The first foundational marketing initiative you must complete is market research. By determining your target audience and positioning within the competitive landscape, you can better determine how you truly benefit the businesses you serve. Whether you are launching a new business or starting a new marketing initiative, creating or revisiting your business’s market research can help you better serve your clients.
Your customers are busy and, because they often need a quick solution, your customers may purchase your services within a few hours or days. This makes the customer lifecycle short and the need to build trust quickly very important, which means first impressions of your business really matter. This is why marketing and sales must work together from the launch of your business. The best way to ensure your entire team is on the same page for your customers is to develop positioning and messaging.
Before you can narrow your messaging, you need to establish your positioning. This means you must first know exactly what you offer and then research what your competitors offer. These competitors will primarily be national businesses that offer similar services as yours, but may also include local businesses.
When you have a few listed, review their positioning by reviewing their website, business listings, social media pages, and possibly speaking to people you know who have used their services before. The purpose of this exercise is to establish where the competitors are positioning themselves in the market.
From there, perform a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis about at least three competitors. Take your opportunities and your competitors’ weaknesses to determine your positioning in the local market. What can you offer that your competitors can’t? What can your business improve to compete with your competitors?
Learn from these analyses to create a positioning statement and brand pillars, both of which will help you know what to focus on in your messaging and marketing efforts.
Tip: Consumer services businesses must promote how they do things more than what they do. Depending on your services, don’t lead with what you do as it may confuse your potential customers at first. Focusing on your how can also differentiate you from your competitors if your services are very similar. Also, promote your company culture and what sets you apart from other companies that offer your services.
Before you can sell and market your services, you need to determine the best prices to sell them for. You have two options: competitive or value-based pricing. Competitive pricing compares your services to your competitors’ services and prices them accordingly. Value-based pricing is determined solely on the value it has to your audience. We recommend value-based pricing for all consumer services businesses because your services are unique. Even if you have competitors offering similar services, you likely offer a different amount of value to your customers through your competitive differentiators.
It’s important to start off with a good pricing strategy in the marketplace because customers often complain when businesses change their prices. You don’t want to price too low and be perceived as cheap and less valuable than your competitors, but you also don’t want to price too high and alienate your ideal audience.
To develop your value-based pricing strategy, you need to do the math on how much it really costs you to offer your services (including overhead costs) and compare that to how many service packages you plan to sell this month and this year. You also need to research what your primary audience segments are willing to pay for your services.
When developing a value-based pricing strategy, we still recommend that you review your competitors’ pricing. You don’t necessarily need to be comparable because your value is different, but it is good to know where you stand in the competitive market, especially when it comes to price.
Tip: Add convenience to your pricing. Bundle services for convenient solutions and/or offer payment plans. These additional options give your prospects more choices, letting them feel in control as they begin to use your services, which improves the customer relationship as long as you’re transparent about your pricing.
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