marketing plan for service providers

Most service providers I speak to know what a marketing plan is - but very few of them actually have one. In fact, when business owners tell me about their marketing, they tend to use terms like 'hit and miss' or 'throwing spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks'... 

If that sounds a bit like you right now, then keep reading, because I'm going to break your marketing down into 3 simple steps. Yep - marketing doesn't need to be so complex! If you have each of these 3 steps covered then you'll have an effective - and most importantly, do-able marketing plan.

do this first!!!

Before you even think about creating a marketing plan, you need to get to grips with your message. Now, messaging is one of those business terms that you've probably heard a lot, but quite honestly, I think it can be a bit fluffy. What does 'messaging' actually mean when it comes to your business - and to your marketing?

Well, here's my interpretation. As always, I like to keep things simple (and throw in a bit of alliteration for good measure):

WHO is your service for (ie. your ideal clients)?

WHAT result or transformation does your service help with?

WHY should your ideal clients work with you?

The answer to these 3 questions will form the core - the very foundations of your marketing and business. If you're unclear who you're marketing to and what it is you're actually trying to sell then creating an effective marketing plan is going to be tricky.

the 3 c's of marketing

Ok, now you're clear on your messaging, let's get started with your marketing plan.

Marketing may feel overwhelming and complex - but the fact is, your marketing really only has three jobs. I call these the 3 C's of Marketing and if you focus your marketing plan around these 3 things, you won't go far wrong.

1) Connection

Audience growth.

If you don't have an audience, then you don't have anyone to market or sell to - and that's going to be a problem.

When you create your marketing plan, make sure you're doing something to reach and connect with ideal clients who don't know you exist yet.

Short term audience growth strategies

There are some strategies which give fast results, but which aren't very long lasting, so you have to keep doing them over and over to maintain consistent growth. These tend to be strategies which involve you finding your ideal clients and putting yourself and your content in front of them.

Some examples of these are:

  • Networking (online or in person): You attend an event and get an influx of new contacts - but a week later (maybe even a day later) that growth has stopped until you attend your next event.
  • Guest content: You might do a guest training or be a guest on someone's podcast. This allows you to reach an audience of your ideal clients that someone else has built for you! It can reap quick results but these tend to die down again within a week or two of the content going out.
  • Ads: Done right, ads will give you fast growth - buuut the second you stop running them, your growth stops too.

long term audience growth strategies

There are also strategies which don't usually give you fast results, but which will continue to bring new people into your business on a long term basis. These tend to be strategies which focus on helping your ideal clients find you.

Examples of these are:

  • Blogging: When you first publish a new blog post, very few people will see it (and those that do are probably people you've promoted it to - so more you going out to find them again). But eventually, if you've spent time on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), your post will start to be found through search engines like Google. That blog post can continue to bring new people into your audience for months, or even years after you publish it.
  • Video content: Creating regular video content for a platform like YouTube is another great way to help your ideal clients to find you. As with blogging, you'll create content your IC is searching for, you'll optimise that content with keywords and voila! Your ideal clients will find you.
  • Podcast: Another form of searchable content! Are you spotting a trend here? You create content (this time in audio format rather than written or video) and your ideal clients discover you through that content.

I recommend choosing at least 1 long term and 1-2 short term strategies as part of your plan - but remember to keep things simple and don't choose too many!

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2) Conversation

Clients come from conversations! If you remember just one thing from this post, remember that.

Once your ideal clients discover you - they'll probably need to get to know you a bit before they decide if they want to invest in your service. 

In fact, the higher the price of your service, the more important this stage of your marketing is (and yet it seems to be a stage that often gets missed).

We tend to invest in people with whom we share similar values - and of course in people we trust to deliver.

Your job is to facilitate this connection and trust building process - and there are lots of ways you can do this:

  • Email: When I work with clients, I very rarely recommend specific marketing platforms or tactics. I prefer to work with someone to see which tactics work best for them and their business. Email is the exception. I will ALWAYS recommend you have an email list and send emails at least weekly.  
  • Facebook group: Running your own Facebook group allows you to build your own community. I love my Facebook group, Fully Booked Mums and many of my clients come from this group. But it isn't for everyone so you need to decide if this is something that will work for you.
  • Social media: There are some marketing strategies which do more than just one of the 3 C's for you - and this is one of them. Growing a following on a platform like Instagram or TikTok allows you to reach new people as well as build connection and trust with those who have followed you for a while.

3) Conversion

Now we're getting down to the nitty-gritty! 

The whole point of a marketing plan is to generate leads (that is, people who are actively interested in investing in your service). In order for that to happen you need to:

a) TELL them about your service

b) Invite them to take the next step (like booking a discovery call)!

Sounds so simple, but we tie ourselves up in knots over this step!

We worry about being pushy or too 'salesy'.

We tell ourselves that people don't like to be sold to.

And so we keep quiet. 

We don't tell people HOW they can work with us.

We don't let them know that our service can help them!

And we don't invite them to take the next step.

So I challenge you to go create a marketing plan where you are doing this AT LEAST weekly.

Because it isn't salesy or pushy - it's service.

If you have followed the 3 C's then you have build an audience of ideal clients - people who need and want your service.

You have build trust with those ideal clients and showed them why you are the perfect person to help them.

To then stay quiet about HOW they can get that help is not serving them - and it's not serving you.

before you go...

I created a handy PDF one-sheet on the 7 steps to design and fully book your £1-3k service. You can grab it for FREE right here... 

design & fully book your £1-3k service

  • A simple 7-step process to design & fill your £1-3k service
  • Why you shouldn't price by hour (and what to do instead)
  • The easiest way to get the first (or next) clients for your service
About the Author

Colette Broomhead

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