It’s the question every freelancer and business owner asks: “How do I get more clients?”
And fair enough, because that’s a pretty essential part of running a business. I mean, no clients = no business. So, how does branding help with getting clients to your small business? And how can you make sure you’re branding your business in a way that is actually attracting the right kind of clients?
To answer that, here are some tips from me.
But first. Does a small business really need branding at all?
Let’s start by quickly tackling this question. As a small business owner, do you really need to put so much thought into your branding?
Isn’t it something for big corporations?
To put it bluntly — no, it isn’t. Branding isn’t just for those big companies that are turning over millions of dollars in revenue and have huge marketing budgets. Us little businesses need to take branding seriously too. In fact, it’s arguably even more important for small businesses, because competition tends to be at such a high volume at our level.
Branding is simply about differentiating your business from the other similar ones. It’s for communicating what makes your business unique and making sure it stands out and attracts the right audience. It isn’t just using the same colours on everything or making things look pretty just for the sake of it. Branding is how you make it clear what your business stands for and why people should care, through visual and verbal messaging, tone and personality.
Without branding, your business more or less just becomes a commodity. You’ll only be able to compete on price or the features of the products and services you sell which other businesses can copy or beat you in.
Read more: What is branding and why is it important?
Create a client-centred brand foundation
Understanding that branding is important is a good step in the right direction, but there are still potential pitfalls to avoid even as you build a brand. One such mistake is making the brand all about you when really, it should be about the people you serve.
To build a brand that gets clients to come to you, you need to put your audience at the centre of everything you do. This starts right from the beginning, with the core components of your brand:
- Your purpose — This is why your business exists. Every good brand needs a compelling purpose; a driving force that takes it forward. To be compelling, a purpose needs to go beyond your own wants and desires. The purpose you’re building your brand around isn’t “to make money” or “to be famous”. You need to a purpose that serves a greater need — something that includes people beyond yourself.
- Your core values — The beliefs of your business. The standard you will hold your business to. Having shared values has become an important factor when it comes to how people choose the brands they use. Ideally, your core values shows your audience that you care about the same things as they do.
- Your brand personality — This plays a big part in creating a comfortable atmosphere for your target audience. What kind of brand personality are they looking for? Is it important to maintain a very professional image, high confidence and straightforwardness? Or would your clients be happier with a more relaxed, friendly vibe? Work out what they would expect and deliver on it.
Demonstrate your understanding of client pain points
The best way to show your audience that your business has the solution to their problems is by first demonstrating an understanding of what their problem is. Speak their language, empathise with their pain points and show that you know what it means to face the kind of problems they have.
By demonstrating a clear understanding of the problems, you’re able to set yourself up as an expert and build the trust of your audience. They’re more likely to look to you as a professional who is not only aware of the problems that they face, but who also has the answer they’re looking for.
Talk about results, rather than methods
It can be easy to fall into the trap of speaking on and on about what you do, going into minute detail about your process and method of working. After all, this is what you know. Plus it’s helpful to explain what is involved when clients work with you, right?
Well, sure. You wouldn’t be wrong to think that. But these details should be what you talk about after your audience has already “bought in” to the idea of working with you.
Before you get to the details of what your process looks like and the exact nature of your services, you need to show your audience why they should be interested in the first place. Just as you demonstrated your understanding of their pain points, you also need to demonstrate what finding a solution will mean for your potential clients.
What will their life look like, if their problem is solved? How will things be different? It’s good to be specific and really try to paint a clear picture that compares “before” and “after”.
Here’s the thing, right: for you, the business owner, your job is all about the process. You work with client after client, going through the steps to solve their problem. Basically, your business is built around the methods you use and creating solutions.
But for your clients, working with you represents a pretty small part of their life or business. They’re just passing through on the way to creating something better for themselves, and it’s what comes after the process that they’re interested in. So, keep that in mind and build your branding around selling the results your business helps your clients achieve.
I hope you found some useful advice in there to help you get more clients to your small business! The key takeaway is that branding should be something you do for your audience, NOT for yourself. It isn’t there to make your business look awesome and put it up on a pedestal. It’s to communicate how your business will help your clients.
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