Attract More Sales Online Using These 10 Branding Tips
If you conduct business online you are fully aware that in addition to a strong business brand, you need to have a solid personal brand. Consumers connect with people, not companies. This is why large corporations use celebrities to endorse them.
The consumers automatically connect with the brand because of the celebrity. A lot of companies that have younger CEOs and executives are experiencing the benefit of personal branding, as they are active and easily accessible on social media.
Building up your overall branding can help you really scale your business.
I have put together a list of my top 10 branding tips that you can use to help increase your online sales almost immediately.
1. Be consistent across all of your social media profiles
When it comes to identifying yourself as a niche expert on social media, it’s the consistency that matters, not necessarily the number of times you post. The same applies to blogging. If you start posting daily blog content, you don’t want to all of the sudden stop and go back to posting once a week. You will end up losing a large percentage of your readership because they will lose interest.
So, you first need to identify what social media profiles you are going to be active on and establish a posting frequency. It could be something like this:
Twitter: 4 tweets per day
Facebook: 2 posts per day
Instagram: 3 posts per day
LinkedIn: 1 post per day
You will notice that they all have different post amounts, which need to be established according to your following. You don’t want to overwhelm them with too many posts, but you also don’t want to lose their interest because you don’t put out enough content for them to engage with. Every business will have different frequency number as well as different social media accounts.
2. Establish yourself as an expert on one topic and avoid diluting your impact
The most successful brands do one thing and do it very well. They aren’t trying to spread themselves too thin. They became the top in their industry because they put all of their energy and focus into one thing and made sure they did it better than anyone else out there.
You should take the same approach.
For example, if you are a business consultant it would benefit you to focus on helping a particular industry rather than just saying you help businesses improve. Focusing on a specific segment within your niche allows you to create very tailored marketing.
Think of how restaurants operate. There are seafood places, BBQ places, etc. They specialize in one segment, and do it well. They don’t try to carry everything on their menu. It would be a complete nightmare to try to manage that operation.
Become an expert in one area first, and then leverage that to expand to additional areas. You have to start small. Being #1 in one area is going to be more beneficial than being #15 in multiple areas.
3. Come up with a catchy tag line that explains what you do
Just as your logo is important, a tag line needs to explain what your brand does, and this applies to both a business as well as a personal brand. The more you use it, the more it will help to identify you within your niche.
A tag line should be a very short sentence that summarizes what it is that you do. So, for example, if you are an SEO company that specializes in ranking law firms and lawyers, your tag line could be something along the lines of:
“Delivering top Google search results for top law firms”
This not only explains what you do, but it also works to help attract new law firm clients. By simply including “top” in the tag line it will invite law firms to inquire about your service because they want to be one of those top law firms in the Google results. Get creative, but don’t over think it. Sometimes simple works much better.
4. Write guest posts that provide value and aren’t self promotional
If you come across as authentic in your writing, more people will naturally want to connect with you and begin to read your work on a more consistent basis. If you use your guest post spots to constantly plug your company, you will appear to be overly promotional. You don’t want to sound like a robot or a commercial.
The key is to let your true personality shine through in your writing. If you have a sarcastic sense of humor, let it fly. Crack some jokes in your content. You aren’t going to always connect with everyone, but an authentic personality will help attract an audience that is truly interested in what you have to say.
Talk to anyone that has experienced success through content marketing and they will all tell you the same thing: you have to give a lot in order to receive. Some of the most successful content marketers throw so much value at their readers that they almost feel guilty not patronizing the authors company or buying whatever it is they are selling.
Always over deliver more than is expected and you will see a return.
5. Invite your audience to engage with you (ex: answer their questions)
The easiest way to create a raving and loyal customer is by answering their questions. This can be done in the form of blog comments or hosting an online event that welcomes questions and feedback.
Spend a few minutes each day replying to comments on your blog. This simple engagement can quickly turn someone into a paying customer and it takes just seconds to do. You can also host live Q&A sessions in the form of a webinar or Google hangout.
You should be building an email list anyway, so a simple message to your list inviting participants is a great way to establish a much more personal relationship with customers and potential customers.
This also enables you to improve your business. The feedback from the people that actually use your products or service is the most valuable. So, take this opportunity to not only connect better with your audience and create a more personable brand, but also think of this as a way to receive the kind of feedback you can leverage to improve your business. This is such an effective way to improve your business without spending any money; all you need to invest is your time.
6. Tell your story even if it’s ‘ugly’
Look at some of the most interesting people on social media with strong personal brands. They all tend to have a great story. Whether these are fabricated or if the truth has been twisted a tad is to be determined. But, I can tell you this: having a good story helps to really get people to connect with you.
If you experienced hardships in the past and have overcome obstacles, make sure to share that with your audience. The more “human” you come across, the easier it is for people to connect with you. Many just assume that a successful person was born into that lifestyle, which isn’t always the case.
Did you struggle financially in the past? Did you drop out of school? Did you take an unconventional patch that ended up leading you to where you are today? The more you share the more people will connect with you through your story.
Now, don’t be like the guru clowns who create these completely fabricated stories about living in a cardboard box and then making millions of dollars sending out a single email. Those are blatant lies and the FTC is actually cracking down on people that use unverifiable stories to lure people in. Be authentic and tell YOUR story.
7. Use professional headshots on all of your social media profiles
You want to be as professional as possible, and with social media such an important part of a personal (and business) branding strategy it’s important that your customers view you as someone that takes his or her job seriously.
Also, if you have a personal Facebook profile that is for family and friends only, make sure it’s private. That’s the place for your “fun” pictures and posts. Your business Facebook page should have a professional headshot and its content and posts should be 100% business focused. Don’t mix the two or attempt to combine both.
It’s a good idea to use the same headshot on all of your social profiles. This creates consistent branding across all social media. A shoulders up headshot works the best. Avoid hats, sunglasses and anything that makes the picture look like it was taken by an amateur. You can go to a professional photographer and get headshots done for a couple hundred dollars. LinkedIn even had a program that featured a mobile photography setup that traveled the U.S. and provided professional headshots to their users.
If you are totally strapped for cash, get a friend and create a backdrop that looks professional and use your mobile phone to take a picture and use it until you can afford to hire a photographer.
8. Share relevant content with your audience (yes, even from competitors)
This circles back around to the “provide value” tip. The people that follow you on social media do so because they view you as an expert and someone who’s opinion they respect. If you are only sharing your own content you will appear to be self promotional, which is fine to an extent, but if you are really focused on providing value, it’s a good idea to share a wide range of content from all over the web, including that from competitors.
This shows your audience that you are so confident in your own product/service that you are willing to share content from anyone, provided that it delivers some value. There is going to be content that you come across that has helpful information, and if you look at some of the most successful people on social media you will see they don’t steer away form sharing great content, regardless of where it came from.
Consumers are a very smart bunch of people. If they are introduced to helpful content they will always remember who introduced them to it, and not necessarily who wrote and created it.
9. Host a regular podcast
Podcasts are everywhere now. If you look, most all popular bloggers have now converted and also have a podcast that can be accessible via iTunes or other platforms like Stitcher. It really doesn’t take any fancy equipment to start one, and they are simple to put out.
With so many people connected digitally, a podcast gives you another way to reach a mobile audience. Podcasts are very popular among morning commuters and some people even listen to their favorite podcasts while at the gym.
You have an entire audience to market your podcast to: social media, blog readers, email subscribers, customer list, etc. The hardest part of launching a podcast is just doing it and staying consistent. Just like with blogging, it will take some time to build a loyal following, but if you stick with it the results will come.
10. Make your brand logo recognizable
The more recognizable you can make your logo, the more market share you can capture within your industry. Look at some of the most iconic brands, like Nike, McDonalds, and Pepsi. They all have logos that don’t even feature their name, but most of the world’s population knows what they represent.
Use your logo on all of your marketing materials and get it out there. The more the public is exposed to it, the stronger your branding will become. If your logo is currently hurting, consider rebranding. If you have a large budget, hire a branding agency that will create something memorable. I’m sorry, but a Fiverr logo will never be good enough.
Now, if you have no budget there are ways to rebrand without spending money. I have seen several companies do a crowd sourced rebrand in the form of a contest. They invite their customers to submit logo concepts and the winner receives a prize of some sort, typically either product or service from the company. This is a great way to get customers engaged and excited about the brand while securing a new logo at virtually no cost.
These ten tips can help you really gain traction quickly and establish yourself as an expert in your niche and draw extra attention to your business. It’s a strategy that has worked for countless brands and can be used regardless of your businesses size. Mom and pop shops can appear to have a much larger presence when you establish a strong personal brand and larger companies can appear to be more human if their CEO is accessible and engages with customers.
Some of these tips are very easy, like making sure you have professional headshots, but some take some time and effort, such as establishing yourself as a top guest blogger. Just like anything in life, you have to put in the effort to see the results. If you aren’t scared of working hard and take the time to implement these tips, I can promise that your business will experience many benefits.
If you have experience building brands, both company and personal, I’d love to hear what has worked for you in the comments below. Also, if you have any questions about the above tips, drop them below and I will do my best to answer them as quickly as possible.