Marketing A Service Business On A Budget

November 3, 2021
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From HVAC to plumbing companies, it’s safe to say that just about every service based business can benefit from service company marketing. Marketing efforts not only help gain and maintain a strong customer base, but also contribute to growing overall profits. Unfortunately, there’s a strong stigma (and for good reason) that marketing is an endless money pit that will eat up all your spare cash, and simply can't be done on a small budget. 

Well, FieldPulse is here to tell you that with the right information and strategy, low-cost advertising for small businesses is possible. With major advancements in marketing platforms over the years, it’s now easier than ever for service based business owners to tackle marketing initiatives on a tight budget. Let’s get started by taking a look at how marketing services differs from marketing for a product based business, and what inexpensive marketing ideas can help get you started. 

Marketing a Service: How Service Business Marketing Differs

When figuring out how to market a service, it’s best to start by defining your marketing message, or how your service differs from other types of marketing. Generally speaking, there is product marketing and service marketing. Product marketing typically involves marketing a tangible product, and communicates the marketing message by physical demonstration and online advertisement. This process is pretty straightforward and requires product marketers to highlight how your product can benefit a consumer.

On the other hand, marketing a service requires one to advertise an intangible product. The goal of service business marketing is to not only successfully sell the services themselves but also build trust in your trade company along with consistent customer relationships. While a service-based marketing approach may be a bit trickier than product marketing, the good news is that there are numerous inexpensive services marketing ideas you can adopt to help get the job done.

8 Marketing Strategies for Service Based Businesses

Stumped on how to promote your business locally? You’ll need to start by discovering which service marketing strategies are available to you and which best match your primary goal—such as reaching your target audience, sourcing new prospects, or growing your mailing list. Check out these eight different marketing strategies for small businesses to advertise for free or cheap that you can mix and match to fit your needs. 

1. Google My Business (GMB)

Google My Business is listed today as number one because it’s simply essential for any service-based trade business’ online marketing. GMB is a free tool that helps trade businesses create and manage their online presence and allows customers to find, learn and connect with companies in the area. Signing up for a free GMB means all relevant company information can be displayed on the heavily trafficked Google platform, including location, hours of operation, and contact details.

Establishing a GMB listing also creates a platform for existing customers to leave service reviews. The more positive reviews your trade service receives, the more Google’s algorithm will boost discoverability when potential new customers are on the Google hunt for a service provider like you. Likewise, the more information you gather on GMB helps create a targeted demographic to better understand where your marketing efforts should be directed. 

Pro Tip: You can learn more about the perks of GMB for service business marketing in our Google My Business guide.

2. Referral Programs

As a service-based business owner, you understand how powerful word-of-mouth referrals are for securing new clients. Another inexpensive marketing idea is to take advantage of this and create a customer referral program. A referral program is used to reward existing customers when they successfully introduce new customers to your company. Rewards can include product discounts, gift cards or free services like system cleanings and tune-ups.

A customer referral program is extremely valuable because it can work in multiple ways. Aside from securing new clients, a referral program will help to foster your customer relationship, push your existing customer base to continue to return to your business for future service needs. To streamline your referral program efforts, incorporate the use of a field service management program that can help you create referral codes and document successful referrals.

Pro Tip: Download our entire collection of business templates, including one that can help guide your referral requests, to simplify marketing to your clients.

3. Blog Content

Incorporating the use of blog content on your company’s website or through guest posting is a reliable, inexpensive marketing idea to help bring attention to your services and increase customer trust. Blog content is multifaceted, meaning it can leverage other digital marketing techniques (like search engine optimization) to include relevant keywords that can increase your company’s discoverability on search engines like Google. 

Other aspects of a content marketing strategy, such as incorporating the use of backlinks and guest posting between other respectable websites, will further prompt the Google algorithm to recognize your company’s relevance for your services. Similarly, these processes can help establish strong customer trust. Blog content is a chance to highlight your knowledge in the trade industry and display your experience and superior service to new clients, as well as highlight some problems your audience might not know about that your service solves.

Even better, a blog post can be completely repurposed on social media and in email content to create multiple opportunities for cheap advertising for small businesses. If you're not much of a writer yourself, there are numerous platforms like ClearVoice or Fiverr that can connect you with writers who are well versed in your industry.  

Pro Tip: Search engine optimization? Backlinks? If blog content creation has your head in a spin, check out our master content marketing guide to learn how to master local SEO. 

4. Free Publicity Through HARO

As an industry professional, why not share your extensive knowledge with the public and benefit at the same time? Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is an online platform that connects journalists and bloggers with expert sources like you. In the event that a blogger or journalist is on the hunt for an HVAC or plumbing specialist, you can help answer questions they need for their projects. This provides a chance for you and your company to be cited in a journalist or blogger’s work, creating free publicity for your services and demonstrating extensive knowledge.

5. Host or Attend Webinars and Community Events

Much like with the benefits that accompany a platform like HARO, hosting and attending online webinars and community events is an excellent way to spread the knowledge of your expertise and encourage word-of-mouth marketing. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram both offer live features that can be used to host live webinars, as do video platforms like Zoom.  

Use these events to teach customers about various maintenance and troubleshooting tips,  making sure to tell them when to call in the experts (you). If you have a location like an office where individuals can meet, also consider hosting a community event where you can provide perks to attendees such as a future service offering discounts. Events act as the perfect way to educate community members on why you would be the top local choice, and helps with building trust which is essential for forging strong customer relationships.

6. Service-Based Business Cards

One of the oldest and most cost-effective forms of direct marketing is the classic business card. This small, yet informative piece should always include critical company details like contact names, numbers, and emails, as well as your specific trade licensing number to ensure complete compliance. 

Modern business card producers can also help you develop a unique QR code that customers can quickly scan to access your website for more information about services. Likewise, design companies such as VistaPrint and Canva provide simple-to-use business card templates that can help you create a clean and appealing finished product that catches customers’ attention.

Pro Tip: On the hunt for new business cards? We’ve got you covered with this business card playbook. You’ll learn which companies sell business cards for the best value as well as what a small business needs to include on their business card in depth.

7. Social Media

Of all the numerous inexpensive marketing ideas, social media has to be one of the most powerful tools available to incorporate into your service marketing strategy. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are all home to millions of users who you can access for service business marketing. As a best practice, be sure to establish and update your social media accounts’ pages routinely, at least once a week. 

Updates can include engaging infographics or videos focused on topics relevant to your field and local customers, like how to winterize an HVAC system. You can also use your platforms to advertise service specials and any community events you may be hosting. But don’t forget, a large portion of your social media strategy should also be engagement. 

Ensure that you dedicate time to interacting with your audience. Likes and comments go a long way to demonstrate your eagerness to assist customers and push them to request your services. To help broaden your audience, Facebook also offers various free credit promotions that allow you to create Facebook ads that target a specific demographic in your area. You can also use Facebook ads to boost posts that are performing well to get even more out of your investment.

Pro Tip: Unlock these proven social media templates to get started marketing business services. 

8. Partner with Local Small Businesses

Networking with local businesses is a simple and cost-efficient marketing tactic to reach potential customers you may have never expected. Local businesses—including hardware stores, moving companies and real estate agencies—all have audiences that could potentially need your services. 

As a form of cheap advertising for your marketing strategy, you can offer incentives like service discounts or co-branded promotions in the event of a successful partnership with another local business. You’ll be able to return the favor by also referring these various businesses to your customers, whether via a word-of-mouth referral or a social media post highlighting your partnership. 

Don’t Let Budget Worries Slow Down Marketing Efforts

No one said learning how to market a service would be easy, but it sure is worth it. Even better, your marketing efforts don’t have to break the bank to be successful. If old-school company processes are taking time away from learning the ropes of service marketing, you may need business management software that can help streamline those tedious tasks. 

With FieldPulse, day-to-day tasks like scheduling, invoicing and customer management are all simplified by our easy-to-navigate platform. This way, you can dedicate your resources towards bettering your marketing techniques. To better understand which time-consuming processes could be eliminated from your daily operations, contact FieldPulse and schedule a free demo today.

 

 


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