Service marketing is all about relationships, even more so than other types of marketing. Effective service marketing is important because, without it, service providers would not attract and retain customers. Service marketing falls into two categories: business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C).
When marketing a service, providers must account for perishability, the intangible nature of a service that makes it impossible to store or resell.
What Is Service Marketing?
Put simply, service marketing is the promotion of economic activities by a company to individuals and business customers. It includes everything from office and car rentals to wellness treatments. An accounting firm, for example, can market its services to other companies, big and small. In this case, we're talking about B2B service marketing. A creative agency can develop and promote service plans for startups or businesses in specific niches. A private clinic will advertise its offering to local customers, which is an example of B2B service marketing.
In today’s economy, services comprise a substantial portion of the consumer marketplace. Consumers are exposed to an overwhelming number of services in various industries, such as health care services and software as a service (SAAS).
Services aren’t tangible like consumer products. Therefore, they cannot be stored or returned once they have been used. This characteristic is known as perishability. Because of this, service marketing requires companies to sell experiences and value even more than they have to when marketing products. It can be more difficult to “hook” prospective buyers with promises of experiences and value because often, consumers do not know the monetary value of a service or how it actually works to make their lives easier.
A valuable service is one that makes a part of the consumer’s life feel automated; it saves the consumer time, money or effort without requiring him to continually make conscious choices and perform his own legwork to complete personal tasks.
Furthermore, quality services can improve customers' lives or bring their vision to life. For example, people hire interior designers to create beautiful spaces and personalize their homes. This makes them feel more comfortable after a long day at work and contributes to their well-being.
Understanding Effective Service Marketing
As a service marketer, there are a few things to consider if you want to make your business thrive. First of all, make sure you know how to standardize your services and demonstrate this standardization. With services, it can be more difficult to provide a streamlined, consistent product than it is with tangible goods.
On the other hand, not all services should be standardized. Many customers strive for a personalized experience, such as when hiring an interior designer.
Also, focus on building a lasting relationship with your clients so they return and promote your services. Personalization can go a long way toward customer loyalty.
Ensure effective communication at all the service’s touchpoints. These are the points of interaction between the service provider and the consumer, such as their first meeting and immediately after the consumer purchases the service. These can include postcards, emails and interactions with sales representatives.
Try to set your service apart from competitors’ services in the same niche. Develop a unique selling proposition that appeals to your customers' needs and wants. Keep up with the latest industry trends and provide innovative solutions. This will help you stand out from the crowd and give customers one more reason to choose your brand.
Set clear goals for your business. In general, service marketing strives to achieve the following objectives:
- Attract new customers.
- Retain existing customers and sell them upgraded services.
- Referrals from existing customers.
- Brand recognition.
Effective Service Marketing Strategies
There are many different ways to market services. These may include referral programs, live demonstrations, social media advertising, bonuses, special offers and more. Referral programs, for example, reward customers who refer a new individual to a company. Your audience is more likely to recommend your service if you provide something in return, such as free upgrades or exclusive discounts.
Don't forget about social media, which is an integral part of consumers’ lives. By posting content, images and videos that raise awareness and answer questions about a service on social networks, you'll reach more prospects and keep your customers engaged.
Demonstrations and training sessions are beneficial too. Consumers are more likely to subscribe to a service when they understand the role it can play in their lives and see it in action. Seminars, live demonstrations, workshops and content marketing are all ways service providers can achieve this goal and reach prospective buyers.
Marketing services is different than marketing products. Even though both have the same purpose, they exhibit distinctive traits and require a different approach. Unlike physical products, services cannot be returned or stocked. Plus, they require a higher level of personalization. Human interaction is essential at every step of the process. If you want to have success, adjust your marketing efforts accordingly.