Marketing online opens up a world of possibilities for services businesses looking to get more clients.

You’re not restricted by geography: your marketing can reach pretty much anyone in the world.

You can be ultra-focused: there are targeting options to allow you can find potential clients in almost any niche, no matter how narrow or specialist.

Your marketing can work for you 24/7: whether your out working with clients, sleeping or just having fun.

Your marketing can scale much more easily: once you’ve set it up it doesn’t need too much of your time to work. And it’s measurable: you can tell what’s working and what’s not; do more or the former and cut out the latter.

And online marketing works particularly well for people who don’t enjoy traditional marketing activities: no need for networking, schmoozing, or cold-calling.

However, there’s a big problem with online marketing for service businesses.

Before someone is going to hire you as a consultant, a coach, a lawyer, accountant or any kind of high-value service role; you need to have built up a significant degree of trust.

That happens naturally through personal interactions in face-to-face marketing. You meet someone a few times and you get a good sense of whether you can trust them and whether they’re the sort of person you could work with.

Online, that build-up of trust doesn’t happen so easily.

Without the personal interactions of face-to-face communication, you’re left wondering whether this is someone you can really trust to handle an important issue in your business or life.

That’s not such a problem for transactional sales. If you’re buying the latest iPhone or a new washing machine or even an online training course, you don’t need to worry about whether you’ll be able to get on with and work with the vendor.

But for high-value services, it’s a major concern. Most projects fail, not because the service provider didn’t have the necessary technical skills. But because they weren’t able to work effectively with the client or their organisation to get the desired changes to happen.

That’s why when you’re trying to win clients online it’s vital that your marketing builds trust and credibility.