Running an online business is no easy task, and without a proactive marketing effort it can be incredibly difficult to find new customers and clients. For entrepreneurs operating an online service business — a web design agency, consultancy firm, or support business — the process can be even more difficult. Pay-per-click advertising becomes less effective, product advertising is impossible, and finding ideal clients can take years without a good strategy.
That is why it is important to invest in a range of different marketing efforts. After a couple of months of marketing experimentation, you can hone down to the most effective marketing methods and focus your efforts on them. These five marketing methods are perfect for online service businesses. Invest a little time and money into each of them, log your results, and focus on whichever methods are most effective for you.
Also, we have developed some exciting cross-marketing strategies within our Internet Marketing Strategic Initiative Packages that you might find ideal for what you want to accomplish. ~Andrea
1. Post on industry forums.
No matter what industry your service business caters to, there are going to be online communities where employees, entrepreneurs, and businesses meet. Instead of advertising to your potential clients through pay-per-click and CPM methods, go straight to where they congregate. Start a simple promotional thread explaining how you can help people, or contact prospective clients directly through private messages.
For a better idea of what can be included in an internet marketing campaign, be sure to check out our Internet Marketing Services page.
2. User pay-per-click advertising strategically.
Pay-per-click advertising is generally more effective for product-driven businesses than service business. However, with a strategic approach it’s possible to generate business leads and new clients through pay-per-click. The key is in being different from your competition. Instead of merely having your PPC advertisements link to your company website, have them link to a third-party positive testimonial! Creativity wins when it comes to PPC service advertising.
3. Seek out client referrals.
Once you have built a set of reliable, lucrative clients, they will be your most valuable asset for expanding further. Client referrals are perfect for your business in many ways. Firstly, they tell you that you are doing great work. Secondly, they are self-filtered — your clients know what you can offer and what type of clients you can take on, so you’re not left turning away clients that do not fit your mold.
4. Cold call businesses that could use your help.
Cold calling can either be highly successful or a complete disaster, and it all depends on your approach. If you call businesses out of the blue and tell them that they need your services, expect to fail. No business likes the salesman that wanders into the office, and you will do yourself a favor by not being that person.
Instead, call businesses and highlight how you can help them. Most businesses are relatively open to assistance when they are not pushed to purchase, and an intelligent phone marketing campaign can bring in valuable new clients.
5. Start a company promotional blog.
A blog is a huge asset for your company, especially if your competitors do not have one. Blogs are a great SEO tool, a fantastic direct marketing asset, and a great way to generate direct traffic to your website with high quality content. If your business website needs to gain authority, both in the eyes of the search engines and your client audience, starting a blog is the best way to gain it.