Marketing a Service-based Business
Are you marketing a service-based business? If you are, then you understand how difficult it is. Service businesses are unique. They come with unique marketing challenges, but they also have a variety of marketing solutions available to them.
Unique Marketing Challenges
Marketing a service-based business has its challenges. As a business owner, you’re likely familiar with the main obstacles those in your industry face, regarding marketing.
Entrepreneur and founder of Indispensable Marketing in VA, Patrick McFadden, lists 5 marketing challenges that business owners face :
- Lack of resources (budget / people / time)
- Increasing visibility or generating quality leads
- Choosing the right social media platforms for my business
- Producing and delivering content takes a lot of time
- Keeping up with trends and technology
McFadden’s observations are very insightful, and many service-based business owners acutely feel the struggles he notes. Many service-based businesses lack the budget, time, and people needed for marketing. Because of a lack of resources, service businesses fail to generate leads. Leads are vital to business growth, and McFadden makes note that generating these leads is a serious challenge. Additional challenges include social media, content, and trends/technology.
5 Steps for Marketing a Service-based Business
- Get to know your target audience
- Optimize your website for lead generation
- Create a content strategy
- Share content with those who matter
- Automate your marketing plan
The first step to getting started with digital marketing is to get to know your target audience. Who are you marketing to? Not sure? If you haven’t considered this question before, it’s time to do so now!
STEP ONE: Target Audience
Regardless if your business is b2b or b2c, you must think about your marketing challenges as they relate to your target audience.
Your Target Audience is a group of people to whom you marketing. This audience is filled with your ideal customers. These customers are those who are most likely to find value in your services. These customers, your target audience, is who you market to.
If you haven’t identified this audience, start by brainstorming. If you’ve been in business for several years, you probably have a clear idea of your idea customer. Simply write a description of this person. Start with the easiest questions, like “Who is he?” and “Where does he live?” Include, “How much income does his household bring in annually?”
The point to identifying your target audience is so that you can market to this audience. This audience is the most likely to purchase the services that your business provides. You can create focus groups, send out surveys, and conduct interviews to learn more about your target audience.
STEP TWO: Website
The next step is to optimize your website for lead generation. To get leads online, your website must be easy to use. It should accurately represent your brand. All content on your website needs to be written to your target audience; address their concerns, offer them information they’re looking for. Make it easy for your website visitors to contact you and schedule a service.
Don’t forget to also optimize your website for Google. This is called SEO and will greatly increase your rank and visibility in Google’s search results.
Once you understand who your target audience is, you can optimize your website. B2b service businesses have a different audience than b2c businesses. The website design and strategy for b2b businesses will differ compared to b2c; the final website must be based on your unique target audience.
Vikas Chawla, co-founder of Social Beat, notes that “[one] study by Hinge Marketing found that 80 per cent of consumers visits [sic] the website when scoping out B2B companies. In the B2B space, unlike in B2C, customers are not going to make decisions based on emotions. Instead, they will decide to engage with your company only after careful consideration using all resources available.”
Chawla continues, “Your website needs to cater to the discovery mindset that your audience approaches this research with. Your website content should present a clear picture of what your organisation stands for, the services it provides, key differentiators, as well as testimonials and case studies for credibility.”
He also notes that “having a mobile-first design can also help your website perform better.” (Read Chawla’s article, 5 Crucial Ingredients of a Successful B2B Digital Marketing Strategy)
STEP THREE: Content
Content is text, photos, videos, and audio that you share with your target audience. This content is key to marketing a service-based business. Content is the element that brings potential customers to your website. It’s what your target audience wants. Plus, content is vital to ranking high on Google. Because of how important content is to your marketing strategy, creating content is an absolute must.
STEP FOUR: Share
You invested a lot of time and effort into creating great content for your business – now it’s time to share it. Where do you share your content? On your blog, social media platforms, and e-mail messages.
The wonderful thing about content is that you can re-purpose it for a variety of mediums and platforms, like a blog, social media, or e-mail. For example, the next time you’re on a job, think about how you can share that experience with others. Can you take some photos and post them on LinkedIn? Can you write an article about your work and post it to your blog? Consider this as you go about your day. Ask your team members to do the same.
Record your thoughts during the day. Ask the clients you serve for their opinions on the services you perform. Take photos of your clients next to your work, if possible, or ask them to send in a photo to you.
STEP FIVE: Automate
Once you have created a content strategy – meaning, you have a scalable process for creating content – and you have determined how to share your content, you can then move to automation.
Marketing automation is meant to drive qualified leads through your sales funnel, with less internal resources. Automation works by setting up a path through your sales funnel for potential clients that is automatic.
For example, you can create a blog every week, and include gated content in the blog. Once a website visitor enters her e-mail address into the form on your landing page (that’s the gated part), she becomes a lead. As soon as this happens, your automated marketing plan is triggered.
Now, she will receive e-mails to her inbox in a specific sequence, already scheduled! Your sales team (or you) can then determine the best time to contact this lead and move her deeper through the sales funnel.
The best part of automation is that it helps with a huge challenge faced by service-based businesses: lack of resources. Automation helps save time, so you and your team can focus on other things.
Service Business Case Studies
We’ve compiled several case studies on many of our clients who own service-based businesses. Our goal is to show you how to successfully market your service business. Below is a case study for one of our longest clients, Doctor Flue, inc. Check out the case study to find out how Doctor Flue, inc. grows its business.
If you’d like to view additional case studies, please view our client stories.
Give Artonic a call or email us if you’re interested in website design, development, or marketing.