Introduction to Service Marketing Strategies
When service firms think of marketing strategies, they usually consider outbound and direct techniques i.e. messages that are sent straight to your prospective customers and clients. The goal, in this approach, is to be persuasive and compelling so that your audience responds to and engages with the service offered.
These techniques will be undeniably in vogue as long as marketing exists. But service marketing strategies have evolved over the years, especially after the arrival of digital marketing. The behavior of service buyers has changed. They are more likely to carry out an internet search to find a service farm, and probably read client reviews to evaluate their services.
This, in fact, has broadened the range of service marketing strategies at your disposal. Staying competitive, today, means taking the fullest advantage of a variety of strategies.
But among all the service marketing strategies available in the hyper-competitive business environment today, which ones will be the best for you? Let’s take a look at the 10 absolutely fundamental strategies that will not only help your company stay relevant, but will also help you to surge ahead in competition.
Marketing Strategies for Service Companies
Following are some strategies:
1. Market Research
Research is the bedrock of all present-day marketing efforts. From marketplace to brand research, exhaustive scientific studies can help you to take more informed decisions. It will lend you an objective basis for service marketing and also extend valuable baselines to measure your results.
Research helps you to understand your customers better. Market research gives you an insight about how your business processes are performing. You will know on what counts your company is performing and what marketing strategy in service sectors you need to spruce up.
The impact of market research is obvious. Studies have revealed that firms carry out systematic research regarding their prospect. Clients often grow 3-10 times faster and are up to twice more profitable than peers who don’t carry out any research.
2. Niche strategy
One of the most important business considerations for service marketing is niche targeting and specialization. Research has shown that some of the fastest growing service firms are specialists in a carefully selected niche. The niche must be a sector of the industry which you thoroughly understand, a space where you can become an undisputed leader and expert.
Specialization can make the all the difference to your marketing efforts. It defines what you do exactly and distinguishes you among competition. Specialization is a differentiator which proves itself.
3. High performance website
In the professional service marketplace today, your company’s website will be one of the most important asset. It’s more than just a digital billboard, as many companies believed in the past. A good website is at the center of a service firm’s online presence as well as an info-rich projection of your expertise in the marketplace.
The website is a major tool to build brand visibility. Prospective clients usually search online to hire service providers. You must have an easily navigable website where people find all the information they need and you land a better chance of winning a business. Besides, the website will help you to demonstrate your expertise and grab better acceptability in the marketplace. It’s usually seen that around 80% of people hunt online for service marketing firms. The internet has also emerged as the commonest source of all information.
When a visitor lands on your website, robust information and carefully devised offers can drive leads to closer engagements. It eventually brings qualified business to you. The process to nurture leads via content is shown below.
The second component of the website which you must consider is the design. Graphic and web designs can greatly influence audience perception and aid recall, and intuitively and swiftly differentiate business.
The power of a good website design is often undermined. This, in turn, gives a tremendous opportunity to a company to set it apart from the rest of competition and convey the credibility that’s needed to drive home the rewards.
The compatibility of your website over a wide range of devices is also important. These include computers, androids, tabs, mobiles, and others. Responsive design, which allows a website to suit a viewer’s device, has become one of the key features for business as more people are using mobile and handheld devices for business. Google have already begun to rank websites that are “mobile friendly” higher up the search results. Making a website responsive is now a necessity for service marketing firms.
4. Search engine optimization (SEO)
As already said before, the target audience must be able to land on your site without any problem. The website must be effective in that way. And this were SEO comes in. So much is its importance in the online service marketing puzzle that high-growth companies consider SEO as one of the most important strategies available to drive traffic.
SEO is an always evolving, yet complex discipline. It comprises of two major components.
- Onsite SEO:
This technique uses targeted keywords for communicating the content of your website which will appeal to your target audience. Keyword phases typically focus on the services that you offer and helps search engines to come up with more relevant data to the searchers. And when the audience searches for some insight on service area of your specialization, they’ll land on your website.
- Offsite SEO:
It takes the form of back-links to your website, wither via guest articles on other websites, or through third-party engagement. These efforts increase the website’s authority as an acknowledged leader in your area of interest.
As more relevant and high quality websites link to your sites, popular search engines will understand your credibility, leading to higher rankings.
5. Social media
If you require more evidence about the relevance of social media for professional services, here’s some info. More than 60% of all buyers check new service providers over the social media which makes it one of the commonest used information sources than formal recommendations or referrals.
In fact, the nature of referrals has changed with the arrival of social media. A recent referral marketing study found that nearly 17% of all expertise-based referrals are carried out on the basis of social media interactions. Simply put, the social media acts as an accelerator to reach your expertise, reputation and content to your target customers. It helps you to connect to valuable influencers and contacts, along with monitoring your brand via social listing.
There are several platforms on which you can advertise your service marketing firm. These commonly include the following.
- Service Industry websites and publications
- Social media
- Google AdWords, search engine marketing (SEM), Yahoo, Bing and other portals.
Advertising doesn’t merely promote your service marketing. It also plays a major role to drive content downloads, thereby increasing both visibility and expertise.
Remember to use the various forms of advertising that best matches your professional service. Networks like LinkedIn and other service industry oriented advertising, often works best. These networks allow to directly target the appropriate customer segment which leads to more conversation, better click rates and lower download cost.
SEM, on the other hand, is usually more expensive and harder to target for extending professional services. Facebook advertisements, at the same time, could be less than effective because it is less used by professional service customers than other similar networks.
It needs to be remembered at the same time that there are several variations of each type of advertisement. A service marketing firm may find them somewhat successful depending upon the advertisement purpose, budget, targeting or industry niche.
7. Referral service marketing
The nature of professional service referrals have changed over the years. This has impacted service marketing strategy in a big way. It has been found out that more than 81% of service providers have received referrals from people who were never a client.
But from where do all these referrals come from? Most of them come from the firm’s expertise or reputation.
Content marketing can be used in connection with the tactics mentioned above. In this way you can build goodwill for your brand and get widespread reputation for your specialized domain. You build a brand recall among the audience that may not have worked with you. This, in turn, leads to more referral and new business.
8. Marketing automation, CRM, and lead nurturing
- Marketing automation:
It replaces repetitive manual repetitive and high-touch manual processes with the automated ones. The changeover is supported by technology. Automation brings together all the online service marketing channels into a single centrally managed system to create, manage, and measuring campaigns and programs.
Like any other technological tool, it’s important that you select the correct service marketing automation software most suitable for your company. The complexity, scalability, and size of the solution must be a good match for your requirements.
Another valuable software is the customer relationship management (CRM) system. A large number of companies use CRMs for tracking and organizing client information and scouring opportunities. A CRM module, in short, can help you to stay connected and organized, regardless of how complex your operations become.
The CRM system functions as a database for all the connected information about clients and opportunities, including detailed notes about interactions. Information can be keyed in, stored and accessed by the staff as and when needed. It leads to the synchronization of efforts across various departments in your firm.
- Lead nurturing:
CRM is not the end of bagging new clients. Remember the lead-nurturing funnel given in the diagram earlier? The website is an important part of the puzzle. Email marketing is also equally important. Analytics driven and targeted email service marketing campaigns help you deliver both hard and soft offers for particular types of buyers, tailored to their demands. Drip email campaigns, on the other hand, allow you to send targeted offers for segments in your audience over a particular period of time. It forges a much closer engagement between the service provider and the client and educates via relevant and successive offers and content.
9. Testing and optimization
Testing and optimization allows you to schedule your marketing efforts and take decisions based on hard facts and not presumptions. While research is at the base of marketing, testing and optimization is a continuous guide. Testing of marketing campaigns should never stop. But they can be adjusted according to market demands.
- A/B testing of landing pages and emails:Using popular A/B tools like Unbounce or Optimizely, learn which of the landing pages or emails most successfully convert users in various designs, languages or other elements.
- Landing and email page rendering: Using tools like Email on Acid for testing the rendition of pages on various platforms and devices, ensure they function as they are supposed to.
10. Analytics and reporting
It’s always important to analyze the proper metrics to measure results effectively. But you must have the tools in place for collecting the accurate data. This includes social media, your website and SEO.
Among all others, Google Analytics is a crucial tool to measure and analyze the traffic landing on your site. You can improve the SEO results with MOZ, while Hootsuite and similar tools can provide detailed social media analytics.
Regular analyzing and testing will help you understand what’s working and what’s not. Use them wisely. They will help you to turn service marketing efforts from an art to science.
The most important thing is not to grow complacent of how you have been doing professionally. To remain competitive, you have to regularly put your service marketing strategies under the scanner, asses them, and identify areas for improvement.
You must realize that the online and digital marketing domain is evolving much faster than any of their peer. Service marketing firms that successfully collect and utilize data about their performance—cutting across a range of marketing efforts—will emerge as leaders. But a firm must have the will to succeed as its chief goal, sans which, no strategy is likely to work
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