The importance of being branded
Monday, January 4th, 2016
The route to self employment is an exciting yet scary one. There is so much to think about, aside from actually doing your day-to-day work, you have to develop the whole business side, too.
Aside from the financial, there is one major task that you need to start, right from the outset. Your brand. Your brand is the first thing that potential customers see – so it needs to be memorable. As someone who is self-employed, YOU are your brand. The difference between working for a company and working for yourself, is that you’re always representing your business.
3 Elements of a Memorable Brand
A lot can be assumed from the use of colour. You’ll find lots of blog posts telling you what each colour means, how blue is professional and trusted, whilst green is natural and vibrant. Of course your company’s identity needs to easily describe what you do, but going with the grain isn’t necessarily the best way to go. Think about it – if a customer is looking for a plumber, they’re going to be looking through a sea of blue logos and blue websites. If your logo stands out with a splash of unexpected colour, you’re already setting yourself apart and making yourself more memorable. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting a wave of 1980’s luminescence, but vibrancy is a good thing!
Personality is about more than a GSOH! Your personality needs to be clear from your copy writing, your blog posts and your imagery. A customer needs to feel at ease with you & what you have to offer them. Once a customer feels comfortable with you & your business, they’re more likely to stay loyal & refer others to you. Why would a customer risk going to someone else, if they can trust you to do a good job? Before you start writing the copy for you website, think about what you want to portray and how you want to be seen. Make sure you’re consistent with your message. If you’re going to promote your business across social media, you need to remember all of your key messages, using the same tone of voice & attitude.
Testimonials are arguably the most powerful tool to turn your leads into customers. Potential customers aren’t just going to listen to what YOU say, no matter how well you say it! They will look towards other people to reinforce your message. 79% of UK retailers see a positive effect on conversions by adding ratings and reviews to their website, so even though these reviews may be by total strangers, public opinion is a powerful thing!
But aren’t you opening yourself up to negative comments? This is one of the main concerns that businesses face – along with the great reviews, you’re bound to get a negative review thrown in there somewhere. This can actually be an excellent thing! This negative comment gives you the opportunity to publicly answer a customer’s concerns. Your response can actually reinforce your brand. Great customer service is a big positive element for you – if you potential customers can see a reasonable, prompt and honest reply to a problem, this only reinforces their impression of you and your brand.
Don’t forget your more traditional forms of marketing. Trade stands, networking meetings & conferences are all part of building up your reputation & getting noticed. Getting to know local businesses is a great way to reinforce your brand values and make new connections out there in the market.
The self-employment route is certainly challenging, but what’s more rewarding than building up your own business, client base and being able to put your own name to your work? If you’ve decided that this route is for you, then I wish you the best of luck!