Marketing Your Service Business
At first thought, there might not seem to be a lot of differences between a product and service business in terms of marketing. However, if you are someone who actually runs one, you might realize that they are worlds apart. For one, scaling a product business is extremely simple. Besides ramping up production and possibly working out the costs, the work involved is primarily the same. Consequently, you may market your business across geographies in a heartbeat.
The same may not be the case for service businesses. Depending on the kind of service you provide, the market is pretty limited and scaling up is not always feasible. Let us assume you own an airport transfer service in Perth. Regardless of how successful you are, you cannot always immediately expand to other cities and countries. Such an expansion would require large scale hiring of resources and more often than not, your marketing efforts need to be started anew for the new market. Given these differences, there are some important things to remember while you are marketing your service business
Customer Satisfaction Is Key
The satisfaction of a customer is key to running a service business - it makes or breaks your success cycle. Regardless of how many thousand customers you have served, one negative PR could bring about a drastic change in fortunes. As in any business, bad customer experience is not entirely unavoidable. However, how you respond to an unsatisfied customer is key to not only getting their future business, but also in enabling a positive word of mouth about your business.
Local Marketing Channels Are Important
Unlike product businesses that often rely on media advertising and online marketing techniques, service businesses need to go hyper-local to reach out to their targeted customers. One way to do it is through flyers in the neighborhood. If you are in the United States, check out the ‘Every Door Direct Mail’ service offered by the USPS that can help you reach out to every person in a particular neighborhood. It is an extremely cost efficient system for businesses like restaurants, home improvement services, car rentals, etc.
Incentivize Future Business
A very important mantra in business is that it is always cheaper to do business with the same customer twice rather than finding new customers for every transaction. Hence it is very essential for you to incentivize your customers for visiting you again by offering coupons or loyalty points. This helps in the gamification of the system which ensures repeat business from the customers.
An often overlooked aspect of small business operations is getting useful contact information about the customer - like their name, phone number, email address or postal address. Owning this information is a valuable asset since it helps your business reach out to existing customers time and time again with offers and news regarding your business. It is important that you have a process in place to gather all these valuable data about your customers as part of your service. You may also use these details to send referral bonus related announcements which will not only incentivize your existing customers to find new business opportunities for you, but also help you find new customers.
A service business may seem like a less lucrative opportunity compared to product businesses owing to the geographical limitations. However, these businesses are typically less capital intensive and are easier to launch. Given this advantage, it is vital to know the techniques to market your service business efficiently since it helps you reach out to more customers and ultimately expand your business.