7 Reasons Personal Branding is Essential to Grow Your Remodeling or Home Building Business (Part 1 of a 2 Part Series)
What do Oprah, Ellen, Kim Kardashian, Donald Trump (I just love the order of this list), Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Deepak Choprah and Jillian Michaels have in common? OK – beyond the fact they make more money than you and me (ha! ha!). It’s this. Whether you like them or not (and not to be P.C. about it, but there’s a couple of names on this list I could do without) you know their ‘personal brand.’ If you follow them you also their skills, passions, talents, values and unique personality.
For better or worse, these people are a ‘category of one.’
You know them – even if you HATE them. You’re intrigued by what they say. Their strong personal brands reflect positively and negatively on the businesses they own. They’re got a POV. They’re not afraid to express it. They’re leaders – whether you like how they lead or not.
All these people have benefited from personal branding for their careers (and businesses) to evolve where they are today.
And here’s a crazy thing. It’s possible for you to create a strong (and positive) personal brand for your remodeling or building business which can skyrocket your growth.
While you may not become Oprah, The Rock or Ellen – and likely won’t need to wear sunglasses shopping in the grocery store, you can become a ‘person of influence’ in your remodeling, contracting or new home building niche.
If right now you’re thinking, Mike must be smoking that ‘funny stuff’ back from his Kappa Sigma Fraternity days at Carnegie-Mellon University, I’m going to challenge you to read the first part of this 2-part series. We’ll look at 7 reasons personal branding can be THE TOOL to grow your reputation, influence and sales. (Note in part II I’ll show you practical how-to tips and ideas from experts on personal branding to put it to work for you).
Reason #1 personal branding is important for your remodeling and building business– It forces you to figure out who(m) you serve, how you uniquely serve them and forces you to push your boundaries to serve at a higher level.
When most people think about ‘personal branding’ they assume its all focused around the ‘celebrity’ of the person. This is completely wrong.
Successful personal branding IS NOT thinking, acting and talking about yourself in the ‘3rd person!’ It is about defining your audience. Figuring out who(m) you serve and helping them with their projects. It’s about pushing your boundries to serve at a higher level. It’s about being helpful and providing content which ‘clicks’ (no social media pun intended) with them.
As personal branding and image expert Danielle Turcola of Professionalism International says, “For my business it’s all about working with clients I can bring a unique solution to. It’s all about solving their problems with my personal brand and expertise.”
As Devon Tilly (owner of Mountain View Window & Door) and host of the Art of Construction podcast with 350,000 subscribers told me, “Mike, growing your personal brand requires pushing through your comfort zone. It’s about rising about the ‘noise’ which is our world, and educating, helping and connecting others.”
You and I (just like Oprah, Ellen and Deepak Choprah) are called to serve our audience (or you can call them clients or customers).
You need to become known as THE ‘expert’ to your best customers (or call them Targeted Ideal Prospects). However, first you need to first step back and think through who(m) you serve.
What’s their age? Where do they live? Are they married, single, have kids or grandkids? What problems do they have with their current homes your products, remodeling or building services can solve? What questions do they ask you can answer?
The person who becomes ‘the expert’ (and creates the trusted personal brand) answers questions (through videos, blogs, email, speaking, podcasting and face to face meetings etc.) their target audience needs help with. They provide solutions to ‘tough questions.’ They become the ‘go-to’ dude or dudess people want to work with.
Their ‘voice’ matters.
Reason #2 personal branding is important for your remodeling and building business– YOU can’t be copied.
I don’t care what business strategy you or your team cook up, it can be copied by your competition. However, there’s one thing which is impossible to copy. That one thing is…
Only you have your unique ‘take’ on things. Only you have lived your experiences. Only you have worked through the ‘highs and lows’ of your previous projects. You have the ‘battle scars’ and tips to help your targeted client’s projects look better and be done quicker.
When you use ‘content’ (videos, blogs, emails, podcasts, speaking engagements) and are confident to share the ‘real you,’ (flaws and all) you’ll build relationships which you couldn’t make happen no matter how much money you plowed into your marketing budget. You’ll build trust when you allow people ‘behind the curtain’ of the real you and provide information which helps them.
This is the strategy being used by Dave Cooper of Connecticut Valley Homes (a modular home builder on the East Coast). For the last 4 years Dave has consistently used videos to drive interest in his building business. As he said to me in a recent interview, “Mike, through your personal brand (in my case through video) I’ve become known as a trusted person in my niche – modular home building. And what’s also been nice, my business is being ‘served up’ on Siri for voice searches also!”
Reason #3 personal branding is important for your remodeling and building business– Sales leads will flow to you without spending big bucks on fancy endorsements, ads or paying Google or Facebook to get them.
When you use your content (videos, blogs, emails, speaking engagements) to set up your expertise, you’ll find leads coming into you. People will say, “I’ve been following you for years. Now, it’s time to get this project rolling. Can you help?”
While people choosing to come to you (ready to buy) because your ‘personal branding’ has set you up as a trusted resource sound like the impossible dream, it isn’t.
Dave Cooper of Connecticut Valley Homes shared an interesting story about the power of personal branding to me. You see a few years ago Dave started using 1-minute videos to talk about his projects, vendors and provide insights based on the ‘prodding’ (OK – she told him, Dave you’ve got to do this!) of his social media expert. Dave was skeptical. He ‘went along’ with her advice.
Dave knew he was on to something when 6 months after he started doing videos, a customer came in and said, “Hey- aren’t you the guy on the videos?” (and Dave hadn’t even put his makeup on that day! OK – I’m lying Dave doesn’t wear makeup, but it sounded funny).
Then she proceeded to tell Dave what she wanted in a home. It was heavily influenced by the videos he is spinning out. His relatable, real-life insights made his company THE people to hire to build this woman’s modular home. Dave (and Connecticut Valley Homes became a category of one!
Dave then realized, “What a minute. How cool is it that these videos are setting up our sales! No amount of PPC spending is going to have this much impact!”
Devon Tilly also mentioned how personal branding can save you money and grow your ‘trust factor’ in a regional market. Devon – who is in the uber-competitive window and door market didn’t want to promote his upscale windows by spending a bunch of money hiring an expensive player from the Denver Broncos (his business is in the Denver market) to promote a ‘cheesy’ buy 3, get 1 free window special. He wanted instead to ‘educate through his expertise.’ He wanted to sell to people who want and need the architectural solutions his window products offer. With a podcast which has been running for 5 years (and boasts 350,000 subscribers), he’ll have prospects banging on his door vs. needing to resort to ‘old-school’ and expensive marketing ‘schemes’ to get qualified people in the door to his showroom.
Personal branding can (and will bring) prospects who already love YOU, before you even know who they are! They’ll feel a connection with you (and your expertise), even if you’ve never met them before.
How powerful is that?
Reason #4 personal branding is important for your remodeling and building business– Premium prices and higher margins come with the territory.
You may be the smartest dude or dudess in the remodeling industry. And you may be wishing you could command the premium prices which go with your expertise.
However, you may be ‘bummed’ seeing competitors getting the ‘plush jobs’ you never even had a whiff at. Their bigger marketing budgets has gotten them calls you wish you had. These projects command higher price tags and margins.
You don’t have their budgets and aren’t able to charge the prices they are either. You’re wondering if there is a better way (without draining your limited funds) to become the ‘top dog’ to your perfect customers so you can get more profitable work.
Personal branding and content are key strategies to make this happen. Here’s where a ‘little guy/gal’ can compete with the ‘big boys & girls.’
When you’re creating consistent content, then sending this content to your ‘members-only’ private email list or digital assets– you become known as ‘da-man’ or ‘da-woman.’ The people who read, listen or watch your content come to trust you know what the heck is up. They realize they’d rather deal with an expert than some ‘remodeling ‘huckster’ who – while they may be a marketing machine – their high-pressure sales team may not know (as my Dad used to say) ‘their butt from a hole in the ground.’
Once you create a ‘permanent record’ (as they used to say in high school) of your ‘good deeds’ and knowledge– people will KNOW you know what you’re talking about. They’ll be willing to pay more because they know and trust you. You are a trusted resource, not a salesperson (no offense made to sales professionals out there). You won’t need ‘slick closing techniques’ to get jobs sold either. Just explain how you can help and when you can start.
Reason #5 personal branding is important for your remodeling and building business– You’ll force yourself to learn, grow and figure out ways to share your ‘edu-tainment’ with the world
As a guy who has been spinning out personal content through blogging and speaking for 10 years, I’d love to tell you this stuff is easy. However, I’d be lying.
Personal branding using content development is the ‘ultimate long-game.’ There’s no ‘get rich quick scheme.’ When you’re looking to use content to help customers solve problems and position your expertise, you’re asking every week, “What the heck am I going to write about? What video should I create? Who can I interview on the next podcast? Whose story can I share?”
If you’ve talked to any writer, video creator, or podcaster who says they haven’t had creator’s block – I’d tell you they’re full of it. This is why most content creators follow other content creators. They read blogs and hear (through podcasts and presentations) about the ‘craft’ of content creation.
In my example, I’ve pinned articles with titles like “100 Attention Getting Blog Post Titles, 70 Killer Content Ideas, and 10 Things Which Exploded my Blog.” I read like a mad man, watch videos and listen to podcast constantly looking for ideas. What are they doing which is fun and unique? Can I spin this in my own way for people in my products or industry?
I would argue when you’re in the ‘content creation’ business, you’re actually in the ‘edu-tainment’ business. Here’s why. You and I have the attention span of a gnat. We not only need to learn; we need to do it without being bored out of our minds.
So, the challenge becomes how can you inject fun, personality and style (‘er personal branding) into your topics? This is the hard part (IMHO) about content development. At first, you’ll be boring. It takes time to ‘evolve’ into your voice. However, as you progress, you’ll force yourself to research and learn more about your topic and how to craft fun content.
To begin with I’d recommend YOU DON’T LISTEN TO THE WORDS of Jim Rome (sport radio talk show host). Jim says to…
“Have a take and don’t suck.”
When you’re starting into personal branding (‘er AKA content creation), give yourself permission to have a take and suck. It takes time to ‘grow into’ your voice. It takes time to evolve into the best (and most authentic version of you) when you’re spinning out useful info and helping potential customers. As Devon told me, “Mike in the early stages of podcast I learned how to use the edit button. Over and over again. Content development is a marathon, not a sprint. Have patience. Be disciplined. Stay the course and results will come.”
When you start focus on the ‘education’ of what you’re doing. As you get moving push the focus to the ‘entertainment’ aspect of what you’re doing (note – a good way to do this is to read how to use humor in writing and/or listen to your favorite comedians).
Reason #6 personal branding is important for your remodeling and building business– You’ll build top of mind awareness. Your Mom will brag about you. You’ll get opportunities for free publicity and even paid ‘gigs.’
As your content ‘gets legs’ you’ll be seen as THE SOURCE for your topic. You’ll have unexpected opportunities (ones you didn’t seek out) come your way. This could be conferences you’ll not only be asked to speak at, but also ones where they ACTUALLY pay you! For example, Dave Cooper is now being asked to speak by large companies on the power of video for a construction business.
You’ll be called for quotes from writers on articles (and a chance for powerful backlinks to your site there is no way you’d get otherwise).
You’ll create top of mind awareness (through tools like your email list previously mentioned) which keep you in people’s consciousness – which in a time-starved world is hard to do. This is especially important in a ‘project-based’ business like remodeling or home building where it can be easy for people to forget about you (since they’re not working or buying your product every week – or every year for that matter).
Reason #7 personal branding is important for your remodeling and building business– Your personal brand can be an extension of your values, an opportunity to share your story and a conduit for your career to grow.
Since personal branding puts you front and center when you share the ‘real you,’ it can be much more powerful than just growing your ‘book of business.’
It can become a forum to share personal life struggles and reflections to build a ‘person to person’ connection with your followers. For example, in my case I wrote a post titled I Get to Live my 1%. 7 Simple Tips for Living Life More Fully. I shared this after having a heart attack. It gave me an opportunity to connect one to one with people who read my blog (which most times is focused on bathroom remodeling and glass products).
Personal branding can give you a platform to raise money for causes which are dear to your heart. It can be a way to ‘repurpose’ your career once you hang up your hat on your ‘day job,’ or a way to create a ‘side-hustle’ you want to turn into a full time career.
In short, personal branding can be a forum to share who you are, what you believe in and/or launch the new (and evolving) you.
I know developing a personal brand sounds like a monumental task, but it simply begins with starting to develop your first piece of content, and your next piece of content and your next piece of content. It begins with not sabotaging yourself (as Danielle Turcola taught me) and being friendly, relatable and neat in the image you put forth as you share your content.
The benefits of a strong personal brand are huge. You create a unique market position, become seen as ‘THE PERSON’ in your niche, and get sales opportunities and better profit margins to show for it.
However, like everything in life this process takes a game plan, effort, learning and using new skills you may not have today.
If this personal branding journey sounds exciting to you – let me know you want to get the ‘how to’ article in this series when it comes out (which will be 2 weeks from now).
I can tell you from my experience personal branding (for me through my blog and speaking) has been a gratifying and profitable journey. If you’d like to talk about this topic (or about bathroom remodeling products and grout free wall panels – OK, I’ve got to make money from my ‘day job’ also– ha! ha!) or are looking for a speaker for an upcoming event call or email me through the links/numbers below.
Connecting with me or one of the personal brand building experts in this article
If you’d like to talk more about personal branding or are looking for a speaker for your next event to talk about digital marketing, personal branding or trends in the bathroom business call 888-467-7488 and ask for Mike.
If you’d like to talk about using videos to grow your personal brand (and business) you can reach out to Dave Cooper of Connecticut Valley Homes through LinkedIn.
If you’d like to talk about podcasting as a strategy to grow your personal brand (and business) call Devon Tilly at 303-649-2217.
If you’d like to learn how to go from ‘invisible to influential’ and get the ‘no-nonsense’ advice on personal image I’ve come to love from my friend Danielle Turcola call 216-926-3699.
If you’d like to improve your bathroom remodeling or new home offerings with simple to install, sharp-looking tub and shower wall surround panels and become a shower wall panel dealer (hey- I’ve got to plug my business sometime – after all my kids’ education bills need to be paid!) call 888-467-7488 and ask for Mike (or that wacky dude who writes those articles).
I’m looking forward to getting to know you and helping in any way I can.
If you’d like to connect on LinkedIn, you’ll find me https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikefoti/
If you’re into Twitter follow me @Mike Foti or my companies’ @InnovateBuild and @InnovateHomeOrg.
Tags: non-traditional marketing building business, non-traditional marketing remodeling, personal branding, personal branding for a building business, personal branding home builder, personal branding home building business, personal branding remodeling