As Gary Vaynerchuk says, “Are you trying to convert or are you trying to create an experience?” This essentially sums up the difference between selling and branding.
Running a successful business requires more than simply trying to convert and make sales—it’s about connecting with your audience and prospective customers and creating trust in your brand. That’s where branding comes into play—when people trust your brand, your product/services will sell itself.
In this article I’ll be going over how you can turn your passion into a business through personal branding. I’ll take you through the strategies used by CEA that have proven to be effective in growing my own personal brand and making money doing it, and show you how you can do it too!
Big brands like Apple, Coca Cola, and Amazon have shown us time and again the impact that branding can have on a business. You’ll never see these companies sending out a mailer or using Facebook ads telling you about their new products. Instead, these companies spend their time and money on showing the consumer how their life will be impacted by their new products or services.
This is an essential part of branding—creating an emotional response or strong connection between the consumer and the product and therefore the brand. While not every company has the budge of Apple, Coca Cola, and Amazon, online marketing is a great way to get your personal brand noticed without having to dish out the big bucks.
Smaller and mid-sized personal brands do not have the relationship with bigger brands like established marketing agencies, like Vayner Media, do, and that can be intimidating for some. Additionally, it can be hard for smaller brands to monetize because CPM (Cost Per Mille: the cost an advertiser pays for one thousand views or clicks of an advertisement) is too low.
However, that doesn’t mean that smaller businesses cannot effectively monetize or build awareness of their personal brand. That’s because branding is all about long-term relationships instead of single transactions.
If you want to develop a long-term relationship with your audience, there are a few things you MUST do:
Must Define Your Niche and Master It
When you’re starting out, you need to pick one service or product and make it the best you can. Being too vague in your brand story or brand messaging will lose credibility and trustworthiness—if it seems like you don’t even have a focus, why should the customer focus on you?
Not only do you need to have a set niche and vision, you have to be the expert in it. You have to be exceptional in order to get noticed, so be an expert on one topic, whether it is social media marketing, digital marketing, website design, or SEO.
Must Build a Base Product or Service and Market Online
Once you’ve decided on your niche, you need to be able to offer something to your audience or prospective customers and then find a platform where you’ll be able to reach them.
This could mean an online course, a mentorship program, or any other product or service that relates to your niche and would be in demand from your target consumer. Gary Vaynerchuk suggests trying everything: give a speech, write an e-book, try to get a publishing deal. Keep building your brand by offering valuable products and services and promoting them online.
Must Create Scalable Content
To attract more followers and to reach your audience, you need to create content that relates to your product and niche. This could mean making ‘how to’ content, reviews, or content that is purely entertaining yet informative, and is relevant to your brand.
Create a website and promote it on social media, create YouTube videos, start a YouTube channel, write a blog, or start vlogging, Whatever you do, make sure it is adding value to your consumers’ lives. The more valuable your product or service, and the more valuable your marketing, the more likely that consumers will flock to your brand.
Networking, whether online or in person, is essential to every business. This is particularly important when you’re building a personal brand, as you are your most valuable asset—that means you need to get the word out about you.
Join and attend every meet-up or event in your area, connect with every person and business in your niche, and find and align yourself with influencers in your market. You must get involved in your niche ecosystem.
This also gives you the opportunity to see how your competitors and other influencers in your niche are promoting their products and services. You can see what works and what doesn’t. You should also connect with other entrepreneurs that are going through the same stages of building a business as you are. Sharing the journey will help you build a relationship.
More than anything, you must be a top performer in your business. You cannot rely on anyone else to make your business successful, and the more successful your business, the more credible your personal brand will be.
Here are four vital areas that impact your brand’s overall visibility and how you can adjust it.
Now that you’ve created a personal brand that provides a product or service, you need to be able to build brand awareness. These four areas are the best way to increase visibility.
Frequency and consistency
A major element to successful personal brand growth is posting frequently and consistently. This means posting a steady stream of content on a schedule. The best way to do this is by creating a content calendar and sticking to it.
By posting frequently and consistently, you are training your audience to know when they will hear from you and to know that they can go to you for content that is engaging, entertaining, and/or useful.
Targeting all potential audiences
Often, we create content aimed at our audience segment that is most like us. The challenge with that tactic is that you may be missing the many other various audience segments related to your niche who could potentially be interested in your content.
As you develop your content calendar, make sure you are creating content for as many other audience segments as possible. For instance, if you run a digital marketing agency, you could expand into other audience segments by writing articles relating to specific professions, i.e. how to run a successful social media marketing campaign for real estate agents.
Proactively engaging the media
Regardless of how visible a person might be, it should never be assumed that the media is aware of all their comings and goings. It never hurts to proactively engage the media, especially if it’s to make them aware of a charity event and/or launching of an initiative.
While we’re largely focusing on online marketing, engaging with the media extends to all forms, including traditional media like local newspapers or news stations. This is a great way to get your brand in front of more eyeballs.
Consider paid advertising
If you have a piece of content that is particularly unique, immediately useful, educational and/or entertaining, you may want to consider developing a paid digital ad campaign to help drive visibility.
Campaigns through platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are very easy to create and have the potential to help you develop a new batch of followers, and allow you to be very flexible with your budget.
In today’s world, your personal brand is your most valuable asset—one that requires constant care and nurturing. It’s also important to keep in mind that monetizing your brand is about more than simply putting a price on your product or service. Branding is about how much value you can bring to the consumer.
When you take this approach to branding, the customers will come.
If you want to learn more about how to monetize your personal brand, then check out our new Personal Branding & Influencer Marketing online course and enroll today.