No matter what happens in our world, there will always exist a time where people need a helping hand.
The great thing about running a service-based business is that there will always be problems that need solutions. Even in times when your business may run into logistic issues, or you lose your clientele, know that someone out there still needs your services.
This is why many businesses, and especially local businesses, are making the shift to establishing an online presence. So in tough times, they can build themselves a defensive shield by adopting new streams of revenue and making sure anyone in the world that needs their services can access them.
With this in mind, we’ve put together 9 service business marketing strategies. Much of what we are about to go over can be applied to any service-based business, local or not.
9 ways to move and market your local service business online
In this post, we’ll go over 9 ways you can move your local service business online to get more clients and open new streams of revenue.
1. Create a website
This one is pretty self explanatory, but you’d be surprised at how many local businesses just create a website and forget about it. The reality is, marketing is extremely important these days. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of competitors around you trying to market to the same clients. Whether you’re a wedding photographer, tutor, personal trainer, dog groomer, or anyone who monetizes their small business by offering a service, a website is a must need.
Your website isn’t just a place to show the world who you are and what you have to offer. It’s more than that. It’s an extension of your brand. More importantly, it can act as a powerful acquisition tool.
It’s much easier to have potential clients come to you as opposed to you going to you going to them. If you don’t have strong referrals to begin with, establishing your web presence is the first step to making sure you have a consistent stream of new clients. We’ll get more into how to organically get clients later in this post.
2. Turn your services into products
This one will vary depending on what services you have to offer, but think of ways to productize your services. This can open up a new revenue stream and give you the opportunity to serve more people. In other words, you can help multiple clients at once while you’re not even physically there.
This strategy works great if you’re a consultant, yoga instructor, therapist, or literally any service provider that leads or educates a person or group of people. For example, if you’re a yoga instructor, create a full guided program that you can then sell on your ecommerce website. Or, if you’re a consultant, create a series of videos and tutorials your clients can follow. Sam Oven’s Consulting.com has great resources for consultants wanting to learn how to productize their services.
In some cases, you can even turn your services into physical products. For example, if you run a nail salon, you can create at-home manicure kits to sell online. Be creative with it!
3. Set up video conferencing sessions
With more people at home than ever, it’s important to create a system that allows you to work with clients without actually being there in person. You can offer to serve your clients through video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts. For example, if you’re a tutor, you can have clients sign up and purchase your services through your website, and automatically book Zoom calls on your calendar.
In some cases, setting up conference calls can let you serve multiple clients at once. For example, if you’re a personal trainer, and can’t physically be there for a client, get a handful of them on a call and lead them through a home workout routine.
4. Adopt a pickup and delivery model
Say you're a local service business that requires getting in physical contact with your clients. Integrate an online booking system on your website and offer your clients a pick up and delivery service.
For example, if you’re a dog groomer, you can drive to your clients house, pick up their dog, give it a fresh cut, and drop it off when the job is complete. This way your client doesn’t have to leave their house to use your services.
5. Create a local SEO strategy
What’s a service business without clients? As more small businesses move online, it’s important than ever for business owners to market themselves online. If you don’t have a lot of cash to spend on things like paid advertising, your next best bet is to start creating content and trying to rank it in Google search results.
If you’re not familiar with SEO, it stands for search engine optimization and it’s basically the way in which Google’s algorithm decides what content to show in search results. We’ve written an in-depth guide on everything you need to know about SEO, so make sure you check it out.
And for local businesses, you should check out Ahrefs’ video below on local SEO.
The main objective here is that you want your website to show up in Google when someone is searching for your services locally.
For example, when I search for SEO consultants in Irvine, we can see that Jimmy Huh, a consultant that sells marketing services, shows up first in search results.
6. Start a YouTube channel
In an effort to help with your local SEO efforts you could also start a YouTube channel. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, so starting a channel will help you market your services to a wider audience.
Depending on what services you offer, you can create a wide range of video topics. If you’re a tutor, you could start creating educational videos. If you’re a personal trainer, you can walk people through a day in your life and show them how to live a healthy lifestyle. And if you’re a dog groomer, you can teach people how to groom their dogs at work.
You’ll also want to make sure you occasionally mention the services you offer in your videos, and place links to your website in your video descriptions. This way people that find you on YouTube can either book a call with you or go straight to your website to purchase anything you have to offer.
For more information on how to get started with YouTube, and how to grow your channel, check out Ahrefs’ YouTube SEO guide.
7. Get on social media
If you haven’t already done so, make sure you create social media accounts for your local service business. Some social media platforms to consider making accounts on include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. And depending on what your definition of social media is, make sure you have a Yelp and Google My Business account set up as well.
Use social media as a way to connect with, and attract, potential customers. On Facebook, you can share any videos or content you deem valuable to your target audience. On Instagram, you can post pictures of happy clients and any sort of company news. And on Twitter, you can engage in conversations with existing and potential clients.
8. Offer pre-orders
Setting up a system to accept pre-orders is a great way to hold on to clients and drive upfront revenue. Say you’re a wedding photographer and your client's wedding was cancelled due to a delay. Instead of losing that client, you could give them the opportunity to pay for your services now and deliver on them later.
To give potential clients an incentive, you can even offer discounted rates on pre-orders. In the example of a wedding photographer, you could offer a percentage or dollar amount off your services for a wedding that you’ll shoot months from now.
9. Keep the relationship going
If you’re in a position where you have to move your local service business completely online, but have served clients locally in the past, use this as an opportunity to update them on your fresh new business approach.
It’s much easier to get previous clients to make a purchase from any new services you have to offer, compared to acquiring completely new ones. If you’ve been able to productize your service then this could be an opportunity to get your first few sales.
But, at the end of the day, your business exists to help those in need. It’s important to keep relationships going and to not make them transactional. A simple call to a previous client just to say hello can go a long way.
Remember why you exist
Service-based businesses exist to help people. And no matter what, people will always need your services. It's just a matter of being strategic with your marketing efforts and knowing how to create multiple streams of revenue to stay afloat during any uncertain times.
If you follow 1 or more of the strategies listed above, you should be one step ahead of your competition. Get creative, and think of ways you can continue to stay relevant. Your creativity is what’s going to let you weather through any storm.
You got this.