Online Business Promotion: Put Your Service Business on the Internet and Build Your Customer or Client Base
Through doing online business promotion of an existing service business you can generate more customers or clients than your competitors do. Your site content provides a resource for them that allows them get to know you. Few, if any of your competitors are doing this. Does this interest you? Good! Read on . . .
When you’re selling a service online, the possibilities are almost endless. Your choices are not limited to web-related services, like programming or Webmaster services. You can provide any kind of service to anyone in the world who is looking for…
- A proofreader
- Commissioned art
- An expert in accounting
- An editor for articles
- A travel expert
- A language translator
You can even offer a local service, for people in your area. Such as:
- Duct cleaning
- Electrical repair
- Handyman services
- Lawn care/Landscaping
- House painting
Most entrepreneurs are already selling services or products as their main source of income, but many have not thought of using the Internet for online business promotion . . . or they do not have the skills or resources to do so. And those who do try to advertise online often have poor results, simply because they have put up a badly designed, out-of-date website or they post their business or service on only one or two online directories. They are missing out on many new customers.
If you want people to contact you directly about your services, you need to convince them that:
- You are an expert at what you do
- You are trustworthy, easy to deal with, and offer excellent quality services
- Your prices are competitive
- Your services provide the solution to a problem they have
You have to establish relationships with your potential clients if you ever want to succeed at selling your services online. A high-quality website and newsletter that help build trust and respect between you and your clients will go a long way toward helping you build your business.
Content-based websites can be one of the best ROI (return on investment) techniques, but many people never think of doing it. Building a content-based site alone can put you a few steps ahead of your competitors. A quality content site is chock-full of high-value keyword focused pages that rank well with the search engines. These focused pages will draw traffic from the search engines, and that traffic can convert to…more customers! This is a major benefit of online business promotion.
What about the local services, mentioned above? Lots of people think that since the Internet is worldwide, advertising a catering company in a suburb of Denver will not be relevant. Not so!
A web presence gives you an advantage over your competitors, especially if they do not advertise online. For example, Christine needs to hire a house painter, but none of her friends have recommendations. So she looks in the Yellow Pages and finds the ad that appeals to her the most. Christine thinks that her only option is to chance it and make a choice.
You should know whether your small business marketing campaigns should be locally focused, or worldwide focused. This is determined by the narrowness, broadness, or topic of your niche.
More and more people are using the Internet as their main source of information. A presence on the web allows your client to connect with you and get to know you better than if they just see your ad in the Yellow Pages. People are more likely to buy from friends than strangers. And this means that you will have confident buyers who are not afraid that they are risking something when they hire you. A business can make the most of its web presence by turning the site into a resource, rather than just a sales-y site.
For instance, Bob the local landscaper writes articles that give gardening tips. He includes subtle selling that promotes his landscaping business, but he’s not pushy about it. Every week he puts one article on his landscaping website, and then advertises it in the local newspaper, like this: See This Weeks’ Gardening Tips at: www.bob-the-seattle-landscaper.com
Turning your site into a source of information will get you more clients. And don’t forget to include your location in your domain name if you are a local business selling only to local clients. Example: www.phoenix-chiropractor.com
A local service can use online business promotion to get additional income from a worldwide audience. For example, high-quality articles about gardening and landscaping tips appeal to people all over the world, not just in Seattle where Bob lives.
There are lots of reasons why most visitors won’t (or can’t) contact you. But you can still use the traffic from those people to generate income from affiliates (another benefit of online business promotion). Example: Bob won’t get clients for his business from Buffalo, New York, but the person might click links to Bob’s affiliates that sell gardening supplies, thus earning him a commission.
Or think about a house painter who will only attract customers from his local area. Compare this to an artist who paints landscapes—his work can be ordered online by anyone in the world, and his communication with his customers can be done via fax, email, or online chat.
When you have a presence online, you show that you care about your customers’ busy lives. You have just put up a store where they can shop 24/7.
Having a good online presence is inexpensive and just one customer can bring a significant income boost from your online business promotion efforts.
Find Your Perfect Niche and its Target Audience
If your online business promotion activities are going to generate money, people must value your service and believe that they will benefit more from your services than from those of your competitors.
Make a detailed plan for your online business promotion endeavors:
What, when, where, why, and how are you going to offer your services? In what ways are you better than your competition? In what ways is your competition better than you? Think about the strengths and weaknesses of your business and how you can improve it. Ask a friend or family member who knows you and your business well to look at the business outline you have made to see that it is objective and that nothing has been left out.
Think about your target audience and make a profile of your clients. Are your clients:
- Married couples?
- People on a budget?
- Families with kids?
Also think about what types of people are not
in your target audience. Now combine the two outlines of your online business promotion (the one of you and the one of your clients). Use this outline when you are creating website content. It will help you stay focused on the big picture and your goals and objectives for your business, as well as reminding you of the needs of your target audience. The outline will also help you look at and consider some new angles for your business and keep your niche narrow.
Figure out what your MWR (Most Wanted Response)is for your online business promotion. What do you want your visitors to do once they are on your site? Sign up for a newsletter or eCourse? Purchase a product? Buy an eBook? Everything you do for your site should be a step toward achieving your MWR.
Take the time to create your own USP (Unique Selling Proposition). This is your unique ‘spin’ on your niche that makes it unique and ‘you’, and puts you ahead of the crowd. Creating a catchy sentence that shows off your USP is what makes your business stand out. For example, Barbara’s career coaching service has this USP—“Job search frustration? Bringing all the pieces together so your job can find you!” This phrase is clear,catchy, and ‘hot’. It summarizes her business and it’s something her visitors are likely to remember.
Know the value of your customers’ and budget your marketing funds to fit them. Figure your ROI rate by calculating the value of a single customer over a lifetime. This will tell you how much you can afford to spend on gaining new clients. A repeat client can bring in thousands of dollars during a business relationship—depending on the business.
The price of the service x how many times the client uses your service = the value of the client.
If you know these numbers, it helps you build your profits quickly and you will avoid spending your profits on things that have a low ROI. Of course, this doesn’t include small business Internet marketing!
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