• Writer for DDI on Medium

Quit it, El Cheapo!


The people who usually benefit from having a brand are usually pretty awesome at the service they provide. So if you’re one of those small service business owners who either allow the client to decide what they are willing to pay you, second guess your pricing, or constantly feel the need to validate what you charge, chances are you’re coming up pretty low on the value end.

I recently had the pleasure, of dealing with a very talented photographer who grappled with effectively marketing his business. But as our conversation unfolded, it became abundantly clear that his marketing failed because his brand lacked focus. He dabbled in a variety of different types of photography but really stood out in one particular area while attempting to target everyone in this confusion and had to seesaw his prices to accommodate the clients he would get.

When your price points are below average, you attract customers willing to pay below average prices and as a small service business, if you focus your marketing efforts on everyone, you’ll attract no one.

What qualifies me to make these strong statements?

When I first started my business, I “narrowed” my services and got some clients and made some money, but the more I paid attention to the part of my brand that my customers valued, I was able to infuse real focus into my marketing which made it more effective attracting the clients who were willing to pay my asking price. The concept service business owners have, that focusing on one thing will somehow “take away” from illustrating their diversity is not true. If anything, narrowing helps to bring more conversation to the table. It certainly did for me. A simple example: clients come to me for one-page websites to add some credibility to the services they provide, thus increasing their visibility. But there are a couple of things which work in tandem with that goal, like a domain name that’s unique and easy to remember, (as opposed to having one that’s too descriptive, like “The Solar House of Great Massages”), to needing smaller things like business cards or a letterhead. Doing things in a more linear way, helps the client buy into your other services easier.

A brand that lacks an understanding of the value it provides, can’t help but show it. And if you’re showing it, the customer sees it and you better believe they will take advantage of it. By then, you’ll probably be stuck in the “but I don’t want to turn away a paying customer” mode to keep the lights on. Consider this, it’s not the right customer if they are willing to devalue your services and you’re in this mess because you’re sending all the wrong messages.

For example: A customer of mine needed some unique handcrafted designs. So, she called me up and hired me to do the job. We’ve been working together for years, great relationship, but suddenly she began rejecting my pricing. Granted she was completely outside my services but I decided to “do her a favor” out of respect for how many years we’ve worked together. HUGE mistake! I got referrals after referrals all attached to clients expecting more and more of the same crap. I had no one to blame but myself because I was shaping the way I wanted people to see my brand.

This isn’t the version of transparency we’re going for. Unless you like having your business out of your control, it’s important to understand the cost of being cheap unto yourself by not leveraging your most valued asset. Don’t prostitute yourself on behalf of your customers because no one wins. The client don’t get the expert they’re looking for and you offset your chances of being known as the authority in your space.

YOU can start selling what makes you different immediately with a One-Page Website. LET’S GET ON A CALL to see if you’re a good fit for this product!

I am the Founder and Visual Brand Strategist at The BrandTUB Branding For Small Service Businesses. Sign up to receive these weekly articles in your inbox if you’re not quite ready to work with me yet. And please share my article if you liked it.

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