To effectively sell your services online, you can’t just build a website that lists what you offer and hope that people find it.
You have to drive the ideal leads to it using various marketing tactics. You have to optimize the website so that it converts its visitors into buyers.
In this article, we’ll go over six of the most powerful marketing strategies for service-based businesses hoping to dramatically increase their online sales.
Drive More Traffic to Your Website
If you sell services online, your website is where leads are going to learn about your offerings and register for them.
So it’s important to drive the right people there, both organically with SEO and through paid methods like PPC ads. This is how you create a robust search engine marketing program.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your website for search.
That may mean adding keywords to your homepage or creating a Google My Business profile for local SEO.
Typically, it boils down to creating web pages, especially blog content, that ranks highly on the search engine results pages of Google for relevant queries.
To do this, your blog content should be connected with your service and interesting to your audience. It must also address a query that your customers type into Google.
For example, MonkeyLearn, a data automation company, wrote an article covering data cleaning that ranks number one on Google when you search “how to clean your data”.
Many different factors determine how highly a post will rank, including how well it answers the query, how many backlinks it has, the site’s topical authority, the page speed, and more.
Keep in mind that this post is one of hundreds published by MonkeyLearn. To succeed in driving traffic to your site with SEO, you need to create a content marketing strategy.
Learn how to do that in this guide by HubSpot.
In addition to SEO, you can also run Google pay-per-click (PPC) ads.
This is bidding on relevant keywords for a chance to display your ads at the very top of the provided search results.
It’s the faster route to the top, but you have to pay for it. However, PPC works in such a way that you don’t have to pay unless someone actually clicks on the ad.
Here’s an example. When you type in “sales coaching services”, all these ads come up:
The above sales coaching businesses paid to have their ad appear when people searched for this set of keywords, knowing that it would drive quality traffic to their website.
Capture Your Target Audience’s Interest
It’s important that you create content that speaks to the interests of your target audience. This includes social media posts, blog posts, webinars, e-books, and other content formats.
By sharing valuable and free content consistently, you’ll grow your audience and build trust with them.
And as a result, your sales will rise. You’ll get more inbound leads.
People who have been consuming your content will know you’re an expert and come to you for help when they need it.
To do this, you have to first form a deep understanding of your ideal customer if you’re going to wow them with your content.
You need to know their problems, their questions, their subjects of interest, and even their sources of inspiration.
Do this by creating a buyer persona, a semi-fictitious description of your ideal customers that’s based on data about your target market and current happiest customers.
Once you know what makes your target customers tick, you can start creating content that they’ll find engaging and helpful.
Focus on What Makes You Stand Out
When you get things going, emphasize your strengths. Figure out what makes your business better than its competition.
This is often referred to as a unique selling proposition (USP), or the key differentiator.
For example, Warby Parker’s USP is that they make it super easy to find the right pair of prescription glasses without ever leaving their home.
They put a succinct and specific version of that USP on their homepage of their website:
Source: Warby Parker
When creating your USP, there are several different factors about your business to consider:
|Does your customer service have some features that others don’t?|
|Are your payment plans and pricing more affordable or flexible?|
|Does your actual service include more than the competition?|
|Do you allow customizations that most other businesses don’t?|
|Does your business use a special process that delivers better results?|
|Do you focus on serving one type of customer while your competitors focus on a wider audience?|
When identifying your USP, you’re looking for a fact about your business that is—1) desirable to your target audience, and 2) something your competitors don’t offer or, if they do, struggle to execute.
Often it helps to use a systematic approach to zone in on your USP. The most popular process for this is conducting a SWOT analysis.
The goal of this analysis is to discover your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Once you understand your business, your competition, and your place within the market, you can come up with a salient and accurate USP that stops your audience in their tracks.
Of course, you also have to get the message out there.
Once you have your USP, use different forms of it on your homepage, marketing materials, social media posts, landing pages, and more.
Build Trust With Your Potential Customers
Businesses that sell their services online miss out on the trust one builds when meeting with a prospect in person.
Fortunately, there are other ways to make your leads believe in your business’s ability to deliver results.
Social proof in the form of customer testimonials and reviews is a great way to build trust with an audience.
You can put testimonials on your landing pages, homepage, and about page to encourage prospects to make the purchase.
For example, underneath the logos of companies she’s helped, Kaleigh Moore, a freelance writer, shares this client testimonial:
Source: Kaleigh Moore
Moore does a good job of using a testimonial that highlights her qualities that customers in her space want—e.g., hitting deadlines and fast communication.
Whenever you finish delivering a service, ask the customer for a testimonial. If they’re happy with the result, they’ll rarely hesitate to say yes.
As for reviews, try to nudge customers to leave them, either by sending automated reminders in post-service emails or by asking them over the phone.
You could also incentivize them by offering a gift or discount.
Another great way to build trust is with case studies—stories about how your service helped a specific customer achieve their goals.
When your customers see other customers benefiting from your service, they’ll want in on the action.
Keep Your Existing Customers Engaged
It’s important to remarket to current and previous customers to keep them engaged with your brand. Email marketing happens to be especially well-suited for this purpose.
With the right email automation tool, you can create segmented email campaigns that automatically send personalized content to your buyers based on their past experiences with your brand.
For example, if a particular customer is with your business for a while, you can send them emails about how to get the most out of the specific service they’re using, while also hinting at other related services they might like.
Also, be sure to connect with your buyers on social media and add them to any social media groups you have so that you can continue building these relationships and turning buyers into long-term fans of your brand.
Simplify the Purchasing Process for Buyers
Customers hate when it’s difficult to learn about and purchase your service.
In fact, it’s the third most common reason that people abandon carts in online shopping:
This means making the purchasing process as streamlined and convenient for them as possible is absolutely crucial.
One way to do this is by productizing your service and clearly outlining on your website the price and features of your service package.
This makes the research step much easier for buyers.
Another way to streamline purchasing is to create an online registration process that walks them through the process via online smart forms.
Its online registration forms are extremely easy to build and embed on your website.
Regpack also allows you to display your offerings and collect payments from customers on your website.
Buyers can pay using various payment methods, from one-time credit card payments to personalized payment plans:
In sum, when selling services online, you can use productization and payment processing software to improve the customer buying experience and increase conversion rates.
Today we covered some of the most effective marketing strategies for selling services online, such as driving traffic with SEO, building trust with testimonials, and streamlining the purchasing process with online registration software.
For more ways to boost your sales, check out our article on the best practices for selling services online.