The marketing challenge for service-based businesses is demonstrating the value they provide to be better than their competitors. The “thing” that makes them the best is intangible, and therefore hard to recognise on the surface.
A contractor can share photographs or bring a potential client to his worksite, but does that alleviate the prospect’s fears about quality, honesty, and fair negotiation? How often can you get them to visit the worksite?
A professional’s intangible value is understood by current clients, that’s why good referrals are really helpful. But if you want to grow a business substantially, banking mostly on referrals isn’t enough.
There is an excellent strategy a professional can use to demonstrate value: giving away informational products to potential clients. It helps make the value of your services tangible
One of my favorite tools to demonstrate service value is an informational product made by the business owner. It is given away for free. The products are usually in the form of a whitepaper, audio, video, checklist, or quick reference guide.
The professional considers what kind of information would help his potential clients the most, and the medium they would find easiest to use. This makes the information attractive and user-friendly.
Informational products are very different from calendars, t-shirts etc. They are much more powerful in communicating the relevance of your service to the receiver.
Informational product demonstrates your expertise and authority on the subject matter. It shows caring and thoughtfulness for the welfare of others. It educates the potential client to be a better client for you. It keeps your business in the forefront of their mind when they use the information. It can cost practically nothing to create. It differentiates your business because only a small percentage of professionals do this.
Your informational product has to contain actionable information a prospect can use to better their situation within the given context. The introduction within the product should be “why” the information is important, and then explain “how” they can use it.
Your product can also focus on educating the prospect on how to use your service. The contractor for instance could create a short guide for home owners on how to hire and work with a contractor for home improvements. It may contain what good contractors do best for the prospect etc.
Based on such generic guide a prospect could use the information to hire any contractor. Most likely prospect will be interested in working with this particular contractor because their value just became tangible in the form of the guide.
How to give away free information
There are two options for giving away free information:
It really is totally free, no strings attached.
The benefit to this approach is that the product is very easy to share. If you choose to do this, make sure the product contains details of your service and contact information.
It really is totally free, but the person agrees to be added to your mailing list
The advantage to this approach is that it helps you build a high quality contact list of prospects. Many more people will share their email address in return for some valuable information. The more valuable your product, the more people will sign up to get it.
You have to be intentional in how you tell others about the product. Here’s what I recommend:
1) Explain to prospects how helpful it is and where they can find it. If you exchange business cards, make sure you communicate it through a follow-up email.
2) Have a full website page dedicated to describing the product along with a sign-up form or the download link. Have a place where users of the information can leave comments.