If you’re wanting to know all about what is service marketing and how you can market a service-based business then you’re in the right place!
In this article we will cover:
Table of Contents:
- Product vs Service Marketing
- How to Market a Service-Based Business
- What is a Service Marketing Strategy?
- Step 1: Know Your Audience
- Step 2: Go to Your Audience
- Step 3: Meet Their Need
- Step 4: Call Them to Action
- Bonus Marketing Tips
Let’s jump right in!
Product vs Service Marketing
So what is service marketing, service marketing (as opposed to product marketing) focuses on how to promote services as well as how service providers should deliver service to create experiences that meet or exceed customers’ expectations and improve their quality of life.
Service marketing didn’t become an area of study until the 1980’s when significant strategic differences were discovered between product marketing and service marketing.
Products: Products are tangible items that the user gets to keep. Product Marketing typically has a strong focus on the quality of the item itself and any other important features and benefits the product provides. Products typically create their own experience and the customer’s contact with company staff (especially online) is limited or may not happen at all. How many people do you talk to at Amazon when you buy a nic nak? None.
Services: Service marketing is very different. Services are intangible. The consumer of the service never gets to take anything home with them. Instead, the service is consumed the moment it is purchased. Services also cannot be returned.
Services marketing has a strong focus on service quality and customer experience, but also includes ease of use (or ease of access), emotional needs, and other ‘feelings’ that are important contributors to the perception of service quality.
Service marketing is contact-based; unlike a product-based business, service users are more likely to interact with employees at some point during their service interaction. Consumers may talk to several people when they call an airline’s 800 number or visit a doctor’s office. All of this happens within one account/customer relationship!
How to Market a Service-Based Business
Marketing a service-based business is going to rely heavily on building trust with the client. When people don’t purchase a service they need from your business it’s primarily because of one of two reasons:
- They don’t feel sure you can (or will) live up to your promise. Consumers who feel anxious don’t make purchases.
- The consumer doesn’t resonate with what you claim you will do for them. If you offer top-tier service – they may not be able or willing to pay for this top-tier service. This is not a bad thing (you may have a more select clientele) but you want to be sure there are enough people who align with your promise to keep you in business.
What is a Service Marketing Strategy?
Finding and building trust with potential clients needs to be done strategically and intentionally. If done well, this will keep marketing costs down while also increasing the number of leads that transition to clients. This is where service marketing strategy comes in. Let’s look at the 4 steps to a successful service marketing strategy.
Step 1: Know Your Audience
To effectively market a service you must first know the exact type of person who NEEDS what you offer.
If you are a plumber, you need to find people with broken pipes. If you want to keep your marketing costs down while increasing results, you want to ONLY target people with broken pipes.
This means it’s time to create a target audience profile. An audience profile is a concise and detailed description of who will most likely need the service you provide; it is your ideal client.
Think about the following characteristics when creating a target audience profile:
- What age are they?
- What gender are they?
- What is their socioeconomic status?
- Where do they live, work, go to school, etc.?
- Are they married, divorced, single, do they have kids?
For Example: If you are a plumber, you want to target homeowners with homes over 20 years old.
This means you might consider setting up advertisements that target neighborhoods in your area with homes that were built at least 20 years ago. These ads can ALSO target men who are in a middle to high socio-economic bracket.
The more specific you can be with your targeting – the more effective your marketing will be.
Survey all of your past clients and see what they have in common to get to know your target audience.
Step 2: Go To Your Audience
Once you know your audience, you should also know where they hang out.
People congregate in any number of places both in the real world and online. Therapists can find hundreds of thousands of people who struggle with anxiety and depression in Facebook groups.
Linked In houses countless groups that center around career types and professional industries.
People looking to make mid to large purchases are searching Google and Youtube to learn what they need to meet their needs.
Learn where your audience is and go to them. If you try advertising and marketing to 5 different places and find your lowest cost per lead comes from one source – forget about the others and redirect all your marketing dollars to the one place that works best.
Check out our Blog Facebook Ads vs Google Ads: BOOST your ROI in 2021 to discover which platform meets your marketing needs best!
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Step 3: Meet Their Need
Once you have your advertising and marketing showing up in the place where your target audience shows up, you must know exactly what NEEDS that specific consumer group has that your service marketing should address.
If you don’t begin to meet their most profound need when they are engaging with your brand for the first time, they will scroll right on past anything you put out there.
If you want to better understand the needs of your target audience, get FEEDBACK. Feedback is a marketers best friend.
Remember, it doesn’t matter what needs you think you meet or what you think your service is. It only matters what needs your customer thinks you meet and what your customer thinks your service is.
If you can figure out your customer’s view of your company – your service marketing will be hugely successful.
Call your current and past customers and ask them the following:
- What problem do you hire us to solve for you?
- What additional problems do you wish we could solve for you?
- How would you like us to improve our experience?
If you can get responses to those three questions, you will have a list of needs your target audience wants you to meet.
Then, center all of your marketing around those specific problems and needs.
Meet as many of these needs as you can FOR FREE. This may include a free how-to guide, a downloadable brochure, a free consultation, or a site survey. The more you can give the customer before you have to ask them to commit, the more trust you will build with them. This increases the likelihood they will stay with your service.
Step 4: Call Them to Action
Once you have promised (or have even begun) to meet the needs of your target audience, it’s time to call them to action.
A call to action is a clear yes or no proposition. “Enter Your Name & Email To Claim Your Free Strategy Session Today!”
A call to action may be a request to get the consumer’s contact information or it may be a hard close in the sales process that says, “would you like to pay with cash or card?”
Once your potential client knows you can meet their needs and they agree that your service and pricing are right for them, the only thing left to do is to show them the next step. Giving clear calls to action are the next step.
Bonus Service Marketing Tips
To reduce anxiety and increase trust with your potential audience on your website, consider implementing some of the following suggestions:
Industry Awards: If your company has won any awards, be sure to mention it on your home page. This quickly builds trust with your audience and gets them to take a closer look at your website.
Publications: Let consumers know that you have been featured in newspapers, magazines, on XYZ new stations, etc.
Client Logos: Include logos of your clients on your website. In the eyes of your website visitors, you inherit the credibility of the clients you serve.
If you offered plumbing services one time at a local restaurant chain (Like a Mcdonald’s or Burger King), you may be able to put their logo right on your website. This gives you the credibility of being trusted by a large corporation. If a big company like XYZ trusts you, so will the average Joe or Jane.
Industry Certifications: If you or any of your employees have advanced degrees or certifications, be sure to let people know you are trained experts.
Badges: Badges that let people know that you guarantee their satisfaction, or take their online security seriously have been shown to increase purchase and signup rates.
Customer Testimonials: Ask your customers to provide testimonials of their experience using your services. Good service marketing should use testimonials just about everywhere.
At the end of the day, nobody cares what you say about your services, they care what other people like themselves say about your services.
Low Friction Experience: People need clarity when they show up on your website. If they’re not 100% sure how to move forward with you within 30 seconds, they will leave your website and contact your competitor.
People get frustrated and confused on websites with too many calls to action, too much text, links to social media, etc.
Proper service marketing on your website means you understand the purpose of your website. The majority of traditional service business websites exist for the sole purpose of generating leads for the business. This means the only thing you need to get people to do on your website is:
- Download a brochure or ebook
- Call Now
- Schedule a Free Consultation
Everything that doesn’t get a website visitor to take one of these actions NEEDS to be removed from your website. Anything other than this will create frustration and confusion for viewers. The best service marketing is simple!
To learn more about how to market your service-based business, check out our blog 15 Top SEO Tips For Small Businesses In 2021.
That brings us to the end of this article on service marketing.
If you’re looking for some help marketing your service, schedule your free call with us today!
Which suggestion will you implement first?
Let us know in the comments!