Service advisor businesses need to be marketed. That’s as simple a notion as you’re ever going to get. Without marketing, you will not be able to attract customers. Without customers, you won’t be able to get any sales. And without sales, you won’t be in business for very long. It’s not a pretty picture.
Whether you’re a big business or a small one you need it. In order to be successful, you do need a few things in your bag of tricks. These are things that you should never be without so that you can successfully market your business in order to attract customers.
- A marketing plan. This is probably one of the first things you need to have in order to start your marketing campaign. Sure, you can just play it by ear but the chances of succeeding or even knowing how effective that kind of strategy is will be difficult.
When you have a marketing plan you know what the different stages are in your campaign. You know what your benchmarks are and what you need to look for in order to move forward.
Also, you have an idea as to your budget so you can focus your strategies more efficiently. At the same time, you have an idea as to who your target audience is so you can effectively tailor your marketing campaign towards them considering your budget restrictions.
- Products and services offered. Your marketing plan has to incorporate your business brand and the products and services that you’re offering. Customers are picky and they want what they want no questions asked.
This means that in order to get them to heed what is on your marketing plan you need to have an offering that meets their wants and needs. In order to do that you really need to understand your customers so you know what they want and need.
The good thing about it does not only do you give them what they want and need so you get a sale; you also let them know that you’re listening to them so they trust you more because of it. This will result in more loyal customers that will stay and buy from you over and over again.
Marketing materials. These will be what will attract your customers. These include both online and real-world marketing materials such as your calling card, brochures, sales letters, website and such.
This also includes your database of customers. This way you can send them information about any promotions or specials that they may have as well as answers to any questions or concerns that they may have.
Marketing your business requires a budget. There’s no escaping this fact. That said, you shouldn’t get discouraged just because you have a small budget. You can still effectively market your business even with a shoe-string budget.
- Work with other businesses in your community. What better way to market yourself than to work with other businesses around you. Form or join a group of non-competitive businesses that cross-promote one another.
This could include putting flyers of each respective business in your own office. This way, you get more exposure without having to search for customers. After all, the same people who buy pizza may also need services for their vehicles and vice versa.
Other than just the business why not work with the community as a whole. Help sponsor an event such as a fun run or a sports team. This helps get your brand out there and at the same time makes the community see that you’re an active member as well.
- Let your customers do the talking. Otherwise known as word-of-mouth. This is by far the best way to get your business known. That’s because theoretically, third-party endorsements are impartial (as long as they are not paid of course).
If your customers are happy with your service they will let others know about it. The more customers that do this the more your brand will spread. This will result in more new customers coming in. The best part is all you need to do is give your customers good quality service. You don’t even have to use any marketing money for this.
- Directories and yellow pages. Continuing on with the offline marketing strategies is the posting of ads in business directories and the yellow pages. Contrary to popular belief the yellow pages is not dead, at least not yet.
This means that there is still some value to posting an ad in this and other similar directories. Even if only 10% of your customers found you through the yellow pages that’s still a good number of people that you get for a small price if not free.
- Online presence. Of course, you shouldn’t forget to have an online presence. With the web as popular as it is more and more people are looking for the things they need there. This means that if you want to get your customers to notice you, you need to be where they are. This means going online.
- Website or blog. No self-respecting business will go online and not set up their own website or blog. After all, this is their online storefront. This is the place their customers will go to in order to get more information about their products and services.
You don’t have to pay to get a website. Free providers are readily available such as Blogger and WordPress. You can easily start with a site and start connecting with your customers through a blog. Just remember that you want to give customers information that can help them instead of doing a direct sales pitch right off the bat.
- Social media. Another outlet for finding customers that’s free. Opening an account in sites such as Facebook and Twitter is easy and you can soon start updating or twitting as soon as you’re done.
Use social media to connect with your customers. Let them see that you know what you are talking about and are willing to help them find the answers to their questions and concerns.
In the same breath, use social media to get a sense of what your customers want and need. This way you can tailor some, if not all, of your products and services to help answer these needs and wants. This, in turn, will tell you, customers, that you’re listening to them thereby making them trust you even more.
- Email Marketing. Remember that customer database that we said you will need to have in order to be successful? Yes, with customer emails you can send out specials and promotions directly to their inboxes.
It shouldn’t be a direct sell. Like all marketing strategies, it has to be a soft sell. That’s because nowadays customers know direct selling when they see it and they often disregard those kinds of material.
If you email them your newsletter concerning your industry or concerning problems and issues that they may be experiencing you have a better chance of getting them to come to you when the time comes.
- Incentives. Nothing gets people interested than free incentives. This could be as simple as a coupon for 10% off the next service or product that they buy. What’s important here is that you’re giving them more value for their money. Doing this will get people to like you even more and make them stay loyal to your brand at the same time.
Do remember that when you are doing marketing your goal is not to sell but rather to connect. Actually, your goal is to sell but you do that not by pitching your product or service directly. As mentioned, this will pretty much turn people away.
What you need to do is be as subtle as possible. This means not directly selling but doing it in a softer, hidden way. While people may still think that they are being sold to, the fact that they can’t see it directly will not keep them away.
What’s important is you form a connection with them so that not only will you build credibility with them, you also get their trust at the same time. By doing so you will be more than likely able to get them to buy from you when the time comes.
That said, should you forego offline marketing and simply stick with online marketing instead? Is offline marketing already dead? Comment below.