8 Ways to Leverage Your Personal Brand to Attract Business – Regardless of Your Niche
I used to rely heavily on banner ads and sales threads on once-popular internet marketing forums, but my marketing strategy went in a completely different direction once I learned how effective content marketing was at helping establish my personal brand.
I’ve done it all. Email marketing, paid social media, pay-per-click campaigns, etc. I have experimented with every single format of digital marketing, and some I still use, but nothing can come close to what personal branding can do in terms of results.
The entire world has the internet at the tip of their fingers, and the best way to stand out in a sea of information and offers is to have a rock solid personal brand. Personal branding isn’t just for SEO experts and online marketers. In fact, it’s something that everyone can use to his or her advantage to land more business.
Consumers like to know they are dealing with someone knowledgeable, and they will always be naturally drawn to the perceived expert over someone they know nothing about.
Drawing from my own personal experience, here are 8 ways to use a strong personal brand to attract business, no matter what niche your business is in.
1. Be transparent and 100% honest.
This is what really caused my personal brand to take off. I started SerpLogic as a blog, and my goal was to cut through all the BS in the SEO industry. I needed a platform to voice my opinion and share my knowledge without being censored, and my only option was to start my own website to do so.
You see, the SEO industry is full of a bunch of fakes. They write for all the SEO blogs and call themselves experts, saying that the way to acquire high quality authority links is to publish great content. Sure, that is a way, but most of these “experts” are some of the biggest link sellers out there.
I started saying it like it was, writing blog posts about how to really get the best links. That transparency and honesty resulted in a lot of social shares and website traffic. It became so large that I was getting several requests daily by large companies to handle their SEO. They said they loved my approach and wanted me to handle their link building.
Those requests became even more frequent and that is what eventually caused me to pivot SerpLogic, turning it into an agency.. which now provides several products people need.
When you put yourself out there in an authentic and honest way, you will attract an audience, and they will connect you with whatever it is that you are selling. I started blogging for fun, and it’s the transparency that caused such a huge demand for a service. Without that strong personal brand, I would never have built a 7-figure SEO agency.
2. Make yourself known for being different.
This kind of circles back to the first point above. Before I started SerpLogic as a blog, all of the SEO content and information that the “experts” put out there was the same. It was pure fluff. They were saying what they wanted people to believe – that SEO is all content creation and waiting for the big sites to magically link back.
After reading their blog posts a business owner would assume that all they needed to do in order to start ranking was to publish some blog posts and then sites like Business Insider, Forbes and Mashable will just start linking away.
As soon as my first few blog posts started to gain traction I started to establish myself as one of the few SEO professionals that said it like it was. My audience now expected that, because they saw me as someone that was going to provide them with content that had all the bullshit stripped from it. I became known for being much different than the other SEO bloggers out there.
Just like I did, you need to embrace being different. It is much easier to stand out when you are different, and then use that as leverage to attract new business. I was getting businesses wanting to hire me before I even considered opening another agency. A strong personal brand can create a huge demand.
3. Build relationships online with authority influencers in your niche.
Once you start to build a strong personal brand, it becomes much easier to network and connect with influencers within your niche. They get contacted all day long by people wanting to network, share content and leverage them in some way. The problem is, the people typically asking for a favor have nothing of value to give in return.
Now, as your personal brand grows, so does your reach and popularity. When you approach influencers, they are going to do a little digging to see what kind of personal brand you have. If they see that you have built a strong one, they are going to be more likely to help share your content or even interview you for their blog.
All of this helps to put your personal brand and business in front of a new audience. An influencer can only introduce you, and it’s up to your personal brand to convince them to become a customer.
The easiest way to get on the radar of some influencers in your niche is to connect with them on social media. Start re-tweeting them and sharing their content. When you do share something of theirs, make sure to tag them in the post so they see your efforts.
4. Participate in relevant Facebook groups.
Everyone and their brother is on Facebook these days, and Facebook groups are becoming a popular place for people to hang out and discuss specific topics. There are groups out there for anything you can think of, so search terms related to what you sell and look for the biggest, most popular groups available.
You don’t want to go in these groups and start spamming your business, because that will get you banned. You want to go in there and leverage your personal brand to quickly become an expert within the group. These little communities are very loyal, and if the group collectively identifies you as an expert you will gain new business without even having to ask for it.
I’ve personally seen some SEO professionals enter online marketing groups and when the community saw they were in there, they started to ask them about the services they offer. These people secure new clients weekly just by being active in the group and answering simple questions. Without a personal brand, you are just another participant, but if your brand is well known, you become an instant celebrity, with people wanting to do business with you.
5. Show your audience that you are an expert.
Sometimes your audience isn’t going to realize that you are an expert unless you show them. Have you been quoted or interviewed by major media outlets? If so, you should make an “as seen on” section on your website, highlighting all of the media exposure you have secured.
I have also seen some people make a video, which highlights all of their interviews, media placements, and accomplishments. It’s almost like a highlight reel, and since people love video content it’s a great way to deliver the “I’m an expert” message.
There are other ways too, one of which is by displaying badges of certification. For example, in the online marketing world, you can get Google certified for pay-per-click, and while that certification means nothing essentially, it does show potential customers that you are an expert in Google’s eyes.
Does it mean you know everything about PPC? Not at all, but to the average business owner they will put a lot of weight on that silly badge. Every niche has some kind of certification available, and no matter how silly you might think it is, you have to understand that the common customer is going to be impressed and swayed by it. Another example in the SEO world is Hubspot’s “Inbound marketing certification.” It’s a joke to those that know the industry, but to a business owner that is impressive and paints the picture of the person being an expert.
6. Use professional photos.
There are two major social networks that can be a goldmine for attracting new business: LinkedIn and Facebook. If you are planning on prospecting on either of these networks, you need to do one thing – get professional photos taken. The $300 it will cost is a small price to pay for the new business you can potentially attract.
I don’t see many unprofessional photos on LinkedIn, but there are plenty of low quality ones. Taking a selfie on your iPhone won’t cut it. Also, don’t be a stiff. Smile and lighten up. When you are building your personal brand, people connect with you as a person before they connect with your business. Something as simple as a warm picture cracking a big smile will be the deciding factor when someone is thinking of connecting with you and starting a conversation. Smiles are inviting.
More and more people are now using their personal Facebook profiles to prospect and connect. This is fine, but keep your pictures professional and remove any that might be controversial. You have to appeal to a wide range of people. So, if you are using Facebook to network and leverage business, get professional pictures taken and use them on your profile.
Start a private group and invite your close friends and family. This gives you a place to share stuff that might not sit well with your audience that is private from your public profile.
7. Give potential customers incentive to follow you and your business.
What is the easiest way to get people to follow you? Bribe them!
What you give away as a bribe really depends on what type of business you have. If you are a consultant, then you might want to consider writing an in-depth eBook that features solutions to common problems that business owners face. Something like this is perceived as valuable and someone is going to be more than likely to give you their email address or follow you on social media for that information.
Then, if your bribe provides actual value, that person is going to want to stay connected to you, in hopes that you offer additional value down the road. The best case scenario is that they eventually hire you!
Even if you run an e-commerce store, a bribe is a great want to attract new business. If your personal brand is strong, reach out to your audience and offer a product for free, or use the popular “free plus shipping” offer. Do whatever it takes to break even or incur a very small loss. What if you gave away 1,000 products and broke even, but were able to add 1,000 new customers to your database as a result?
Use your name to put irresistible offers out there. In the end it can help you build a huge customer list.
8. Appeal to the most powerful consumer group — Millennials.
Millennials represent the largest percentage of the population, and the segment with the biggest spending power. It’s important that your personal brand appeals to this younger generation, as they are the ones that will be buying whatever it is that you are selling.
They are a very tricky group to understand. They are all about social causes and they aren’t afraid to voice their approval or disapproval when it comes to businesses and their message. You want them on your side, and sometimes it takes getting out of your comfort zone to appeal to them.
They are very active on social media, so make sure to showcase your personal brand’s strengths on social media, as it’s where they are more likely to come in contact with you. For the older crowd, this will take some time to adjust, but you will quickly see that social media and Millennials go hand-in-hand.
Not all the suggestions above will work for you, so it’s important to test them all and then expand on the ones that delivered the best noticeable results. Every business owner is a marketer at heart, so you need to be thinking of creative ways to help sell yourself and your business.
I’ve used everything outlined above to grow my business through my personal brand. One of the biggest keys, personally, was my transparency from the very beginning. My initial content was a bit different from everything else that was out there. I said it like it was, and people realized I was writing no-BS blog posts that had true SEO information.
It requires putting yourself out there a bit, and there will no doubt be some backlash from people that don’t like what you are saying, but that’s part of business. Have thick skin and just focus on growth, both personal and business, and you will be just fine.
If you have any personal brand questions, drop them in the comments below. I’ll try to answer them as quickly as possible. Also, if you have some personal branding related success stories, I would love to hear from you as well.
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