Marketing a professional service requires a different approach than what works for other business categories, such as retail, travel, construction or manufacturing. The most essential message that professional services need to send is the importance of value over price. It is crucial to separate these two issues in the mind of the market. As more and more business transactions migrate to the web, the more that professional services will be compared on a cost basis only. If the long-term benefits of excellence are communicated effectively, desirable clients will reject the low-price alternative in favor of better service. As I have written before, the most expensive service is the one that doesn’t work.
One tool often overlooked is the one-sheet. This is a promotional piece that can function both on-line and in print. It summarizes your services in a memorable, succinct way that speaks to your target market and includes a direct call to action. This form is used commonly to promote and compare new products; the name, one-sheet, comes from its length.
A one- sheet is an ideal way to introduce people to your service and get the conversation started. It is appropriate for all kinds of services. It can be posted on your web site, sent as a pdf attachment in an email, or printed out and mailed along with a letter. It should inspire the reader to contact you to describe their needs and learn more about how you can solve their challenges.
What to Include
This is your opportunity to position your business by explaining how you are different from your competitors and what you can provide that is unique: why a prospect should hire you and not some other firm. The message needs to be brief, yet with enough information that the reader will want to know more. Stating a common problem of your target audience and leading with it as a headline is a good way to start. The one-sheet should be about the pain points of your prospect and how you solve them, not primarily about your firm.
Also important: a short list of the services you provide, your contact information, and a testimonial from a previous client who is thrilled with your work. Readers should be able to get a sense of not only what you do, but how you do it and what you’re like to work with. Good personality fits are essential to good service delivery.
The most important thing to include is a clear call to action. Too often this is left out because it is assumed that the reader will know what to do after reading the one-sheet. Wrong! Whether you want them to fill out an online contact form, call you on the phone or sign up for your newsletter, you need to ask directly. Marketing tests have proven that CTAs work! Since different people like to make contact in different ways, make sure you include three ways you can be contacted.
Your one-sheet can be used in all environments where you want to communicate your value to prospects. It is a quick way for them to understand your services and why they should hire you instead of your competition.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you the one-sheet I use for marketing to professional services. If you would like help creating one for yourself, give me a shout!