A Complete Marketing Plan Template for Service Companies
- October 22, 2018
- By: Vonigo
A good marketing plan can help service companies differentiate themselves from their competition and gain market share. Here’s a marketing plan template that will help your service company plan their next six months of marketing, and pave the way for a brighter future.
To start with, we’ll take you through the planning steps for creating your marketing plan. Toward the end of this article is an actual template that you can use to help plan your marketing for the next six months.
Start with a Goal
The most crucial part of your marketing plan is a goal. What do you hope to achieve? Make S.M.A.R.T. goals — that is, make them Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.
For example, pick a metric like monthly revenue and set a new goal that you’d like to achieve. “Our goal is to increase our monthly revenue by 40% in the next six months,” is an example of a goal that might meet these qualifications. Your results may vary, but pick something that will represent success for your efforts, but that will also be possible to achieve.
When you have a quantifiable goal, some of the other subsequent goals might fall into place as well. For example, you might know roughly how many additional bookings per month you’ll have to do to hit your target or much more revenue from each job you’ll need.
How Often Do You Change the Plan?
For the purpose of this exercise, we’ve set a turnaround time of six months for your marketing plan. Six months is enough time for your efforts to start having an effect. Reviewing your plan at least twice a year will give you the chance to review what works and make adjustments accordingly.
If you wish, you can review or recreate your plan quarterly. Biannually should be enough to keep your planning fresh, and identify any opportunities or trends, though. Think about your competition. Will a fresh marketing plan every six months be enough to stay a few steps ahead of them?
Do Your Research
To make your marketing efforts more effective, it’s helpful to know what you are marketing and to whom. Conduct a bit of research into your market to find out who the ideal customers are for your business. Then seek to understand how to reach them.
For example, what are the key demographics of your ideal customer base? What kinds of service will they order from you? How do they prefer to do business with you? Do they like to book over the phone, or with online booking? Are they mobile phone users?
Once you’ve conducted this market research, create some buyer personas. These are example customers who you will tailor your marketing plan and messaging toward. Be as specific as you can. Some companies even give their persona a name, a job title, and more.
Depending on your business, you might have more than one persona. For example, a moving company near a university might have one buyer persona that is a student that wants to live near campus and another for a residential homeowner with more disposable income. (Examples below)
What Has Worked, and What Hasn’t
Another exercise to do before you write your plan is to consider what you have done in the past and whether it’s working. For example, if you’ve already done some marketing on Facebook and are seeing some success from it, you probably want to continue.
Conversely, if you’ve tried other things that haven’t give you much in terms of results, you may want to discontinue them.
Before you get into specific marketing strategies, think about what you can do that will have an immediate impact. Is there anything that you should be doing that you are not taking advantage of already?
For example, are you sending follow-up emails to customers to ask for feedback and reviews? Have you automated the process of reminding repeat customers of when they should book another service? There could be a number of things that will have a massive impact on your success that you’ve overlooked. It’s worth it to stop and consider these before you write your plan.
How Much Time Do You Have?
Your marketing plan template should also take into account the amount of time and resources you have to do marketing. There’s no point planning to do things you won’t have time for.
Consider who you have on your team that can help with marketing, and how much time they can dedicate to it before you write your plan.
What is Your Budget?
Some marketing activities require nothing more than your time (social media, for example), whereas others require an investment. If you’re going to print business cards, or flyers, or wrap your vehicles, or buy uniforms, you’ll need to consider the costs. For good measure, get a couple of quotes to help you decide what to invest in.
Thinking about what things costs can help you prioritize how to spend that budget. Consider also what you think will be most effective. Will business cards be a better investment than a new vehicle wrap?
Consider Your Seasons
Is yours a seasonal business? If you have more popular seasons, there are a number of things to consider. First, how can you best take advantage of the busy season? When should you start your marketing to promote your services in advance of that season to get the most possible bookings?
Secondly, you should consider how to smooth your revenue out over the course of the rest of the year. If you’re a cleaning or junk removal company that has massive spikes in business in Spring, should you offer promotions during Fall and Winter? Maybe create annual service plans that will help you keep some revenue coming in all year round?
Start Writing a Plan
Once you’ve given consideration to all of the above, it’s time to start writing your plan. Sit down and start to draft your plan using the marketing plan template we’ve provided below.
Once you’ve finished the plan, don’t hesitate to get started on the activities you’ve planned for.
Make it Part of Your Workflow
The easiest way to make sure you stick to your market plan is to make it part of your workflow. This means actually scheduling the time you need in order to get things done. You may also need to change your scripts or plans in order to achieve your goals.
Let’s say, for example, that one of your secondary goals is to get more customer testimonials to add to your website and to social media. Unless you make it part of your day to ask for those testimonials, it’s not likely to happen. If you ask your technicians in the field to ask customers if they’d be willing to give you a review, you’ll start to see results.
How Often is Often Enough?
For each of the marketing tactics in the marketing plan template, think about how often you’ll need to do them in order to achieve success. For example, how many times per week or month should you post on Facebook? How often should you print flyers with promotions on them? How many customer testimonial videos should you aim to publish each month?
Measure and Improve
Before we get into the actual template, let’s think about measuring success. For each channel or tactic, you’ll need a way to measure your success (or lack thereof). For online marketing initiatives, there are lots of stats available but think about the ones that matter most to you.
By monitoring each activity for its efficacy, you’ll know what needs improvement, what needs to be scrapped, and what you can invest more of your time and budget in.
A Sample Marketing Plan Template
Here’s a marketing plan template you can use to create your marketing plan for the next six months.
As discussed above, set a goal that you will work towards, and have the rest of your efforts work toward achieving that goal.
Here are some example buyer personas, for a moving company that is located near a university. As you can see, both are quite different and will require different marketing tactics and different channels to reach them.
Income: Very little. Will be price sensitive, and possibly purchasing moving services with the help of parents (note: this may be a good reason to create an additional persona for the parent).
Interests: Intramural sports, student activities, studying, politics.
Moving habits: Moves twice a year. Once from her hometown to the neighborhood near campus in late Summer/Fall, and again in the Spring back to home again.
Profession: Software Engineer
Household Income: $150k+
Interests: Social causes, environmentalism, craft beer, cycling.
Moving habits: Moves every 3-4 years, either as a result of a job relocation or due to a growing family that needs more space.
Channels and Frequency
This is not an exhaustive list of possible marketing channels, but it will give you some idea of how to structure your marketing plan template with activities and frequencies.
Customer Reviews or Testimonials
The goal is to get one customer testimonial per week. Asking each customer in a follow-up email after we’ve received payment is the best way. If the feedback is good, encourage them to share it on a review platform like Yelp.
Post four times per week, including once per weekend. Weekly: One customer review, one moving tip, one interesting and relevant link to share, and one pic of a team member or truck in action.
Post four times a week, the same content as Facebook.
Post Three times per week, using the best of the Facebook content that has visuals. Include all of our relevant hashtags, our brand hashtags, and any seasonal ones that would be useful.
The goal is to get two customers a month to agree to a video testimonial. When we receive a positive testimonial, ask the customer if they’d be willing to be featured in a video. Record the videos either on Skype or Facetime or by visiting them the next time we are in the neighborhood.
We will send a newsletter to our subscribers once per month. Each email will contain two or more testimonials, one video link, and any offers or promotions we have.
Other Email Marketing
We will use our booking software to verify bookings, send follow-up emails, and ask for feedback from all of our customers, every time.
The goal is to distribute six flyers every time we conduct a service. When a technician visits a location, they hang six flyers on the door handles of residences that appear to be ideal clients for us.
We will print 500 generic business cards at a time. They will contain a spot for technicians to handwrite their personal contact info and any notes that are relevant for the customer or contact. We aim to offer one to every customer and distribute them to other interested parties as opportunities arrive.
As we add new vehicles to our fleet, we will budget to have each of them wrapped to match the rest. Since we are adding vehicles at a rate of one per year, we should budget to do one wrap every six months. One for the new vehicle, and one to replace an older vehicle as needed.
As part of our marketing, we will participate in one charity event per quarter. We will volunteer our teams to participate in three-hour volunteer blocks, and volunteer one or more of our vehicles as well. Some examples of events we can get involved with are:
- Charity runs or walks
- Toy drives
- Food drives
- Electronics recycling drives
- Community clean-up efforts
- Assisting a charity
With these and any other relevant marketing tactics, you should be able to turn this marketing plan template into a strategy you can use. Remember to assess the effectiveness of each tactic after six months at most.
More frequent reviews can be prudent too, but in six months time, be prepared to go through this exercise again.
Using Service Business Management Software to Measure Success
Service business management software can help you track the success of your marketing. While Facebook and email software can give you a measure of the effectiveness of your efforts on each channel, it’s important to tie that back to how it has affected your bookings and revenue too.
Want to learn about how to track your bookings and as many as 60 key business metrics using service business management software? Book a free, private demo of Vonigo.
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