According to Andrew Davis, author of Brandscaping, all companies sound the same in the digital world. All remodelers use phrases such as “high-quality craftsmanship,” “great reputation,” and “professional” on their websites. So how, in this sea of quality and professionalism, do you go about differentiating your company as somehow better or different?
To differentiate your brand, he says, business owners need to define their core value and build their sales and marketing around that concept. And to find that core value, you need to ask yourself why you do what you do. “When you talk about why you do something, it means something to the client," Davis says. "You will have more valuable conversations sooner.”
For example, if you appreciate historical homes and maintaining original elements while modernizing them for young families, let your clients know that. A customer who lives in such a house and knows you have experience with renovating old homes will pay a premium for you to remodel his kitchen.
Davis tells of meeting a remodeler who had had a previous career in financial services for 25 years. The reason for the career shift: As a financial adviser, the man saw that homes were by far the biggest investment his clients made, and many were mismanaging that asset. Now, as a remodeler, he says that his best clients are those who plan to sell in the next two to five years and appreciate his expertise in doing a remodel that will add the most value to their home.
Focusing on your core value leads to referrals that are your target client. It also helps company owners know which jobs they should decline. “You can grow a more sustaining business if you say no to the jobs that are not right and say yes to the ones that enhance your brand,” Davis points out.
To reach your target audience, one of the first questions to ask yourself is: “Who has your next customer as their current customer?” Davis says this is the core of “brandscaping.” Once you identify these companies, creating a partnership with them will help you become more relevant more rapidly because it helps these clients self-identify or self-select your company.
If you remodel homes for young families, find ways to partner with a local parents' or parent-teacher association. If you notice that many of your clients use the same cleaning service, call the cleaning service to ask if they would mention your name to any of their clients that need repairs done on their homes.
Once you define your core value and start building a loyalty loop with partners, Davis says, you can use social media to enhance these connections. Your core values will tell you which social media is best for your message. For the remodeler who had been a financial adviser, for example, LinkedIn provides a place to connect with and counsel other financial advisers about housing issues.
Davis tells business owners that they don't have to be on every site or constantly track its metrics. “It’s more effective to be on one social media site and kick ass than be everywhere and not have any impact,” he says. Know what online platform, new or old, will help forward your ambition. “You don’t need to measure every interaction and make sure that interaction leads to your website,” he adds. The key thing, whatever the interaction, is that it should lead to a sale. —Nina Patel is a senior editor of REMODELING. Find her on Twitter at @SilverNina or @RemodelingMag.