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Achieve Higher Paying Clients with Brand Development

Posted by Peter Saunders on Saturday, May 17, 2014

Money is tight and you desperately need an injection of cash. An enquiry comes in so you send out your quote as normal, with a discount to ensure you land the job. The potential client then comes back and asks for a further discount. Reluctantly you agree in order to secure the job. Does this sound familiar?

Many small businesses get caught in this loop, devaluing their time and expertise because cashflow is tight and they need the work. So how do you break this perpetual cycle?

Money is tight and you desperately need an injection of cash. An enquiry comes in so you send out your quote as normal, with a discount to ensure you land the job. The potential client then comes back and asks for a further discount. Reluctantly you agree in order to secure the job. Does this sound familiar?

Many small businesses get caught in this loop, devaluing their time and expertise because cashflow is tight and they need the work. So how do you break this perpetual cycle?

Breaking the low-balling cycle

This kind of situation can be difficult to get out of. If enquiries are few and far between it can be tempting to low-ball your prices in order to keep the orders coming in. This leads to you working all the time and never really getting ahead. One way to counteract this is to improve your marketing to generate a higher number of enquiries. If demand increases you are less likely to need to secure every potential job which means you will be less likely to need to offer discounts and you will earn more money for the jobs you do secure. Another way to break this cycle is to target the right kind of clientele. Some clients don't care who they do business with as long as the price is good. They are so focused on their budget that no amount of expertise will sway them to spend more by working with you. On the opposite end of the spectrum you have the higher paying clients. This type of clientele typically only do business with those who they perceive as experts. You may be an expert in your field but how do you ensure you're perceived as an expert?

Creating the right perception

Human beings are a judgemental bunch. We form opinions of people within seconds of meeting them, and businesses are often no different. Our opinion of a company's skill, professionalism and expertise can be formed on sight of a flyer, a business card, a website or any other form of marketing. Make sure you showcase your brand as being credible, professional, and home of the experts. Gaining credibility amongst your target audience opens the door to you solidifying your place as an expert and an authority in your field. In turn, this will attract higher paying clientele. These clients want the best, and they are prepared to pay for it. We have received project requests with clients requesting the utmost quality, irrespective of cost.

How to start redeveloping your brand

First you'll need to establish how your brand is perceived right now. People don't often share their opinions on brands so you'll need to ask them. Find out what potential clients think of your logo and marketing materials. Once you know the problems you can address them one by one. It's impossible to cover all possible branding issues but here are a few examples:

  • People visiting a website and not understanding what the company does. There could be a lot of content on the site but no clear message, so even after browsing for several minutes, it's still not clear what the company actually specialises in.
  • A poor or confusing logo design, or no logo design at all. Nothing to tie all marketing materials together.
  • Brand colours don't work together or aren't consistent across all marketing materials.
  • Inconsistent marketing literature. No brand consistency. All of the company's promotional literature is different. It looks like they belong to several different companies.
  • Flyers look like junk mail. Black text on yellow paper. One colour print. Too much text etc.
  • Logo doesn't clearly stand out. It blends and gets lost with the rest of the artwork. Not easy to work out who the company is.
  • Prices are too low. Company appears cheap.
  • Too many discounts / very large discounts. Company appears desperate. Why are they desperate? They don't have any work. Why don't they have any work? Aren't they any good?
  • Branding doesn't appeal to target audience. E.g. A logo has been designed with a graffiti style font because that's the style the owner likes. However, the target audience is elderly people.
  • Brand image is too similar to another brand.
  • All marketing literature feels cheap. Printed on economy paper with very little thought/expense. People want to see you investing a little money into your promotional literature, it reassures them you are a professional company that believes in what you're doing.

Once you understand the issues that are affecting you brand perception you can begin to take steps to address them. These steps will enable your brand to gain visibility, become credible and draw in higher paying clients. At the end of the day, your business will benefit in a myriad of ways, you will reap the rewards of brand re-development and servicing a different caliber of clients. You may even find you can work less and earn more!

 


About the author

Peter Saunders is a multifacted graphic designer that has worked as a designer, printer and print finisher. All three jobs have given him an excellent understanding of everything involved in creating print marketing. At After Hours Creative, Peter splits his time between graphic design, getting his hands covered in ink, operating foil presses and taking naps on his adobe cushions (only when working late, he's not lazy!). Peter is the go-to guy for any artwork queries or anything related to print!

Peter Saunders is a multifacted graphic designer that has worked as a designer, printer and print finisher. All three jobs have given him an excellent understanding of everything involved in creating print marketing. At After Hours Creative, Peter splits his time between graphic design, getting his hands covered in ink, operating foil presses and taking naps on his adobe cushions (only when working late, he's not lazy!). Peter is the go-to guy for any artwork queries or anything related to print!

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