How to Market Your Service-Based Business

marketing Apr 07, 2015

This week I hosted my monthly Out to Lunch with Daring Entrepreneurs event in Boulder, CO where 40+ women business owners joined us to get inspired and share their brilliance.

When people sign up for this event, I always ask the same question: “what is the number one challenge you face in your business right now?” to help get a feel for who’s in the room and how I can help. This time, the overwhelming response to that question was “marketing.”

If you struggle with marketing, I want to share some guidelines that will help you know what marketing activities are the best use of your time.

Marketing a service-based business is different than marketing a product-based business because your ideal clients need to feel highly resonant with you (the person delivering the service) to buy.

That means that as a service-based business owner, what people are buying is you!

If your ideal client is going to invest in your service, they first need a tangible experience of you to decide if they like you, resonate with your energy and trust where you’re coming from.

For this reason, the marketing activities that are the least effective for attracting clients fall under the category of “Advertising:”

  • Newspaper and magazine ads
  • Online banner ads
  • Direct mail
  • Flyers on bulletin boards
  • Professional directories

These marketing activities provide some visibility if placed strategically, but if used before an audience has a tangible experience of you, it will be difficult for them to feel resonant with you, and they need to feel resonance to invest in your service. So what do I mean by tangible experience?

Below are some ideas of tangible marketing experiences. Depending on what level you’re at in your business, some of these activities will be more appropriate for you than others.

How to Market a Service-Based Business:

  • Live networking
  • Giving a free talk
  • Leading a teleclass or webinar
  • Serving on a panel
  • Hosting a meeting or Meetup event
  • Sponsoring other people’s events (with a sponsor table where you can interact with attendees)
  • Publishing a regular blog (where you build a tribe of followers that grow to love you over time)
  • Sending a regular e-newsletter
  • Producing regular videos on a YouTube channel
  • Being the host of a Facebook group
  • Being interviewed for a colleague’s list (video or audio interview is best)
  • Attending seminars
  • Personal phone calls and emails
  • One-on-one lunch or coffee dates
  • Actively participating in an online community
  • Speaking at someone else’s event
  • Affilate and joint venture relationships

Some of the marketing activities above have the ability to produce immediate results, and others, such as blogging, newsletter, and a Youtube channel will take more time to convert (because people need to build a relationship with you through your articles or videos over time to decide of they like and trust you enough to invest in your service).

Your marketing strategy will be most effective if you approach it from many different angles. So choose 5 things from the list above and start doing them regularly. Make your choices depending on what level you’re at in your business.

If you are brand new, don’t focus on things like webinars and tele classes, building a YouTube channel, or sponsoring someone else’s event - these are more advanced marketing strategies. Instead, focus on things like one-on-one lunch or coffee dates, live networking, actively participating in an online community or hosting a meeting.


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