Quality. Competency. Personal service. These aren’t things that clients and customers can touch, but are the cornerstones of most professional services businesses. They are also difficult to communicate to current and potential clients because they aren’t a tangible product or commodity.
1. Be Visible All the Time
Typically professional service type firms only communicate when they “need” to – for example around certain dates (e.g. accountants at tax time) or during the slow periods. The problem with this approach is that it is what their competitors are doing too so it can be hard to stand out. Consider things like writing a regular column with tips and advice or holding seminars and events year round to help position the business as an authority in the industry. Marketing and public relations doesn’t just apply to attracting new business – it can also strengthen the confidence existing clients have in the firm as well.
2. Write a Blog
Many people look at the SEO benefits of keeping a blog on the business website, but the benefits go well beyond keeping the site towards the top of a Google search. Blogs are a way to share knowledge and experience which can help give a service based business credibility and start building a relationship with potential clients and customers. For an example of a business blog done well, visit the 4040 Creative website.
3. Know Your Target Audience
Quality means different things to different people – for example, the way a business communicates with a trend setting start up requires a dramatically different approach to targeting a more conservative organisation. It is essential that a business has an understanding of the target audience and how to both attract and service them.
4. Live The Brand Persona
Even the most corporate and traditional of professional service brands should have some personality injected into their marketing and day to day operations. Know the values the business stands for, and ensure that they are followed through into how the business is run, tasks are completed and all interactions with internal and external stakeholders. This helps to build familiarity and trust which in turn supports the intangible part of the service offering.
5. Use Examples
Without something physical for the clients or customers to view and compare, testimonials and case studies can help to give proof and credibility to experiential claims like quality, professionalism, service etc. Don’t just limit them to marketing and advertising – consider including them in regular communication like e-newsletters or mail outs too.
The absence of a tangible product can pose challenges for service based business, however, taking a long term approach to communication strategies will help current and future clients associate the company’s values, features and benefits with the brand.
Do you have any tips to add for service based businesses?
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