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5 Online Marketing Tips for Small Businesses in Competitive Service Industries Here are five quick or cheap tips you can use to gain an advantage.

By Jonathan Long

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Brands have multiple ways to market their services these days, and online methods are among the most effective. But with many different options available, it leaves many companies allocating (and wasting) their limited budgets toward campaigns that don't produce a return.

Small online marketing budgets are common among service providing brands, but that doesn't mean the results have to be small. Little things like knowing which channels are best and what tweaks can help you increase conversion rates go a long way.

I am friends with several small- and medium-size-business owners operating in service-providing industries. One of them, Lyuda Ksenych, CEO of H2H Movers, a moving company located in Chicago, attributes a large portion of their recent growth to small yet effective changes to the company's online marketing efforts. Here are five online marketing tips, some of which can be done at no cost, that helped Ksenych's business and can also help you thrive in competitive industries.

1. Highlight your reviews from all major platforms.

Before a consumer makes any purchase decision online, they are going to read reviews.

"A lot of companies make it hard for the consumer to read all of their reviews, which just forces them off your website to find them. We make it easy for a potential customer to read all of our reviews from Google, Yelp, Angie's List, Thumbtack and Yellow Pages directly from our homepage," says Ksenych.

By making it easy for a potential customer to read your reviews, it keeps your business on their mind, which, if they like what they read, will greatly improve the odds of them converting into a lead or sale.

Related: How to Write Cold Emails That Quickly Convert Sales

2. Provide multiple, instant-contact options.

A lot of times, especially when it comes to a service provider, a potential customer is looking for a solution immediately. If you don't have multiple ways for them to contact your business and speak to someone right away, you will miss out on many opportunities.

Ksenych explains that their customers come from several contact channels: "Our contact information is displayed at the very top of every page on our website. A potential customer can contact us by phone, email us directly or submit a detailed moving quote request. These options accommodate all needs, from those that want to speak to someone right away as well as those that might be multi-tasking and prefer to send a detailed email."

All the contact options in the world won't help unless you make an effort to "touch" each lead immediately. Phones should be answered on the first ring and emails should be replied to instantly. The longer you delay that first touch, the more opportunity you give the prospect to find another solution.

3. Leverage well-known badges of trust to instill confidence.

First impressions are everything, so anything you can do to showcase your reputation and trustworthiness should be leveraged. "Any potential customer that visits our "About' page will see all of the professional organizations we are members of, like the Chamber of Commerce, as well as our Better Business Bureau (BBB) accreditation and our A rating," explains Ksenych.

For a service provider brand, these memberships and awards go a long way, more so than an e-commerce website. When someone is making an impulse purchase online for a $20 or $30 product, they aren't digging as deep as they would be if they were hiring a moving company or a general contractor. The BBB, for example, is something all local service providers should leverage online.

4. Assume that 80 percent of your leads will come via mobile devices.

Most service providers have websites that are used for lead generation purposes, so it's important to make sure it's easy for a customer to contact your business or request information on a mobile devices, as the traffic source continues to dominate with no sign of slowing down.

"We put a lot of focus on making sure our mobile traffic can easily contact us ... without having to scroll or navigate our website," says Ksenych.

When you make the conversion process completely effortless, you will see your rates increase dramatically. The average consumer is lazy and will not go out of his or her way to find out how to contact your business, so place it directly in front of their face upon landing on your website via their mobile device.

Related: 'Magic Dentist' Shows How to Make a Memorable Ad on a Budget

5. Use retargeting to pull prospects back while they are comparison shopping.

If a consumer is looking for a local service provider, he or she is going to do research and contact several options before making a decision. You need to stay on their mind while they comparison shop, and retargeting is one of the most effective ways.

"When a potential customer leaves our website, they might go look at other options, but because we are retargeting, we show up in their Facebook feed and follow them around the internet as they browse. When they are ready to make a decision, there is a good chance we are still on their mind," says Ksenych.

It's a good idea to really personalize your retargeting for the best results. For example, someone who simply visited your website needs to be shown a completely different marketing message than someone who has already submitted a quote request. They are at different stages and require tailored marketing messages designed to push them to that next step, whether it's completing a quote request or making the final purchase decision.

Jonathan Long

Founder, Uber Brands

Jonathan Long is the founder of Uber Brands, a brand-development agency focusing on ecommerce.

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