I realized the other day that many of our articles seem to relate more to product sellers than to service providers. While marketing strategies can be very similar, there are a few things that those who only provide services need to keep in mind. So, this one is for you!
Know the rules of your regulatory body
Most professional services have a licencing or other type of regulatory body that governs their discipline; and many of these have rule about marketing and advertising. The Canadian Chiropractic Association, for example, does not allow a chiropractor to “claim professional superiority.” That means, that you can’t say things like you are the best chiropractor in town. You can still advertise, you just need to be aware of any such rules.
List your credentials and experience
Potential customers want to know your qualifications and experience. They probably don’t care that you have kids or pets, so don’t be tempted to expand your bio into areas that really don’t matter. Tell them about your education, your licences or registrations, and the type of problems you have solved. Some regulatory bodies won’t allow you to say that you are “specialized” in something particular, but you can say that you have “ten years of experience successfully treating back pain,” or “providing advice on wills and estate planning.”
Directly address other decision-making criteria
How do clients decide to come to you instead of someone else? In my experience, the provider often guesses wrong, so the best way to find out is to ask them. Is it your experience? Your website? Your location? The fact that you are open on the weekends? Identify the three to five reasons, and make sure that your website and other marketing materials address those issues directly. This information can also give a real boost to your online marketing.
Consider including prices on your website
Clients may be reluctant to tell you that price was one of the factors, but unless you deal exclusively with the rich and famous, price IS one of the factors. Customers comparison shop for services as well as products. If you are able to offer standardized pricing, consider putting those prices on your website, and explain why your prices are higher or lower than your competitors.
Offer online appointment booking
Online booking is a convenience that should not be underestimated. It means that they can book an appointment in the evening or on the weekend when they have the time, and it saves a whole lot of time for them and your office to be able to easily find available dates and times. You can also automate email or text reminders.
If someone needs a business lawyer, chances are they also need an accountant. If they get their nails done, they probably go to a hair salon too. Find service providers in your area that aren’t competitors but do share your target market. Give them a supply of brochures or business cards, and keep theirs handy at your office.
Positive reviews are one of the big decision-making criteria these days, and may be even more important in the service industries. There are quite a number of forums, but Google is likely the most significant. There are things you can do to encourage reviews, and we encourage you to do that! We wrote about this back in June, which you can re-read here.
As always, we’re here to help. Just give us a call.