Packaging will help your marketing stand out from the crowd. It can help you add more perceived value, increase fees, and attract more business. Packaging for a service business - what does that mean anyway?
The packaging I'm talking about refers to how you communicate through images, verbally, and in writing. Whenever you meet someone and speak about your business or put your materials in front of them, you are packaging yourself.
Packaging is what makes your business more tangible and at the same time carves out your unique positioning in the marketplace. Let me try to explain this concept. Too few small business owners understand the power of this idea and end up ignoring it to the detriment of their business growth.
When you are a professional service business provider, you face some unique challenges. Selling services is not like selling products or retail. These challenges are what prevent many people from taking action towards becoming your clients. The following is just a brief overview of these unique challenges...
1. Your services are intangible. They can't be seen, heard, or felt. The benefits of your services aren't realized until after the service has been provided. It could be days, weeks, months, or even years after becoming a client that the benefits materialize. That makes it more difficult to convince your prospects versus selling a hard good like an iPod or a clock.
2. Because services are intangible, it's more difficult to convince prospects and clients of how you're different from everyone else who says they do what you do. Without much else to choose from, fees end up becoming the primary deciding factor. When you compete on price, nobody wins - not even the client. This is because in order to lower your fees, you naturally end up offering less service.
3. Raising your fees to grow your business is a tough proposition. Prospects typically find it more difficult to understand the true benefits of what your services can do for them. If they are uncertain what the benefits are for them, they sure as heck aren't going to pay a premium for your services.
The good news is that packaging can help you fairly easily overcome these obstacles. Packaging your services clarifies your marketing communications. It helps your clients understand what they will get and what your services will do for them. It will help you generate attention, interest, and a willingness to take action.
Plus, you'll gain an immediate competitive advantage. As I mentioned before, not too many service businesses spend any time packaging their services. They don't even understand why they should.
So what do you need to consider for packaging your marketing? Take a good hard look at these important elements that need to be addressed:
- What does your identity package say about your business? Have you even created an Identity Package? Too many small business owners forge ahead in getting the business started without proper attention to this. Your business identity package consist of a logo, business card, company letterhead, envelopes, web site masthead, presentation folders, etc. A consistent look and feel of these things needs to identify and express your positioning to your target market.
- What are the services you're offering and how will they be delivered? You need to be clear about what each service is out to cause and the result it's intended to deliver. Taking the time to clearly define each service and documenting how it will be delivered is packaging. Will it be one-on-one consulting every week, group coaching once a month, or a ten-part workshop conducted over a three month time frame?
- Create a work flow or process diagram for each service. Logically defined stages and steps show potential clients that you know what you're doing.
- Give each service a name that has meaning and tells the client what they will get from it. Also, consider various ways you could bundle services or offer extras that would make the service package more valuable.
- Consider creating an array or continuum of service packages with different price points. If each package offers a bit more value at a higher fee, you'll presenting prospects with a choice of yes options. This packaging tip alone could blow your competition out of the water.
Of course your marketing materials need to reflect these packaging considerations as well. Be sure that your materials stay focused on what's in it for the client. Don't create materials that do nothing more than list out the things you offer or laundry list the tasks you'll do. Focus on outcomes and results and then demonstrate how the service package delivers these.
Start taking a look at your marketing packaging. What message is it sending about your business? More importantly, what actions do you need to take to begin improving it?
Kevin Dervin is the owner of KPD Marketing and creator of the ABCD Growth System. If you find this article useful, you'd probably enjoy Kevin's FREE monthly eZine called ABCD Grow. To subscribe, just go to http://www.ABCDgrowth.com and follow one of the links to the FREE Stuff page!