Many businesses affirm that their entire year’s revenue heavily depends on shopping through Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But what about service-based businesses? Holiday shopping doesn’t have to be about buying gifts; it can be about booking services and starting new contracts, too. Marketing a service can be tricky, even during other times of the year. But with most people focused on gift-buying this season, how can you win customers and build sales for your service business in the fourth quarter?
Also known as a unique selling proposition (USP), your UVP is a clear statement that describes the benefit you offer, how you solve your customer’s needs, and what distinguishes you from the competition. For holiday season marketing through the fourth quarter, find a way to differentiate your services from other similar providers. Don’t be satisfied with “me, too” marketing with a local bent. Highlight what sets your company and services apart from the rest and make that the central focus of your fourth quarter marketing messages.
While product marketers often compete during the holidays on price, for most service businesses like yours, price is a sign of quality. Don’t downgrade the image of your worth just because of the holidays. Add value instead by offering to bundle features or combine features with a product. Focus on what your customers want most and find a way to bundle those features or add select products into the mix. This will increase users’ perception of value for what you offer and give your company an additional hook for holiday shoppers. After all, people still need services during the holidays. Plus, adding a product with a service even allows customers to take advantage of the service while getting an item they can keep or gift to someone else.
In the service business, a sale doesn’t end with a purchase. It is only the beginning of what you want to be a long-term relationship. You want past customers coming back for more, preferably on a regular basis. Satisfied customers or clients have the potential to become repeat buyers. So why not market heavily during the fourth quarter to your customer base? Upselling former or current customers costs less and yields significantly higher revenue than marketing to new prospects. Offer special holiday-themed promotions to take advantage of customers who may already be in the spending spirit of the season.
Service-based businesses can rise or fall on referral audiences. Be sure to call on your referral prospects during the holidays. But why not use the fourth quarter to actively focus on harvesting referrals from your existing customer base? Offer incentives for current clients who purchase a service from you to give referrals. Give away holiday-themed items or service discounts for a certain number of referrals. Maybe you could include a bundle of holiday-themed service coupons free with each service. That way your existing customers could pass them out for you as a way of referring new customers.
Of course, you can always raise your visibility by increasing your advertising efforts across multiple channels. Emphasize search-corridor media first. This is where customers for your type of service turn first when they need what you offer. For example, do customers typically find you through local internet searches? Then expand your investment into local paid search with ads pointing users to your website, or even a holiday-themed landing page highlighting current service offerings.
Don’t overlook good PR to increase your reputation and visibility in the community. Sponsor events, build a float in the local holiday parade, write articles for publication, or offer yourself as a speaker to local groups. Don’t overlook simple, free promotion opportunities, like doing a Facebook LIVE broadcast of a local parade or of your company participating in a holiday-themed event or gathering.
It can be hard for a service business to think like a retail store, but why not try it this time of year? Reach out to other consultants, freelancers, and solopreneurs. Discuss the possibility of offering joint holiday discounts on services or combo service packages with other service-based businesses or retail businesses.
For example, a blog writer could partner with a freelance graphic designer to create a special year-end package of business-themed blogs with infographics. Or perhaps you could combine a related book from one company with a service offering of yours? Combo items do not necessarily have to be related. Offer a holiday ham or cake with a new booking for one year of blog writing.
What are some ideas you have used to market your service-based business through fourth-quarter shopping holidays? Share your best ideas and tactics with us in the comments below!
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