Business Marketing, Branding and Opening Doors – 5 Success Tips

Do you find yourself thinking back on your business history of working for others?

Back when I worked for the church and then as a FHA Loan Officer, it was all about excellence – reading all the latest business books and quickly gaining a reputation as the person that was going places.

It was a simpler time: do your job with dedication, anticipate future needs and take care of this before being asked.

  • The result? Business was growing 33% a year, management had me as the number one person to watch, and my own financial growth was going way up.

As an entrepreneur, things are different. Knowing all aspects of the business and doing more than a great job is required. It’s about the overall experience you provide:

  • What image does your business portray?
  • Connection: Have you identified your market and the simple elements of branding that would help you connect with them?
  • The Marketing Plan: How do you communicate your brand through online marketing, social media and direct mail?
  • Are you crafting promotional materials and creating marketing campaigns that get results?
  • Do your clients know what to expect or is each contact with you a different experience?

And – it is about understanding yourself and how you operate.

5 Success tips to implement in your business if you’re looking for success and sustainability:

  1. Develop a way to connect with your clients – branding
  2. A marketing plan– Your market wants really good content and connection- is your sales site giving that?
  3. Share your project and ask for partnership with industry celebrities
  4. Create systems, which support you: client intake system, outgoing client completion documentation, how you gather – and use – email addresses, surveys, testimonials, etc.
  5. Follow-up. Let your clients and prospective clients know you care by following-up on a regular basis – offering value, your own product/service information and affiliate offers.

How your business is perceived by others, especially your clients, begins with you. What needs to be recreated, reworked and changed to bring your business the big impact?

Working as an entrepreneur, on your own, can be an isolated feeling. Trying to find your way and answers can happen through books and online training. But, getting focused and aligned with your clients and opening promotional and marketing doors can flow much easier and more quickly with a mentor – a coaching business entrepreneur. I have certainly found that true. Let me know what you think.

Auto Body Shop Marketing – Branding

This is the first article in a five-part series that details exactly what you need to market your auto body shop and make it a success.

The auto body shop business can be tough to start and run if you don’t have a well-oiled marketing strategy. In this series of articles you will find the tools you need to fine-tune a winning auto body shop business.

Importance of a branded image

Branding your auto body shop is the first step to long-term growth. Some auto body shops make the mistake of skipping this step, and might do quite well until a market-savvy competitor comes along and takes a bigger piece of the pie. Crafting a thoughtful and creative brand identity that influences your customers can be a difficult task, but the effort is well worth it. A memorable brand that evokes just the right emotion will almost always win over a nameless, brandless competitor. Brands build trust.

If your auto body shop is not branded, then you’re just another mechanic. There’s nothing to differentiate your company from the competition. You have no competitive edge. But if you can come up with a compelling brand that demonstrates who you are and what you can do for your customers, you can elicit emotion, spur recognition and fuel sales.

How to identify your branded image

Take the time to fully explore your options so you can craft an image that speaks directly to your customers. Apply conceptual thinking with modern motivators to craft a branded image that can easily double or triple sales – and even more – throughout time. The following five steps will help you identify your brand:

1. Define your niche – What is your niche in the auto body shop industry? Do you perform collision repair work or do you custom-build hot rod bodies? Do you cater to personal projects or commercial businesses, or do you work exclusively for the upper class or racing professionals? Your niche market and your brand are two different things: your niche is who you cater to; your brand represents the psychologically based ideals that make you appealing to that market. Ask yourself how you differ from the competition and focus on those elements to help you define your niche.
2. Describe your benefits – What you do is one thing; how it benefits your customers is another. Make a list of your features and benefits so you can identify why your customers should choose your auto body shop instead of another. Be creative, and ask others for help here – sometimes there are benefits to doing business with you that you have yet to recognize. Your current customers can be an excellent source of information here.
3. Know your customers – List your top customers and identify shared traits so you can create a “perfect customer” profile. Why do your customers buy from you? What are the key services you perform for them? Once you’ve identified your primary customers, consider your secondary customers. Perhaps you specialize in classic cars, but also take on collision repair jobs in between “perfect” customers. Sometimes, your “secondary” customers make up the bulk of your income. If you understand who your customers are, you can begin to establish mutually beneficial business relationships.
4. State your mission – Where does your company stand today, and where do you want it to be in two years? Five years? Ten years? Your mission should encompass who you are and where you’re going.
5. Sum it all up – Your brand is an expression of all of these things. Jot them down and brainstorm potential taglines that represent your company’s core identity. Pick the most memorable.

Branding through design

As an auto body shop owner, you’re familiar with design. Your artwork cruises the streets every day, seen by hundreds, thousands and potentially millions. Your task is to convert the intricacies of your auto body work into a singular branded image that expresses what you do, how you do it and who you do it for.

Your company colors, logo, corporate identity package, website, ads and other collateral are all a reflection of your brand; so familiar, cohesive design must be applied to all mediums. In time, anyone should be able to see your logo and instantly know who you are and what you stand for. Once you achieve that, you’ve developed a remarkable auto body shop brand.

Holidays Are a Great Time to Market Brand You

Mentioning “the holidays” to people in business usually garners cringes and wrinkled noses. Why? It seems that unless you’re a retail establishment, the holidays become a difficult time to do business. Either everyone’s caught up in holiday mode and not wanting to make any decisions until the start of the New Year, or they’re nearing the end of their fiscal year, and they don’t want to make any major financial decisions, or maybe they’re just too caught up in all the holiday happenings from office parties and other scheduled holiday gatherings to even be able to have room in their calendar to do or think about anything else!

If you’re prepared, this time of the year is where you can shine.

And the keyword in that statement is “preparation.”

First, know what makes you unique and what strengths you possess. Craft a list of five of those attributes that really describe you.

Second, have a quick answer for “What do you do?” It’s one of the most-asked questions at any gathering and the one least listened to. It’s more of a courtesy to ask than it is a true question. So your answer needs to focus on one of your unique strengths, not a title, and you’ll stand out. Titles tend to box us into whatever that other person’s experience is with that title, and we want to remove any barriers to connection especially those from preconceived perceptions. For me, I would say, “I connect people online and offline.” The second part of that answer is to ask a question, “So what do you do” or “What do you enjoy doing?” It is a good thing to be seen as a good conversationalist or communicator. People value people who value them. And the best way to do that is to listen. Ask questions and listen. If they do most of the talking and you do most of the listening, then you will be considered a good conversationalist, and they’ll even tell other people that you are!

Third, you need to develop a good answer to “What’s up” or “How have you been doing?” These are the second most-asked questions, and “winging it” usually leaves us saying something like “Been busy,” “Nothing much,” “Good,” or “Can’t complain.” Spending the time to prepare this answer can make the difference between you being like everyone else or you shining in your 15 seconds of fame! Think of something that you recently did or are doing that really highlights one of your brand attributes. For example, I would say “I just wrote an article for the Personal Branding Magazine teaching people how to make profitable connections at holiday gatherings. And what’s been happening with you?”

Being ready with a good answer that shines on your personal brand and then engaging someone in conversation with a question is a great start to be visible at any gathering. Visibility is the first step to inspiring others to speak positively about you and garnering positive word-of-mouth!

How PPC Advertising Can Be Local Search Engine Marketing & Branding

Have you ever done local advertising through PPC? Then you know it is not cheap, in fact it can break your bank if done incorrectly. When done correctly however Pay Per Click Advertising can offer your small business branding through local search engine marketing at a low cost.

When setting out to do PPC advertising to brand your company keep in mind that it will not be much cheaper than regular pay per click. The payout however is that after seeing your ad displayed for so long prospective clients who may have been wary about trying your service are now going to start noticing your persistence. If you want to keep your cost down it pays to target a local area close to your business and keep your bid cheap, as well as having some other way of finding you on the web.

If you have a strong web presence outside your PPC advertising such as a decent web page, social networking for your business or maybe just a blog then customers will be able to shop your company. This is where your local search engine branding comes in to place, a prospect sees your ad a couple times and decides to research your company, but if you have nothing to help support your brand then this is where it ends. Having a strong web presence can help to market your business when being found through PPC branding.

With a little support from internet marketing your pay per click advertising campaign can yield more customers and cheaper leads. That is local search engine branding through advertising and marketing and having a first page placement locally on Google could be just what your business needs to optimize its web presence and further its branding. Before deciding on using PPC advertisements as a part of your branding campaign you should take a look into local SEO for optimization of your local web presence.