Establishing a local, solo, or niche business—even in the age of the internet—is easiest when you generate real word of mouth.
Easier said than done, right? But it is possible. Creating a genuine brand story and embodying that story throughout your customer touchpoints will set you on the right path!
Here’s a great example for you. I recently bought an old house that needed some plumbing work. After asking around, I got a recommendation for a plumber known for his work on old homes. He was described as genuine, honest, and kind. He doesn’t advertise and doesn’t have a website. His business is run on satisfied clients spreading the word.
How does he do it?
He obviously didn’t sit down and build out a 12-step plan for establishing a brand. Instead, he decided what values are important to him, and consistently acted according to them. He’s not the cheapest plumber. He’s not the fastest. But he’s honest, reliable, and knows old homes and their challenges. Clients who are looking for someone fitting this description, know that they can turn to him.
Now, how can you take his strategy and apply it to your business? Here are three steps that can help you define your brand story —and use that story to grow your business!
Ask the question: who do I want to be?
No brand is everything to everyone. You can’t be both a high-end expensive furniture store, and sell cheap and attainable couches.
So, when you’re establishing your product, service, and brand voice, it’s important that you know who you want your client to be. Even more importantly, you need to establish who you are.
If you’re an attorney, do you sell yourself on price? Approachability? Your ability to win the case?
As a contractor, a realtor, or candlestick maker, you have to answer questions about your methods, specialties, and motivations. The more you’ve formulated your identity, the more authentic you can be—and the value of what you have to offer will shine through.
A good practice is to list out how you would like people to talk about your business. Spend an hour writing down words like affordable, reliable, transparent, passionate… whatever your phrases may be. Then figure out how you can apply these principles to your business.
Spread the word
If you’re branding yourself in a certain niche, with certain qualities, you’ll want to share these differentiators when spreading the word. Add your keywords to your website. Tell your story to customers and potential customers. Be honest about who you are.
Include your brand story on your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles, your website, your customer communications. The more you self-define, the more likely people will align your business and the value you deliver according to that definition.
In fact, it’s amazing how people love to share positive experiences! If you make a promise and fulfill that promise meeting or exceeding their expectations, your clients will share their experiences. If you want to provide excellent customer experiences, and you deliver those experiences, your customers will tell their friends, write reviews, and the word will spread.
If you say you’re the friendliest roofer in town, it’s important to make sure you’re always friendly—holding up your promise. If you say you’re the cheapest, you need to be the cheapest.
Any inconsistency, any failure to deliver what you promise your clients, runs the risk of damaging your reputation. Unsatisfied customers will go on Yelp, Facebook, and other review sites to call you out onsub-par service or broken promises… Your self-definition, your brand story, has to be honest. It has to be true.
Want to learn more about branding your business? Learn 5 steps to establishing your brand story!