Contractor Marketing: Branding Vs Lead Generation

When an advertising rep comes to your office and starts talking about branding, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? I know what pops into mine…

.. a brand on the backside!

Most advertising reps push heavily on the idea that you have to “get your brand out there”, “get people to know who you are”, and so on. What a bunch of garbage… sort of. Advertisers use branding as an “escape route” when they didn’t deliver enough leads to make the advertising worthwhile. Worst yet, we trust our rep, and then write another check to get “branded” some more.

So is branding bad? Is it good? Should you be thinking about your “brand”? Let’s talk about that…

What Is Branding?

Jon Jantsch (Duct Tape Marketing) offers a simple definition that I like:

“Branding is the art of becoming knowable, likeable and trustable.”

Notice three key points here. Being knowable, being likeable and being trustable.

So, your advertising rep can help you with the “knowable” part. But, however, what can they do to help you with being likeable and being trustable?

What Can Branding Do For Your Contractor Business?

I’ve seen branding do some amazing things, and so have you. Here’s a good example. What do you blow your nose with? Facial Tissue? Nope, you use a Kleenex. That’s how you know branding does work. When the product name is so closely associated with what it does, you don’t even realize you’re using the brand name anymore.

Well, that’s great if you have millions of dollars to spend in advertising. But that likely doesn’t apply to your company. For the average contracting company, this approach to branding simply isn’t viable, as not every person who hears your message is your potential buyer. Some people will never want your product/service. Some will never be able to afford it, and so on.

But, for the ones that can use your company, branding can have a pretty big impact. I’ve personally seen a direct impact on Closing percentages, and average sale amount due to efforts I’ve help with to brand a company.

Why does that happen? As Jon Jantsch mentioned, branding also makes you likeable and trustable. When someone likes you and trusts you, they buy from you. And they’re OK with buying a lot from you.

That, my friends, is the biggest benefit branding can have for your contracting business. Lowering the anxiety related to buying from you.

Many of us feel the “third party” lead referral companies generate crappy leads. Want to know a big reason why? You guessed it, the branding factor. Because there is no branding of your company compared to the other companies the customer gets referred to, you won’t be seen as any more likeable, or trustable than the other guys. Thus, sales resistance and anxiety will be high – and price typically is the biggest motivator for the prospect…

What Branding Can’t Do For Your Business

Be wary though, branding isn’t the magic pill that makes your business skyrocket. Branding alone will not help you with lead generation. Let me explain it to you.

I conducted a test marketing similar companies in similar areas to prove this point. The first company is well established, spends a lot of money in advertising and branding. The second company was newer and wasn’t well known in the market.

In a yellow page ad promotion, both companies generated similar amounts of leads from full page ads they were running. The well branded company did not do better than the no-name guy when it came to lead generation. They did, however, do MUCH better in the sales portion of the business. We attributed this to many things, and branding was one of those factors.

So, if branding doesn’t bring leads, then why bother with branding at all?

Your Work Is Your Brand

This is the one that most contractors miss the mark on. It’s the one that advertisers don’t want you to think about.

Are you ready for this? Repeat after me:

“Your Work Is Your Brand.”

When you have a modest to medium sized marketing budget, pursuing branding alone is a sure fire way to go out of business. If you succeed in getting people to know about you, but no one contacts you to get an estimate, you’re out of luck.

But think about it. How many times have you had those great word-of-mouth referrals from a past customer? Were they pretty easy to sell to? Were they happy to meet with you and excited to see how you could help them? Did they trust you because their friend/relative/neighbor recommended you?

The answer is yes. When you do great work and promote yourself through the work you do, you get the best branding you could ask for.

Your work can get you known. The recommendation makes you likeable by the potential client, and trustable because a happy past customer referred you.

Balancing Branding & Contractor Lead Generation

So, we’ve discussed good things about branding and what it can do you for your contracting business. We’ve also discussed the things it can’t do. So what should you do in the end?

I heard a great saying from a fellow marketing friend of mine that sums this article up nicely:

“Generate lead flow daily, build branding over time.”

I think it’s a good approach for most all contractors to use. Get leadflow going first so you have a pipeline of potential customers coming to your business.

Do quality work that would make your customers want to refer you to others. This will get your “branding train” started down the tracks. Finally, devote more effort (and marketing dollars) later to build your brand awareness, which will further help with your sales efforts.

Yoga Studio Marketing – Branding

If you run a yoga studio, you’re lucky in that you have well-defined niche possibilities and an easy-to-target audience; however, you’re also faced with fierce competition for that same audience. In order to gain a foothold and elevate your yoga studio above the competition, you’ll have to develop a concrete brand image with which to promote your business. Here’s what you need to know about branding your yoga studio for success.

Importance of a branded image

When you have a well-defined market, branding is critical to success; and few markets are as well-defined as the yoga market. This is good in the sense that you know who you need to market to, but it can be limiting if you try to be everything to everyone within that market. That’s why it’s so important to develop a branded image that demonstrates how you are different from the competition, how you are better in one area than anyone else.

You can then promote your company with this brand image to win over a specific market segment. If you can establish your company as the expert in one particular area, you’ll do much better than if you try to market to several market segments at once. To concentrate your efforts is to concentrate your wealth.

How to identify your branded image

Identifying your branded image takes research and dedication, but the fruits of your efforts are incomparable. Start by learning as much as you can about your customers and about your direct competition. Seek opportunities that your competitors are missing and are also highly desired by your customer base; or, pick a particular segment your competitors market to and position yourself as being the best in that arena.

Your yoga studio might follow the philosophies of a specific type of yoga, or you might cater to seniors, women, pregnant women, athletes, children or some other market segment. You might focus on improving whole lifestyles or flexibility or endurance – or anything else that yoga provides.

Make a list of all the things that describe what you do, and choose your niche based on what you like to do, what is likely to succeed in the marketplace (based on your research), and what you believe you can best your competitors in.

Now, make a list of all the words that describe your specific market segment to come up with a unique name for your yoga studio. Consider your audience, your techniques and ultimately the results of joining your yoga studio. If, for example, you cater to pregnant women you might want to name your company something such as “Mommy and Me Yoga Studio.” You can be creative here and even make an acronym: MOMYS (MOmmy and Me Yoga Studio).

Branding through design

Skilled graphic design can transform your yoga studio’s branded identity from a written concept to a visual motivator. This image is what the world will see, and the public will perceive the ideals and emotions that your image expresses.

Most importantly, you want potential customers to see your logo at a glance and feel that you’re the perfect solution for their problems. When you achieve this, you’ve developed a powerful yoga studio brand identity.

DIY Marketing – Branding Your Business – Do You Know the 7 Key Steps?

In a sea of competitors in your niche, how will your company find a foothold? Your number one marketing goal is to make your company known. Prospective customers cannot buy from you if they do not know you and what you have to offer. “Branding” your company means to establish and project a consistent, dynamic, powerful and memorable message about who your company is and what your company does.

Here are 7 key steps to branding your company:

1. Write or refine your company’s mission statement. Explain why your company exists. A mission statement usually involves two parts. The first states a problem your prospective customer has that needs a solution. The second explains how your company can provide the solution — and do it better than anyone else. Express succinctly and accurately your company’s mission and you will have established the “theme” for your brand. Do this step first and it will make the rest of the branding process flow smoothly.

2. Clarify your company’s “theme”. Your company’s theme flows out of your mission statement. Your theme is a tangible or visual expression of the intangible, mental image you want the public to have of your company. Your theme should evoke emotion from the viewer based on the image you want to create of yourself or your company. If you are a personal injury lawyer, you may want to convey the image that you are an aggressive fighter for your injured clients. If you are a printing company, you may want to convey that you are fast and a perfectionist.

3. Write a memorable tagline that expresses who you are and what you do. Have some fun here and be creative. The key is to make it memorable. Humor or a play on words often help to make a tagline memorable. Spend some time looking at other companies’ taglines. Use them as a guide for creating your own.

4. Write a newsletter. Distribute your newsletter monthly or weekly via email or direct mail. The goal is for your company’s name and products to stay in the forefront of your prospects’ minds. When they go looking for what you have to offer, they will think of you as a trustworthy source, because they already know you and trust you.

5. Create a website. Add new, informative content at least once a week. Your website or blog should be the hub of your marketing endeavors. All roads should lead your customers to your website. It is here that customers and prospects can find everything they need to know about your company and the products and services your provide. It is here that you have complete control in creating the image you want the public to have of your company.

6. Write and publish articles regularly. Distribute your articles on the web in article directories like EzineArticles.com and in print publications. The goal is to establish yourself as the expert in your niche and then guide readers to your website or blog to learn more about your company’s products and services.

7. Participate in local and national conferences in your niche. Participate at least twice a year as an attendee, or better yet as a presenter, a host or exhibitor in local and national conferences. You want to become known not only to prospective customers but also to others in your niche as an active leader in your field.

My First Year Online In Network Marketing – Branding

By developing your own brand, you’ll have control over people’s initial perception. If you don’t brand yourself, someone else will, and that outcome might not be in your favor. It could be downright horrible.

Your strong brand in Network Marketing will influence other Networkers and work overtime to engage those who may not have been targeted at all. For example, someone looking for a new career comes across your blog because you talk about a career change. That person gets to know you a little through your blog posts. They, then, inquire about how to work for or with you. You now have a potential new distributor that wasn’t looking to join a home based business at all. A successful brand self-promotes, offers a unique experience, will breathe loyalty, and offers consistency in the quality of the service.

Here’s the hardcore truth on why branding is critical to your network marketing business. As a network marketer, you sign representative agreements to become distributors for your network marketing company. This means you are nothing more than a salesman and you own nothing. You sell THEIR product or service. Many people think that their network marketing business is THEIR business but you have to be aware that the company you are a distributor for can take that business away for any reason they see fit. If you don’t act in accordance with their policies and procedures….GONE is your downline. Some companies are really good at having you become loyal distributors for them. So understanding this premise, you should only see your network marketing company for what it is, an income stream. Understanding that business relationship, should set you free.

The concept of branding YOU in network marketing not only changed my business, but changed my life. The power of building You, Inc is that YOU control all the leads (and distributors) because you are building your OWN list of people. These people get to know you through your branding efforts and practically follow you wherever you decide to go. So YOU keep control of YOUR business.

Even if your current company went out of business, you have a list of people that joined you and you can practically start another down line overnight. Try this exercise to get you started in the right direction.

  • What am I naturally gifted at
  • What am I most passionate about
  • What do I get the most excited about doing or sharing

Tomorrow we will show more questions to ask and continue to drill down on your branding strategy.