Great marketing always starts with understanding what is actually being marketed. There are numerous techniques and strategies that work best only for certain types of promotions. One of the key distinctions that marketing constantly has to make is the one between products and services.
The differences between selling an actual product and selling a service of any kind on your business website are vast (see our guide on how to start a service business). As a result, naturally marketing pros tend to think of them separately and to strategize them in completely different ways. There is a lot to gain, however, in applying a product marketing approach to service marketing and vice versa, as long as you do so thoughtfully.
Read Also: How to start a business
Service as product? How it works
In this post, we specifically explore the benefits of marketing services by considering them as products. Products, unlike services, have the advantage of being physically palpable and visible. They are available right here and now, and do not require the customers to rely solely on promise and belief in the service provider.
Obviously, you can’t pretend that your service is equivalent to a tangible product in every way. But you can create a marketing strategy that highlights the tangible value and real-time results, just like those that products can give. Let’s inspect how you do that:
01. Market to the senses
Service providers can use marketing that emphasizes the tangible aspects of their services, even if it has no physical dimension. The idea is to apply branding that appeals to your customers’ senses by using visuals and texts that create a feeling of a real experience.
How would this be applied for finance consulting, for instance? In some ways, the “product” of this service is power, wealth and prestige, so we want to translate these concepts into images and words that reflect them – photos of respectable offices with well-dressed and confident employees; writing that is eloquent; precise and inspiring; and classic and simple design layouts for ad materials.
02. Emphasize the gain
You want clients to be able to perceive clearly the expected end result that you offer them, even if getting there involves an enduring process. That’s why video editors, for instance, market themselves primarily with examples of previous works, not by highlighting the gear and software that they work with.
Clients will be excited about your service if they can imagine how it would benefit them. Use your marketing techniques to get their imagination going.
03. Redefine “packaging”
Goods come in packages, which is a huge advantage because packages can be utilized to emphasize branding and improve the customer’s interaction with the product. What about services? Here packaging still exists but has to be more creative.
If your service has a brick-and-mortar location that clients actually visit, it should function as a “package” and fully reflect your brand identity, as well as your type of business.
If your service interacts with clients primarily online, your business website and your social media presence should also function as a service “package” that you use to appeal to your target market.
Design and branding are the keywords here. Make your offline and online spaces striking and attractive to inspire your clients to open the package.
04. Empower your clients
There’s a certain sense of control that goes together with purchasing products, because the customers are ultimately the individual agents who operate and work with the products they buy. With services, the service providers themselves have so much influence on the end-result, and this can cause a distancing feeling for the clients.
To avoid this sense of estrangement, make your clients feel more involved in the process by emphasizing their importance to the process and by demoting your own position to that of a mediator (even if it’s only half true).
05. Bring relationships into the deal
A vital aspect in every service operation is the relationship between the provider and the client, which rarely evolves with product manufacturers. Use this fact as a strength in your marketing efforts and present the advantages of the relationship as part of a bargain. The guidance and feedback of an expert is one of the most valuable products on the market, and you want to make sure that your clients understand that.