There is a lot to be said when it comes to using the internet to grow your business. There are a myriad of ways to use online branding to grow you and your presence online. It could be that you are an author that would like to grow notoriety and establish yourself in the marketplace so as to increase sales of your book. It could be that you have an information product you’re developing, or perhaps developed, where you would like to increase sales of the product while at the same time driving traffic to your site, increasing subscriptions (or what is considered opt-ins) and building your email list. Maybe you are a service provider of sorts, you could be an esthetician, a make-up artist, an independent hip-hop artist looking to organically grow an audience for your music.
The list is extensive! I could go on, and on, and on, and the application or execution of using the Internet in it’s most basic and simplest form to help drive sales of whatever you are selling is not a one-size-fits-all solution. But who you are, your authority, your identity, and what you are known for when your name or business comes up in conversation is what is considered as your brand.
So let’s start with the WHY first before we discuss the HOW.
YOU are your brand
If you were to do a very detailed and extensive search through your competitors online presence, those individuals that are actually having some verifiable success in your industry, you would definitely find one thing that they all have in common: They all have BRANDS no matter where you turn.
In the age of social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and all of these social sites where sharing is the centerpiece of interaction, not only can you be seen anywhere and by anyone on the internet but you can also be SHARED by anyone and everyone on the internet. This holds true if you are someone that is adding value to the online marketplace in one way or another, and when I say “adding value” I mean that you are offering such profound thought leadership, opinions, education in one form or another, or perhaps such the creative type that people are not only drawn to you but they are compelled to share you and your message.
Your BRAND is who you are and what you are known for. It’s your positioning, online and offline. It’s the first thing that comes to mind when people think of you and your name. For instance, when we think about Donald Trump we automatically think about Real Estate, or The Apprentice, which is a really great show and has been for quite sometime with all sorts of celebrity guests appearing as participants. If you think even further you will probably associate his name with top quality products such as his world-renowned line of luxury hotel properties, and you might also think about his hair! Signature, is it not? We know what Donald Trump stands for in our minds before we even see his face or any of his products, but do we know what you stand for?
So here are some questions to consider when you think about your positioning and your business:
What is your brand?
How effectively is it drawing people to you and your website? Given you have a site.
When we think of you, what DO we think of you?
If we did a Google search for your name, what would people find?
Do you have an online presence? Can we find you in all of the social media platforms?
So why do you need to establish a brand? Because it identifies you as the go-to person for whatever you do within your industry or niche. That should be the ultimate goal! We should be able to clearly come to a very quick determination as to who you are and what you do, and when we think about the service or product that you offer your name should be coming up in the conversation, somewhere.
HOW do you establish your online BRAND?
There are some people who will say they are in business and it’s tough to find traces of them online. Now of course, everyone does things their way and you can approach this from a variety of angles, but I would argue that there are some basic fundamental things you need in order to establish your brand online and offline. These things may appear to be simple but a lot of people miss the basics completely:
– A properly branded, functioning, and updated website
– Branded logo across all web properties, website, Facebook Fanpage, YouTube, etc.
– Email signature that matches and describes you and what you do
– If we are talking offline, business cards that match your logo and online presence
If you are treating your business like a business whose aim is to become profitable than you will find that most profitable businesses all have an established brand. It may or may not be effective, that’s another blog post, but we definitely know WHAT these companies do and stand for. We know what Apple stands for, we know what the golden arches from McDonalds mean when we see them, and we can easily identify with household names like Netflix, and Microsoft. I can hear what you’re saying, “these companies are multi-million and multi-billion dollar companies”, and I get that. But think about how you value yourself and what you do. Why would you treat yourself and your business any less than how these companies treat their business?
There are a lot of people out here doing average things and when you engage in average activities you get average results.
You need to understand that what you create online, your images, your conversation, YouTube videos, and any other content for that matter molds and brand the person you are. People do pay attention to what they see you doing and they compare that to what you are actually doing online. If you are engaged in conversation that speaks to your industry and niche, it will show. Your expertise and passion will show from your conversations. Are you lending value? Are you spreading your expertise in ways that can be digested? Are you spreading it in ways where people can read what you have online and take action the minute they leave your site? THAT’S adding value, that’s branding, and that’s how you do it!
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