What makes services marketing Different?
Services marketing usually isn’t easy – you’ve got to grab the attention of your audience, explain the service, and show its value.
When you market a service, showing value is the hardest part. Even if potential clients understand how your service works, you have to show why it matters. Which of their problems can you fix?
While the same logic applies when marketing a piece of software, many strategies that work well for marketing a piece of software won’t suffice for marketing a service.
Why is there a difference?
Buying a piece of software is likely a one-and-done deal, and is often a straightforward process of identifying the function the software will perform and how it benefits the organization. With software you can point to screenshots and images to illustrate the tangible product. Software vendors can draw repeat customers through updates and new products, but pricing is usually fixed, and relatively low.
Signing up for a service, requires a substantial level of commitment, either to a project or the subscription.
Because purchasing a service is major investment, proving the value of the investment is critical. Service purchases aren’t cavalier, and a prospect will often consider competitors and any alternatives before taking the plunge.
Trying to build a comprehensive marketing budget for your business? Make it easy with our free Marketing Budget Template!
Here are a few tips to ensure that your services marketing efforts stand out:
1) Personal interaction
When people buy a service, they usually like to feel that they're dealing with an actual person, rather than a faceless corporation. Offering personal interaction through email, social media, a forum, or even chat boxes on your website can help your potentials develop trust in your company and, by extension, your services.
Remember that you are the face of your business; your potentials’ experiences with your marketing or sales efforts will sculpt their impression of your business - the better the experience, the more they'll trust you and your services.
Wondering how providing valuable content can increase sales? Check out our blog on Inbound Marketing for Professional Services
2) Trial periods
This is one trick that services marketers could learn from software marketers – in most cases, you don't have to start charging a customer for your service right away… indeed, you probably shouldn't.
Trial periods are a classic, "try before you buy" strategy, and they're worthwhile because no matter how many pages of your website are devoted to explaining what you do, nothing will influence a customer more than his or her own experience with the service.
Trial periods are also good for lowering the barrier of commitment that stops people from signing up for your service. Since they're not giving you money and can stop use of your service any time, many more of your potentials will be willing to give it a try. If your service really is worth having, you’ll hook clients by proving it.
Wondering if Trial Periods are really worth it? The answer is yes, and here's why.
3) Physical products
Not all services are accompanied by physical products, but if yours is, there are a few more things you'll need to take into account.
You'll need to set the customer's expectations about the physical product before they receive it. The best way to do this is to be transparent about how long it will take to arrive and what they should do with it once they have it.
Most customers form expectations based on the first piece of information they receive, and by providing that information, you shape their expectations.
4) Provide Goals
This is a great way to make the value of your service tangible. Set clear goals about what kind of results you’ll get. Be clear what your service can do within a specific and short time frame.
If you’re offering a trial period, use numbers or concrete details to prove to your clients that your services are making a difference quickly. The sooner your potentials feel like your service is solving a problem they have, the more likely they are to start paying for it.
Looking to learn more about setting concrete goals? Check out our blog on Making The Value of Professional Services Tangible
5) Test options
If your service comes in several different levels, customers should have a way of testing the various options and finding out which one is best for their needs.
On-site guides can help with this, of course, but the last thing you want to do is convince existing customers that they can't learn about your services unless they buy them.
More from our blog: 6 Simple Steps To Quickly Create A Compelling Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
What all of this comes down to is your ability to communicate with potential customers - and the way you market your content matters. Don't just try to draw people in with a great deal on your service - instead, focus your marketing on how your service can solve a problem they're having.
Establish a positive relationship by lowering the bar of commitment, allowing your potentials to get in contact with you, and giving them a chance to test your service at no risk on their part.
You should post the post-trial price of your service, but don't go out of your way to call attention to it until after they've had a chance to experience the service and are ready to purchase. If the experience was a good one, you'll have one more satisfied customer.
Looking to learn more about how you can market your services? Contact us here for a fast, free consultation!