and they are happy about it. If you can have a testimonial from a well-known face, it’s even better.

●     Ease of payments

The whole point of conversion is to earn cash. And if your website payments aren’t easy-to-use,they probably won’t complete the purchase.

●     High-speed and safe website

How long does it take to load your website? If it’s too long, you are not doing so great in conversion. Also, it’s important to have a safe website. You should ensure your customers that their data is protected.

If you need any advice about launching, marketing, and promoting your service business, make sure you book a free demo in Frizi. Our experts would be so happy to guide you in your entrepreneurial journey.

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