You may be wondering if you really need a brand strategy. When you have a brand strategy your entire client process becomes easier. It is a general marketing principle that it takes at least seven touchpoints between your brand and the client before they are ready for purchase. These touchpoints give your client the opportunity to get to know, like and trust you. Your brand strategy informs each of these touchpoints and allows you to use these touchpoints for the greatest impact.
There are many opportunities for touchpoints but this article will look at possibly the most direct route from spectator to paying client. In a service-based business, this route includes a lead generator, website, inquiry form, auto-response, custom-response, consultation call, proposal pitch.
A lead is a person whose identifying information, most notably in the form of an email, you possess. Your lead generator is a free piece of content that helps you get that information. The lead generator should be valuable enough that a potential lead would be willing to give you their email address in exchange for it. Your lead generator is typically found through a traffic generator such as a blog, ad, Pinterest, SEO, etc.
But how do you know what your potential lead finds valuable? This is where your brand strategy comes into play. If you have developed a brand strategy you will already have insight into the needs and desires of your potential lead (aka your ideal client). Having this insight allows you to create content that speaks to their pain points and gives them a quick win.
Your second touchpoint is your website. Having gained a bit of insight into the way you do things from your lead generator the now lead-turned-potential client is looking to learn more about you. The two most visited sites on your website are the homepage and your about page. The homepage should tell let you new potential client know that you understand their struggle and that they are in the right place to get it handled. Your about page should illustrate that you are the right person for the job.
But how do you know what would tell them that they are in the right place and you are in the right person for the job? Again your brand strategy comes to the rescue. Your brand strategy includes how your values resonate with people and how to create messages from that. When you already know how people are going to respond to what you value you can control the perception they have of you and your business leading your ideal client to the next touchpoint.
Once your ideal potential client has the opportunity to scope you out a bit they will reach out. The best way for you to guide the conversation is through a custom inquiry form. Your inquiry form is a great place for your new potential client to start to experience what it’s like to work with you. It should include basic things like their name, email and phone number. But it should also include things that are specific to your work like the package or services they are interested in, their budget and any specific details you may need to decide to move forward.
Your inquiry form may seem that it has little to do with your brand strategy but it is an important step in the process. Your brand strategy helps you get clear on the specific things you offer and at what price point. There is no point entertaining people who want services you don’t offer or aren’t willing to pay your prices. Your brand strategy is much about attracting the right clients as it is about repelling the wrong ones.
The next opportunity is through the auto-responder to the inquiry form. Your potential client may or may not expect a response right away but this is a great way to start building expectations. Many people just have a generic message about how long it’ll take them to get back to them. Although you should definitely include that info this is a chance for you to make another impact on your potential client.
The auto-responder is a place to introduce more of your brand to your potential client. In addition to your normal response times, you can include a brief reference that highlights how your values show up in your business. For example, if one of your business values is about nature your autoresponder could mention that you may be out hiking but that you respond to emails within whatever timeframe. This not only humanizes you but offers an additional touchpoint that your potential client can relate to.
The custom response is typically when you respond to the inquiry with an offer to chat. You acknowledge the project they want your help with and tell them how excited you are to work with them. This is all great but again most people miss the opportunity to build that know, like and trust factor.
Another aspect of your brand strategy is your core messaging or your brand promise. Your brand promise is the thing that you commit to doing (or not doing) no matter what. Your custom response is a great place to (re)introduce your brand promise. Depending on how your detailed your brand promise is you may choose to include it outright or just pieces of it. For example, mines is in 4 parts (1 to address each of my brand values) but in my custom response I only include two: 1. my commitment to being transparent and only providing resources that are valuable at a price that reflects its worth and 2. creating meaningful results that speak to your business objectives. The point is to engage your potential client in your world.
The next opportunity to connect with your potential client is your consultation call. Depending on your industry and business this may be called a discovery call, a clarity call or introduction call. This is the opportunity for you to learn about the specific needs and desires of your potential client and for them to learn about your process. The goal of this call is to determine if you are a good fit for each other.
This touchpoint is an opportunity for you to share your unique selling proposition. Your unique selling proposition is what sets your business apart from other businesses in your market. It is based on what your business prioritizes and the value you deliver to your clients. Your unique selling proposition is closely related to your brand promise but differs in one key way. Your unique selling proposition is in comparison to others in your industry while the brand promise is your own business morals.
The seventh and last touchpoint we are discussing is the proposal. Some people just send the proposal via email. But I suggest that you talk to the client so you can thoroughly go through the proposal and answer any questions they have. In addition, at the end of the call, you have the opportunity to ask for the sale.
This is probably one of the best places to infuse with your brand. The strategy you have been using all along has helped to navigate your potential client to this point. During your proposal call you should showcase how you do business highlighting your values and your unique selling proposition. You’ve been using your brand strategy all along and this call is no different. You are now just putting a face (or a voice) to an experience.
Overall, your brand strategy is a plan you’ve created to intentionally showcase who you are. People buy from people and throughout this process, you’ve been showing your potential client who you are and what you stand for. All aspects of your business should highlight this and your brand strategy helps to do this consistently without overwhelm and without re-creating something new each time. To help you start thinking strategically I have created you this brand strategy overview template. It includes spaces for the main areas of a brand strategy plus some guiding questions.