You are about to build a virtual business, and you know having the perfect website is key for your business to become a success. You will work on whatever is necessary to have a professional website, and it contains all the features and marketing tools the market requires. You have defined your area of expertise and created and offered services or products within your niche. You’ve spread your word in blog posts and have included social media. You are active in marketing and networking. You’ve put a marketing strategy in place and many more details to bring your business to the market. So far, so good! But what about your personal branding?
The heart of your business
As an online entrepreneur, the heart of your business is, of course, your website. It is the first point of contact anyone has with your business. It is also the first place a potential customer sees how you present yourself and your services or products. In short, it is the place a customer might interact with you. But who are you? Who is the person behind this business? Think about this for a moment; do you maybe recognise this from your experience? Are you sometimes curious about business owners whose products you are considering buying? You not only want to know what their expertise is, but you also wonder what is special about them; what is behind the scenes? Or you simply want to know what makes them unique compared to their competitors?
Why personal branding matters
In the early stages of business, online entrepreneurs often don’t see the power of personal branding. Personal branding infuses all other areas of your marketing efforts and is helpful to build connections and trust with your prospective customers.
Market research is essential to understanding why it is fundamental for your online business to have this kind of trustworthiness and more: First of all, people want to do business with other people. This holds true for online businesses as well as normal businesses. Second, customers tend to trust real people more than anonymous organizations or corporate companies. Here we are; this is the reason, why the concept of personal branding comes into play to give your virtual business more realness.
As a business owner, you represent your business as a person with your personality. Seen as this you are “the face of your marketing”. You are a unique personality. Doing business your style in a saturated market is how you differentiate your business from others. It is also a way to connect to your target audience with your individual touch. Now you can see, why it is so important as well to lay the foundation for your personal brand in your entire marketing efforts when starting out. Your brand is the first impression the (online) world gets of you.
Before we look closer, I want to clarify what a personal brand is not:
- it is not just any type self-promotion
- it is not a “wanna-be” brand, where you try to mimic someone you are not
- it is not an exaggerated version of you in any way
- it does not mean to copy someone else because this person might have a successful personal brand
- it is not necessarily only created from the professional aspects of yourself
The best marketing
You as the person running your business are the best marketing asset for yourself because you represent it with everything you are.
4 Essentials for your personal brand
Now, let’s have a look at the four essentials you should apply to your marketing. With these, you lay a solid foundation for your personal brand when building your online business:
1. Values & Standards
Know your values and standards; they are the underlying basis for your actions. Let people know who you are and what you stand for. If your values resonate with your prospective customers, it is much easier to turn them into buying clients. Maybe you are not sure what your values are. You certainly do have them; you might just not be completely aware of them. To figure them out, think of what truly matters to you in life. Words like family, connection, honesty, integrity, freedom or responsibility represent certain values.
Knowing your standards, also include the things you value doing, or you don’t value doing. You love to provide service and offer the best solution possible for your customers but, you don’t value gossiping or trash talking about business partners or customers at all. Those values and standards that are compelling to you are your own laws written in stone. This might require you to dig deep within you, but it is well worth the effort to succeed with a genuine personal brand online.
2. Sharing the motivation
What are your vision and your purpose? Tell people what motivates and drives you in business and let them know how you want to contribute. Share with your audience, what is the deeper truth and meaning in what you have to offer. These are connection-building points on an emotional level with your clients, as well a sharing your story that only you can tell.
3. Highlighting the uniqueness
Take a closer look at yourself to find out what differentiates you as a person and as a business owner from others. It might be helpful to ask friends and family to give you honest feedback on why you are special. It might be the type of attitude you approach things with or the way you handle things that come up. Maybe you are more solution-oriented, responsible and pragmatic or rather compassionate, caring and outgoing, just to name a few terms. Don’t come up with things people might expect you to be or what you think they might expect you to be. Find those things that are true to you! Personal Branding means taking the essence of what sets you apart from the crowd and communicating it to your target audience.
4. Natural and compelling actions
Be natural in a compelling way in all you do. This includes your style of communication in social media, your website copy and your interactions with people. It also means the way you deliver value to your customers. Your style is most reliable. Be authentic, be present, be you in all you do!
Connecting on a personal level to your customers makes everything you do more trustworthy and valuable. Building a personal brand from the beginning on in your business makes your marketing more effective in the long term. Did you ever think of it that way? Your personal brand is the foundation of your entire brand.