We’ve been looking at how to start a PPC agency. Obviously, there is no shortage of competition. SEMPO lists over 700 members, and a search through Google reveals many more.
How will you differentiate your services from the rest?
Formulate A Brand
Typically, small companies don’t think much about brand. Brand is for the big guys. But whether we formulate a specific brand or not, everything we do – the way we talk, write, execute and interact with clients – is our brand. It’s how people will come to know and identify us. So we may as well give some thought to how to present a unified message.
When done correctly, brand is a powerful means of setting us apart from the pack.
Brand agencies charge a fortune for brand creation, but creating a brand is really just common sense.
A brand good typically has the following elements:
A Good Brand Must Be Truthful
A good brand is a truthful one.
A brand is about creating a sense of familiarity and identity in the minds of the customer. If that identity conflicts with who you really are, then your brand will suffer as a result.
For example, if you’re a small operator, don’t pretend to be a big one. Prospective clients will see through it soon enough. If you’re offering premium services, at premium prices, then all your communications with clients need to be exemplary, as does your performance. Take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask yourself what you do really well? What genuine benefit do you provide? What sets you apart from the rest?
All clients want to find a provider they trust, so any brand message you’re sending out must be consistent with the way you execute.
The Rule Of Three
In The Invisible Touch, by Harry Beckwith, the author outlines the rule of three.
People will typically remember three, or less, things about you.
What are they?
For example, when asked about Microsoft, most people say “big, techy, and rich”. Ask people about Apple and they’ll likely say “creative, fun and cool”. Harley Davidson – “male and rebel”. Or words to that effect.
Try to think of your brand in terms of three desirable qualities. Apples brand is stronger than Microsoft’s in this regard. Decide what those three terms are, and let them flow through every communication you have with people.
People Will Judge You By What You Look Like
In a study of website credibility, the study found an interesting, although not unsurprising, thing. People judged the trustworthiness of a website by what it looked like.
This may be irrational, but looks do count. You might feel that such irrational perceptions don’t distort your view of reality, which may well be the case, but it’s safe to assume that many prospective customers will judge you by appearances.
If your website looks authoritative, then that’s how people will perceive you. People will draw conclusions from your web design, your logo, how you answer the phone, how you write emails, and your copy. What clues are you sending out? What brand qualities do you want to get across? Are they consistent with how you act? They should inform all aspects of what you do. Style really does count.
Such matters of style don’t get talked about a lot in the tech business, but examples are all around us. Why is the iPhone such a hit when other phones do something similar, and at lower cost? The answer lies in design and positive brand values. Style shouldn’t matter, but it does.
Beauty and elegance do have a function. They make us smile. They make us feel a little better. When trying to serve your client, does it get better than that? Ask yourself how you can make your clients feel better about using your service. Anyone can offer PPC services, but how many can make clients feel good about using them?
Obviously, this is not just about face value, you also need to execute in line with your brand values, too. Let your brand values permeate everything you do, and you’ll set yourself apart from those offering typical PPC services, which are hard to differentiate in terms of function alone.