Marketing for Service Businesses

I’m currently reading “Selling The Invisible” by Harry Beckwith, and I’m only a few chapters in, but it’s already got me thinking about how we do marketing. marketing-for-service-businesses Being a “service” business, it can be tricky to figure out your marketing strategy, because you don’t have a tangible product to sell. In our case we have an end product – a website. But we don’t have a selection of websites that a client selects ‘off-the-shelf’, purchases and then immediately has up and running. Like I said, I’m only a little way into this book, but it’s already making me shift the way I’m thinking about how my business conducts its marketing. Here are a few key take-aways so far:

Think about what people want

It might seem really obvious, but when you work in your business, it can be really hard to see it from the outside. Step back and think about what people want from your service and work from there. For us, the client obviously wants a beautiful website that reflects their business in a great light and drastically improves it. BUT, they also want the whole process to go smoothly, to be guided, to be consulted, for us to have confidence in our ability to realise their vision for their website.

Go one step further – surprise

People generally love being surprised. Think about how you can build something into your service that your clients will love, that doesn’t cost them any more money. Maybe it’s something you do at the end of a project, like send a handwritten thank you note, or offer to create profile images and cover photos for their Facebook page.

Survey your clients – on the phone

We always survey our clients and we get some pretty great responses. However thinking more about it, you’re much more likely to get honest answers when you phone someone and get them talking freely. Phone surveys have been statistically proven to get better results than written or face-to-face surveys. People find it easier to open up and talk frankly on the phone. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to make contact with previous clients again.

Your staff are your marketing department

Not just John and Jane over in the corner of your office. All of your staff are your marketing department. Every communication they have with a client reflects your company. Think about that and try and make your employees aware of it.

What are you very good at?

Seems so obvious, but it’s not quite that simple. Again, for us, we’re good at designing and building websites, but it goes deeper than that. When you break it down another level, we’re very good at;

  • arranging and organising complex information and displaying it in a visually attractive manner
  • hitting deadlines 99.9% of the time
  • being available and easy to talk to
  • creating websites that are easy for people to update and maintain
  • improving website performance with small tweaks based on how people are using it

What are your clients really buying from you?

Because it’s not just your end product. It’s more like:

  • confidence that you can deliver what you say you can deliver
  • the ability to successfully guide them through your process
  • the knowledge of your team
  • your time listening to their business problems and finding solutions
  • and finally – you!

I hate this cliche, but ‘people buy from people’, so at the end of the day your client is buying a relationship.

Great book so far

I’ve got a feeling this book is going to offer up some more great insights, so keep an eye on the “marketing” category of our blog as I’ll try to post more there when I get chance. Anyhow, I hope this short article has got you thinking differently about your marketing.

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