Using Branding to Establish Credibility
As a contractor and small business owner you’re probably familiar with the word “branding”. Branding is a marketing term that refers to the efforts a business makes to establish its voice, message, and mission in everything they do. A business’s identity is spoken and showcased through its brand.
The most obvious forms of branding are a company logo and color scheme, business cards, and a website. Those steps will indeed make up a large portion of your branding effort. However, working your brand into the details of your everyday processes can be just as important.
Reinforcing your brand in subtler ways will go a long way toward creating a sustainable, successful marketing machine.
Today we’re going to discuss how you can move your branding efforts into your communication channels: phone, email, direct mail, and bids.
Because many contractors are running a one-person show, it’s easy to slip into communication habits that work well on the fly. This isn’t what’s best for the business in the long-run, though. To build a memorable, sustainable business you’ll want to begin branding whatever you can, as quickly as you can.
Phone communication is hands down the most overlooked by contractors. Many calls are spur of the moment, or while on a site. This results in impromptu, off-the-cuff dialogue, which often isn’t polished and rehearsed. Answers of “hello” instead of “Joe Smith’s Contracting, how can I help you?” are frequent. Calls end with a short “bye”, when a “have a great day”, or “thanks for your service” is more likely what the customer was expecting to hear.
The best thing you can do for your business’s communication skills is to write down a phone script. All calls vary to some degree, so focus on the most popular kinds of calls you receive. Rehearse the script a few times, and share it with anyone else who will be answering phones for you.
Once a standard is created it’s easier to deal with deviations professionally and politely. Customers will give you more business if you take this communication seriously.
This goes for voicemail, too. If you’re still using your personal phone to take work calls, your voicemail message should reflect your business. Include a greeting, your business name, typical hours, an apology for missing their call, and a time they can expect their message to be returned.
Insert your brand into your email via a signature. This signature, when set up correctly in your email server, will attach itself to all your outgoing email. The basics of a signature are name, position/title, company logo and name, and contact information: email, phone number, and website.
An email signature is a great place to attach your company’s slogan, too. You can also add a line to highlight any offer your business is running. For more advanced email marketing and branding tips, download our free eBook.
If you haven’t already, create a company letterhead. The letterhead header usually consists of the company name and logo, while your important contact information sits in the footer. Letterhead is such a useful tool in branding, since you can easily apply it to any document you work with.
A company letterhead asserts legitimacy, confidence, and professionalism. Letterhead should be part of any direct mail you send, as well as estimates, proposals, contracts, and other business-to-customer correspondence.
Mark any documents that you send through direct mail by using a branded stamp on your envelopes. If you have the funds and mailing is a large part of your business, send your envelopes out for a professional print of your logo and name.
Branding your communication, not matter the size or age of your contracting company, is putting importance on its future. It’s a simple way to tell your customers that you’re established, credible, and serious. That you’re not going anywhere. It’s a powerful tool, and once implemented, easy to maintain. It’s never too late to begin or expand your brand’s reach!
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