Gilding the Lily: Adding Diversified Services
Odds are, no matter what industry you are in, you offer your clients a range of diversified services. Accountants offer general bookkeeping, tax advice and financial planning; cyber security firms provide consulting, hosting, IT, and web development; manufacturers produce multiple products – usually for multiple industries. The list goes on and on.
Decade after decade, changes to the Long Island marketplace have demanded that local companies expand their services. Today, technological and communications advances have opened even the most “local” company to national or international reach. For many, the question isn’t whether to diversify, but to what and how to integrate new services with current offerings. Once those decisions have been made, you will need to start planning your marketing strategy. Without a strong promotion campaign, you could be sitting with a business no one knows about! A tree falling in a forest may or may not make a sound, but your new business venture needs a megaphone, or it may not exist for long.
New Services, New Customers
Long Island businesses have had a roller coaster decade. From the devastation of the recession to current growth trends. Real estate markets that have swung from low to high to low and are rising again. Homes that used to be on the market for six months now sell in less than two ... sometimes. Unemployment skyrocketed, but in 2018 hit a record low with the number of people employed a record high. Taxes continue to be a consistent issue, especially with the reduction of the SALT deduction. Businesses expanded, consolidated, opened, closed … and those left standing, like yours, found opportunity in the chaos.
We live and work in one of the most vibrant regions of the country. The Island contains nearly 40 percent of the state’s population, and is among the highest educated, with regions of the highest incomes in the country. Easy access to Manhattan and the multitude of airports, railroads and shipping lanes for international trade have always made Long Island prime business territory. The advent of instantaneous worldwide communications via the internet opened even more pathways to growth.
Diversification in these conditions comes in many forms. Some businesses find a pathway through new technology, adding products and services that didn’t even exist a few years ago. Others step up to fulfill a need when a competitor or service-adjacent business shuts its doors. Still others opt to offer more services within their vertical market. Any growth, however, requires a strategic marketing and communications plan to attract customers to the new business and support all your divisions.
Loyal Customers are Diversified Services Customers
When you start offering diversified services, focus on finding your first “new” customers from your current account lists. You already have brand recognition, trust and open lines of communication with these customers – three of the most difficult (and costly) aspects of the sales funnel. It is then much easier to convince these customers to try your new services.
- It costs at least 5 times as much to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing customer.
- Success rate selling to an existing customer is 60%-70%; success rate of selling to a new customer is 5%-20%.
- Loyal customers are 7 times as likely to try a new offering.
Every interaction with your customers is an opportunity to cross-market, from your recorded on-hold message to brochures, and from your social media and web portal to your email campaigns. Your sales team, naturally, needs to know all there is to know about your new services, as do your customer service representatives. It is well worth your time to hold meetings and training sessions with your staff, so they are all fully informed about any new service and promotions you are offering. Of course you never want to take your customers for granted. You must provide the new services with the same level of excellence and expertise as you offer your primary services.
If your company has an account services portal, the marketing tools available there can help you target specific customer groups, and broader communication can be used to promote the new service to your entire account list. Incentives help convince even the most loyal customers – so don’t forget to bundle services and promotions, offer bonus loyalty points, “try us out” special pricing, coupons and the like.
In one recent example with a longstanding client looking to diversify, one of the first things we determined was the incentive. The launch of the new service and promotion was announced in the company’s customer newsletter, and has been featured prominently in every subsequent issue. The company added an insert slip to every invoice and statement mailing, and each account manager received an actual letter (yes, delivered by the post office!) announcing the expansion and incentive. The printed materials were augmented with banners on the company’s website, new content, social media announcements, email blasts and more.
These tactics built the new business on the foundation of the old, which leads us to one of the most important reasons to start your marketing to current customers. Because of your longstanding relationship, your customers are a valuable beta testing group. Follow up with them after any new work with a phone call or survey to find out what worked (and may not have worked) well, and don’t be shy about asking them to post reviews on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. Recent four- and five-star reviews are strong indicators to potential customers that your company is qualified and reputable.
Beyond Your Account List
To grow your business you will soon need to go beyond your current account list. It is more difficult and more costly to acquire new customers, but they can quickly become well worth the investment as they start to utilize your diversified services.
Start with the marketing in place for your primary services, announcing the new division with a “call out” on existing materials. Then review your goals and the marketing budget outlined in your new services business plan.
The company we discussed above already had a robust new business marketing program in place. In year one, creative specifically promoting the new service for print, search engine ads, digital display, social media and broadcast was mixed into the rotation of materials for the primary businesses. Next, marketing campaigns focused almost exclusively on the new services. Now that the new business is well established, the campaigns have broadened to again feature the company’s full range of products and services.
Making a Plan
When considering the marketing for your new product, the options can be intimidating – and at the same time it is easy to get caught up in the excitement to do everything at once. Just as you turn to professionals for your legal and financial planning, you should turn to marketing professionals to determine the best ways to utilize your marketing budget. There are many questions that you and your marketing partner need to consider before finalizing your campaign, including:
- How will you measure the success of your efforts?
- Which markets and regions are your primary targets, and which are secondary? You may decide to push hard in one or two, and build into the others after you have a strong base.
- Should you run a conservative campaign that will stretch your budget across the full year but offer fewer impressions each week; or would it be more beneficial to make a big splash and then scale back your marketing for several months?
- What seasonal cycles do you need to be aware of, and how do you schedule your campaign to make the most of them?
- Which marketing channels will get you the most impressions per dollar, and how many of those impressions will become leads?
PriMedia has worked with many companies to help answer these questions and market new business ventures. Our programs combine a variety of tactics, from billboards, TV, satellite and radio to website development, search engine marketing, digital display ads and geofenced mobile, as well as sell sheets, infographics, branding, brochures and collateral, direct mail, loyalty programs, lead tracking and street teams. To find out how PriMedia can help you promote your new business division or update your marketing of current services, please call 516-222-2041.