Nowadays, you can sell everything online. And this does not just mean products like groceries, cosmetics, electronics, etc. You can also sell massages, skin treatments in spas, the repairing of pipelines, and much more. Therefore, not only do product-based shops need a website, anybody that sells their knowledge and skills needs a website and has to promote their services online.
Since we have already covered how to make the most of e-commerce, we’ll talk about how to make your service-based business successful online.
What is a service-based business
Whether you’re a real estate agent, a doctor, lawyer, bed & breakfast owner, auto-mechanic, caterer, hairdresser, fitness trainer, childcare provider… you have a service-based business. You’re selling your time with the promise of a particular result as opposed to a tangible product. This means that in most cases, YOU are the product.
If we talk about small businesses, offering services poses also a very big challenge. You can only provide as many services as your time allows. Plus, you must prove your ability to deliver measurable results while emphasizing flexibility. People will want to see proof that you've delivered great results for other clients, but they'll also want to know that you're flexible enough to meet their own unique needs.
Apart from that, you will need to also make sure you promote your services in the best way possible to ultimately get the benefit needed to keep your business running and also make a living out of it.
How to make a successful website for service providers
Having a website is the best way to promote your business. If you have a restaurant, you need a website. If you are a psychologist and need clients for your practice, you need a website. Doesn’t matter your service, you need a platform where you can showcase your services and make it easy for clients to find you.
In a previous article, we talked about how to create a great and successful website, but how do we make an attractive website specific for services?
Websites are a collection of pages that link to each other. Consistent layouts reassure site visitors they’re in the right place as they jump from page to page. This way, they also easily find the information they need. Here is a breakdown of how to structure your pages:
- Header: This is the top of your site. It usually includes the company name, the logo, a tagline, and your site’s navigation. The header should be the same across all pages.
- Navigation: the navigation menu is how people search for specific information on your website. It includes links to your most important pages (e.g. About us page, Services or Contact us page).
- Body: This is the main content area. There should be a mix of pictures and text. There should be a general idea here about your services and why you’re the right business for your clients. You can also include videos or little gifs to make it more interactive.
- NAP: It’s important to include your Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) in your Header. This is not only perfect for your clients, Google also uses this information for local search rankings.
- Call-to-action: These sentences/words tell customers to do something. Each page should have a prominent CTA. If you want to know more about how to optimize your CTA’s for more sales, click here. Since you are selling a service, most of your CTA’s should point to an online booking form. This makes it easier for your potential and existing clients to book new work directly through your website.
You have to bear in mind that for potential clients to find your website, your Search Engine Optimization must be on point and you need to cover all its aspects to make sure your website is doing good on the search engines results page.
Photos and pictures are always a great idea, as well as other multimedia aspects, to show your business and personalize your company. It is a great idea to show you or your employees in action. It connects you, the expert, with the work you’re doing. By showing pictures of you and your company you use your website to tie everything together. Clients can see your brand, your logo, and the people who do the work. It is better to use your own pictures than using stock images since it will also give you credibility and people will trust your business.
Include a review section on your website. Potential customers should see the opinions of other satisfied customers. Reviews are very significant nowadays since it is “word of mouth” on the internet, and can help customers make the final decision as to whether to hire your services or not.
Strategies for your service-based business: promotion and sales
There are several strategies that you can implement in order to overcome the challenges that a service-based business can involve.
Establish your credibility
Since you’re selling a relationship with yourself, it’s of the utmost importance that you spend time and effort establishing your credibility. When you are selling a service, you need to establish the value of you providing this service. You can accomplish this in many different ways.
- You should include a good picture of yourself. But it should be a professional one. Giving your visitors a professional image to associate with you will go a long way towards establishing your credibility.
- You need to include a list of your credentials. Don’t just make a bullet point list of what you have accomplished. State exactly how each of your credentials is going to translate into a benefit for your clients. Spell the benefits you offer in your sales copy.
- You have to provide evidence that other clients have been satisfied with your service. As mentioned before, this can be done with a review section. However, if you want to make the most of it, testimonials are a good way to provide first-hand information and it’s a great way to establish credibility. It can also be in a video format, which gives more reality to the testimonial. An online portfolio of your work might be another option (for example, landscapers might include pictures of properties they designed and maintain).
Be specific about what you offer
You can never assume that providing information about what you've done for other clients will enable visitors to your site to make that leap and picture what you'll be able to do for their businesses. You need to be specific about what you're offering. You can also look into other similar businesses and answer these questions:
- Do you offer the same services? More? Less?
- What makes you different?
- Do you specialize in anything?
- What kind of guarantee do you offer?
- How will your services be delivered?
Your services page with a detailed breakdown of the services you provide, including the benefits you offer clearly explained, will be one of the most critical aspects of your site.
Make it easy for leads to contact you
If you're selling a service over the web, then you're generating leads, and your goal is to compel visitors to contact you.
You need to make it simple and easy for your visitors to contact you. Provide an online form, your email address, phone number, fax number, physical mailing address, and any other relevant information (like the best times to call you). And make sure this information is highly visible and easily accessible from every page of your site. You can ask friends and family to check your website to see how long it takes for them to check your contact info. Sometimes even if it’s obvious for us it’s not for everybody else.
Get your site listed in local search directories
Your website is not the only way a customer can find you. Local directories are the way to go if you want to increase your online presence. In a lot of cases, like “Google my business” clients can also leave reviews, which is a great way to also increase your online reputation.
You need to network and get listed with professional services websites. While almost all the traffic techniques used to drive visitors to product-based sites can be applied to service-based sites, there are a couple that those of you who need local traffic will find useful.
- Network with other local businesses and get Backlinks. If you want local traffic, start making personal connections with other local business owners, preferably those with sites of their own. Look for ways to position your service and your site as a resource to their customers, and then request a link on their site. Here you can obtain more information about how to get great Backlinks.
- Take advantage of sites online marketplaces for services, like Upwork, Fiverr, or FreeLance.com. They may be a great source of clients and leads. Post your qualifications and bid on posted jobs, using your website to help close the deal once you've entered into a one-on-one discussion with a potential client.
- Check if there’s a specific platform for you to offer your services. For example, if you are selling products, you can offer your products not only on your website but on Amazon or eBay. In the case of services it tends to be more specific, but think about what you’re offering. You can offer vacation homes at Airbnb, food delivery at Lieferando if you own a restaurant and if you are a doctor, psychiatrist, or psychologist you can offer your services in “Doctolib”. These kinds of websites for third-party services work a bit like a local directory since you also can get ratings from the clients about the service you provided.
One of the obvious and popular ways even if you don’t have a website - promote your services through social media. Social media platforms are the window for everything: online presence, online reputation, and network. You can even use it for customer service. You can learn more about how to do marketing on social media here.
Follow up with existing customers
Encourage referrals and repeat customers. Are they happy with the job you did for them? Is there anything else you can do for them? Do they know anyone else who might benefit from your service? An E-mail has made following up with your existing clients extremely easy and cost-effective, so there's no excuse for not taking advantage of this source of easy extra income. Don't be afraid to remind previous customers that you're there or to ask for referrals. If you've done a good job for someone, they'll likely be more than happy to refer their friends and business associates to you.
Do you need help making your website more visible?
There are a lot of aspects of the marketing process that you need to take into account to make your website successful and, therefore, gain more visibility. If you need help with it, you can check all the rankingCoach 360 features which will help you increase your SEO, online presence, reputation, and ultimately your sales!