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Marketing service businesses requires more of a focus on public relations and networking. Since the successful development of a service business is highly dependent upon referrals and recommendations, it is important to ensure a high level of client satisfaction. Joining professional industry networks and a local chamber of commerce can greatly benefit a service business. In addition, marketing service businesses involves the distribution of free information in the form of newsletters and press releases.
In the beginning stages of development, marketing a service business might include providing complimentary service trials to a few potential clients. This can be helpful for small start-up businesses that do not have name recognition or an existing client list. Offering to provide some work free of charge can open the door to paid work once the business proves the quality and reliability of its work. It is not recommended that a service business rely heavily on this tactic or continue to provide free services to every new client.
Another effective tactic when marketing service businesses that are in the beginning stages of development is to publish a press release in local newspapers and magazines. A service business can use a press release to announce the opening of the business, expansion, areas of service expertise, client events and promotions. Finding a local publication that caters to a related industry or target market can prove to be of great benefit.
Some service businesses choose to use a combination of small print advertisements in targeted publications and registration with a local chamber of commerce. Local chambers often send out welcome publications and introductory specials from surrounding businesses to new residents. This can be an effective way to establish name recognition and garner interest in the business. Some of these chambers also sponsor networking events with registered businesses, which can help with marketing service businesses to other professionals who may be able to provide referrals.
When related businesses form marketing partnerships or provide services to each other, it establishes a network that can provide word-of-mouth advertising. For example, some real estate agents are aware of lending companies and home inspectors that they refer prospective buyers to. This gives the other companies a no or low-cost way of gaining additional clients. As long as the professional relationship is maintained in an ethical manner and prospective clients are free to choose, referrals can substantially increase the client list of any service business.
Once a company establishes a steady client list, one of the more effective tactics in marketing service businesses is the distribution of a monthly or quarterly newsletter. This can be done online or in print. Businesses will typically distribute the newsletter to current and past clients, in addition to those who have given the business permission to mail them promotional materials. Newsletters are a low-cost method of delivering valuable information that relates to the services the business provides, asking for additional referrals and keeping the business fresh in the clients' minds.
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