Marketing for Service-Based Businesses this Holiday Season
Recently, I was contacted by an old friend to help with possible marketing tips, that can boost her business sales this holiday season. At first, I was taken aback but then I kind of understood what she was going through.
With so much attention being paid to marketing new products, entrepreneurs building service businesses sometimes feel overlooked. The truth is, marketing a service can be tricky. For some companies, success depends on creating a bundled offering that includes the features customers or clients want most. For others, it's all about differentiating based on customer satisfaction, with heavy emphasis on testimonials and ongoing customer input.
With that being said, If you're searching for the best ways to win customers and build sales for your service business, here are some important tips you might not want to overlook.
Link-Up with Your Customers
For service marketers, the sale doesn't end with a purchase: It's the beginning of a relationship that continues with delivery and support. As a result, satisfied customers or clients have the potential to become repeat buyers.
The major key here is creativity and the goal is to find a way to make your service giftable, solve common holiday problems, or embrace the holiday spirit in a unique way.
Write a warm message and consider including a small gift or token to help clients remember their work with you. People expect and appreciate holiday cards, and with good timing and the right message, they’ll open people’s minds to working with you again.
You might give your best customers an actual gift — a basket full of local goods, a bag of high-end coffee, or a personalized notebook — but you can also send thousands of holiday-themed postcards pretty inexpensively. The physical nature is a nice touch, especially during COVID-19, and is more likely to be noticed than an email.
Add Value - Focus on solving holiday-related problems or reducing stress
The holidays are a lot of fun, but they can also bring a wave of stress over people and organizations looking to complete long to-do lists for shopping, decorating, cooking, and more.
If you can pivot your service to complete holiday tasks, like turning your landscape company into a holiday-light-hanging company, your move might be pretty clear. But what other ways can companies adjust?
If you sell dry cleaning services, you could market to folks with a desire to look great for holiday photos. If you’re a car detailer, you might point out that customers want their vehicle to look its best for visiting in-laws.
But your company may not be able to pivot its services to meet seasonal needs or market the same services to solve common holiday problems. Instead, focus your marketing on how you can free up people’s time to get more holiday tasks done or enjoy the holiday spirit around them.
Do you simplify office tasks or home chores? If you’re a mobile pet groomer, you not only save customers time, you also make beloved companions look extra adorable for photo ops.
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Turn services into gifts
You might normally provide a service that people buy for themselves. But these same people would probably love for their friends to pick up the tab as a holiday gift. Or they might want to give your services to loved ones. You might inspire this kind of action with a marketing message like, “Enjoy our service? So will your friends. Treat someone you love this season.”
To make your services more “giftable,” think about how you can create packages that are easily consumable and within a reasonable budget. My friend is a cosmetologist, so I advised her to create packages like BOGOF (Buy One Get One Free), Family Fun Fare (Buy Two and get Discount on Three). Or she could sell gift cards, but it would be even more fun to offer, “six months of fabulous hair!”
People love to give physical items because they imagine what it will be like to see the recipient’s face light up when they open their gift. So, without something to open, people might hesitate to buy your service as a gift card.
Gift cards are still a great fall-back, but to make them more appealing, you might include additional physical items as a “sweetener.”
And If you sell car washes or house cleaning, create a package of five washes and include a gift box with a tire-shine spray and air freshener to use between washes.
Keep the following tips in mind when creating your gift packages:
- Make it easy: Create packages that are pre-wrapped and ready to go.
- Turn it into an experience: Tie in a physical element to make services feel more like a gift.
- Go the extra mile: Add extra value to your services to help gift givers imagine the “wow!” experience.
4. Find a way to Stand Out.
If you were to take an analytical look at your competitors' ads and brochures, you'd find one glaringly obvious similaritymost are satisfied with "me too" marketing themes. Consequently, few ever stand out from the pack. Careful differentiation is essential to successfully growing a service business. What sets your company apart from all the rest? Perhaps it's the group of services you offer or the way you excel at customer satisfaction. For best results, Participate in fundraisers, virtual events, projects with a monetary donation, or mobilize your employees as volunteers.
If you have a convenient physical location (and COVID safety protocols allow for it) offer your lobby to serve as a drop-off location for a toy or food drive.
No matter what you do, your business can support holiday activities (physical or virtual) to spread cheer while doing good and promoting your business — the ultimate win-win-win!
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On a final Note, Creativity is an essential ingredient for success in business, and that spark of inspiration can provide a holiday boost for almost any company. Whether you offer a new service, show people how your regular service can help them enjoy other aspects of the season, make your service giftable, or tie in bonuses as part of a special sale, don’t let the season pass you by without getting into the spirit of it all!
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