The management of ThinkEDU has been working with service-based businesses for over 20 years. In that time, we’ve had the opportunity to get to know a lot of business owners who are past the startup phase and are now wondering what they should be doing to expand their business into the academic space. The goal for many of these business owners is to get to the point where they aren’t chasing down new business every month and instead have a steady flow of leads, projects going on and recurring or passive income coming in through subscription billing programs.
The Opportunity: Market Your Services
When a business gets to this critical growth point many people feel stuck, not knowing what to do next. They aren’t sure how to reach more customers, while still maintaining all of the things they already do on a day-to-day basis. Most business owners know that if they want to grow they need to market their services. However, marketing is often the task that gets put off for later when there isn’t enough time to do everything. If you are in a similar place with your business, while it might seem intimidating to get started, it’s time to put marketing to work for your business.
Six Steps to Market your Services
1. Find the time
Easier said than done (of course) but if you want your business to grow, you have to free up time to invest back into your business. What this means for most is that you’ll need to start managing your time differently, whether that means delegating tasks to others, using software solutions to streamline your tasks or outsourcing time-consuming work to experts (accountants, etc). Set a goal for how many hours you want to invest in the growth of your business. A good way to organize your thoughts around this and to get started is by conducting a checkup on your business.
2. Invest the time
Now that you have allocated the time (this is the part that’s going to take some real discipline)—don’t fall into the trap of tackling projects that have been nagging you for a long time but have little impact on your business. This is valuable time that could change the course of your business, use it wisely. Use these 5 tips for increasing productivity to help you get the most out of your time.
3. Make a plan
Free up your calendar, don’t take any calls and give yourself a couple of hours of uninterrupted planning time. Think about what you want marketing to do for your business, what will success look like? How will you get there? Map it out and write it down.
4. Keep it simple
Don’t over-engineer your plan; this is a common mistake. Start small and take notes on what is working and what is not. For example: How are you currently selling your services? How do people find out about your offerings? Do your customers have the option to buy online? If not, this is a great first step to tackle. If you can offer your services online, then you’ll be able to market them easier through your social media pages, emails and on your website.
5. Relationships first
When you take your selling online you’ll be able to introduce yourself to new customers and re-introduce yourself to existing customers. Make sure that when you start opening this new channel up for your business, you have a system in place to organize your customer information so that each transaction and order is attached to your customer’s profile. If you set this up from the beginning, you will have a wealth of information that will help you get to know your best customers better and to market more efficiently in the future (saving time and money).
6. Keep marketing
Your marketing efforts should become part your business model, something that is ongoing and consistent. This consistency will help drive a flow of new leads. Additionally, share recent projects on your website and in social media that highlight your customer as well as your great work to keep your customers engaged. Finally, make sure you are building (and marketing) a recurring billing program to establish a passive revenue stream that will help add stability to your business.
Introducing the ThinkEDU Online Store
To help business owners market their services we can assist you with an online academic eStore. No matter your service, ThinkEDU can assist. Our online stores were built with the unique needs of service-based businesses in mind. Learn how the ThinkEDU Online Store helps business owners take advantage of the Biggest Growth Opportunities for service-based businesses:
- Generating more business by marketing and selling your services
- Providing the online shopping experience customers are used to
- Saving time with a platform tailored to service business
- Managing your business in one place
- Gaining financial stability by generating new customers and sales 24/7