We'll start this article by admitting that marketing in the service industry is very challenging. Finding a customer, then demonstrating, converting and, most importantly, gaining trust surrounding an intangible service is not a simple task. Tangible products can be seen, heard, touched and, as a result, (typically) have clearer value props. Services have much of that, but these things only come after the service is completed. As we navigate the throes of services marketing, we've gained some valuable insight about brand awareness. Here is what we found that works.
Define your target audience
The following 6 tips do not matter if you cannot nail down this first one: target audience. The most perfect message sent to the wrong group of people can, at times, be worse than saying nothing at all. I'm telling you right now, if this is new information to you, that your audience is much narrower than you think it is. If you think your target audience is "everyone" or "those with money", or even something narrower such as "homeowner", you're still casting your net too broadly. So, before we go any further, stew on the following questions to help you narrow your audience.
- What is the problem or need that my product or service addresses?
- Who is most likely to have this problem or need?
- What are the demographics of my potential customers, such as age, gender, income, education, etc.?
- What are the psychographics of my potential customers, such as their values, interests, behaviors, lifestyle, etc.?
- Where do my potential customers spend their time online and offline?
- Who are my competitors and who are their customers?
- What feedback have I received from my current customers about my product or service? Dig into trends about those who are providing feedback.
- What other types of messaging and marketing appeals to my known customers?
- What are the pain points and challenges my potential customers face?
Answering these questions will help guide your company better than any of the other tips. So take the time to really hash this out. Maybe get into a tense, but productive, conversation or two with your executive team (if this is a team of one, arguing with yourself is completely acceptable) trying to figure this out.
Create a brand identity
What is brand identity? When you read the following phrase, which brand comes to mind? "Just Do It" - Nike, right? What about golden arches? Or even something as simple as white cursive lettering on a red background? Each of these brands have memorable slogans, colors, logos, and more. More importantly, when you thought of these brands, what memories were associated with thinking about them? This is the end goal, after all, to create a brand with personality that customers associate with their own good, or bad, memories.
When creating a brand identity, you'll want to think of the shape, colors, and messaging that best represents the personality that you want your company to portray. Just like with developing your target audience, this can be time consuming because whatever you come up with will hopefully be around for a long time. When creating an identity, consistency is key. Constantly changing bits and pieces of your brand will not benefit your company - after all, you have no identity if you're constantly changing.
One final comment before you get started. Document which assets you are going to use in your brand. What are your primary and secondary colors, logo, fonts, and tone of voice? Use your documentation as a ledger. Before making posts or ads, reflect on your ledger and see if it aligns with your brand.
Build an online presence
The internet is ubiquitous, with daily access available to more than 92% of the US. You can work remote jobs, watch the news, order food; A hermit's paradise, if you will. It's so ubiquitous that most people's first instinct when needing almost anything is to hop on the web. Even for something as simple as a haircut, the consumer is going to hop on Google and search for "barber shops near me," and within minutes they have access to 10 different shops providing fresh fades.
This is all to say, you must create an online presence or you will not exist. So, where to start? The best way to start is by getting your business listed on Google. This will help with increasing your local traffic. Next, we recommend creating social media accounts with the goal of consistently posting valuable content like we do! https://www.linkedin.com/company/redskyeng/ It's difficult to post multiple times a week but doing so will help you create better content through repetition. Even if it's not perfect, most people will never see your first posts. Learn fast, fail hard.
If a post doesn't do well, ask yourself, learn from it. Why did it not gain traction? Was the message off? Was the creative not captivating? And so on. Asking yourself these questions and writing them down is going to help you get better faster. The most important thing is that you’re constantly trying. And remember, most of your posts will not be a hit.
Use content marketing
We hit on this above, but it deserves more attention because, after all, content is king. This is because creating valuable and relevant content for your target audience will establish your company as experts which, in turn, builds trust with your audience. You can use blog posts, videos, infographics, and other types of content to educate and inform your audience.
You should also ask yourself, how do you plan on reaching your target audience? Delivery of information is equally important as the quality of your information. You could have really great pieces of content but if you don’t deliver correctly, it's wasted. So what are some ways you can ensure your content gets delivered?
First and foremost, be very clear on the keywords your audience uses (once again, target audience is key). A keyword relates to SEO and how normal people use extraordinary algorithms to find related content. SEO is a beast of its own, and we hit on the topic in greater detail in another article you can find here: https://redskyeng.com/article/seo-minded-web-development
The most important takeaway here is that your very interesting article will never be found if it doesn't have the right keywords. Going back to our barbershop example. If we decide to write an article on how a fresh fade increases your chances of winning over the Hiring Manager at a job interview, we'd create words and phrases around this that people would search for, e.g., "how to nail an interview", "how to dress for an interview", or "Does a fresh fade increase chances of getting hired?". You'd want to look into how competitive these words and phrases are (you wouldn't go after the term "Great Clips" because it's clearly a competitive phrase). Then, ensure that phrase is plastered throughout the article.
Leverage Email Marketing
Email marketing is making a come-back (or maybe it never left?). The best part about email marketing is that if it is done right, it is a voluntary force. There are few audiences better than those that want to hear from you!
Email marketing is another method of contact that enables you to share relevant information, offer discounts, and introduce some of your other offerings. There are several methods to build your email list. For instance, you can offer customers 10% off their purchase if they sign up for your newsletters. Additionally, you can indirectly ask visitors if they would like to join your newsletter when they first access your website.
We've spent a lot of time talking about digital marketing and want to give some love to what some may consider to be the old ways. That is paper mail. Science tells us that people enjoy tangible things. While we don't employ this method, we have worked with service providers who swear by mailers. We've worked with other founders who have seen 10x the conversion rate on paper mailers vs their standard digital methods.
Measure your results
As the famous saying goes, "what gets measured, gets improved". It is important to track your metrics to determine what is working and what is not in your marketing efforts. Without a clear understanding of what is driving traffic and converting customers, you can end up wasting precious resources. By constantly testing and measuring your marketing efforts, you can determine which delivery method or keywords are the most effective and deliver the highest ROI. This will allow you to optimize your budget effectively. When you do find a marketing effort that is working, it is important to keep it running and duplicate it for testing purposes. Marketing done properly is a printing press, after all.
While We Have Your Attention
We have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to best market our services business and it aint easy! Hopefully we're making it a little bit easier for you. If you're interested in learning more about RedSky Engineering, hop on over to our Work Section or our About Us!