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Low-Cost Tips For Marketing Your Service Business

Low-Cost Tips For Marketing Your Service Business

Traditional marketing techniques don't always apply to the service industry and more creative forms of advertising are often necessary to convey your message to the public. Service-based businesses require even more networking and promotion than a business which sells a product because there is no key item for which the public to focus on. In a service business, reputation is everything and you're selling yourself instead of an item. The following are some of the best low-cost promotional advertising ideas for service businesses.

Press Releases

Next time you purchase a newspaper take a quick look at the business section. Many service businesses issue press releases announcing employee hires, business relocation, winning various industry awards and other major events. Don't let a local accounting firm or law office be the only one getting free publicity. Create your own press release and send it to the appropriate section editor for your local newspaper. Always include your business and personal contact information as well as a high-quality photo or two to be used in the newspaper article.

Customer Referrals

High-quality customer referrals early on can lead to more business as additional relationships develop based on initial contacts. Cross branding services between different business entities allows everyone to benefit without having to offer every service under the sun. As an example, a tax attorney and a certified financial planner would likely refer customers to each other if their client's specific needs are outside the scope of what they currently offer. While a certified financial planner may know quite a bit about taxes with regards to estate planning or inheritance, they may not be able to answer specific legal tax questions. This is where a referral would serve everyone including the customer better.


Newsletters have been around as a form public relations and advertising for literally forever but they require time to prepare and cost money to mail to current and prospective customers. Today, the Internet and online e-newsletters have removed the cost barrier and made targeting specific interested clients even easier. Publishing costs are now nonexistent and if you have a web site with a newsletter sign-up form you could possibly receive multiple new recipients every day with little effort. Keep in mind a newsletter is meant to be informational and topic specific. If it feels like an advertisement and looks like an advertisement, it will more than likely be viewed as spamming and therefore of less benefit to customers.

Free Classes

Everyone likes getting something for free and service-based businesses can benefit greatly by conducting free seminars or educational classes. While the aim may be altruistic, the result will still lead to increased exposure and name recognition for yourself and your company. The goal is to convert an hour of your time teaching an entry-level class about filing taxes or claiming deductions into a couple of new clients. Even if you have no new customers, the classes themselves can be announced in a press release and promoted in your weekly or monthly newsletter. There really is no downside to giving something free to the community since it builds goodwill and networking.

Public Speaking

Many profit, nonprofit and social organizations often have guest speakers one a variety of topics that may be beneficial to their employees or members. If you're comfortable with public speaking then this provides a similar opportunity to offering free classes. It only takes an hour or two of your time at which point you can leave brochures and business cards if attendees have any additional questions which should lead to some amount of new business. Public speaking does require a significant amount of practice to engage an audience. Your personality will be the primary selling point as someone who the public wants to interact with for their business needs.