- We live in a digital age in which consumers' buying behaviours are very different. Today, almost everyone does an online research before actually buying something, and simple search should provide consumers with all the information they need about your service or product.
- It is absolutely essential for your business to have an online presence. An additional step forward would be creating a user-friendly website design and relevant content.
- Finally, you should make it easier to build relationships with customers and potential costumers by calling them to action. Use social media platforms to create a strong brand image in consumers' minds.
A professional service business doesn’t need to organise a large and expensive Public Relations campaign to promote their business online and build recognition for their brand. All that’s needed is a bit of time and a lot of enthusiasm to get started with your marketing online, and thereby also achieving the business recognition you deserve.
So, how do you go about it? Here's your a guide to online marketing success.
1. Online Presence
Firstly, it is important to understand that having a presence online is leaps and bounds above not having one at all. Even if you are not satisfied with your web or social media presence, this is still better than not having one at all. Today nearly all professional service businesses have a website at the very least.
There are so many different styles for your website to take. From a PR and marketing perspective, it is important that your website matches your company brand not only in looks (eg logo and font) but also in “feel.” In other words, the style of your website should be consistent to your real-life business.
If you are a medical specialist, for example, there would be a clear discrepancy if your website’s language used emojis and lingo. It is not difficult to imagine what kind of message you are giving visitors to your website when they confront this language. If you were a hairdresser and they wanted a trendy style, your website language would be appropriate. However, this wouldn't be appropriate if you are a medical specialist and wanted to convey an impression of trust.
2. Call to Action
Aside from the basics, such as your business address and contact details, your website should also include a call to action.
A call to action addresses the following points:
- Let visitors know clearly what your services are and why you are different to your competition.
- Tell visitors how to contact you and also tell them why they should do so.
- Identify their pain point/problem, and then give them a solution. Are you a graphic designer? Well, chances are they found your website because they would like something designed.
- Go ahead and tell them why you are superior to the other designers.
- Give them your contact details in a few different places on the website. A really fancy video on your website is great, but if visitors can’t find your contact details on your site easily and without hunting for them, chances are they will leave your website immediately.
3. Interacting on Social Media Platforms
Interactions in Social Media will make your Social Media marketing rock. A website that reflects you is just one opportunity to connect with your audience online. Where else would you find your potential customers? This is where you should be. Here are some examples.
Do your customers belong to a particular group on Facebook and Linked In? For example, you may be an Accountant that services small business. In this case, I would suggest locating and then joining groups for SMEs on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Once you are there, don’t sit and wait for them to find you. On the other hand, don’t make a nuisance of yourself by posting an advertisement about yourself every second day. I would suggest you take part in the discussions. Offer free and useful information around the end of the financial year. Provide commentary in any of the questions and discussions that take place and are related to what you do.
Eventually, members will discover what you do, and they will also see you as an active member of the group. They will want to do business with you because they see you as helpful and not pushy. Join as many groups you feel your prospective clients belong to, and soon enough you will discover which groups are great for you to be part of, and which are a waste of your time.
4. Relationships with Non-Competitive but Related Businesses
Another great way to present yourself and your business to clients is to contact other businesses that are not in competition with you, but also address the same clients that you do. For example, if you are an Accountant, the other business professional could be a virtual assistant.
They will have a client database and so will you. Why not introduce one another to your client database, and even offer articles with useful information to them that they can then use on their blog or on their website. Build a relationship with many other professionals like this and encourage referral between yourselves.
5. Building a Strong Image via Engaging Posts
Social media is an area that should never be overlooked. Having an active LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or/and Instagram account is priceless. This is where you can build a professional brand for yourself and share interesting information on your topic of interest with clients, visitors and members of the media.
People want to do business with people, not brands.
Real estate agents have always marketed themselves very well and now you need to do the same, no matter what industry you are in. Your clients want to know who they are doing business with, so show them. Your social media accounts provide the perfect opportunity to do that. However, always be careful that you are showing the impression of yourself that you want to share.
If your “drunk” self is off bounds, don’t share posts and photos of yourself doing just that. However, remember that your clients revel in the fact that you are a person too, and they want to see posts about your family, your hobbies, and your general life. Remember to always offer a good mix of topics, though, from personal posts/photos to sharing useful information and articles about your topic of interest, etc. Too much posting about your business can be seen as pushy. Try to keep a decent balance.
Promoting your business service or product online doesn’t have to be complicated to be impactful. Marketing online is really where we want to be in this day and age, so all businesses should carefully consider the online marketing section of their business plan.
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