I have heard from many people both in the online and offline marketing world that you have to create and grow your very own unique brand. This concept has been around awhile…
Moving into the online marketing world, immediately there some businesses and names that stood out. These were the ones that took the idea of building a brand to heart and have run with the strategy.
If there are any doubts that you may have whether or not putting in the effort to design and create your unique brand, this tutorial will provide you some very valuable information so you can make an informed decision on what you should do…
Let’s get started!
WHAT IS A BRAND AND WHY YOU WANT IT
In the old days, “branding” was often a nonsensical trademark name that may have been somewhat catchy, but today is mostly includes descriptive words telling people who you are and conveys passions you have in life.
Let’s look back…Take, for instance, the brand Xerox: at one this company name had no real meaning. Then the company introduced the world to their machines and people started using the name as a common definition for photocopying papers.
This did not help further the brand, however. Their brand was actually diluted into becoming a generic meaning, hardly unique nor was it expressive of their company in any meaningful manner.
In today’s business world, to create an effective brand name, you have to give special attention to why your name is unique and make it describe succinctly what you do, who you are, and your place in business or life.
Having a brand will help you stand out in today’s crowded marketplace. The online world of the internet keeps getting new viewers, there is more content added daily, and it is easy for your brand or name to get lost in this noise…
So what are the types of branding you should be concerned about?
Of course, you are born with the start of a personal brand: Your names. It sets you apart from everyone else in this world but it doesn’t really express anything about our personal qualities.
People will take on nicknames to help express more of their own unique qualities, and this is a form of group personal branding…
Think music rappers: Dr. J, Dre, Snoop Dog, etc. Their nickname expresses to a degree what their passion is, and the brand can help them promote themselves and their music.
Branding, whether personal or business, is all about you conveying the self-image you are projecting to others so when they hear the name, it brings up an image that is identical to what you are seeking.
OK, what about business…What is the scoop there these days?
Most businesses have websites. To stake out their particular piece of the internet real estate, they must obtain a domain. This can and should be a tool for branding just like your business name is.
Note that this type of branding tends to be more descriptive of the products and services that are offered rather than of the personal qualities of the owner.
Unlike in the past, when the business name was the front that businesses presented to the world, today things have changed…with the social networks, the smartphones, and constant online society, personal branding of those behind the business is becoming as equally important in business and company branding.
The online media social networks, the use of smartphones, and the constant online society, has resulted in personal branding coming ever more to the forefront.
Those people behind the business are becoming as equally important in business and company branding as the company name itself, and more-so in some cases….
There is more a blend of the two kinds of branding today. This must be considered as you contemplate how best to promote the brand, the business, the passion…
This moves us to the next section of the tutorial today…
HOW TO START CREATING YOUR UNIQUE BRAND
So How Do I Project Passion?
By considering first your objective, and knowing that you have personal or business branding to consider, you can determine a clear path to clearly projecting your passion to the biggest audience possible.
If you are not clear on what it is that you are trying to accomplish, I recommend doing a mind mapping exercise to get to the objective. Once you have what it is you are trying to project, you can brainstorm ways to convey this to others.
This should not be a hard exercise because you are tapping into what it is that excites you, that motivates you, that makes you take action. This is your passion. It’s not as hard as it seems to think up a few choice brand names to try out.
What is hard is reserving them online when so many have already been snapped up by others. How do you get the word out to everyone? What tools are there available to you to get this done most efficiently?
Brainstorm and Research Your Brand
That’s why in order to get a good one, you have to start to brainstorm early. It’s going to take a while to come up with a brand name that you love and that is also available as a domain name.
One thing is certain: most two-word-phrased domain names are already taken.
You will probably have to go with three words or more, or you might try purchasing a smaller domain name from someone who is squatting on it and waiting for a buyer to offer him/her some money.
It Is Important to Reserve Your Personal Name
Knowing that today the importance of personal branding and business branding as part of your planning for branding you will want to reserve social profiles and especially a domain name with your name in it.
This is not unprecedented. There are many celebrities and high profile business people that have established careers using lawyers to do this on a regular basis.
There are cases when a business brand achieves fame or notoriety where they end up paying someone else to give back their personal brand name on the Internet. Think ahead.
Unfortunately, there are opportunists (always has been) who will reserve domain names like Bille Gates, Paris Hilton or other notables that have large followings, and try to sell them at great cost…
The same holds true for the social sites…Once you start having moe success, your following will increase, as will the number of fake spammers who will try to use your popularity for their own nefarious purposes.
You can quickly see what domain names are available by using a site such as Whois.net. Also, think about securing the main extensions such as ‘.info’ or ‘.co’ etc. in addition to the Top Level Domain ‘.com’.
If you see that the domain you want is reserved or owned you will be able to obtain the owner’s information for that domain name. You will also tell you who you to contact if you want to buy the name.
Once you have that information, you can go to popular domain selling sites or website hosting sites such as HostGator, MyDomains, NameCheap, etc. to buy and register the selected domain name.
Any of these sites will offer you suggestions for alternatives if the domain you want is taken. This may have to be your alternative if you cannot convince the owner of the domain you want to sell.
HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR BRAND
It is not as hard as you might think to establish yourself and build your brand, but it does take some planning. These days online, many people will claim to be an expert, and this is OK, take that with a grain of salt (a healthy dose of skepticism).
You will gain the title of ‘expert’ through your actions and interactions online and offline…
People will learn who you are and how you are by the interactions they have with you and your company. They will make up their own opinions about whether you and your company are experts.
The great thing about the internet is this ability for interactions and the reach you have to people all around the world at little cost. It levels the playing field between huge companies and small companies or individuals.
This new world of communication means that information isn’t as segregated or cached as it once was, there is quite a bit more transparency. and it is readily available to everyone, so both the good and bad is there for all to see…
Gone are the days when a big company could spend a lot of money promoting some crappy product and get away with it for a long time. Today there are many places where people can make complaints and a simple search will show these to all…Sales will plummet.
On the positive side, if you have something truly special and wonderful, you can promote this using your brand, get the positive vibes going by sharing that fact online, and attract thousands of new customers.
How the world of marketing has changed!
What Action To Take Now To Build Your Brand
You have many choices online to work leveraging to get the most positive publicity for your brand using minimal effort.
Not that long ago the rage was Press Releases…Although still used, there are other options that work much better these days.
Not only that, it is a question of time.You want to use online avenues that will maximum ‘bang’ for your ‘buck’ and not spend an inordinate amount of time doing so…
Have a look at some options I list here below. These are starting points for consideration.
NOTE: If you do not have the time to work some of these, consider outsourcing – there are plenty of places online where you can do this such as Fiverr…
- Develop and Use Online Business Cards
These days paper cards are ever less relevant in the digital world. Get a version of your business card created that will allow you to share it much more easily online.
- Create A Digital Resume
If personal experience is important for success in your business, make sure that you have an updated resume or CV available and posted on sites such as LinkedIn or perhaps on your social and websites.
- Prepare a Portfolio or Portfolios
Depending on your business niche you may have to create and publish some of your work so people have an idea of what you can produce. Having such a portfolio is essential for niches such as photography. video creation, etc.
- Create and Publish a Responsive Website
In today’s world, you need to have your piece of real estate on the internet. That real estate is minimally having a website. This website can be a base other platforms can feed back into, and together, they will create a powerful presence online of who you are and what you offer.
- Establish a Presence On Social Platforms
Get your accounts set up and pages/sites established to support that website mentioned above. There are so many options on which social networks to use, but minimally add the big two Facebook and Twitter. These are both great for getting traffic back to your site. I would say others you should strongly consider include Pinterest, Google+, Snapchat, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
- Plan for Email Campaigns
These are an element of business even in today’s move to more live interaction and etc. on the social platforms. This is so because they are effective. Even the biggest companies are still using email…It is a simple and quick way to directly market to your audience. You can build a relationship over time that will pay dividends.
Remember that with so many businesses today promoting their brands online, and costs that are far less and actually are more effective than in earlier days, it will pay you to jump into branding with enthusiasm!
Now let’s drill down just a bit on some of the above points and more...
WAYS TO MAKE YOUR BRAND MORE POWERFUL
There are 9 points we will cover today, and we will finish up with part 2 of this tutorial tomorrow…
Note: I will add a link so you can easily move right over to the remainder of the training when you are finished here…
Point # 1 – Brand Your Digital Products or Services
Depending on what kind of business you have, you could be selling eBooks, CDs, software, tools, graphics, videos, or something similar.
As you sell and increase your profile across the internet, your products will be spread far and wide globally potentially.
Use that opportunity to add in your brand logo and information for each type of product or service to help spread the word about your brand.
People love getting something of value for free, so giveaways are an excellent medium to use this strategy for.
If it is an item that they will use frequently, having a brand logo or a short intro may be a bit annoying, this is true.
On the other hand, it will be very valuable to you and them if they at some point need to know who to contact for more of the same excellent products and services.
Never underestimate the power of adding such branding. It can lead to referrals you will not have expected and at the end of the day, more business, and that with just a bit of upfront work one time.
Point # 2 – Creating and Using Digital CVs and Resumes
Although it is true that paper resumes still have a use today, say if you’re out looking for a job, they aren’t very good or effective if you’re trying to use them to promote your business online.
Having said that, putting up a major component of resumes can be of value…
Adding in some of your accomplishments and past achievements, information found in resumes typically will let people know who you are, what you have done, the circles you travel in and the quality of work or performance they can expect from you.
Many businesses can benefit from using portions of their resumes in the rights places , i.e. lists or bullet points of previous projects or successes. It helps provide a positive picture to prospective clients.
My recommendation is to create several versions of these depending on where you will post them, and for each tailor it to the intended audience.
In all versions, you want to highlight strengths and past experience.
Point # 3 – Branding on Outsourcing Sites
Think of a site like Fiverr. For most of the niches of possible projects that sellers offer their services for, there are many people competing to get the sale to a client for a project.
That’s why part of branding your services or business, you need to use keywords that will best describe your skills and experience, and write copy that will convince prospects to take action.
Be as detailed as possible, but succinct. Use portfolios, testimonials, and ratings to further provide social proof to prospects. See what the top sellers are doing, and emulate (not copy).
Point # 4 – Using LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a very useful tool for personal and business use. You can add in your profile and resume, interact with others, network as needed, and build your brand over time.
You can request and receive recommendations from people. Again this offers social proof to prospects when they do due diligence on you. It verifies what you are saying on your websites, social sites, and with your branding added to giveaway or sold products and services.
LinkedIn is also great for business owners who want to network with their customers, other related business owners, and who want to present a professional look for others .
You can also add in other information like a portfolio of past projects and this will give your profile even more of an impact for viewers. LinkedIn is definitely a site to consider adding as a social platform source to build your brand.
Point # 5 – Speaking Of Portfolios
Portfolios when it comes to online branding means that you provide a visual and audio set of proofs of the value you are bringing to the table. Visual proof is often more powerful than text.
Include samples of your best work and possibly some testimonials from satisfied customers…These type of entries will help new customers make that buying decision.
Make sure that it is clear also how to access or view samples in your portfolio if required. Providing such guidance will set you apart from the competition, and show that you are a professional.
Remember that the more you can ‘wow and dazzle’ your viewers, the more likely it is that they will buy from you…
Point # 6 – Your Blog Or Website
As I have mentioned a few times already, having and owning your very own piece of online real estate in the form of a website is critical to your branding effort.
Using that base that you own (i.e. domain), you can centralize all of your online activities for your selected niche in one location.
If you are like me, and you have multiple online niches, then you’ll want to have multiple websites and associated domains.
When you plan for your branding campaign, consider the type of website you need, how often and who will update content, and what sort of domain name will best convey your brand.
Remember that with more and more internet user’s online time being accessed using mobile devices, and the emphasis on providing an engaging and entertaining experience, you will want to use a mobile responsive theme.
Point # 7 – The Thing About Domains
In picking a good domain name, make sure that you exclude odd characters like hyphens as they can throw people off. It is all about your brand, and the easier and simpler it is for viewers to remember your domain name, the better.
Try to make sure that you select a top-level domain (TLD) name (www.xxx.com) if possible over some of the other ones that may be available such as ‘.info.’ Such domains as ‘.info’ may be useful as a link you want to add as part of your TLD.
Also try not to use a sub-domain as your main branding website. Here I am talking about a free website yu can create with some of the hosted services you can tap into like WIX or Weebly.
You want to provide a professional appearance to viewers, and this will send the wrong message for sure. It says that you are too cheap or broke to have your own TLD.
Point # 8 – More On Your Website
OK, you have a domain name. You have looked at possible hosting services and selected a plan that fits your requirements. Once you sign up and point your domain nameservers to the hosting server, you are ready to build a website.
Now you have to have to decide what you will use to present your information on your brand. Most people today use a framework called WordPress.
It offers a base from which you can design your own website from, or use preset themes that allow you to quickly get a professional website published.
If that is the option you select, the hosting company you are using will be able to install a copy of WordPress.org on your site. From there you can use a theme you like and edit it to make it your own.
Think about what kind of brand you have and what type of site would best help your visitors to better experience your brand.
Most important is that you give it a very professional look. That will start you on your way to personal and business credibility, and your brand is helped as well.
Point # 9 – More About Social Platforms and Branding
The many social networks existing today offer you an abundance of options to build your personal and business brand. They attract different demographics, and you can emphasize different aspects of your brand using them selectively.
For example, LinkedIn will attract more professionals that have established careers, while Snapchat until recently was a very young crowd. Twitter has a wide variety of users, as does Facebook, while Pinterest seems to have more women active users.
What it means for you as a business owner is that you can get online and brand exposure to many different audiences depending on the core demographic of users on each platform.
In the next session (part 2 of this tutorial) we will drill down on each and look at what they offer for you, Using that information, you can select the path and platform or platforms to focus on for your branding effort.
Today we have looked at branding and why it is so important for your online marketing business. It is indeed something every marketer needs to consider.
Many people prefer to stay anonymous with their online efforts, but as pointed out, there a lot of advantages to building your own and unique brand.
You can choose to build your name as a brand or your company name. The article pointed out advantages and disadvantages to using either route, as was pointed out.
Some good tips and advice were provided in the tutorial in regards to getting your brand created, and also some more good guidance on how to grow that created brand.
Finally, some personal experiences the author has had were described so readers can judge for themselves whether building a brand is worth their while.
The intent of this tutorial is to introduce those that may not have thought of building a brand to the concept, and also for those that have created a brand and want some ways to build it faster.
I hope that everyone finds it useful and look forward to reading about what others are doing in regards to creating and growing a powerful and unique brand for their business.
I am asking that you consider adding in your feedback on this tutorial on brands and creating and building your own unique brand below in the comment section, It helps when we share our insight, experiences, or knowledge with one another, and your participation will help all readers. Thanks in advance for your participation!
Dave has been involved in sales for 20 years with offline products and has been fortunate to have traveled the world while realizing up to $4 million USD a month in gross sales of products he promoted.
He has brought that experience to the online world and this is one of his online ventures. This site is intended to present ideas, products, tools, tips and more that will help all those seeking to make money online have success.
Subjects covered are diverse, but in totem, you can learn a lot about the things that you will need to have success with online business right here. This includes things to do and things NOT to do!