Here at Setmore we operate with a very simple formula. The more ways your customers have to book their appointments…
Sell your services online with these 8 helpful hints.
An e-commerce store is essential for your business to reach a wider audience and make sales throughout the day. Relying on online marketplaces is tempting, but why settle and split your profits? Read on for ideas to leverage your niche, build your brand online and tailor your marketing to boost online sales.
1) Nail down your services
You’ve got the idea; now it’s time to stand out from the crowd. Although being a one-stop shop like the best idea, carving out a niche will attract more motivated leads.
Find where you fit in your market. If you offer a tire service, specialize in particular vehicles. If you run a gym, try specializing in CrossFit. Running a salon? Maybe bridal stylings are your thing.
Ensure you highlight your USPs like offering a discounted service, a one-to-one approach, or classes or group sessions. Once you have those down, your audience knows what sets you apart.
Refine your offering and target a niche to differentiate your services. Once decided, you can base your pricing structure on:
- Luxury: Charge higher prices for exclusive, premium experiences that appeal to customers valuing high-end features and prestige.
- Time: Adjust pricing for offerings requiring significant time investments or personalized attention.
- Value proposition: Price according to the unique benefits and advantages your services offer over alternatives.
- Number of participants: Structure pricing based on group activities, offering different rates for individual, couple, or group participation.
- Experience: Justify higher prices based on exceptional, immersive customer experiences.
Consider implementing tiered packages with add-on features to cater to different needs and incomes — covering all audience expectations.
2) Get to know your audience
Understanding your customers will help to shape your offering. By knowing their pain points, you can speak directly to their needs. Be specific — casting a wide net can yield varying results. Some simple things to consider are:
- Income level
- Educational level
- Marital status
- Ethnicity or race
- Geographic location
- Family size
- Homeownership status
- Generation (e.g., Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, Gen Z)
Of course, this list can be as long or short as you like. But remember, in order to know how to sell a service, you need to clarify your target audience.
Here are three steps to get started:
Market research: Dive into data about potential customers—preferences, needs, demographics, and buying behavior. Get creative with surveys, interviews, focus groups, and market data analysis.
Customer profiling: Craft detailed descriptions of your ideal customers. Think about demographics, interests, behaviors, motivations, and pain points. It’s like creating characters that bring your target market to life, enabling you to tailor your marketing strategy.
Competitor analysis: Dig into each competitor’s customer base, marketing strategy, positioning, and USP. Use their strengths and weaknesses to angle your own brand and create a unique presence online.
3) Create a website to sell services online
After establishing your customer base, offering, and pricing, it’s time to get online. A website is your online storefront; it’s often how leads first discover your brand.
92% of customers will initially visit a business’ website for something other than making a purchase (Zippia). It’s a golden opportunity for you to build a connection. And by adding a chat widget to your site, you can easily turn leads into customers with real-time engagement, personalized assistance and a guided sales processes.
Building a website is much simpler than you think. Platforms like WordPress and Wix offer editable templates to create a compelling site in a snap. However, if you’d like a truly unique website with particular functionality, consider hiring a web developer. Use your website to sell services, give advice, share great content, entertain — you name it.
4) Provide your services via video
Offering classes or group sessions can help your business to become more competitive. For example, many providers in beauty services mentor newcomers. Not only are you able to share your expertise, but your time becomes more valuable as sessions are booked by multiple people.
Depending on your business type, your services could expand beyond the local area. If you’re an awesome personal trainer, why not provide virtual appointments to people across the globe? Offering HIIT classes through Zoom, Google Meet or Teleport is ideal for building a global client base. You could even see this increasing loyalty from local clients, as they have a choice to work out in the gym or online.
Research shows that from 2020 to 2025, there will be a 200% growth in online learning (Guru99). If you’re a teacher, tutor, educator or instructor, providing your services online will be crucial. Not only will you supply a convenient service for those who need it, but you’ll also create a whole new stream of revenue.
5) Make booking simple
Once people have explored your site and thought “Wow, this brand looks incredible”, offer them a direct route to book your time. A ‘Book now’ button on one or more of your site pages enables visitors to schedule an appointment without needing to call, email, or visit your location.
According GetApp, 70% of customers prefer booking online. By adding booking options to your site, it goes from simply raising awareness to filling your calendar fast.
Setting up a Booking Page gives you a ton of flexibility. Whether you need a free website alternative, want to add booking to your existing site, or fancy a simple booking process of your own, it’s easy to show off your services, team and prices. When it’s good to go, you’re free to share it wherever you get traffic – think YouTube, Google Business Profile, and anywhere really.
Let customers book with their go-to specialist by setting up team profiles. Highlighting each team member’s unique skills helps direct newcomers to the most relevant person.
6) Be a social media butterfly
With 92% of Internet users visiting social networks every month (Hootsuite), every business needs to start posting. The more likes, shares and comments received by your content, the further it’ll reach – like a digital ripple effect.
Don’t create profiles on every platform; focus on where your target audience is. If you work in retail or fashion, for example, Instagram is the perfect platform. Show off your latest collections, connect with followers, and craft a unique visual identity. Running a relaxing spa? Facebook‘s got your back. Connect directly with customers, target ads, and hype up those special packages for every type of clientele.
Social media pages are direct avenues for you to showcase your skills to the world. Best of all? Adding a ‘Book Now’ button to your Facebook and Instagram pages lets viewers schedule appointments directly from the apps.
7) Share your knowledge
Whether through captivating videos or enlightening blog posts, sharing your knowledge builds confidence in your services. Each piece of content has the potential to improve your business’ visibility in search engine results, bring in new customers, and raise awareness of your brand.
Business websites with updated blogs get 55% more visitors than those that don’t (HubSpot), reinforcing the importance of long-form content. However, if writing isn’t your thing, connect with a freelancer to weave words on your behalf.
Remember to target specific keywords so your content appears in search engine results. Tools like Ahrefs, SEMRush and Google Trends are popular options to find both evergreen and trending keywords. By crafting valuable thought-leadership content, you demonstrate why leads should choose your business over competitors.
8) Invest in marketing and advertising
Ever heard the saying “You have to spend money to make money”? Well, if you’re working with a budget, you’ll be happy to hear that there are many free and low-cost ways to sell your services online. Here are some examples:
|Search engine optimization (SEO)||Improve search engine rankings, increased website traffic, higher conversion rates|
|Pay-per-click (PPC)||Targeted advertising to potential customers, increased website traffic, higher conversion rates|
|Content marketing||Higher quality leads, improved search engine rankings, increased website traffic|
|Social media advertising||Targeted advertising to potential customers, increased brand awareness, higher conversion rates|
|Email marketing||Repeat business, higher customer loyalty, improved customer engagement|
To know exactly where to invest, you’ll have to conduct market research and come up with a strategy for your business.
Get up, get out there, get online
Enhancing your own online presence instead of relying on a marketplace empowers you to expand your business, reach your targeted audience, and drive sales around the clock. Whether you become a leader in your niche or a hero in your local area, leverage your own e-commerce store and start selling your services online.