For many small business owners, you ARE your business so developing a clear and attractive personal brand really is a key step to growth, so the answer is a resounding yes!
Branding and indeed ‘all things marketing’ too often get pushed to one side when other tasks need to take priority, which is daily if you’re a small business owner.
I hear you, it’s the same for me too.
However, establishing a personal brand over the last year to complement and support my business brand has given me the opportunity to take my marketing to the next level in terms of attracting, engaging, and building the all-important ‘know, like and trust’ with my target audiences.
In a nutshell, personal branding is the art of building a unique brand around yourself as an individual, giving you:
• A unique voice
• A recognisable specialism
• A signature style
Defining these will allow you to:
• Give a clear message on who you are, what you do, and how you do it
• Showcase your unique strengths, skills, and attributes.
A successful personal brand is dependent on a strong story so look to celebrities who have a strong personal brand for inspiration. Whether you are a fan or not, Richard Branson is a good case in point. While he is of course affiliated with the Virgin brand, that brand is almost synonymous in its vision and values to him, with a very clear story and a consistent message.
Let’s look at some elements which will guarantee your personal brand makes the right impact:
1. Start thinking of yourself as a brand
Firstly, consider what you would like your target audience to associate with you when they see your name.
• Is there a certain subject or discipline in which you want to be perceived as an expert?
• Are there general qualities you want to be linked with you?
Before you can establish or enhance your personal brand, you have to decide what you want to be known for. Try to focus on a very specific niche. With this laser focus, you’ll have more opportunities to prove you truly know what you’re talking about, and while your potential audience might be smaller, it will also be that much more relevant. Scary? Yes, but the absolute right step to take!
For example, I offer marketing services and consultancy, but so do many others in my market, so I needed to refine what I offer and focus on the areas where I am a real expert, the ones I am passionate about and where I can add the most value for my ideal clients.
2. Audit your online presence
Understand exactly what your current personal brand actually is. Google your name and objectively review the results. Take the time to ensure your social media profiles are as robust, complete, and most importantly, as consistent as possible. Are they really demonstrating you and your services in the best way to attract and engage with your ideal client?
3. Get consistent with your content
Once you know your niche, it’s time to start building your reputation for expertise in that area. Content marketing is the best way to build a personal brand and reputation; when people look for information, they tend to go back to sources that were helpful to them.
If you can become a trusted source of information through your content, over time you’ll become collectively known as the expert of your specific niche. Being consistent means showing up regularly, wherever you choose to focus your marketing efforts.
4. Add Value
Find ways to add value to your audience by sharing content that’s in line with your personal brand. Always be purposeful in what you share as every tweet, every post, every story, every image or video you share, these all contribute to your personal brand. It is a combination of multiple daily actions. Once you understand how you wish your brand to be perceived, you can start to be much more strategic about your style and tone of communication.
5. Always be in networking mode
A key step to building ‘brand you’ is to continuously be in networking mode. Always be ready to engage with other individuals in your field and anybody else who could be valuable in helping you spread the word about your expertise. Be a regular in community/group discussions whenever you can – with the focus firmly on adding value in your niche expertise.
The most obvious one is FaceBook Groups and this is actually a channel I have found to be a cost-effective and quick way to raise my own profile and discover opportunities to engage, collaborate, add value and build relationships.
The results? Recommendations and new client work, collaborative projects and a business-related community to call upon for areas where I am most definitely NOT an expert!
Taking the time to define and establish your personal brand will allow you to:
• Clearly demonstrate your skills and expertise
• Proactively focus on attracting and engaging with your ideal clients
• Confidently choose the best marketing channels to use
• Ensure you stand out in your niche and quickly build brand awareness
• Build the all-important ‘know, like and trust’ to increase sales leads and allow you to grow your business
Be mindful that creating your personal brand is not a one-off project, it requires regular nurturing, like any marketing, but if you are your business then it’s a no brainer. However, as a small business owner, I know your time is precious, so instead of you working harder, let’s get your marketing working harder for you!
How I hear you ask?
Complete my training course ‘Personal branding made easy for service-based small business owners’ and in just 4-5 hours you will get crystal clear on:
• Your niche and style
• Your story and how to tell it to engage and attract your ideal clients.
• The steps to get them to buy.
• And the added bonus of a ready-made starter marketing plan to get those sales leads rolling in!
The result? No more overwhelm!
Marketing stops being something to do ‘when you have time’ and starts being a daily action on your to-do list!
If you are happy to work at your own pace to fit around your work and life commitments and you like to learn in bite-sized steps then this course is the answer.