Social Proof: A Must-Have in Service Business Marketing

Testimonials from satisfied clients, positive reviews on Yelp, numbers data, professional association logos — these are all that marketing experts call social proof, and they are an excellent way to gain the trust of prospective clients. While they are successful in many industry sectors, they’re especially so for retail service businesses which rely heavily on reputation and word-of-mouth.

Here are a few tips for making social proof work for you.

Use effective testimonials.

A couple of sentences saying that everything was great aren’t very interesting — or convincing. Choose ones that:

  • Mention a specific benefit the client received. “I looked so good at the class reunion that my old crush never took his eyes off me.”
  • Answer a question or potential objection. “They really captured the spirit of my wedding with their candid photography. Worth every penny!”
  • Include keywords that people would put into Google when looking for businesses like yours.
  • Include the name and photo of the person commenting — much more credible than a stand-alone quote.

Monitor the review sites.

They are a great source of testimonials. Even more important, you need to stay current with what people are saying about your business — good and bad — so you can nip any problems in the bud.

Present numbers/data proof compellingly.

Unless yours is a volume- or speed-driven business, people won’t much care that you “served over 15,000 clients last year.” However, they will be intrigued to learn that “25 clients are getting a buff body right now.” This combines a benefit with the number, showing how your success empowers the client’s success.

Display professional recognitions.

The social proofs mentioned above all come from the client’s peers. This type of proof comes from a respected authority. You could use:

  • Logos of professional associations you belong to
  • Awards you’ve received
  • Media coverage you’ve received
  • Better Business Bureau logo

Social proofs in advertising and marketing are not just effective, they’re cost-effective. Many of them are even free. That’s great news for any business with a finite marketing budget. And what we’ve discussed here is just the tip of the iceberg. In future articles, we’ll cover how to obtain social proofs, how and where to use them, and how to measure their success in attracting new clients to your business.

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

 

The Happiness Factor in Reducing Employee Turnover

Surprise: the biggest reason people quit isn’t the money (it’s not even in the top 5). What sends them out the door is unhappiness with the working conditions. That’s good news for your payroll budget, but you may have other issues to address if you want to retain valuable personnel. So what do employees list high on their happiness scale?

Relationships with superiors and co-workers.

  • Promote a corporate culture of mutual respect and support.
  • Praise employees when they do well at least as often as you point out mistakes.
  • Create a comprehensive, clear employee manual so everyone knows what’s expected.
  • Take employees’ comments and needs seriously.
  • Treat everyone the same, even relatives.

Job activities and opportunities.

Employees are happiest when they are interested in what they are doing, feel that they are stakeholders in the company’s success, and are given new challenges from which they can grow professionally and personally.

  • Hold regular meetings in which everyone has a voice.
  • Set goals for career growth.
  • Offer cross-training.
  • Establish achievement reward programs, such as sales competitions.
  • Get involved as a group with the community or charitable events.

Work/life balance.

Putting in so much overtime that there’s nothing left for friends, family or fun causes stress and burnout, leading to mistakes and poor productivity. This factor is especially important for employees from the millennial generation.

Work environment.

The physical workspace can greatly help or hinder productivity. This includes:

  • Comfort, cleanliness, health, and safety
  • Efficient and effective tools and equipment
  • Clear paths, workflows, and processes

Employer’s image.

Being proud of where they work is a powerful motivator for employee happiness and loyalty. This means:

  • A good reputation within the industry.
  • Corporate values of quality, honesty and fairness towards the community, customers, and workers.
  • Financial stability.

All these happiness factors come before the compensation package when employees are deciding whether to stay or go. Some attention to interpersonal relationships, management style, and employee recognition may be all it takes to turn dissatisfied workers into enthusiastic, hard-working ones.

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

 

The Price is Right: Developing the Perfect Pricing Strategy for Your Professional Services Business

As a professional services provider, did you know that the way you price your services is actually part of your overall marketing strategy? Whether you’re an accountant, lawyer, or business coach — if you’re pricing your services without thinking it all the way through, you could be underselling or underachieving the goals you’ve set for your company.

Not sure where to begin? Start by answering these simple questions and you’ll be well on your way to creating a great pricing strategy that works for you, while you spend your time working with new clients.

What are your business goals?

Yes, your goal is to grow your business. That’s a good start! But beyond that, what are you trying to achieve in your business right now? Are you attempting to reach a new segment of the market? Increase profit margin? Gain a larger market share? The answer to this question is the first step to determining how to price your services.

How does your target market make decisions when it comes to your services?

Different segments of the market make buying decisions very differently. As a financial planner, are you trying to reach young, budget-sensitive families, or very wealthy people close to retirement? It’s important to price your services so that your target perceives your value. For example, low-cost promotions and giveaways on premium services can undercut your value and confuse potential customers.

How is your competition pricing their services?

Chances are, you won’t be the only option your prospects are considering. That’s why it’s important to be prepared with an understanding of your competitors’ pricing so you can explain why your services cost more, or less than theirs. Keep in mind that the more competition you face, the more likely price will be the primary means by which customers make their decision.

Based on all of the above, which pricing strategy makes the most sense for your business?

Here are a few options to consider…

Premium Pricing

Is the service you provide especially unique? Is your target market very wealthy? If yes, pricing your services higher than the competition might be right for you. While higher prices = higher profits, keep in mind that premium-priced brands have the added challenge of creating a high-value perception in other ways to justify the higher price.

Economy or Market Penetration Pricing

Are you trying to steal business away from the competition or attract price-sensitive clients? Pricing your services lower than the competition is the way to go. If your low-price strategy is temporary to penetrate the market, be prepared for the possibility of an initial loss of income while you establish yourself in the market place – and have a plan for increasing your pricing in small increments over time. Also be sure to create the perception of value with other marketing strategies, so customers don’t confuse your low costs with low quality.

Psychology Pricing

This pricing technique attempts to affect customers on an emotional level before a logical one. Did you know there’s evidence that consumers tend to perceive prices ending in odd numbers as being significantly lower than they really are because they tend to round to a lower number? Some also suggest that removing the comma from a number over $1000 creates the perception of a lower price. There are dozens of psychology pricing strategies that range from how you align your numbers to the words you use next to them. These tools can be very effective, but it would be a mistake to start here before determining the real “why” behind your pricing.

Tiered and Bundle Pricing

Do you offer basically one service with options that vary in value? Try using a pricing structure that offers “good,” “better,” and “best” options – this can help your customers quickly understand exactly what they can expect from you and has the added benefit of capturing a larger market share by appealing to a wide range of shoppers.

Bundle pricing essentially combines services that would cost more on their own then when packaged together. If you have a number of a la carte services apart from your core offering, bundle pricing could be an effective way to create a perception of high-value at a lower cost.

Remember, your pricing strategy has a huge impact on your business’s ability to make a profit, but it’s just one piece of the pie. Looking at the overall financial health of your business on a regular basis is just as important. Xendoo handles your bookkeeping so you can always be aware of your financial health.

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.