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Marketing Tips

Branding your Home Inspection Business

Your brand is much more than your logo, business card, website or brochure. It's what people think of when they hear the name of your company. Simply put, every company has a brand. Whether intentional or not, you stand for something in people's minds, and that something is your brand.

Why is branding important?
One of the biggest challenges you face as a home inspector is getting ahead of your competition. Everyday, more and more inspectors offer the same services at the same price as you. In order to get prospects to choose you above the rest, you have to stand out and be different in a way that's relevant and meaningful. This is where the application of purposeful branding comes in.

You don't have to be a large company or a franchise to benefit from branding. In fact, entrepreneurial businesses are ideal candidates for brand building because their brands can be built upon the personal values of the owner(s). You don't have to break the bank either. Putting basic branding principles to work for you costs nothing but your time and can only bring rewards to your business.

Purposefully developing your brand will help you:

1. Differentiate your company from your competitors
2. Allow you to connect to prospects in a meaningful way
3. Raise your profile with real estate agents, lawyers and other professionals
4. Increase loyalty within your referral base and customers
5. Help potential clients recall your name
6. Allow you to command a premium price
7. Provide a roadmap for you to follow to keep your business focused and consistent

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What Makes your Brand?
The total brand experience reaches far beyond your marketing materials. From your values and personality to your website and logo, the secret is to pinpoint what makes you unique and how that uniqueness can best answer the needs of your customers. Make this a promise to your customer - and deliver on that promise in everything you do and every marketing piece you produce.

The following table illustrates a sample company's branding elements. By consistently and purposely choosing and applying a carefully chosen direction, and applying it to all the elements, you can see that our sample company's distinct brand does emerge.

Brand Elements Description Sample Company
Brand Promise Your brand promise articulates your unique position. Itís the highest calling that your brand can credibly deliver. "Delivering premium home inspection services to our community through knowledge, support and communication."
+ Core Values What are your deeply-held principles as a company? Respect, commitment, integrity, leadership, family, community
+ Personality You may share the same values as others, but you express them differently. Your personality describes the tone and manner in which you deliver on your brand promise and values. Approachable, knowledgeable, responsive,
skillful, professional, experienced, reliable, trustworthy
+ Service Delivery How does your company deliver on your services and products? How does your company interact with its customers?
  • Provides inspections seven days a week
  • Provides full home inspection services plus ancillary services: seasonal inspections, indoor air quality, energy efficiency studies
  • Company has 2 full-time inspectors
  • All incoming phone calls are answered by a dedicated office person
  • All appointments are pre-arranged electronically
  • Inspectors ALWAYS arrive on time to an inspection
  • Customers are emailed an inspection agreement and a copy of the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics before the inspection
    Fully insured and bondable
  • Provide high-impact, personalized and detailed inspection reports and summary reports on site
  • Follow-up letter to real estate agent and home owner
  • Accepts VISA, MasterCard and American Express on site
+ Marketing What marketing and advertising tactics do you employ?
  • Professionally designed website with SEO and local Google adwords
  • Professionally designed business card and stationery
  • Yearly postcard/flyer drop
  • Ad and classified space in three local newspapers
  • Dedicated SUV with company name and phone number and website applied
    Letter campaigns and face to face presentations with real estate offices
  • Publish a newsletter 4x per year for real estate agents
+ Public Relations Beyond paid and traditional marketing and advertising, what other tactics do you employ?
  • Write monthly column in local newspaper
  • Give talks at local community center on home improvement
  • Teach home inspection course at community college
  • Member of three professional associations.Very visible in the community -- Local volunteering (company donates to several charities and sponsors many community events)
  • Belong to local small business networking group

As you can see from the answers, our sample company is very experienced. People know them and they're the community's first choice for home inspections because they command trust in their community. This trust is a result of their knowledge, experience and their on-going presence and intentional participation in their community. This is what makes them special and different - this is their brand. Consequently, they command a premium price and enjoy ongoing referrals from related professionals such as real estate agents and the community at large.

Use the Brand Elements table to discover your own brand. Think carefully about how you can craft a unique and meaningful position in the marketplace and then how you can deliver on that position in everything you do.

Learn more about positioning your company with Carson Dunlop's "Building your Home Inspection Business", a guide to marketing, sales, advertising and public relations for the home inspection professional.

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