No matter what is happening in our world today, there will always exist a time where people need a helping hand.
Running a service-based business you know there will always be issues that arise that need your help to solve. Even in todays COVID-19 times when your business may run into logistic issues, or a loss of your clientele, know that there is always someone out there that still needs your services. This is why many businesses, and especially local businesses, have started to make the shift to establishing an online presence that will drive traffic. So in these tough times, they can build themselves a defensive shield that limits the effects of customer lead fluctuations by adopting new streams of traffic, leads, revenue and and overall funnels of customer conversions to ensure consistent long term growth. With all the changes happening to local businesses today we wanted to build an article that can truly help, that is why we’ve put together our 11 key service business marketing strategies that create real company growth. Much of what we are about to go over can be applied to any service-based business, local or not.
11 ways to move and market your local service business online In this article, we’ll go over 11 ways you can help your service based business right now online to get more clients and open new streams of revenue that create long term company growth.
1. Design a Website In today's digital era having a website that looks amazing, functions at a high level, and is designed to convert website traffic into clients is key to owning a successful service based business. The truth is if you don't have a website or have an old outdated website that hasn't been edited in years, you could be missing out on 60% or more of your potential clients. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of your competitors around you trying to market to the same clients. Whether you’re a plumber, lawyer, dentist, roofing company, tutor, personal trainer, dog groomer, or anyone who monetizes their small business by offering a service, a website is a must to separate you from your competition. Your website isn’t just a place to show the world who you are and what you have to offer. It’s more than that. Today it's become a key factor in what businesses survive and which fail. From driving traffic to generating clients, without a website or with an old out dated website your company is literally missing out on an opportunity to grow unlike any time before. The digital era is still just beginning, so now is the time to invest in your companies future to ensure your service based business is the one benefiting from the change from face to face/word of mouth client generation to digital online transactions and leads.
2. Sell Products
This largely depends on the services you offer, but if you think a little out of the box most service based businesses can create a product and sell it directly from their website to create an extra flow of income. A few examples of the products you can sell directly on your website include: e-books, products you use, lessons, classes, and videos.
Selling products online works especially well if your are certain service based businesses such as: personal instructor, consultant, therapist, literally any service business can create online products if they think outside the box a little, even plumbers can create more wealth selling products online. For example, if you're a personal trainer you can create online programs, sell workout equipment, sell health products, and even create at home workout videos to sell. If you're a consultant, create a series of videos and tutorials that walk people through how your service works and what you do. This can be sold as a program or subscription for a small cost and is a great example of how to productize your service.
Get creative about turning your services into physical products. If you are a nail salon and walk-ins have slowed down recently or you just want to increase revenue, you could make at home manicure and pedicure kits for a fixed price to sell online. Think outside the box, the possibilities are endless!
3. Schedule Video Conferencing Sessions
As more people are at home than ever before, creating a system that allows you to work with clients without being in person is more important than ever before a well. By offering to service clients over video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts you are allowing them to sign up and purchase your services directly through your website with no real in person interactions. A great example of this would be a yoga or workout instructor who could set up a video conference or workout session ahead of time that people could purchase to join. By using Zoom, client bookings will automatically be added to your calendar and you can even add up to 45 people into the same session for free! You have nothing to lose.
In many cases, by setting up conference calls or online training sessions you are able to serve multiple clients all at once for minimum to no out of pocket costs. For example, if you were to set up an at home workout routine the only thing you would be providing is your knowledge and time. With no out of pocket costs! You can even get creative and try to sell at home workout products such as bands, medicine balls, or even just light dumbbells to go with a scheduled workout routine.
4. Pickup and Delivery Service
If you are a local service business that requires having physical contact with your clients, consider integrating an online booking system to your website. Then offer to pick up and deliver the service requested.
For example, say you're a dog groomer, you can drive to your clients house to pick up their dog, clean the pup up and drop the dog back off at the end of the day. This simple service will separate you from local competitors as now your client never has to even leave their house to use your service.
5. Optimize for Local SEO
What's a service business without a great local SEO strategy? It's a business that is limiting their local client traffic and missing out on large increases in revenue. More small businesses have began to move online, making now more than ever critical to optimize your business for digital traffic. But we aren't talking about paying for ads on Google. SEO is the process of optimizing your listings for specific keywords. An example, if I was optimizing a plumbing company I would take the time to pin point the keywords with the most traffic in that local area and the least amount of competition. This could be sayings like plumber near me, plumbing service, water heater repair, leak detection, plumber in (city, state), and so many more. By doing this you are creating SEO rich content that will help you rank higher on Google for those keywords and ultimately bring in more clients.
If you're not familiar with what SEO is, it stands for search engine optimization and it's basically the way in which Google's algorithm decides what content to show in it's search results. If you want to learn more about SEO we have taken the time to write a page on what an SEO Agency is and how it can help, so make sure to check it out.
6. Start a YouTube Channel
Most people today don't know that YouTube and Google are actually both owned by a company called Alphabet. Not too surprisingly they also make up the top two online search engines in the world. So being optimized on both is essential to growing a wider audience.
Depending on what services you offer, you can create an incredibly wide range of video topics. If you are a plumber walk through each step of simple plumbing services such as: leak detection, a clogged sink, toilet won't flush, and any other simple services that you can record in a short 5-10 minute video. By even just adding these simple videos you are allowing yourself the possibility to reach thousands-millions of potential viewers.
During these videos also remember to occasionally mention your company, the services you offer, and links to your website. This way your businesses brand awareness grows and you also allow YouTubers to go to your website to purchase anything you have to offer.
7. Social Media Marketing
If you still haven't done so yet, make sure you create social media accounts for your local service business. The main social platforms to consider depending on your type of business include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest. Although social media will not be the main platform for conversions, if used properly Social Media can be a great way to connect with, and attract, potential customers. You can leverage Facebook by sharing videos or content that you think would be valuable to your target audience. On Instagram, you can post pictures of satisfied clients, great work you did and any other company news.
8. Offer Pre-Orders
A great way to hold on to existing clients and increase your up front revenue is to set up a system to accept pre-orders from your clients. Let's say you are a wedding photographer and a wedding you were supposed to shoot has been delayed because or COVID or other reasons. Instead of losing that client, try giving them the option to pre-order your photography services ahead of time. They pay a portion now and you deliver on the the services later.
If the customer is hesitant give them a little incentive to pre-book. You can do this by offering discounts, the offer can be a percentage or dollar amount off your normal rates. By doing this it's not only securing you a customer, but it's also creating a happy client who in turn may recommend your services to other people they know in the future.
9. Build Relationships
If you are a local service it's extremely important to focus on not only getting clients, but ensuring they are completely satisfied with your service. It's much easier to get a returning customer to purchase from you again as apposed to the competition if you focus on providing customer service they remember. If you already have a base of returning clients that know and love your company, you are sitting on a huge opportunity to productize your service and get sales through those clients.
Remember your business does not just exists to make money, it's to help customers in need of the services you provide. This is why it's so important to not just focus on that one transaction, but actually building relationships with the clients you service. A simple email or call to past clients to see how their experience was and how it could have been better can go a long way in building a long term relationship in which they use your company exclusively over your competition.
10. Get Reviews
As technology continues to advance and people look to the internet more and more, it's important your company is displaying just how good it is. One of the first things customers will judge your company on are of course reviews. If you currently have bad or no reviews you are driving traffic away. But don't panic, with some simple review optimization strategies you can start collecting amazing reviews that will dazzle potential customers. Start by of course providing exceptional service. Immediately after a customer is serviced and completely satisfied ask them to go in and leave a review on how your company did. After they leave a review always remember to respond, Google loves that. Even if the review is negative make sure you take the time and see why the customer felt that way and how your company can improve or help alleviate any frustrations they have. Also if a customer is clearly dissatisfied with your service don't ask for a review, it's best to limit the negatives and only ask the customers who are completely happy with their service. After a week if they haven't posted a review set up an email campaign that simply sends them a hello reminder and direct link to leave a review. If you are looking for more in depth review management and you have a little budget, BirdEye is an incredible review platform that makes managing reviews simple and easy.
11. GMB Optimization
Google drives over 80% of website traffic on average, so as a local service you have to optimize your Google My Business listing to be better than your local competition. This means filling out your listings info with correct information that matches all other platforms including social media. This means address, phone number, website URL, hours of operation, business description, and services your business provides. Along with having the info filled out make sure you are posting pictures. One of our clients had a photo reach 900,000 views in under a few months! So photos are extremely important to running a successful GMB listing. With proper mangement GMB listings have the power to drive up customer actions (phone calls, driving directions and website clicks) and increase your overall reach on the web. Which as a result should increase your companies revenue by a substantial amount, if your website and customer service is turning those leads into customers.