Marketing is a crucial element of a business strategy for service firms, who provide an "intangible" item rather than an actual product. Because of this, it can be harder to gain brand recognition for your service than it is for a more recognizable product. Service firms chapters, which operate at the local level, can choose from a variety of marketing strategies to set their businesses apart from the competition.
Leverage Existing Clients
According to Entrepreneur magazine, it costs much less to keep an existing client than it does to win a new one. That's why it's a good idea for a local service firms chapter, who may rely more on repeat customers than a larger corporation, to focus on selling services to existing and past clients. Maintain contact with every person in your customer database a minimum of once every four to six weeks to maximize the opportunity to build relationships. Use a variety of marketing and sales tactics, including sales calls, email marketing and postal mail. Don't oversell. Focus on providing relevant, useful content for your customers. For example, if you offer accounting services, send a newsletter with money-saving finance tips to your clients.
Network to Get New Business
Networking is another promotional strategy in marketing a service business chapter. There are several ways you can network for your service business that can be especially helpful for a local chapter. Join associations and organizations in your industry. For example, if you offer consulting service, join the Association of Professional Consultants. Attend meetings at the association you join, and talk about your business with other people. You can also join local business clubs and groups close to your chapter, and attend local charity events to increase exposure to your service business.
Providing incentives is another strategy that can help you market your service firm. Offer your customers an incentive to use your services, and they will be more likely to choose your company, says Entrepreneur. For example, if you run a chapter of a business that delivers home cleaning services, offer your local customer coupons and "buy one, get one free" specials by sending the coupons in the mail; handing them out door to door in your neighborhoods; and offering them on your website.
The market for chapters of service businesses can be competitive, so your marketing strategy should revolve around standing out over your local competition. To do this, you need to make customers choose your company over your competitors, which is called "differentiation." In the service business, two common ways to stand out are price and service. To win new business you need to either continually offer a higher level of service or offer lower prices than your competitors. When developing your marketing materials, be sure to focus on the competitive advantage your company offers in the local market. For example, if your service firm chapter puts more money back into the local economy than your competitor, this can be a key differentiator for your company.
- Photo Credit customer service image by Kurhan from Fotolia.com