If you’re looking for advice on how to sell your services online, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll talk about how you can sell services online.
Some services require a direct exchange of time for money–this is okay when your health is good and you’re working with clients you enjoy, but what happens when situations change?
Recently, with the COVID-19 lockdown, many business owners who relied heavily on providing services offline saw a steep drop in income because normal business was limited by law. Many service providers like barbers, beauticians, accountants, lawyers, general contractors, churches, daycares, and others who relied mostly on services sold and delivered face-to-face, saw their income hit a standstill, but what if you could prevent an income standstill in the future by selling your services online?
Of course, you can’t cut or style hair virtually, but in this article, we’ll talk about what types of services you might be able to offer online, diversification, and how to sell your services online step-by-step.
Why Sell Services Online?
Creating a presence online is a way of diversifying how you reach clients, and even expanding your market. Yes, some services have to be provided to a specific geographic area, but you might be surprised about what types of things you could do that would diversify your income, give you security in times where you can’t do your more “manual services”, and grow a reputation beyond your local area.Selling services online can open a lot of opportunities to you because it can expand the reach of who knows you.
- Selling services can be good because:
- It can grow your reputation
- Provide social proof of the value you offer
- Offer convenience for customers
- Help save you time
- It might require habits you don’t currently have
- You’d have to change your routine to market online
- It may be a learning curve
What Services Can be Sold Online?
Most services can be sold online, but not all of them can be delivered that way. For example, a barbershop can sell the appointment slot. They can charge $20 non-refundable fee for booking an appointment. It would help to minimize no-shows.
They can’t cut the hair online though. Similarly a General Contractor can offer online checkout for installation of flooring, but they can’t install the floor online.
What Services Cannot be Sold Online?
Although, most services can be sold online, it’s much harder to sell a service that requires custom analysis or bidding. Instead, you can have a “foot in the door offer” that you sell online, but the custom service may still need more person-to-person involvement for the sale.
For example, maybe you’re a seamstress. You create custom clothing for clients. You would likely need to charge based on material, difficulty of the design, and other factors. The custom design would be difficult to sell online at a set price because it may not leave room for various custom situations.
You can sell repeatable designs online and down-payments on custom orders, or another offer that’s low risk for you and your customer like “$15 to speak to an expert seamstress about your design idea”–that was an example.
What Services Can you Provide Online?
There are several services you can sell online. Even if the predominant focus of your service-based business is on services you deliver offline, it’s still a good idea to diversify by offering some services you can offer online just to be safe. Here is a list of some services to consider:
- Vouchers and gift certificates
- Consulting and advice
- Online courses
- Videos and demonstrations
- Habit trackers
- Email support
- Phone support
- Digital goods
- Affiliate products
- Virtual events
- Memberships or subscriptions
How to Sell Services Online – Step-by-Step
If you’re ready to sell your services online, these are the steps I’d recommend you take…
1. Choose a Niche
First it’s important to choose a niche. The internet is a global tool. It’s used by people all over the world, but it can cause alot of frustration if you market a service to people who can’t take advantage of it.
If you’re business is a local business, it’s important to choose a niche and use local keywords in your online content, so you’d attract local business clients where possible.
2. Build a Website
Once you’ve gotten clear about who your audience is, and how you’ll be helping them online, it’s time to build a website. Your website serves as a tool to market your brand, to demonstrate your expertise, and to take care of the checkout process (if you set it up that way).
3. Set up Social Accounts
The social media sites are known as some of the highest trafficked sites online. Lots of people use social media to find out about products and services, so it’s a good idea to set up your social accounts on the platforms where your customers are.
You can use your social accounts to meet potential customers and to grow your reputation.
4. Set up Google My Business and local business Citations
Nowadays, many people find product and services in their areas by searching for terms, and Google showing what’s closeby in the maps. If you’re not on Google maps, you could be missing out on a major flow of new customers. Set up your Google my Business account as well as your local listings (YP, Yelp, etc.).
5. Create Content
Offline, you likely use flyers, business cards, billboards, and other things to help people to learn more about your business. In the online space, you use “virtual flyers”: blog posts, social media posts, search ads, and social media ads to attract potential customers.
Marketing (whether online or offline) isn’t optional if you want a steady flow of customers and sales.
Many entrepreneurs who rely mostly on the internet to get customers do so by creating consistent content online: videos, audio, written articles, graphics, and more. If you want to sell your services online, it’s important that you create a marketing plan that includes creating content that will build trust, handle objections, and educate potential customers.
6. Choose a Payment Processor
If you’d like your entire sales process to be possible online, it’s important that you don’t rely solely on accepting cash or checks, and instead, you choose a payment processor that would work on your website.
You can add Paypal payment buttons, but if you have several products or services to sell, it’s best to choose a payment processor like:
- A WordPress plugin like Woocommerce (free)
- Podia (best for coaching, consulting, digital products, courses, events, and memberships) starts at $39/mo
- Shopify (best for physical products, digital products, and services) starts at $29/mo
7. Get Traffic
Once you’re “digital storefront” is established (you have your website set up, you have content that explains what you offer and how you can help others, and you have your products and services established on a payment processor, then it’s time to get people to visit your website.
Similar to the offline space, no one visits unless you tell them you exist. Creating content, running ads, and encouraging others to share your content will help to boost the traffic to your website.
8. Make Money
If you have good products and services, you present them in an enticing way online, it’s likely, you’ll start making money, and that will grow incrementally as you keep going.
Overall, selling services online is a great way to diversify how you get customers and serve them. As the internet is growing, more people are looking for the convenience, and being online would position you to serve customers in a convenient way.