We’ve all been there. Needing a new vehicle, but dreading going to the car lots because there’s always that one salesperson that just won’t let up or take no for an answer.
The last time I went car shopping, I actually had one guy pull up three cars that didn’t even come close to meeting the criteria I clearly shared with him a few minutes before. I told him those were not what I asked for. He went scrambling for a few more vehicles only to bring up more unwanted options. I walked out of there and will never go back to that dealership.
When I did buy the perfect vehicle, it was because of the reputation of the dealership, the quality of the vehicles, the knowledge and non-pressure of the salesperson, and the overall ease of the experience.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of businesses out there that tend to ignore our needs, peddling their goods and services, marketing day and night, and just putting on the air of desperation.
What’s the real difference here? Push versus pull marketing...
What is push marketing?
Push marketing is like those desperate used car salespeople. They need sales to make their quota, so they cold call people, stalk them in the car lot, and are forever handing out business cards.
This takes a lot of effort and by the of the month, they might have closed a few car deals, but they have lost a lot of valuable time that could have gone into investing in their reputation as a salesperson and the credibility of the dealership.
What is pull marketing?
Pull marketing is like the laid back luxury car salespeople. They need sales to make a commission and a living, but they know that the brand of the dealership and the type of vehicles they offer precede everything else.
These salespeople spend a lot of time building a rapport with their potential clients, adopting a no pressure attitude, offering sales materials that provide benefits and features, and doling out the white glove service no matter if they get the sale or not.
The difference between marketing and branding
Simply put, marketing is actively promoting a product or service. It’s what the online marketing world calls a “push tactic”. It’s pushing a message out via any avenue of promotion like a magazine ad, radio spot, commercial, or social media post where the main goal is to get a sale as a result.
Branding is not a push tactic, but rather a pull tactic. Branding is the expression of the value of a business, product or service. Having a brand will help encourage someone to buy a service or product, not by pushing but instead by attracting those that need it, simply by answering the following questions:
What is it? Why is it offered? Who does it help? And why would I want to purchase it?
Branding is what sticks in your mind about a service or product, no matter if you buy it or not. It is what determines if someone will become a loyal customer. The marketing may convince someone to buy a Chevy, but it is the brand that will determine if they will only own Chevy’s from there on out.
In other words, marketing can bring in sales, but it’s the branding that brings in the loyalty.
Why pull marketing through branding works
With the pull strategy, you focus your marketing efforts inward by spending time building your skills, value and brand credibility rather than searching for your next sale. This takes time, but with discipline and remaining highly focused on what you do best, you can actually build a reputation that attracts clients to you in a relatively easy way.
There are no guarantees with any type of marketing or branding, but with a little time investment and focusing in on what makes your brand valuable, the return from building a business with the pull strategy is much stronger and lasts longer.
So which type of marketing are you spending your time and energy on?
Using pull marketing versus push tactics is the difference between always searching and waiting for your next client and knowing you will have a steady stream of loyal clients and referrals.
If you want to attract ideal clients and avoid the endless cycle of feast or famine, networking and throwing money away on Facebook ads, you need to develop your brand and a strong pull marketing strategy. That means investing time in honing your skills, narrowing your focus by developing a niche service, and demonstrating your knowledge by sharing valuable content.
SIGN UP for these articles in your inbox.
Your business brand is responsible for cultivating first impressions, building recognition, growing your reputation and authority, and securing the trust and loyalty of your clients.
Without a strong brand foundation, it can become difficult for your business to stand out from the competition and lead to rough travels on the road to entrepreneurship.
When starting out, your resources may be limited and unfortunately, most small businesses end up missing some of the most important steps or altogether skipping the brand process, which is, in my book, a mistake.
Let’s talk about some of the hazards of not having a brand…
Having a shaky or non-existent brand
Most entrepreneurs think they can either skip branding all together or go somewhere cheap online and get a logo and set up a quick website and they are ready to roll.
What do you think when you are handed a self-printed or templated business card? What happens when you visit a website that looks outdated or DIY?
You risk your potential customers judging your ability to provide a solution to their problem and others defining your brand for you. So, you can either let your brand be developed through online customer reviews or you can take the wheel and drive your business brand yourself.
When you don’t start off with a brand, it makes it hard to be consistent with your business and online marketing. You won’t have a foundation to refer to and therefore you’ll appear haphazard or even unprofessional.
One of the most important factors for business success is consistency across every marketing channel: your print materials, your website, your email and social media marketing, your social media image and posts, and your blog articles.
By being consistent, your customers can become more familiar with your brand and therefore you can slowly establish recognition and trust.
Having a copycat brand
When developing a new business, it might be tempting to look at other companies for inspiration, including competitors and entrepreneurs you admire. But in doing so, you take a chance of looking and sounding just like them.
Differentiation is the key to a profitability and sustainability. When potential customers see brands as interchangeable, they make purchase decisions based primarily on price. That means lower profit margins for you and a more difficult time charging what your services are actually worth.
By determining what makes you different, you are able to stand out from your competition and charge premium prices.
Forgetting the message
It’s easy to think branding is all about the visual elements such as the business name, logo, tagline, and color palette. When it comes to your website, you might have the look down, but a lot of entrepreneurs make the mistake of either sounding like their competition, being all over the place with their message, or worst yet, they provide too much information.
However, without a strong, clear and concise brand message, you run the risk of your potential customers not being able to determine why they should choose you over your competition.
Not identifying a target audience
Many entrepreneurs start out thinking it’s better to cater to everyone. What a better way to get more business, right? Wrong! When you try to communicate to everyone, you end up with a message that resonates to no one.
Determining a target market helps you hone your message and tailor it to those you really want to work with. The goal is to make it easy for your potential clients to determine if you are the right fit. This saves you both a lot of time and trouble.
Not narrowing focus
Chances are, if you’re really good at something, you’re also probably pretty good at other things too. Most people know a lot of stuff and think it is a good idea to sprinkle all sorts of services into their offerings. I’m sure you’ve seen them. The ones that have a website full of a multitude of services.
So, what happens when you visit a website like that? I can’t speak for everyone, but personally I get lost rather quickly in the sea of credentials and services. After I start to glaze over, I typically leave the site and go back to search for another specialist that’s got a clear service page and an easy way to work with them.
When you specialize, it helps you stand out and be remembered. Not only does that help you to be seen as an expert in your field, it also assists with word of mouth referrals. The more you specialize and are seen as the go-to expert in your market, the easier it is to charge premium prices for your services.
Still concerned that narrowing your focus is going to hurt your chances? Maybe this will help...
Your potential clients are busy and self-involved, and they’re not looking to spend lots of time figuring out what specific aspect of you is relatable and interesting to them. If they don’t believe that you can help them or they can’t figure out why to hire you over the competition, they won’t hire you. Plain and simple.
In conclusion, a successful business launch requires more than just a minimum effort. Just like coming up with your business idea, name, and services; investing in your brand foundation takes a good amount of time, thought, and preparation. It might cost money you don’t have readily available or think you should spend on something else, but in the long run, you’ll have much smoother travels if you begin with your brand foundation.
VAROOM! Brand Design offers brand foundation assistance with their brand design packages. Find the right REV UP package to fit your needs here.
SIGN UP for these articles in your inbox.
For many entrepreneurs, spending money on a professional brand may seem like a leap when they are starting out. There are many online companies that make it seem easy to go it on your own.
Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the online free and low-cost design and website services have some major value and even pack some punch. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re wasting a lot of time you could be spending on more important items that will get your business on the road.
I’ve had several clients reach out to me saying that they were about to pull their hair out because they just spent 2 hours trying to figure out how to add a page to their website or they went down the Canva rabbit hole trying to create a social media image to go along with their Facebook post. All to save them a few bucks.
I’m all about saving some money but if it is at the expense of my time, pull over and let me out!
Here’s why you should shift your thinking about where you place your time:
Most people look at their money with great attention and decide how they want to spend it, invest it and even give it away. It’s no different for business owners. But most people don’t look at their time in the same way and end up wasting a valuable resource.
You can’t make more time. You can always find a way to make more money - even using your time to make it - but there is no way for you to create more time. Money can buy you a lot of things in this world, but it cannot buy you more time. You can only spend time. Therefore, you need to spend it wisely.
If you are spending hours, days or even weeks trying to figure out how to do all your own design work instead of focusing on why someone should work with you and how you can help them solve their problem, you are wasting your precious time.
4 Reasons Why You Should Let the Pro Take the Wheel
1. Saves you time & headaches
By hiring a brand designer, they can have a project completed in a fraction of the time it would take for you to do it yourself. They know the ins and outs of most software and applications and work with them every day. So not only do they save you time, you have peace of mind knowing it’s done right the first time.
2. Saves you money in the long-run
Good design and a solid brand foundation have longevity. By paying for an expert to handle your branding, you are saving yourself from paying for subpar design, maybe even more than once. Not to mention that when a business doesn’t take its branding seriously in the beginning, it will more than likely need to go through a brand overhaul at some point.
Not only that, a professional brand designer is going to have a process in place with all the steps you need to take in order to lay your foundation, messaging and strategy. They will also know the most cost effective ways to get your business up and running.
3. You will get noticed
Having a distinct brand is what is going to help you rise above the noise and create your best first impression. You are guaranteed a unique brand so you won’t have to worry about looking like everyone else. On top of that, your brand will be consistent across every aspect of your business so you will appear more professional, trustworthy and memorable.
4. They are creative
Brand designers are trained to take your vision and bring it to life. Sometimes it can be difficult to voice your ideas in words and images. They will be able to incorporate your thoughts and collaborate with you in order to develop a stronger brand ensuring you are clearly communicating to your target audience.
It can be tempting to cut corners when you’re starting out. However, skimping on your brand design can quickly become a costly detour.
VAROOM! Brand Design offers full brand design. Find the right REV UP package to fit your needs here.
SIGN UP for these articles in your inbox.
Amanda Johnson Young is a brand designer with over 20 years experience. READ MORE
LIKE WHAT YOU READ HERE?
SIGN UP for these articles in your inbox.