What do dog walkers, plumbers and wedding photographers all have in common? The answer is not as outrageous as you might guess. Businesses like these usually meet their customers (or four-legged friends) face-to-face at some predetermined location. Whether it’s a park, the customer’s home or a cathedral, these businesses thrive by being “on the go.” In many cases, they don’t have a storefront or brick-and-mortar location that customers can visit.
From artists to zen masters, more and more people are taking their business out of the office. Like their brick-and-mortar counterparts, these service-area businesses can build their brand and their customer base via online marketing. But their online marketing strategy should be tailored to their business type — a business on the go.
Here are some pointers:
Identify as a service-area business
First things first, if your business does not operate out of a storefront or physical location, embrace it. Define the territory or region your business will serve and research the area. What other service-area businesses are active in your local market? How do they define their target region? Knowing what your competitors and other local service area providers are doing can help you come up with a clear plan for your business.
Also, take time to learn your limits. It can be tough to turn down customers, but sometimes the travel and expense of just getting to the customer can be too much. Once you’re clear on your boundaries and limitations, spread the word online.
Build a website
Customers are looking for goods or services like yours online. Right now. Make sure your business shows up by creating a website. With nearly all consumers consulting online sources to review products and services in their area, having a presence on the Internet is more important than ever.
Many small business owners often avoid building a Web presence because they see the Internet as confusing and scary. Luckily, template-based products like GoDaddy’s Website Builder makes it so easy to build a website even self-proclaimed “not tech-savvy” users can do it. And if you’re too busy to do it yourself, consider hiring a professional website designer.
Whichever website route you choose, make sure your site is responsive. Basically, this means that your website will be easy to view and navigate on different devices, like mobile phones. Your customers are on the go, too. And remember to mention your specific service area or region on your website — your customers (and search engines like Google®) want to know.
Showcase your business on local review and directory sites
Service area businesses have to overcome a unique challenge. Many of these businesses — like house cleaners, plumbers, painters, pet sitters and home care providers — offer services that require entry into people’s homes. And most people are very protective of their personal space. They want reassurance that they can trust you. That’s where word-of-mouth referrals come into play.
In today’s world, these word-of-mouth referrals have become more figurative than literal. People are increasingly turning online and trusting the opinions and advice of strangers as if they are friends or family. Third-party local review and directory sites such as Judy’s Book, Angie’s List® and Yelp® are making these connections among online strangers.
These and related sites are perfect platforms for service-area businesses to display their talents and capabilities. These websites thrive on matching a potential customer with a service provider in their area. And with hundreds of monthly unique visitors, you can see why review sites and directories are a great place to list your business online.
Still don’t know where to begin? Get Found offers a product specifically for service-area businesses to get you listed on top websites that cater to promoting businesses like yours.
Ready to put your navigation skills to work online? Once you target where your customers are searching for you — such as search engines, review sites and social media — you can fine-tune your online marketing approach to focus on the sites that really matter to you.