Building a Brand for Your Contracting Business
As a professional contractor, you are representing yourself, your business, and your work. How do you develop a brand? You get good at what you do and you let others know just how good you are at it. While it sounds simple in theory, in practice it can be tough to get started. Here are some tips on building your brand and making sure people know your name.
Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Sure, you may be proficient at drywall, but your woodworking has won awards. Market yourself accordingly: A woodworking professional who can meet your clients’ needs.
Or maybe you’re a Jack of all trades and can answer any question a homeowner may have – this is a very marketable strength and you need to put that out there. Don’t necessarily brag, but if there were ever a time to toot your own horn a little, developing your brand would be that time. Be honest with yourself, make a list of your professional strengths and weaknesses and go from there.
Word of mouth is one of the best, and most cost-effective, forms of publicity a small business can receive. Make sure your clients know your specialties and make sure your business cards feature them. Eventually you’ll be known as “the masonry guy” or the “carpentry gal”.
You’ve built a name and a brand for yourself based on the work that you do and the clients you’ve impressed. Other forms of publicity, including newspaper, radio, and television ads, cost money. Should you opt for those routes, make the most of them by including your brand.
Network with other professionals outside of your area of expertise. Building a brand doesn’t just extend to your clients, friends, or family members, but it also includes the professional world. A masonry contractor may be doing some work for a client, but the walkway they ordered includes a fountain. You just happen to specialize in water features and the mason might very well remember that and call you in to consult or help with the job. It helps to develop your brand and put it out there to other professionals.
Social media is an interactive game, but can be a wonderful way to share your brand with a huge audience. People not only want information, they want to be part of a community. They desire to feel as if they are part of something bigger than just themselves.
Build your social media presence accordingly. Don’t necessarily give away trade secrets, but let readers know a little something interesting about your work (for example, mention the source of your wood and provide a picture of the forest on Facebook), but also let them know when it’s time to call in a professional (you).
One of the easiest ways to build your brand is to offer well-timed promotions for your services. You’re promoting your business and you’re letting people remember you for your qualities and services. You want them to remember your name the next time they need a wall pushed back – and you want to be their “wall guy”. So, offer things that spark their memory – a specialist in masonry might offer customers a paperweight, or a specialist in restoration may offer an old-timey bottle opener with the business information on it.
It’s all about targeting your services to your audience and making sure they know your name and love your game.