Market your services overseas

Advice for exporters on the promotion of services.

Last updated 13 May 2021

Customer expectations and service norms will vary from market to market, and the marketing of services will need different approaches to those you’d use for physical goods.

You should develop an appropriate marketing plan, based on the preferences and expectations of your target countries.

Research how services are promoted in the market

Potential clients will look for indications of the quality of the service they’ll receive. To meet their expectations, and promote your business successfully, you’ll need to:

  • research how the services market operates, and competitor activity
  • research any cultural considerations relevant to your service
  • consider the location and décor of any local office
  • assess the quality and suitability of your marketing material, including your online communications

Build credibility for your service

One of the biggest difficulties in marketing services can be explaining what you do. This means making the service tangible, and credible, to people. To do this, you can use similar techniques overseas to those you’d use in the UK.

Use recommendations from clients

Most people use recommendations and referrals when selecting a service provider, unless the service is low risk and inexpensive. Recommendations from reputable UK clients can boost credibility when starting to work with overseas clients.

Gather evidence of ability

Recommendations, referrals and testimonials are more impressive when they contain objective evidence. Credibility can be enhanced through delivering business presentations, articles in industry publications and hosting information seminars, positioning your company as international experts.

Accredit and benchmark against international standards

Become certified to an international standard, as laid down by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Gain credibility by association

Use memberships of industry associations, domestic and international, to show that you have appropriate credentials and standards of ethical behaviour. Tactical partnering with a larger, well-known international company for a specific project can also provide credibility.

Network and get your name known

Raise awareness of your company by:

  • building personal relationships
  • getting known in business networks
  • attending international conferences
  • attending or hosting seminars

As in the UK, you need to ensure that you have a tried and tested script or elevator pitch to explain who you are, what you do and why someone you meet should do business with you.

Find out more about market research for exporting.

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