Double your targeted leads and service appointments with a Solo Build It website.

"Are You Wondering How You Can
Promote Your Local Service Business
Online And Make It Pay?"

By Paul Crane, SBI! Product Manager and Rocky Tapscott

Selling a service to both Local and Global customers using the power of the Internet goes way beyond related services like computer programming or Web design. The possibilities are endless. You could provide a service that anyone from any part of the world is searching for and needs...

  • a period furniture importer with a wholesale and retail presence

  • an Investment Manager or Financial Planner

  • an expert in women's health issues

  • an Tax adviser with experience in Offshore Tax structures

  • a marketing or advertising professional

  • a personal trainer or Gym owner

  • a copywriter or editor of children's books

  • a rock climbing expert

Or your service business could be focused on people in your local area...

  • a water delivery contractor

  • a hardware supply business

  • a restaurant or coffee shop

  • a nursery

  • a karate instructor

No matter who you are or what you do, you could benefit tremendously from a Web presence. Believe it or not, just about everyone has an expertise in something that they could sell.

The odds are pretty good that most people are already selling their services as a primary source of income... but have never thought seriously about generating customers globally by using the Web's powerful outreach.

In fact, selling your professional service online is, without a doubt, the most overlooked and virtually untapped opportunity on the Internet. Despite the fact that it requires minimum effort and cost to bring your skills and knowledge before a hungry-to-buy, world-wide audience, most Service Sellers fail to do so.

And the few who do attempt to utilize this medium? Well, the effort is poor indeed. Either they put up a poorly designed "circa 1997" brochure site that no one visits. Or, they post their specific service to one of the many online hot spots (like Guru.com, for example).

Unfortunately, neither of these two practices gets the job done effectively and efficiently. In order for anyone to contact you directly about your service (without a word-of-mouth referral), you'll have to successfully convince that person...

1) You are the best in your particular field, and OVERdeliver on your service.

2) You are trustworthy, credible, easy to work with, and THE BEST at what you do.

3) You are competitive in your pricing.

4) Your service provides the solution that s/he is looking for -- better still, your service is the only solution to her or his problems.

So what's the bottom line?

In order to sell a service online, you need to establish a relationship with your potential clients. A content-rich Web site and newsletter that build trust and credibility will develop and solidify this rapport. It is only after a relationship is established that prospects will begin to respond.

And what about local services -- like the aforementioned chimney cleaning service? Most people assume that because the Web is a global medium, it's not a relevant advertising conduit for a locally-based business. After all, if your chimney cleaning business is based here in Hudson, Quebec, it's unlikely anyone outside of a one-hour driving radius is going to hire you for your services.

In comparison, a database programmer and a cartoon artist do not face such constraints -- they could be hired by anyone world-wide. But guess what? The Web works for both.

Why?...

1) A Web presence gives your business a distinct edge over your local competitors, especially when it comes to expanding your current customer base.

For example, Sue wants to hire someone to clean her chimney but she doesn't have any recommendations from friends. So she has to resort to the phone book's Yellow Pages where she selects the most appealing ad. Sue figures her only option is to take a chance and try her luck with her choice.

More and more people are turning to the Internet as their preferred source of information. A Web presence allows your potential client to get to know you and your service better than a small ad ever could. And this in turn means a confident and less risky feeling about making a business decision. S/he has a more open-to-hire frame of mind.

If your competitors don't offer this option, you have a serious edge on getting that follow-up contact about your service. After all, who do you think they are going to buy from -- a friend or a stranger?

2) A local business can leverage its Web presence by turning its site into a feel-good community resource.

Our chimney cleaner, for instance, writes a series of great articles on fire prevention and fire safety (with subtle cross-sells to his chimney cleaning service). Each week he features one article on his site, and announces its presence to the community through the local newspaper...

See Tom's Fire Prevention Tip of the Week at...

http://www.hudson-chimney-services.com/

Turn your site into an information resource, and the trust and awareness it fosters will generate more clients.

3) A locally-based service can use its Web presence to generate additional income from a global audience as well as build local business.

For instance, great articles about fire prevention and fire safety appeal to everyone on the planet. And while no one from Tuscon, Arizona is going to request that you clean their chimney, he may very well follow your link to a merchant partner (ex., a fire extinguisher retailer), and make a purchase (for which you receive commissions).

4) A Web presence indicates your consideration of people's busy lifestyles.

You have, in effect, just erected a 24/7 storefront just for them. You may even want to include your URL on your voice mail...

I'm sorry, our office hours are 8:30-6:00 Monday to Saturday, but our Web site (www.hudson-chimney-services.com) is always open!

5) A Web presence is cheap, and a single lifetime customer brings significant dollars to your business. (Think about the additional business generated by word-of-mouth referrals.)

A website is a great way to get the Net working for your service business. Here is a "big picture" view of your traffic-building, income-generating process as a service seller...

Identify a great niche service and its target group

In order to generate income, enough people must NEED and/or VALUE your service and feel strongly that they will personally profit from the way you deliver it versus your competitor's approach.

You also need to know whether your marketing efforts should be focused locally or globally (depending upon the narrowness... or broadness... and/or nature of your niche).

For an example, a general tax accountant may only attract traffic from his local area. The majority of his clients like the peace of mind afforded by being able to drop off important documents to the office or being able to discuss delicate financial matters face-to-face.

Contrast this with an international tax accountant who specializes in tax sheltered investments for the wealthy. His clients could come from anywhere in the world and communication could all be done by e-mail, fax, or courier.

Action Steps

STEP #1

Create a thumbnail sketch of...

i) Your service -- Write down in point form exactly WHAT, HOW, WHEN, and WHERE you offer (or plan to) your service. Note your range of flexibility -- how and where you can adapt your service to particular needs. Describe your strengths (i.e., the reasons why you are better than the competition) and pinpoint your weaknesses (i.e., what you are planning to improve).

Give your outline to a family member or a friend (who knows your business) to see if you have forgotten anything and/or to check that the presentation is as objective as possible.

ii) Your client -- Develop a profile of your ideal client...

  • Baby boomer? Senior citizen? Teens?

  • Family? Single? Partners?

  • Money concerns? Stressed for time?

  • Trend-setter? Conservative? Do-it-yourselfers?

  • City-dweller? Rural home-owner? Neighbourhood?

  • Region? Nation? Continent?

Make your sketch as comprehensive as you can. If your service has more than one kind of client, do a profile for each major type. As well, ask yourself who should not be your prospect -- this technique is helpful to keep you focused on your ideal client.

STEP #2

Now combine the two thumbnail sketches (you, and your client). This is your service business! Use this detailed snapshot when developing content for your Web site. It will help you keep focused on your target group and their needs which is critical for achieving a high Conversion Rate.

This snapshot will also help you narrow your niche, if needed. Use it to discover more profitable angles to your service. The ideal is to offer a service that is relatively high in demand with few suppliers (i.e., your competition). Try to adapt or change your present service to meet that goal as closely as feasible.

Be passionate about what you do

LOVE what you are doing. Your enthusiasm and determination will be reflected in your business at all levels of operation. It won't feel like you are working!

Offer superior quality service to your clients.

Action Step

Provide outstanding service every time. WOW your customer with your fast turn-around, or low pricing, or free trial, or unexpected extras, or generous guarantee, etc.

Quality and high satisfaction guarantee repeat clients. And, in turn, these enthusiastic clients generate word-of-mouth referrals... the most targeted and least expensive way to develop leads, produce contracts and increase profits. It is as simple as that.

Make every moment and dollar count!

Identify and focus on attaining your Most Wanted Response (MWR) (i.e., what you most want your visitor to do). So that after visiting your site, or subscribing to your newsletter, or reading an ad, you "most want" your visitor to CONTACT you. Everything you do must in some way help to attain that MWR.

Strive to get the best possible traffic-building and lead-converting results for every dollar... and for every hour you spend on your business.

Time is money. So don't count your hours as zero cost simply because it does not cost you "out of pocket." Assign your time a dollar value as well.

However, maximizing PROFITS does not imply that you must only minimize EXPENSES. After all, if you spend no money or time on a business... you have no business!

Action Steps

STEP #1

Fine tune your time-management skills.

Whether your service business is a small home-based operation with a work force of 1 (you!) or a company with 5-10 employees, you are constantly in "multi-tasking" mode. Follow these simple but effective guidelines...

  • Touch it once and move to the next step.

  • Make lists, but stick to The 6 Most Important Things

  • Plan how long each task will take.

  • Assign time slots for accomplishing each task.

  • Focus on the difficult/important projects first.

  • Throw stuff away that clutters your computer/office.

I've further reduced this to my 4 DO's, which appear on a yellow sticky on my computer. Every call on my time must be handled by one of the four DO's...

DO, DUMP, DELEGATE, DELAY

STEP #2

Manage your business and money effectively.

Focus on your bottom line, manage your cash flow and collect payments that are due. If you lack these skills, get training through books or business courses. Or purchase inexpensive accounting software programs such as Quick Books...

http://www.quickbooks.com/

... to keep track of your records.

STEP #3

Market the smart way.

Get the right message to the right people via the right media and tactics so they will respond and hire you for the contract, with the highest ROIs (Return on Investment) possible.

  • Build your own Theme-Based Content Site, as outlined in the Action Guide... This is the highest ROI technique for any Service Seller, yet most don't dream of doing it. This course will put you five steps ahead of your competition. A Theme-Based Content Site is one that is loaded with high info-value Keyword-Focused Content Pages which rank well with the Search Engines.

  • These optimised pages will pull in more targeted traffic and get more prospects to contact you about your service and hire you for the job (i.e., increase your Conversion Rate). Your PROFITS grow exponentially when you concentrate on maximizing BOTH traffic and Conversion Rates.

  • Develop a powerful Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Create an eye-catching short statement that sums up in a few words what sets you apart from the competition. For example, Mike's Pizza restaurant has this USP... Delivery in 30 minutes or it's free. The message is simple, clear and hot. Weave your USP into the fabric of your business.

  • Know the value of lifetime customers -- An effective way to budget marketing funds and to get the highest Return on Investment is by calculating the lifetime value of a client. This will reveal how much you can afford to spend on the acquisition of new clients. Depending on the nature of your business, a repeat client can bring you thousands of dollars of income during the span of your service relationship.

    Use the following formula to find your answer (if you are just starting your service business, guesstimate the two variables)....

    The average fee of your service X how many times a client uses you = lifetime value of a client

    Knowing this critical number allows to grow your profits as quickly as possible without overspending your marketing budget. Use it to measure and track each marketing tactic and shift marketing dollars to the high performers, thus saving money.

  • PREsell! Don't sell. Use great, and related, content that is of value to your visitor/potential client on your site, in your newsletters, and in your ads. It is the most effective way to build likeability, trust and an "open-to-hire" attitude in your visitor's mindset.

  • Guarantee your work. There is nothing more powerful than a simple statement or stamp that says All Work Guaranteed. And of course, you must live up to your promise. Provide verifiable testimonials that include the full names of the people giving their endorsement, the cities/location where they live and their e-mail addresses. An effective testimonial outlines a specific benefit, something that is relevant to your target group. It is believable -- you can clean up gross typos/spelling mistakes but don't turn a testimonial into a polished piece. It is proof that someone else has used your service and you more than lived up to her expectations.

  • Be super accessible. Place your contact information (toll-free phone number, e-mail address, fax number, mailing address -- whichever way you want people to contact you) in highly visible locations. Some examples... on your site, place contact info at the bottom of every content page and if you like, build a special bio page as well (i.e., some interesting background details about you, including a photo or two). Include a link to your e-mail address in your newsletter. Add your phone number and e-mail address to your sig file.

    Easy and fast should be the operative words for how people can reach you.

STEP #4

Make all traffic count...

Have a Second Income Stream. Some visitors who land on your site may be overly cautious, or they may be just doing some preliminary research, or they may be a little short on funds at this time, or... etc., etc. There are many legitimate reasons why not all visitors follow-through and contact you about your service.

Use this traffic to your advantage by PREselling related products (or non-competing services) for merchants you represent through their Affiliate Programs.

Action Step

Research and join affiliate programs of merchants who offer quality products that are related to your service and fair commissions.

For example, let's say that you are a dog trainer. A visitor who has a 3-month old puppy arrives on your site. She is just "shopping around" and wants to have identified the "perfect" trainer by the time her puppy is 5 months old. 

She doesn't need your service now but she is very interested in the puppy books and grooming products that you are recommending. She clicks through to your merchant's sites and buys! That's two commissions for you which equals additional income.

Continue doing what is profitable. Stop doing what is not.

Action Step

The beauty of the Net is that everything you do is completely track-able, totally measurable.

Monitor and track your business constantly, especially the more abstract aspects like... knowing where your traffic is coming from, the satisfaction level of your clients, the new trends in your field, the effectiveness of your newsletter, ads, etc., etc. Concentrate on actions that contribute positively to the bottom line. Scrap the rest.

In other words... stay on top of your business so that you can take advantage of new opportunities and avoid any pitfalls.

Combine these service-selling "business" basics with the process outlined in the Action Guide, and you will be well on your way to a thriving and trust-inspiring Web presence... and more contracts!

If you would like to learn more about the process of building a website that will promote your services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, then download the Service Sellers Masters Course.

This comprehensive course goes into great detail on how Service Businesses can use the power of the Internet to increase your customer base and profits. I hope this article has given you some ideas on how you can use the Web to promote your service to a huge market. It's well worth taking the time to read ...

If this article has got you thinking, and you would like some more ideas on how you can use the Internet to promote your Business or even expand into new areas, then...here's what to do next.

Rocky Tapscott has developed a “30 Minute Website Strategy And Marketing Tune-Up” which he conducts over the telephone or via Skype. Here is what we accomplish together in this fast-paced, zero-nonsense session: 

Niche Overview And Evaluation: No matter whether you have a mature website or are just about to start out on your online adventure, this niche market overview and evaluation will uncover overlooked ideas and monetization options you may not have considered

Traffic Generation Strategies: Lying awake at night worried about getting more people to your website ? You are not alone...

Rocky has helped hundreds of clients clear this hurdle with advice and strategies that can save you money and boost your long term returns. You're guaranteed to get several ideas that you can use immediately to take your business forward.

Increasing Website Conversions: It's one thing to have people coming to your website. It's another to make them leave their cash with you as they pass through. We'll look at specific strategies you can use in your business to suck more money out of your website visitors day in day out... 

The 30 Minute Website Strategy And Marketing Tune-Up is conducted by Rocky personally. He has worked with more than 100 website owners and helped them to consistently get more out of their websites. 

Please be assured that this consultation will not be a thinly disguised sales presentation; it will consist of the best intelligence Rocky can give you in a thirty minute time span. There is no charge for this call, however the call must be strictly limited to 30 minutes. 



This consult will typically take place within 1 week of your confirmed booking. To secure a time for this consultation, please complete this application form and we will advise you regarding available time slots. 

You will also be provided with a pre-consultation questionnaire that will prepare both you and Rocky to get maximum value in the shortest amount of time.



I'm looking forward to speaking with you shortly,
Warmly,

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