When it comes to marketing and business growth there seems to be a huge oversight of traditional service-based business, specifically off-line. You can find a million and one ways to grow and online business but what about services? Are service businesses still profitable? Can online marketing tactics be used to grow and offline service businesses?
The answer is YES!
Today we will uncover 5.5 methods you can use to grow an offline service business. These methods will work for a new or established business.
Service-based businesses will always be needed. Everything from lawn care to plumbing, if there is a need it will always need to be met. Lots of new entrepreneurs overlook service-based businesses in search of the passive income that having an online business brings. However, this is a mistake. Today, more than ever you can grow and automate service-based businesses like never before.
Most, if not all of the same tactics used to grow an online business, apply directly to service-based businesses as well. The kicker is that not many are using this to their advantage. All you have to do is take an outdated model (mom and pop) service and innovate and you can have a new cash producing cow for yourself!
Anyways, let’s dive into how you can actually grow a new or existing service-based business.
#1 Tap into your personal network
When it comes to marketing any business, word-of-mouth reigns supreme. Not only does it bring awareness to your business, but it also brings near-instant credibility since the recommendation is coming from someone a person knows. Look around and access who in your personal network is in need of what you are providing. If you are just getting started, call around and offer your services for a reduced cost or even free if possible.
Why the free or reduced cost?
It lowers inhibition in your potential new customer and sets a stone for future recommendations based on the work you have provided. Plus you now have a source of media (pictures and videos) of your completed work which is highly important when building a new client base.
If your business is already established, you bring awareness to the services you offer to people close to you that may have not known otherwise. Even if they do not need your service personally, because you reached out they may be able to recommend you to their friends and personal network giving you almost exponential reach.
#2 Stand Out
Standing out is important for any business online or offline. If you are in a market with several competitors (you most likely are) you want to position your business as a leader in the market. When someone is looking for a service that you provide, you want to make choosing your business a no brainer.
How to stand out?
Example: If you offer tv/electronic installs, you can offer additional value-based add-ons or bundles that increase the perceived value of your service. Imagine that you are looking for a company to install your new TV.
Company 1 offers basic install services.
Company 2 offers its basic install services as well as a warranty period or a free or reduced credit for relocation if you move within the next year or so.
If you are moving into an apartment you may not be planning on moving but having the peace of mind that if you do decide to move you don’t have to pay full price when relocating to a new apartment in the future.
I know I would personally pick Company 2, how about you?
There are tons of other ways you can differentiate yourself from your competitors. Just get creative and provide additional value.
#3 Tap into Existing Customers
When it comes to customer acquisition, is easier to keep them than it is to get new ones! For an established business with an existing customer base, one for sure way to boost your revenue and obtain new business is to tap into your existing customer base. When is the last time you reached out to past customers? Do you have a marketing system in place to keep your name at the forefront of their minds?
If not, doing so will reap tremendous rewards for your business.
What should you do?
When you lock in a new customer you should have systems for storing their contact information preferably online in some type of CRM (Customer Relationship Manager). What this allows you do is create marketing campaigns that updates your past customers with new promotions you may currently be offering. It also allows you to build a more intimate long term relationship by offering loyalty incentives for customers that routinely do business with you.
This means that when they need an additional service completed they won’t hesitate to reach back out to you instead of one of your competitors. We will go into more depth on how you can accomplish this in your business in a coming post.
#4 Encourage Referrals
Another great method for building your service client base is to offer referral incentives that encourage your past or current customers to share your service within their network. Have you ever purchased a product and received the ability to share a personal link on social media that gives you a future discount based on the number of people that uses their link to purchase or subscribe?
If you have, you know that this method is powerful in encouraging “virality”.
For your business, think of ways that you can track a customer’s referrals and offer them additional value or discounts whenever they successfully refer a new customer. Again this can be done using online “CRM’s”, there is also software that will help you do this automatically.
For example, you could use referralrock or talkable and integrate their software into your CRM or email marketing flows to provide customers with a way to share your business and reap the rewards.
Taking the time to implement this system in your current business will boost profitability and help you grow exponentially offline and online.
#5 Build an Online Presence
Last, but not least, is having an online presence. In today’s technologically advanced society not having an online presence is absolutely ludicrous. Sadly, there are still quite a few service-based businesses that DO NOT have an online presence and their business is suffering because of it.
Why should you have an online presence when your business is mostly offline?
Exposure and credibility. When people most people make purchases they often look up reviews fo the product and the company beforehand. In the age of Amazon, this is almost an ingrained subconscious behavior. Not having a business presence online could raise major red flags to potential customers. I believe every business online and offline should have a:
Google Business Page ( Reviews/Phone Number/ Address)
These should be the minimum. The more places a potential customer can look you up, the better.
#5.5 Create Content
Yes, this is a 5 ½!
Another method that can be used by most offline service-based businesses, is to use content marketing to rank your business and increase your exposure. What kinds of content?
Example: If you run a carpet cleaning business. You could create videos or Instructables that demonstrate how to remove stains from specific types of fabrics. You could also write style pieces for carpet/flooring recommendations. Why would you do such a thing?
Easy. You are providing free value to potential customers and you are establishing yourself as an authority in your space.
When someone looks up how to clean blood (yikes) or vodka out of their new carpet and your business pops up, they will find your video and learn how to do it and in the process possibly decide to give you a call to do it instead. Win, win.
This works in a variety of industries. Create some content, publish it, and before you know it, you could be opening up new opportunities for new businesses all around the country! Imagine going from local carpet cleaning to owning your own line of carpet products. Wouldn’t that be amazing?
I hope you found this article helpful! Feel free to share and comment!