How to effectively market your service-based business

Many of us think of marketing as a mystical art that only a select few people truly understand. That is, a select few people that charge an arm and a leg for their time. However, the basics of marketing are simple to grasp and are more than enough to grow your brand to a respectable level.

There are challenges in marketing any business, but a service-based business produces some challenges all of its own. Whether you’re an online gaming website, the neighbourhood plumber, a personal trainer to the stars, or anything in between. If your business is based on a service you offer, rather than physical goods that you sell, then we’ve got all of the information you need on how to market yourself effectively.

Where are you coming from?

First of all, you’ve got to establish some goals. Write a list of ten things that you’d like your marketing strategy to achieve in the next year, highlight the three of those goals that are the most important, and then completely ignore all of the other ones. It’s very easy to spend time doing seemingly worthwhile things, but often we are actually procrastinating. Instead of challenging ourselves and working on the things that we want the most, we waste time on the smaller goals, because we can still pass it off as good work. Stop doing all of that and work on only the three most important things on that list. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you complete them. Only once you’re finished should you start work on the remainder of the list.

Once your list is complete and you’ve identified your three key goals, it’s time to categorize them. All marketing can be divided into two different types, push strategies and pull strategies. If your marketing goal is to draw people towards your business premises or your website then you need to engage some pull marketing strategies. If you want to bring your service directly to new customers, perhaps through leaflets or paid advertising, then you fit into the push strategy camp. The best marketing plans involve a mixture of the two, so see if you can work yours to include a little diversity.

Give it away, give it away, give it away now

If you’re looking for a great push marketing strategy then it’s hard to get quicker results than with a promotion. You could offer a free consultation, a free taster session, or a free subscription for a limited time period. Any way that you can give potential customers a free taste of the sorts of things your business offers is a great place to start. The online gaming industry is a sector that is particularly good at this sort of marketing; it’s almost always possible to find some sort of promotion for any site you’d like to play on, but just occasionally there’ll be a huge one, and that really gets people talking. Businesses that are in their infancy probably shouldn’t start with a mind-blowing promotion, but just a small gesture can make a big difference to how your potential customers view you. Think of what you can afford to give away and work to make sure it’s worthwhile.

Get with the program

Referral programs, loyalty cards, whatever you want to call them, they’re a great marketing method. This sort of marketing is particularly effective because it works in both pull and push ways. If we take the example of a coffee shop card, where you get a stamp for each coffee that you buy and the final one is free, then the push is obvious. You are offering the customer a reward for their loyalty. The pull is the non-intrusive element of this; that card sits in their purse and every day they see your branding and are subtly reminded that your coffee shop exists. You don’t need to be a coffee shop for this kind of marketing to work. Offer loyalty cards for workout sessions or car maintenance – you can use this sort of program for almost any service-based business.