In the promotion of goods and services on the Internet, the difference is very tangible, since approaches and methods differ. Why is it difficult to promote B2B services online? Let’s take a look at the issues of building a brand and building a loyal user audience using examples.
How do you usually search for products? The client knows that he needs a TV or refrigerator, understands (at least approximately) the parameters and technical characteristics. Then he focuses on the brand and the price: a well-known company sells products at a higher price, newcomers to the market – cheaper. Here the choice is quite simple and logical. Also, brand awareness and brand awareness immediately play in favor of a well-known company.
The situation in the sale of services looks completely different. If we look at the topic of consulting, then there will be the influence of many other factors. For example, a manager was unable to disclose the value of an expert, and clients refused to cooperate. Or another option – there are many negative reviews about the consulting agency on the Internet, there are complaints and criticism. Thus, the promotion of B2B complex services includes, in addition to the usual marketing strategies, the whole range of actions to organize the work of the project team.
Why is it so difficult to promote B2B services?
I propose to consider the main indicators that characterize the situation on the market for the promotion of complex services and consultations. There are the following features here:
- There are no exact standards in the service market for assessing the quality and effectiveness of consulting. If in goods it is possible to compare products according to technical characteristics, then how to assess the level of professionalism of a lawyer? This is not just a subjective assessment, but generally the absence of criteria for comparison. Sometimes numbers are used: lawyers won so many processes, conducted so many cases, conducted so many client consultations. But such indicators are not absolute and objective. In addition, unscrupulous marketers sometimes write unrealistic numbers online on the site, and come up with impressive statistics. When a specialist sees that 3460 consultations have been provided for a consulting firm in 2 years, what is his impression of such an indicator? You can simply assess the realism of the numbers in relation to the real demand for such a service, the time spent and the number of employees. That is, even a simple calculation shows that 3460 consultations carried out in 2 years means the following: 33 consultations are issued per week. And if this is a small town, where will such a flow of customers come from? Therefore, in this case, false information on the site will be clearly visible.
- Lack of stable quality of service. It is impossible to get 100% winnings in legal disputes for any lawyer, and this is obvious. If there is clearly a client’s fault in the accident, then how can you guarantee a positive solution to the issue? Each request in the consulting market is individual. It is for this reason that the approaches and results differ at times. How to evaluate the quality of services of a consulting company? Only through secondary characteristics that affect the work of specialists: education (basic and additional), work experience, specialization in some specific tasks, personal characteristics. I can tell from experience that clients often pay attention to the consultant’s photo – how pretty the facial features and appearance are.
- Service efficiency. This question depends not only on the professionalism of the consultant, but also on the actions of the client. A lawyer can give an exact step-by-step scheme of actions that will lead to a result. However, implementation will depend on HOW the recommendations are implemented. Perhaps, in writing an important document, the client will soften the wording or change them, which will affect the accuracy of the description of the situation and the opinion of the court. The results are especially different during training, since a business coach can provide excellent content, but the listener simply will not do anything.And what is the effectiveness of training or consulting in this case? Can a bad case damage the reputation of a company or a particular specialist? Therefore, in the field of promoting B2B services, there are still many questions.
B2B service promotion strategies
Given this specificity, Internet promotion in the field of b2b services will be based on examples and specific projects, necessarily includes reviews and recommendations, video content and self-presentation.
Why is video content important in reviews and on the website? This especially affects the promotion of psychologists, lawyers, speakers and consultants. Self-presentation video allows you to establish contact with a client and build trust. For example, if a speaker speaks in a professional language with incomprehensible terms, then it is difficult for clients to understand him, although he is an excellent specialist. Or a psychologist, whose speech is harsh and categorical, will repel clients who already find it difficult to entrust their emotional experiences to an outsider.
Case studies showing real-life situations are an excellent marketing tool. In case studies, you can competently work out customer objections and build communications. In the field of B2B services, not all clients are ready to declare openly that they have turned to your company for help. You can interest such customers through material motivation: provide some kind of discount or additional free consultation time. Other bonuses are also possible: checklists, training manuals, reference books and other informational content.
After the service has been provided, it is useful to take feedback and recommendations from customers. The format can be any, but it should not cause doubts among the readers. Video testimonials will be emotionally charged, and official testimonials on letterhead will give your company status. It is important not to use bogus reviews on the website or on social networks, as they are easy enough to expose. The rave reviews of bots in advertising are more likely to inspire disbelief than attract.
How to choose a supplier and not be mistaken?
Changes to service promotion agreements are associated with other brand attributes. A PR agency spends time researching your business and can completely change the old strategy. This will entail large financial costs, rebranding, and so on. Moreover, there is no guarantee that the new “promoters” will be better and bring the expected results. Those who have already chosen an agency or marketer are aware of the complexities of choosing, adapting and learning.
From the point of view of marketing company employees, customers can make serious mistakes when choosing an agency:
Give too complex test items
Ask for a free strategy proposal
Trying to immerse a marketer in their business for free and get all the answers at once
Build formal evaluative templates that only take numbers into account (and can be easily manipulated)
Expect too quick results on complex projects.
Branding, value creation, achievement of goals are directly related to corporate style and marketing. We recommend that you familiarize yourself with the agency’s cases and evaluate the visual components of the brand, the quality of USP, press releases, website, video content. All brand elements should form a single and harmonious picture, as a long-term strategy with significant investments is being built.
How is service branding different?
The service market does not have the classic branding that we are used to seeing from manufacturers of well-known goods. Most often, clients need to disclose and convey the value of your consultation, the expertise of specialists, work out objections and doubts.
At first glance, services are easy to advertise, but this was the case before, when the market was “hungry”. Now the competition has increased, and customers are carefully studying information on the Internet. When buying a product of the same brand, the price comes first, since the product itself is completely identical. In Internet promotion in the field of b2b services, the picture is completely different: you will be assessed carefully, thoroughly and for a long time.
In service promotion, the return on investment is not as fast as in product sales. The strategy includes a relationship of trust with the customer, so it is important to build a sales funnel and design a customer journey. Only in this case the advertising costs will pay off in the future and bring good income. Advertising costs for 1 service (without the subsequent chain of touches) are too high and this will affect your budget.
Competent and professional marketing of services will also depend on the business niche and market sector. Achieving success rests not only on marketing tools, but also on personal communications.