Long gone are the days of solely visiting brick-and-mortar businesses to find what you need. Now, e-commerce is booming and here to stay.
You can also buy virtually anything online, including services. These services range from financial counseling to tarot readings.
When we think about online selling, we usually think about selling products like clothing or electronics. But, it's advantageous for businesses to sell services online, especially now, when a plethora of services can be offered virtually.
In this post, we'll cover the following:
Selling Services Online
Simply put, selling services online means offering your services for sale online. It’s similar to selling products online, but instead of selling physical goods, you sell services. Services can include anything from personal coaching and financial counseling.
There are quite a number of steps involved in selling services online. Below, we outline each step and provide examples.
How to Sell Services Online
1. Figure out what you’re selling
Are you going to offer all your business’ services online? Or just a limited selection to start? How much are you going to price your services?
This foundational step will help you figure out what your target audience is, which is the next step to selling services online.
2. Define your target audience
Defining your target audience is a critical step to any kind of selling, and it also applies to selling services online. Selling services online means reaching a wider audience compared to selling services at a brick-and-mortar location, but marketing to everyone will not help you get the customers you need to drive sales. There are different types of target audiences that can be categorized into the following groups: purchase intention, interests, and lifestyle.
Purchase intention: Purchase intention means an audience that is looking for a specific product to address their needs. For example, someone wants to buy a new car.
Interests: This refers to data about what your target audience is into, like their hobbies. For example, your target audience may be interested in personalized skincare.
Lifestyle: Defining target audience by lifestyle means figuring out how your customers spend their time.
You can further define your target audience through a process called segmentation. Segmentation helps clarify who you’re selling to, based on a variety of factors such as demographics, psychographics, lifestyle traits, and behavior.
3. Conduct market research
After defining your target audience, it's time to conduct market research to better understand them and meet your buyers where they are. Market research provides insight into the following:
- Where your target audience and current customers conduct their product or service research
- Which competitors your target audience looks to for information, options, or purchases
- What influences purchases and conversions among your target audience
Interviews, focus groups, and surveys are all methods used for gathering qualitative and quantitative data.
4. Create (or improve) your websites
Obviously, you cannot sell online without a web presence. One thing that can really move that web presence (and your purchases further) is your own company website.
But, it can’t just be any website — it has to be one that has a user-friendly design and is optimized to convert.
For example, a website designed to sell online services needs to include: pages detailing the services available, CTAs, photos, and videos. The website must also be able to accept payments.
When building that website, and working in all of the features above, A/B testing can help you learn what works best for converting website visitors – and where you should place key features like CTAs.
Luckily, with HubSpot’s free CMS tools, creating a professional-looking website doesn’t require advanced coding skills. The CMS tools include a theme library, drag-and-drop editor, premium cloud hosting, website analytics, and more. CMS sites are also highly customizable, meaning you can create the perfect website for your brand.
5. Implement SEO strategies
You’ve created this beautiful website, now what? It would be imprudent to not bake SEO (search engine optimization) into your plan. According to the HubSpot State of Marketing Report, 69% of marketers invested in SEO in 2021. More website traffic means more customers, and therefore more opportunities to sell your services online.
Pro tip: HubSpot’s Ultimate Guide to SEO in 2023 will help you get started with — or fine tune — your strategy.
6. Perfect your landing page.
You’ve done the hard work of attracting visitors to your website, but you have a short amount of time to capture the visitor’s attention and inspire them to take action. Creating a compelling landing page with clear CTAs can help you do that.
Features of a compelling landing page include:
- Messaging and media tailored to your target audiences
- Complete and relevant information about your service
- Imagery, media, and/or video demos
- A clear path to a CTA
Need examples? Check out this post.
7. Market your online services
While your website is a critical component of generating leads, more marketing efforts can boost your sales.
Here are just a few ways to market your online services:
- Content marketing: Creating informative and interesting content, like blogs, images, videos, or other web pieces, that can drive traffic to your website and increase engagement.
- Social media marketing: According to HubSpot research, 77% of social media marketers say their marketing specialty has been somewhat-to-very effective for their company this year. With 4.70 billion worldwide social media users, social media marketing (both organic and paid efforts) is necessary for getting your brand in front of your target audiences.
- Brand ambassadors and partnerships: Using brand ambassadors and partnerships establishes that your services are trustworthy. They can also promote your services to their audiences.
- Customer stories and positive reviews: Sharing this type of content gives prospects examples of people who benefitted from services. It can lead to building trust through brand ambassadors and partners.
8. Capture and nurture leads
Lead capturing means obtaining the necessary information for a prospect to become a lead. This process includes creating clear CTAs and forms that capture their contact information like email address. Lead nurturing means listening to their needs and transforming them into customers. The sales team can follow up with emails and video calls, and schedule demos to help give your leads the information they need. Nurturing with a personalized approach helps leads become customers.
9. Onboard new customers
Now that you have customers, a smooth onboarding process will make their experience with your brand positive. By creating a personalized experience where customers’ questions are answered and clear expectations are set, you can set the stage for customer success.
10. Nurture your relationship with customers
Don’t just leave your customers in the dust. Relationship-building with your customers through consistent communication and high-quality customer service is key to your business’ success. Regular check-ins, online Q&As to answer questions, and customer spotlights are all ways to keep your customers engaged and therefore likely to promote your online services to their networks.
Selling Services Online is a No-Brainer
In today’s digital world, selling services online is a no-brainer and getting started with a professional-looking website is key. HubSpot’s free CMS tools make it easy to design a website that converts.