Branding vs. lead generation: how do they differ?

Because of the differences, you need to do both

As humans, we’re conditioned to react to choices as either-or propositions. Should we get the fries or the salad as a side? Should we lease that next service van or are we better off buying? We make hundreds of either-or decisions every day, using our knowledge to quickly gravitate to whichever appears to be best.

Branding and lead generation

But approaching branding and lead generation as competitors vying for the bulk of your marketing budget represents a flawed strategy. The reality is an effective marketing plan involves a combination of elements designed to generate leads and other elements designed to strengthen the company’s branding. There aren’t any advantages to turning those into either-or-choices.

If you’re saying “how can that be?,” you’re falling into that either-or trap, and that’s dangerous for an HVAC, plumbing, or electrical business owner. If you try to grow your business by using just branding or lead generation, you’ll end up spending more money for less results. That’s not an empty claim; we can produce real-world data that clearly shows an investment in branding will have a significant impact on PPC performance.

How they work together

What leads a prospective customer to call a business such as yours? In 99 times out of 100, something isn’t working right. Whether the furnace is cold or the AC is blowing warm, moist air, the equipment that is supposed to be keeping your prospective customer comfy and happy just isn’t performing.

They know they need a company with your expertise, and they most likely take one of two courses of action. The majority will type something like “local AC repair” or “plumber near me” into Google. Others will enter information into a site like Angi Ads or Angi Leads (what were Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor).. No matter which approach they take, they’ll end up with a short list of names. Yours is in the top three, so it’s clear your investment in PPC is working. But they clicked on one of your competitors instead of you, and that competitor is going to make a nice sale.

It’s about human behavior

When consumers search for HVAC, plumbing, or electrical contractors this way, the only thing they have to work from is names. When Google delivers that short list, it doesn’t include photos of your friendly staff or information about your rock-solid warranty program or any of the other reasons the consumers should choose you. It just lists names.

Odds are good the consumer will recognize at least one of those names. In this case, your competitor’s name was familiar to them, and that’s which name they clicked. Had they done business with the competitor before? Nope. Could they personally think of someone they know who had done business with them? Not sure. But every day, as they drove back and forth to work, they saw at least one of those bright green trucks with the moose wearing the hardhat rolling down the road or parked in front of a house in their subdivision. There were a couple cute commercials during the morning news, too. Familiar and friendly is comfortable, so that’s what they opted for.

Why is branding a must

Why is branding so important for a business like yours? It reduces your overall cost per opportunity, plain and simple. It makes your sales efforts more effective and efficient. You might think your sales team has stumbled on some secret formula, but there’s nothing magical about it. Your investment in branding has made the prospects more inclined to do business for you. When your company’s name pops up on Google, not only have they heard of you, but they believe they’ve heard good things about you. Doesn’t matter whether they really have — but that’s the impression your branding efforts have produced.

Branding is far more important than most business owners realize, and far harder to do well. That’s why it pays to turn your marketing efforts over to a marketing partner with a deep understanding of your industry. Instead of encouraging you to make either-or decisions, they’ll help you build a comprehensive plan that accomplishes everything your business needs.

If you’d like to know more about Cornerstone, and how we work as your outsourced marketing department to help grow your business, contact Or you can call (317) 804-5640  x108.

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