Strategy For Marketing A Service-Based Business
If you try to market your service based business just like any other business you’re going to be disappointed because service based businesses have a very unique and really different approach that’s required for success if you want to generate more leads clients and sales.
I’m going to be sharing five things you absolutely need to know to have success in marketing your service-based business.
Let’s get to it. Hey there, my name is Adam Earhart, marketing strategist and welcome to The Marketing Show, where we help you grow your business and generate more leads,
Marketing a service-based business is one of my favorite things to do because it provides all sorts of different unique approaches and different challenges that marketing product-based businesses simply don thave. Specifically, the fact that you’re selling something intangible something that they can’t see or feel or touch or taste or whatever it is so we really have to get creative with our marketing in order to paint a clear and compelling picture of why people should do business with you. Plus, there’s also a ton of tripwires or minefields or potholes or whatever other analogy we can think of here, basically, all of these different areas of disaster that so many different services businesses fall into when it comes to their marketing, specifically the fact that it is an intangible thing well they often grasp in a sort of grapple for the right term and they end up using generic and bland and boring statements like:
“We provide better service” or
“We have higher quality” or
“We do things faster”,
which are not only not differentiated at all but they also make you sound exactly the same as every single one of your competitors.So let’s fix that now as well as all the other issues and I’m gonna give you 5 of my absolute best service-based marketing strategies so you can apply them in your business and get way better results and with way less headache. Alright, it all starts with tip
which is to sell the end. This is probably the single most important tip of this entire article, actually maybe the second most important tip, I save the best one for last so make sure to stick with me. You see, when it comes to service-based marketing it’s literally all about the end result that you provide. That is essentially the entire that you should be trying to sell and communicate through all of your marketing and advertising material. Basically, your business’s marketing should talk about the benefits of what your service provides, the end state that it’s going to help your clients or your customers get to and basically all of the ways that their life is going to be better after having done business with you and basically all the ways that their life would be terrible if they don’t do business with you.
You see, one of the most important things you can do here is really clearly defining the two different states that your clients are are in right now. Basically, the state that they’re in, they’re present and ActiveState which is pain and problems and all the stuff they’re trying to get away from and the state that they aspire to get to which is their dreams and their wants and all that – cover that in just a second – but essentially, they want to get away from the pain they want to get to pleasure and your business serves as the bridge that helps them cross that gap.
Alright, so more on the pain and pleasure stuff. Basically, I call these miracles and miseries. Basically, their miracles are all of their wants and their dreams and their goals and their aspirations. Basically, all the good stuff that their life could be like after they do business with you and then their miseries are all their pains and their frustrations and their fears and their nightmares and all of the awful able stuff that has to do with their everyday lives. I know sounds pretty negative but basically, when it comes to marketing, what we’re trying to do here rather than just beat them down about all the bad stuff going on we do want to offer them a solution the solution is your business which if you’re any good at what you do – and I presume you are – well, then you owe it to them to offer them the solution and help them get away from the pain and into the pleasure.
Alright, the next thing that you really want to do as a service-based business is to definitely use stories in all of your marketing. Again, because you don’t have a tangible thing that they can see and hold and feel and touch and smell all that stuff, well, you really have to use stories that help to build these models and build in their minds. Again, as I already said it’snot enough to just say stuff like we’re better or we’re faster or we have better service or higher quality or whatever because these are just claimed and they’re basically based on nothing, so we need to back it up. A great way to do that is with stories. If you’ve never used stories in your business before,
let me give you a couple examples here but essentially what you want to do is sort of comb through a carefully selected and curated list of your businesses success and case studies and how you’ve helped customers or clients in the past and you’re gonna draw from this and use it as inspiration when you’re creating marketing content. For starters, don’t be afraid to share your personal philosophy, what you think about business or the industry or the market, or basically what you do. For example, my personal philosophy is that strategy should always form the foundation of every single marketing campaign and I’m really quick to point out that I disagree with a lot of the tactics and sort of flashy and shiny object stuff that’s going only the industry that’s taking a lot of businesses way off the right path and making them basically lose a lot of time and money and energy.
Next, make sure to comb through your database for client results testimonials and any case studies, which are perfect examples to show how your business has helped people get results before. These are really powerful because when someone sees someone that looks like them or is in the same position as them and they get results, it removes a lot of the potential objections that they may have including the big one this might not work for me. Also, while these next two are not necessarily part of a story, you can intertwine story elements into them but creating how-to or what not to do content is also a fantastic way to show your expertise and also provide some value at the same time and of course when you are telling your origin story or your personal story or what your business does and how it got started, this part is important but remember, it’s not about you it’s about them the client and the customer that you’re trying to serve.
This part might sting a bit but your customers actually don’t really care about you they only really care about them and how they can use you in order to get the results. I know that sounds horribly cynical but the reality is is that they really are acting in their best interest, as they should, that’s why we have a free market so rather than fight this and think it’snot fair and all that well it’s better to just accept it and design your marketing accordingly by making sure that it’s structured so that your marketing really is all about them and less about you. Alright,
the next step is that you need to nurture them. Now, what this means is that essentially if you’re selling a service to your market well you’re going to need to provide some kind of value or some kind of story like we just talked about or some kind of content or authority stuff to put in front of them and show that you know what you’re talking about and you’re the right one for the job. If you’re selling a really low price service, well, then less is going to apply but if you’re selling something in the thousands tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands you’re gonna need a whole lot of nurturing to make sure that you’re really clearly communicating that you are the best one for the job. One of the biggest and most fatal mistakes I see,
especially with service-based businesses who are brand new to advertising, is that they try to go out there and they create an ad that goes directly to a sale. Basically, they put it out in front of people that are by now and they’re selling something for thousands and thousands of dollars. Probably, no surprise but the ad doesn’t work and then the business wears off whatever advertising platform they’re using whether Facebook or Instagram or Google or whatever.
When in reality, the analogy is pretty much like this is like proposing marriage on the first date. Basically, the person has no idea who you are or what you do or why they should care and now you’re asking them for a thousand dollar purchase there’s a far far better way to do this which I’m gonna cover in just my next point but first, it’s important to understand that all of your marketing should always be trying to increase touch-points. This is basically, interactions or moments of truth where you’re appearing directly in front of your target market and whether through your content or your advertising or any of your marketing. Depending on what statistic you read or what source you’re referencing, the average is around 7/12 touchpoints with a customer before they make that purchase decision.
Basically, this means you’ve got to show up in front of your customers with a value between seven to twelve times before they’re going to be willing to buy from you. If you’re selling a pack of gum or something for a couple bucks, well, the touchpoints is probably just one and the offer could be as simple as: Would you like some gum? Yes, I would. But if you’re selling a multi-thousand dollar consulting package or something like that, you can’t just say: Would you like a multi-thousand dollar consulting package? No, I would not. And of course, they wouldn’t, they have no idea what you do or why you’re special or why you’re different or what kind of value you can provide and this is why you need that nurture sequence and the way that you build out a nurture sequence is to unleash the funnel.
Basically, a marketing funnel is simply a process to walk them through the customer journey from being cold traffic who has no idea who you are, what you do, why they should care and basically, walks them through to becoming warm, where they know you, they’restarting to understand a little more and all the way to hot, where they actually buy from you and become a paying client or a customer.
Now, the funnel I use inside of the business and with my clients and students is called the social selling system. It’s a very simple framework that essentially takes them from an ad to an opt-in page where they can enter their name and email in exchange for some kind of content, then to a thank, you page where we deliver the next step or essentially make our next offer and then some kind of nurturing sequence on the back end whether through email or retargeting ads.
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It’s an incredibly effective system and each step takes them closer to doing business with you through a series of micro-commitments and ever-increasing value and basically, increasing more and more touch-points.The beauty of this system and making sure that you do have a funnel in place is that once it’s dialed in you can automate the entire process which means, it’s like having thousands or millions or tens of millions of tiny little salespeople out there all the time doing business for you 24/7 365, generating leads converting them into clients and nurturing them the whole process.
Alright, the next tip and thing you really need to be aware of and probably one of the most important things that I could share with you is that you need to make sure that you avoid the marketing wasteland. The marketing wasteland is scattered with dead companies and failed marketing strategies and essentially this is why I’m pretty anti tactics and shiny objects and really key foundational strategy because of far too many businesses kind of bought into the notion or the idea that you need to do everything and be absolutely everywhere, which is probably the worst marketing advice ever. First of all, trying to do everything and trying to be everywhere is probably one of the fastest ways to burn out an overwhelm that I’ve ever heard of.
I know this because I tried this many years ago and that’s exactly where it led me. Second of all, not only are you gonna be burned out and exhausted and overwhelmed, but it’s also completely garbage strategy because your clients and your customers and your ideal target market that you’re trying to reach, they’re not everywhere, they’re not doing everything, rather they’re in a few carefully selected channels and platforms so, why wouldn’t you just go there? So, how do you go there? Well, the very first step is to build out an ideal customer avatar which is a representation of your most perfect client or customer that you’re trying to attract your business.
You want to figure out who they are, where they go and what they do and when you sort of figure all these things out, all you then have to do is head over to google and type in a quick search like social media network demographics and you’ll be able to align very quickly where your market is and what platforms are favored by that type of person. Then, go there and ignore everything else. As a real rough in the general example, let’s say you’re trying to reach between the ages of 35 and 55,
well, then google and the demographic details are gonna basically tell us that Facebook and YouTube are probably your best bet. If you’re trying to reach women between the ages of 18 and 35 then you’re gonna want to double down on Instagram and possibly Pinterest, depending on your business.
If you’re trying to reach corporate professionals in the B2B or business-to-business space, well, then it pretty much doesn’t matter what age they are, LinkedIn should be at the forefront of your strategy with maybe a supplementary or accessory channel backing it up, probably Facebook. The important thing to avoid the wasteland is to not be everywhere, not do everything, rather it’s to clearly identify your ideal target market who you’re trying to serve to find out where they’re active and present online and go there ignoring everything else.