How to Market Your Service Like a Rockstar
Here is a list of ideas and tips from other entrepreneurs to help you market your service business, as well as take a look at the most effective forms of marketing:
Tips to Market a Service Based Business
Start Your Own Blog
Blogging yourself can also be very good for a service business, because it helps audiences get to know you on a personal level. What this does, is form a personal connection between you and a potential buyer. The negative to this is, one has to be committed. When I say “committed”, I say it because no one will read your blog the first two years…unless you are really good at social media. Content has to “stack on top” of each other to be effective in the search engines, and it can usually take 2 years to be enough content to receive traffic from. If you try to blast out 2 years worth of content over a month, you get blacklisted. This is a strategy of black-hat SEO (meaning don’t do it!). For example, Plan to Start has had content published regularly for about 2 years. Micheal Hyatt (a leadership speaker) has been blogging for 8 years before he really saw rewards (but…now he’s well known, and charges about $10,000 for a 60 second keynote).
Pay a Blogger
A much faster way to accelerate this credability establishment, is to get “in” with the bloggers in your field. We call this being represented by a voice that has influence. Bloggers can help you establish yourself as an expert, and familiarize your service within a community, it’s what they do for a living, it’s how they make their money. This is another form of word of mouth advertising, which is probably the most profitable way to market a service business. The blogger language for this is called a “sponsored post”, and that’s what you should ask for when you approach a blogger to help you market a service.
The MarketingSherpa Social Benchmarketing Report for 2011 study concluded Blogger Relations was the most effective form of social marketing:
Start Free or Cheap
The lesson here isn’t to remain cheap or free forever, the lesson here is to raise your prices over time as your credibility establishes itself. If you’re starting out with a new service business, don’t expect to charge what everyone else charges right off the bat. Most service based businesses will need to have some kind of customer testimonials and references in order to get bigger customers. For example, if you design logos, give your first one away for free exchange to include it in your portfolio and/or a customer testimonial.
Use Freelancing Sites
One or two customer testimonials will then give you enough credibility to freelance, or contract out, your services. Freelancing is extremely useful for slow times in your business; and for sourcing new clients. Just having a profile there can put you in front of hundreds of new potential clients, but you can also bid on projects and new business. Try Elance or ODesk, they are probably the two best one’s on the internet.
Service a Niche Market
The thought of narrowing down into a niche scares a lot of service providers. Chances are you know how to perform a lot of different services in your industry, and who wants to limit their business…right? Truth is, narrowing down into a niche really makes it easier (and profitable) to market a service business. Think about one thing you are the BEST at. Some of the fastest growing service companies have this defined niche carved out for themselves. For example, don’t just be a graphic designer. Be an infographic designer. Don’t just be a consultant, be a franchise consultant.
Ask for Referrals
Did a great job for one customer? Always ask for a referral. Not only will it let you know how well you *really* performed a service for your client, but word of mouth advertising has a much higher conversion rate for a service based business.
Build B2B Relationships
Don’t just build relationships with potential customers, build close nit partnerships with complimentary service providers. Most of the time we focus on talking to clients, but we forget about the other businesses sitting there willing to work with us, that may have access to hundreds of potential clients. For example, if you’re a hair salon owner, talk to the nail salon owner down the street. You both target the same market, and can actually cross-sell with one another. You’ll need to come in with an equal or greater value to the other person. What do you offer them in return? How is it mutually beneficial? Just make sure you understand the other service providers business model and customers before hand.
Stand out from the crowd by branding yourself. Your personal brand is made up of the qualities and unique traits you relay about yourself. Your personal brand represents the way you want other people to think about you. What do you emphasize on, what do you not emphasize on. You’ll notice each trait attracts different types of customers.
ie: the purpose of social media. Answering questions in your field of expertise they say helps you establish yourself as well. This one is stilll on the table as to whether or not it is effective though. I’ve never done this, so if you have..and had a good or bad experience, please let me know. It can be time consuming, and alot of people asking questions are likely doing it so they can figure out how to do it themselves. They may not even be interested in outsourcing it. Or who knows, maybe it’s one of those marketing techniques that will pay off eventually.
(Warning: do not copy & paste content, it will get you blacklisted on major search engines, this isn’t what sharing content means). Sharing content via links (like tweeting, liking, etc) helps you market a service in a number of ways: 1) it helps draw attention and activity to your own social media channels without producing content, and 2) draws the attention of bloggers to your business. Attention of bloggers=press.
Most of the time you market a service, you’re presenting yourself more than you are the business. So in some sense, marketing a service is very different than how you would market a product. It can be more difficult, or easier…however you want to look at it.
If you’ve got any of your own tips to help others, please feel free to leave them below in the comments & we’ll put them in the article!