Don’t Forget To Build Your Brand! It Takes Time, But It’s So Important

Posted by David Chism | Thu, Jan 18, 2024

 Don’t Forget To Build Your Brand! It Takes Time, But It’s So Important

When the over­all U.S. econ­o­my expe­ri­ences a down­turn, the home improve­ment mar­ket often takes a hit. Home­own­ers con­tem­plat­ing a remod­el or paint­ing project might post­pone it until they feel more finan­cial­ly secure. It’s a famil­iar sce­nario – we’ve all tight­ened our belts dur­ing uncer­tain times. I’ve done it myself!

As busi­ness own­ers, our knee-jerk reac­tion to dwin­dling num­bers is often to focus ONLY on imme­di­ate lead gen­er­a­tion. What gets the phone ring­ing, keeps your esti­ma­tors busy, and keeps feet on the street? This response makes sense, and it’s an impor­tant part of your response strategy.

But it’s only a part.

And as you pump more and more of your mar­ket­ing dol­lars into lead gen­er­a­tion tac­tics, your cost per lead will con­tin­ue to climb. Plus, if you’re hit­ting a mar­ket that isn’t aware of you and your busi­ness, you’ll have to work hard­er to win their trust and the job (espe­cial­ly if there are oth­ers will­ing to under­cut you on price).

So, what can you do?

I would chal­lenge you (as I’ve chal­lenged myself) to focus not JUST on leads, but also on your over­all brand­ing. I’m absolute­ly con­vinced that invest­ing in your local name, brand famil­iar­i­ty, and rep­u­ta­tion will pay long-term dividends.

Flip the Nar­ra­tive: A Slow­down Can Be Your Gold­en Opportunity

A weak­er econ­o­my (or what peo­ple feel is a weak­er econ­o­my) can be a real oppor­tu­ni­ty with the right mind­set. Rather than hun­ker down, tight­en your belt, and wait out the storm, con­sid­er tak­ing advan­tage of the situation.

  • Is it time to acquire a small­er com­peti­tor who may not be able to weath­er a slowdown?

  • Are there oppor­tu­ni­ties for stream­lin­ing your operations?

  • Can you revis­it and rede­fine sys­tems, posi­tion­ing your­self well for when busi­ness picks back up?

  • Are adver­tis­ing ven­dors will­ing to rene­go­ti­ate terms in the face of cus­tomer pull-outs? This is your time to get bet­ter rates, bet­ter spots, bet­ter bill­boards, etc.

Use these oppor­tu­ni­ties to strength­en your oper­a­tions and build your brand. Be the name that dom­i­nates your local area, not a stranger that needs to win the con­fi­dence of your prospects.

Invest In Stay­ing Top-of-Mind

Let’s drill down even more deeply into how you can remain agile and well-posi­tioned for the future.

  • SEO. Will the leads come pour­ing in overnight? No, def­i­nite­ly not. Will you ever regret mak­ing sure your web­site is a con­tent pow­er­house, attract­ing local traf­fic? No way. Search Engine Opti­miza­tion takes time and con­sis­ten­cy, so start the process now.

  • Run Facebook/​Meta ads that don’t just push for lead forms to be filled out, but work like an online bill­board. Get your name and ser­vices in front of your tar­get audience. 

  • Using Google Ads, there are plen­ty of cost-effec­tive ways to man­age brand campaigns. 

  • Incor­po­rate prospect­ing into your sys­tem regard­less of the economy.

  • Cul­ti­vate cus­tomer rela­tion­ships and refer­rals through reg­u­lar communication.

  • Uti­lize direct mail strate­gi­cal­ly for con­sis­tent out­reach. Folks might throw away two or three mail­ers, but every sin­gle one is a touch point.

  • Smart TV ads (like OTT - see here for more details!) are a pow­er­ful, new­er way to get in front of peo­ple who may not watch cable, but are spend­ing time stream­ing shows on their favorite enter­tain­ment apps. 

  • Stream­ing is huge, and not just visu­al con­tent. Spo­ti­fy ads, for exam­ple, can be a smart way to get in front of your tar­get audi­ence. Will some folks pay for the ad-free ver­sion? Yes, but not all. It doesn’t hurt to try, test, and mea­sure results.

Speak­ing of OTT, there are oth­er plat­forms that you should check into as well. Posts and ads on Red­dit, NextDoor, and even Quo­ra might be worth your time, espe­cial­ly if you focus on adding val­ue to a con­ver­sa­tion, answer­ing ques­tions, and not just push­ing sales. 

How Active Are You In Your Community?

Time to get real old-school here.

When was the last time you spon­sored a local base­ball team? Or showed up at a com­mu­ni­ty event with give­aways? Gave back with a char­i­ty project? 

Chances are, your com­peti­tors aren’t doing these things either. Or, maybe they are! Either way, you’re get­ting left out and miss­ing a huge oppor­tu­ni­ty to invest in ways that mean some­thing to the peo­ple who might hire your busi­ness. Use a weak­er econ­o­my as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to grow and devel­op your rep­u­ta­tion, be vis­i­ble, and estab­lish your­self as an indus­try leader. 

Don’t Slow Down

Trust me: I’m not down­play­ing the need for leads. I have a paint­ing team that I’m anx­ious to keep busy, and we’re all doing what we can to be sure their sched­ule is full. With that said, as a reminder to myself as well, I want to encour­age you to focus on the longer game in every way you can. Think big­ger than num­bers week-to-week and the NEXT slow­down won’t have as much of an impact.

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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