When it comes to marketing a service it can at times be more challenging than marketing a product. You are not selling something that is tangible; you are in fact selling the invisible. You can't see, touch or feel a product, so for the prospect no matter whether it be a business or consumer purchasing a service can be seen as buying a risk.
When selling a service, marketing effectively and creating a good customer experience is extremely important to close the deal. The overall experience has an impact on the perceived value of the service which eases the risk that the prospect may feel.
Creating an Experience Through Marketing Message
Your objective is to identify the problem or the pain points your prospect is feeling and effectively show them how your service solves that problem or pain point. Your challenge and assignment are to simulate and create the experience through your marketing message to capture their attention.
Services also tend to have a reputation built on one person. The people involved in selling and performing the service have the ability to make or break a company's reputation. It's harder to do damage control for service companies, which means you must always be on your game and your reputation must remain untarnished and pristine. One bad review could put you out of business.
Marketing a Service Company
Consumers often find it more difficult to compare service vendors. They cannot touch or feel the product, rather they have to trust that the service will be performed as promised. How can you help your consumers compare you to other vendors?
A service cannot be returned. If a service is purchased but does not live up to the consumer's expectation they cannot return it for a new product. The failure of a service not to provide the experience sold costs the consumer time and as individuals and businesses, we often feel our time is more valuable than money. Keep in mind that in traditional marketing we have the 4 Ps. When it comes to service marketing we add three more. The traditional 4 Ps of marketing include:
Three Additional Components to Consider
- People: All people involved either directly or indirectly of the consumption of a service is important. People can add a significant value to a service offering. People sell the service and either make or break the marketing of the services you offer. It's time to take a look at the "face" of your service and evaluate.
- Physical Evidence: The way that service is delivered needs to be communicated and followed through. You are creating an intangible experience so communication and documentation are the only physical evidence you have to share with your consumer. Make sure you are doing enough of it.
- Process: Procedure and flow of activities of how services are consumed are an essential element of your strategy in marketing services. Everything must run smoothly to keep the trust of your consumer.
By developing your 4 P's of marketing and enhancing them using the three marketing strategies above you can successfully market your service even though you are selling the invisible. If you find that you are getting stuck when it comes to marketing your service, try to think of it as a product. This can often put the framework around your marketing and help bust through a marketing rut.
Think of your service has an intangible product that offers prospects a specific experience and superior service. What experience or superior service makes your customer walk away feeling good about their purchase? That's the feeling that you have to market in tieing it to relationship and value. If you can use your marketing efforts to demonstrate not only that experience but why the service you are offering is better than others in the marketplace you can see a great deal of success in your marketing efforts.
Check your marketing materials and make sure that you address the following in a clear and easy to understand format:
- What is the service? What is it that your business does?
- Why is the service important? What problem does it solve? What pain point does it relieve?
- What benefits does your service offer? Does it save time, cut cost or reduce resources?
- What are the deliverables? What should the customer expect?
You can market a service effectively by making sure that you are focusing on the problem or pain point that is solved and being clear on the deliverables that you are offering. Set the expectation ahead of time, this builds trust and ensures that your customer will not have buyer's remorse.