The Entrepreneurs Ultimate Guide to Online Branding
If you’re a visionary entrepreneur who wants to make a positive difference then I invite you to consider that you’re more than an Entrepreneur–you’re a marketer. Even if this doesn’t feel natural to you, right away, I ask you to try this mindset on so that you may have more impact and make more money.
Marketing is the key money maker in your business. When you do it effectively you can create passive income, automate steps in your business and free up your time for something else!
Here are 8 keys to building your online brand:
1. Expose your customer’s hard truths in your brand’s message
Most companies try to get their customers to buy from them by communicating how their brand is different, higher quality, cheaper price, simpler process, friendlier service and so on. The problem is…. your competitors are already doing this. If you’re not creating the money or impact you want, then it might be time to try something new with your brand’s messaging.
The reality is that the majority of your potential customers are actually in an unconscious state. Meaning they are not ready to buy “right now” instead they are in a state of subconscious pain, fear and frustration, but they are not actively seeking to get out of this state.
As the entrepreneur, it’s your responsibility to wake your customers up from this less than desirable state. You do this by exposing the internal dialogue going on in your customers mind with your brand’s messages. When you uncover the hard truths spinning around in your customer’s mind you will persuade your customers better than anyone else. Infact, your customers will be two times more likely to buy from you when you communicate to them this way!
2. Give your customers some love first (before you ask for the sale)
If you want your customers to come knocking on your door then consider how your online brand can help you to establish trust and build a relationship with your customers. You do this by creating articles that answer questions, solve problems and add value to your customers (just like the article you are reading now.)
As I said in point #1, not all customers are ready to but “right now”, in fact ONLY 3% of your ideal customers are actively have the problem you solve, but 67% of customers are in an unconscious state of mind. This means 67% are just not shopping right now. They could be aware for the future or could have even tried something similar to what you offer and have “decided” it doesn’t work.
This group of your customers who are unconscious represents a much bigger opportunity than the customers who are ready to buy today.
Create trust first by digging deep into the problems your customers are facing and look for ways to solve their problems with your brand’s content marketing. When you take this value-based approach to your marketing you’ll create a bridge for your customers that helps them become conscious of a solution to their problem.
Rule of thumb here is give value first, second offer a solution.
3. Stay top-of-mind with your brand’s email marketing
The #1 way to monetize your business online is with email marketing. So, if you’re not already collecting your prospective customers email addresses then get on this strategy pronto! Your customers are not necessarily ready to buy from you the day that they learn about you. Email marketing provides you an opportunity to build the relationship with your prospective client by adding value to their lives first.
Email marketing is also one of the best ways to increase the return on your investment of your social media and blog or video content marketing efforts.
Which brings me to my next point…
4. Create an irresistible Email Opt-In
When a prospective clients first learns about your product or service offline there is courting period at the beginning of the relationship. Often some value is exchanged like a free sample or free advice. It’s even more important to build this relationship online because your online brand is competing for attention in a global marketplace.
So, the question to ask yourself is what can you offer your customer that would trigger them to take a risk free action such as providing you their email address. The key here is providing them something really compelling so that they leave feeling instantly empowered and can apply what they learned immediately. It’s about quality not quantity.
Just be careful, not to give “too much” it’s more important that what you give is quick, easy and can be applied instantly. Less is more, provided it’s delicious and juicy.
5. Claim your market niche & make sure it’s failure proof
What does Facebook and Amazon have something in common? They both started off small? Facebook started off by only offering an account to people with a harvard email address and Amazon started by selling only books. Now both companies have global reach with a diverse range of customers and products.
The point is, if you want to build something big you have to start by narrowing your focus and claiming your market niche. The truth is, if you start by selling to everyone you will have a harder time of igniting your business into high growth mode.
Once you think you have a market niche, here are some simple ways to failure proof your market niche:
- Can you run a Facebook Ad that says “Click like if you love [insert your niche]”?
- Can you Google it (using the key word tool)?
- Are there already Facebook groups, magazines, forums?
- Do you customers identify with what you’re calling it?
Special thanks to Ryan Deiss & Nick Unsworth who pointed out these failure proof strategies.
6. Measure your branding efforts
What get’s measured get’s done. If you’re not measuring it then you’ll will be blind when you’re trying to figure out what’s working and what’s not for your online branding efforts.
Here are some key metrics to consider for your online branding:
- Online conversions (ie: subscribers, sales funnel)
- Online engagement (ie: button’s clicked, articles shared, page depth, email open rate)
- Traffic source (ie: organic SEO traffic, Facebook)
- Website Traffic (ie: unique visitors)
- Number of online buyers
- Online Sales
- Online Profit
- Cost to Acquire a Customer
And then start testing, everything… absolutely everything! A great resource to help you start testing your website easily, simply and cost effectively is www.optimizely.com
7. Branding is more than a logo design
Even if you’re on a shoestring budget… you cannot afford to think your logo design is the be-all-end-all for building your famous brand. If you want to build a strong online brand in this global market place ensure you have the following in place:
- Brand Messaging: your brand should help you feel clear and confident how to communicate your business idea to your customers, employees and partners.
- Brand Identity Design: What other elements besides your logo design make up your brand and how can you apply them consistently? Here are some basics: font palate (Headling 1, Heading 2, Body Copy), Colour palate (Primary, Secondary), Image palate, Graphic elements, Grid system etc.
- Branding your Operations: your brand should help you hire the right people, make the right decisions, deliver a promise to your customers etc..
Last but not least…
8. Think of your website as a business tool
Your website is one of the most important online branding assets you have in your business. Treat your website like a business. It should convert leads for you, make you money on auto-pilot and automate business processes for you. Here are some key aspects to consider to optimize your website (beyond what’s already been mentioned):
- Design for conversion first, beauty second: Ask yourself what is the most important action you want a user to take on your website and make sure your website design directs your customer towards taking this behaviour.
- Content marketing schedule: Keep a consistent content schedule and add new value-based content to your website on a regular basis and share it with your audience.
- Search Engine Optimization: Help your customers find you easier when you optimize your website for certain key words. If you’re just getting started with this strategy you will want to start small (such as 6 key words).
I’d love to hear from you… What’s helped you to build your online brand?
Bright love and gratitude,
Great Article! You’ve give me a lot to think about. Thank you!
This article is extremely helpful. Keep it up!
Hey! AWESOME read! This is super insightful. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!
I have read “tons” of articles about online branding but I haven’t read something like yours that pares down all the frills (and put these aside) to make the subject more understandable for entrepreneurs. As a start-up entrepreneur myself, I have been struggling about the subject matter for quite a while.
But, not anymore.
Thank you for this article. Really, it is easy to understand and easy to digest. Not to mention that your tips are also actionable.
Thanks for your comments. Let me know the results of the actions you choose to take.
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