Updated: Apr 22, 2020
If your business specializes in services, what exactly do you bring to pitch meetings? You can’t exactly load up a suitcase with samples and display products, unless you stock up on printouts detailing your offerings–and clients come to pitch meetings to be wowed, not to read more paperwork (they do plenty of that elsewhere).
Services are often something that cannot be understood until they are experienced, and clients cannot speak to their effectiveness until after they have happened. Potential clients sign up for services based on trust and willingness to take others’ word. As the owner of a service-based business, you may be the best in your field, offer the most comprehensive experience to your clients, understand your audience and how best to anticipate their needs. But when it comes to marketing, how do you communicate your services if they need to be experienced to be believed.
Make the intangible tangible.
Well-designed, attractive, unique marketing packets are a good place to start, even though we’ve already mentioned that no one likes more paperwork. But a clean, beautiful marketing packet speaks volumes and makes potential clients want to learn more. Invest in quality paper, do business with a printer who has a stellar track record, research unique ways of delivering information. Should your business card come with a chip or USB that, when scanned or plugged in, triggers an introductory video explaining your services? Is your contact info delivered in an unconventional way, such as on a tea bag tag (for a wellness consultant) or a personal battery-powered fan (physical trainer)? Does your consultation for skin or hair services end with a goody bag of trial-sized beauty products with your name on them? Think outside the box (or at least outside the #10 business envelope) when introducing yourself and your services. While marketing tactics like these may seem trivial or “cutesy,” the element of surprise goes a long way when making a first impression.
[ The element of surprise goes a long way when making a first impression.]
Another tip is to play up the uniqueness of each client’s experience. Whereas products are manufactured in accordance to field-tested standards, services are experienced differently by everyone who consumes them. They cannot be transferred between consumers, nor do they come with a guarantee that each consumer will get the same results. While this notion may seem terrifying to a service-based business owner, harnessing this inherent unpredictability could work in your favor. Guarantee that no two clients will receive the same experience, and that your services are tailored to meet each and every client’s unique needs. “Bespoke” services carry a lot of weight when it comes to marketing–most everyone wants to feel like the only one in the room when it comes to personalized services. You want your doctors to look you in the eye and take time to respond thoughtfully to your questions and concerns; you want your bridal shop to alter the dress you chose to ensure the perfect fit; you want your marketing specialist to generate fresh content and never-before-seen visuals to represent your brand. While some potential clients may be nervous signing up for intangible services, highlighting the unique, bespoke experience of every client will spin their reservations toward the positive.
While marketing services vs. products may take what feels like a lifetime to master, we hope these strategies help to broaden your scope and get your creative marketing juices flowing.