What’s the largest single segment of the economy that (up to this point) has virtually missed the Net?

SERVICES!

Yes, the service-selling opportunity is the most overlooked small-business opportunity on the Net.

As a service seller, you could be a …

  • personal trainer
  • copywriter
  • database programmer
  • Japanese art specialist
  • caterer
  • photographer
  • graphic artist
  • chimney cleaning and fireplace installation expert
  • financial/investment specialist
  • travel consultant
  • import/export specialist
  • pharmaceutical expert
  • translator (Do you know two languages?)

Depending on the kind of service you sell, you could have local clients … or you could work for anyone in the world.

Because it’s not immediately obvious, let’s take a close look at what the Net can offer both global and local service sellers. Let’s start with …

Global Service Sellers

Obviously, anyone with a global-based service stands to gain a lot by having a Web presence. For example, one of our Site Build It! clients, Karen Copeland, sells South African golf tours over her website. Karen has had a huge response – especially considering that her site has a very specific target market. In fact, her first query came from a 20-person outfit in the U.S.

There is another attractive aspect to selling your services on the Net. A single client can bring in substantial dollars. So techniques like mastering the search engines, paid-inclusion programs, listing in directories, and running massive pay-per-click campaigns can give you a terrific ROI (return on investment).

Let’s consider “mastering the search engines.”

The keywords your prospective client perceives to be important to your business are the ones that must appear in the Top 10 search positions in the search engines. Without a Top 10 position, you won’t be found!

Here’s the “in a nutshell” way to get yourself a Top 10 position …

Build lots and lots of Keyword-Focused Content Pages, all within a Theme-Based Content Site. The theme, of course, is tightly related to the service you are selling.

These pages must also convince your prospective client that you are trustworthy. Think about it. Anytime you hire someone, what do you need to know before you sign the agreement?

Are they good?

Are they honest?

Is their work competitively priced?

Are they easy to work with?

And so on, and so on …

The visitors to your site will be asking the same questions. A prospective client will have to feel very confident in your abilities before s/he hires you, especially if you are halfway across the globe!

But what if your service has a strictly local client base? After all, if you sweep chimneys and install fireplaces, you won’t fly from New York to Paris to do the job. So let’s take a look at …

Local Service Sellers

As I just said, your chimney cleaning and fireplace installation service is not likely to be of interest to anyone outside of a 1-hour driving radius. So why bother advertising via a global medium like the Internet when your business is very obviously local?

A whole lot of good reasons come to mind …

1. First and foremost, compared to “regular” advertising, an Internet presence is cheap, cheap, cheap – under a dollar a day.

2. An Internet presence gives you the edge over your local competition. It allows potential local clients to learn about you at their convenience. In the absence of a word-of-mouth recommendation, your business is on an even footing with every other competitor listed in the Yellow Pages. By maintaining a website, your visitors can get to know you, trust you, and ultimately hire you.

3. Considering the value of a single new lifelong customer, and the offline word-of-mouth “buzz” that s/he creates, your business stands to lose by not maintaining a Web presence.

4. Like the global service seller, the local service seller can leverage an Internet presence to create multiple streams of revenue that ARE global in nature. For instance …

The articles about fire safety that you post on the website for your chimney/fireplace service will appeal to more than just your local community. They’ll have a worldwide audience of people who will click onto your site just to read them. By partnering up with related non-competing merchants (retailers of fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and so on), you can turn this traffic into a commission-based revenue stream.

You can also leverage this global presence by selling your own e-book – maybe something like “The A to Z Guide to Fireplace Installation for Do-It-Yourselfers.”

Local or global, smart use of the Net can only benefit your service, no matter what it happens to be.

[Ed. Note: Ken Envoy, M.D., is a Netreprenuer and president of SiteSell.com, a service that helps small businesses develop an effective Web presence by using the Site Build It program.]