How to Brand Your Asphalt Business Better and on a Budget

Whether you’ve been in business a few months or a few decades, there’s one thing that will never change—the need to keep a steady stream of customers. When most business owners hear the words “advertising” or “marketing,” they cringe at the thought of spending thousands of dollars on an agency or graphic designer. The good news is that there’s no need to go broke trying to market your company.

Here are some basic must-do marketing items and online marketing tools:

Get your web domain name (if you don’t already have it).

For less than $25/year, you can go on www.godaddy.com and get your domain addresses ending in both .com and .net. It’s important to buy both of these extensions so competitors don’t try to copy your web address. Don’t worry about other extensions (such as .info), they aren’t necessary. Just make sure to choose “Auto Renew” so you don’t lose it later. Also, don’t buy an email package there.

Get a legitimate email address.

It might not seem like a big deal to use an email address with @aol, @yahoo or @gmail.com. No one will tell you this, but not having your email @yourdomain.com signals that you’re not tech-savvy. Once you own a domain address, you can go to Google Business Apps at www.Google.com/a and purchase an email account for $5/mo. The best part? You use YOUR domain, but your email is hosted on Google’s giant web server. Another great thing about that is it’s easy to sync your account to your phone and Outlook since it works and acts just like Gmail, only now you look professional.

Get design software and learn how to use it (or have an office staff member learn it).

When I was in high school and college, I loved helping my dad file papers, and reconcile the books. My favorite part was learning new computer software, such as Peach Tree, QuickBooks, Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office—you name it, I learned it. Adobe Creative Suite used to be thousands of dollars. Now you can go to www.Adobe.com/CreativeCloud and pay $49.99/mo to get access to almost every Adobe editing program, and they automatically update your version as a part of your membership.

Get a logo (then keep it consistent).

You can design your own logo, or you can pay someone else to design it. Many like www.Logoworks.com. They charge you about $350/logo, or you can find a college student who will probably charge you less. Either way, make sure they give you the editable files and in vector form (.eps) so the logo doesn’t have pixels and can be scaled as big or small as needed. They should also give you the color codes they used in your logo so your marketing materials always match. If they don’t offer all of these things, steer clear and find someone who does!

Get a web page.

Surprise! You don’t have to buy a huge expensive website. Set up your Facebook page (make sure you do a custom username like Facebook.com/yourcompanyname), and that can be your website! Or, for a more complete site, you can use Adobe Muse or Wix.com, which allows you to edit your website anytime for around $12/mo.

Get in on blogging.

Most people ask me, “What and where are all the blogs?” That’s a good question. Twitter is like a micro-blog of sorts. Industry magazines have blogs. Spend time there and read what people are talking about. Search for your product or trade. Chances are, you’ll come up with something new to offer your customers, even if it’s just better customer service.

Get your trademark.

This is the most expensive part, but it’s essential. A trademark costs around $300-$500, but it means you truly own your business name. Without it, you could spend years branding your company only to have to change it because someone else got the trademark first.

Story by Nicole Larsen

About the Author

Nicole Larsen is the owner of a graphic design and marketing firm and the Director of Marketing for U.S. Seal International (the original creators of Pitch Black® Sealcoat). With an MBA in Marketing, Nicole has more than 13 years marketing experience in multiple industries including 12 years in asphalt and paving. You can contact her at nicole@GoPitchBlack.com or www.GoPitchBlack.com.

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