15 Things You Need in Place for Creating Your Personal Brand

Original Post: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Quicksprout/~3/sly8Xfzx134/

When you think about it, a personal brand is one of the most useful things you can build.

It’s powerful. It’s valuable. It’s killer.

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But it also takes a considerable amount of work. As I’ve built my personal brand over the past few years, I’ve discovered that one’s personal brand doesn’t merely grow when you achieve some level of business success.

Instead, you have to work hard at it.

Building a personal brand is almost like building a business. You have to identify your target clients, discover the best marketing methods, and relentlessly work to deliver what they want.

But the results? Worth it!

As you build your brand, it becomes much easier to connect with prospective clients, close deals, and grow the opportunities that weren’t possible when you started.

To get to that point, you’ve got to start with the right foundation.

Seventy-seven percent of B2B buyers said they speak with a salesperson only after they’ve performed independent research online.

More than 50% of decision-makers have eliminated a vendor from consideration based on information they found online.

With this many eyes watching, it pays to build your personal brand in the most effective way.

I’ve had success with growing my personal brand because of careful planning. I had things ready to go before I started promoting myself.

Here are the things you’ll need to have in place as you work to develop your personal brand.

1. Head shots

I am immensely thankful that we’ve moved beyond the Glamour Shots era. Still, the people who used those portraits throughout their professional lives had the right idea.

(kind of…)

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When you start to promote your personal brand, you want to be easily recognizable, and you want people to take you seriously. I have a number of professional head shots and photos that I use across my online properties for consistency.

As my appearance changes (and, yes, I do age…or mature), my head shots get updated.

Take pictures that represent the personality you’re trying to portray, and use those images across all your social channels, websites, gravatar accounts, and author bios.

2. Your focus

Entrepreneurs working to build a personal brand typically want to be known as experts in something. When you’re creating your personal brand, you need to identify that one thing that’s your passion and area of expertise.

Understanding your focus and your vision helps lay the groundwork for the rest of the steps you need to take to create and launch your personal brand.

3. Your elevator pitch

Let’s say you and I meet in an elevator. I strike up a conversation that quickly leads to your work. You’ve got about 30 seconds to explain what you do.

Can you condense your job or brand down into a short pitch that’s clear and gets the point across?

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This pitch isn’t just for personal connection opportunities. The same brief statement can be utilized throughout social channels and online bios to help followers and prospects best understand who you are and what you bring to the table.

Write up what you do and what makes you valuable, and don’t be afraid to make it detailed. Once you have the information down, start trimming.

Keep trimming until you get it down to a strong, impacting statement.

4. Know your USP

Your unique selling proposition (USP) goes hand in hand with your elevator pitch. This is what sets you apart from others in your industry or specialization. If there are 2,000 other entrepreneurs offering the same service, why should your prospective customers choose you?

Why should your audience pay attention to you?

What is your unique value they won’t find with anyone else?

Your USP should be a succinct, single-sentence statement of who you are, your greatest strength, and the major benefit your audience will derive from it.

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USPs typically fall into 3 categories:

Quality – It’s about superior materials or ingredients, craftsmanship, or proprietary manufacturing. Think “Better Ingredients. Better Pizza.” from Papa Johns.

Price – Price isn’t the best USP, but it can work if you offer the best prices, low rate guarantees, price matching, bulk discounts, or unique special offers.

Service – This can be unquestioned returns, satisfaction guarantees, or extended services to delight customers. Think Tom’s Shoes’s practice of giving shoes to the needy.

This is a critical component for branding. You’ll use this to craft your pitch, and it will be prevalent in virtually all of your marketing messages and outreach.

5. A defined audience

Defining your area of expertise is only part of the journey. You have to know to whom you’re catering. Building a brand is useless unless you’re targeting the right people.

You have to define your audience so that any content you create is relevant, your marketing turns heads, and you can eventually monetize your brand.

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Think of it like a game of darts. You score if you hit the board, but you score higher if you hit dead center. Without a target, you’re just throwing darts blindly.

When you know your audience, you can:

  • create highly valuable content specific to their needs
  • generate offers that will provide solutions to their greatest problems
  • create brand advocates who will embrace your message and help spread it for you
  • identify the best ways to engage your audience
  • identify places to find them

Defining your audience takes time and research, but without a clearly defined audience, you’ll never grow your brand.

6. A student mindset

You have to maintain the mindset of a perpetual learner, no matter how much experience you gain in your field. Change happens fast, so adopt the “I am a student and always need to learn” attitude.

Tune in, listen, and stay up-to-date with industry trends.

If you fail to stay relevant, people will stop paying attention to you.

It never hurts to learn new things, develop new skills, and expand your knowledge. Everything you learn is an opportunity to pass something new to your audience and provide more value.

7. Create a marketing strategy

Before you launch your personal brand, you need a strategy that details how you’ll promote yourself. While it doesn’t need to be as robust as a marketing strategy for a major brand, it’s still a good idea to create a documented marketing plan you can follow.

This should include (but isn’t limited to):

8. A personal brand audit

While you’re in the process of creating your personal brand, you likely already have public information available about you.

Before you push the growth of your brand, take the time to audit your online presence. Do extensive searches for your name and identity online.

This can help you manage anything that doesn’t mesh with your brand image as well as show opportunities for your branding campaign once you get started.

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This isn’t a one-time audit, either. Schedule routine reviews of your personal brand to monitor how you appear on the web.

9. Create a personal website

A website isn’t just a place to toot your own horn.

You certainly want to show off your expertise and the work you’ve done. You also want to make sure you control as much real estate around your brand as possible.

A branded website is another source of content that will show up at the top of the search results when people search for information about you.

Having a website ensures that you stay in control of the top search results rather than allowing third-party sites to shape your online image.

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10. Define your story

The strongest personal brands are carried by a potent narrative. The people most interested in following you or working with you will want to know your story.

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If you specialize in more than one area or have a series of things you’re passionate about, a narrative becomes even more important.

It’s a unified theme that ties everything together.

Think about some of the most well-known personal brands like Mark Cuban, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, or Richard Branson.

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In every case, the stories are well known and the narratives lend tremendous weight to these people’s brands, ultimately defining how we see them.

What’s your story?

11. Build on Feedback

Even when we look into a mirror, it’s not easy to define ourselves and understand who we are. It’s just not that easy to form an objective opinion of ourselves.

Use the feedback from others you know to build the framework for your personal brand. Ask people you trust, e.g., colleagues, friends, family and co-workers, to describe you with just a few adjectives. You can also ask additional questions like:

  • What do you think I’m good at?
  • What do you think my weaknesses are?
  • What are my greatest strengths?

12. Define your goals

Why are you developing this personal brand? Is it to create a solid image to help you land a better position in your career? Do you want to create a more trustworthy and authoritative persona to land clients?

Creating goals can help you shape your personal brand and the direction of your promotion and marketing. Aside from your major goals, you should also define smaller, more readily attainable goals.

Where do you want to be in 6 months? In a year? What are your traffic goals for your brand website?

When you create goals, break them down into smaller milestones, and create a roadmap you can follow from launch to achieve those goals.

13. Create a personal style guide

Brands often use style guides to define the appearance of their logos, fonts, and colors to represent themselves and their products/sevices. This may even include employee dress code.

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Everything you do contributes to your personal brand. Create a personal style guide similar to what the brands use. This way you have a consistent representation of your personal brand.

This should include the way you dress, carry yourself, behave with others, and even write and respond to emails.

14. Create a content strategy

Even though I mentioned creating a marketing strategy already, I feel it’s important to list this on its own. Not everyone will create an overall marketing strategy or social media plan. At the very least, you should create a content marketing strategy.

Much of your branding will revolve around content.

You’ll use content to build authority and show your expertise. You’ll create guest posts to generate referral traffic and links. You might create short videos to share your ideas.

A content strategy can help you maintain a consistent schedule and generate the right topics for your audience as well as give you the greatest chance of growing your personal brand.

Moz has created a terrific content strategy framework you can use to plan your own.

15. Perform a competitive evaluation

Personal brand building isn’t a popularity contest, but it does pay to know where you stand in the crowd.

Occasionally, you can collect some data, e.g., from Google trends, that will display the general query interest around your personal brand.

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You want to know some of the key metrics around your brand so you can pivot and act accordingly.

This data is from Buzzsumo.

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In the early stages of building your personal brand, you may or may not be selling anything. Regardless of your approach to monetization, you have competitors. They’ll fall into two categories:

  • Direct competitors, competing for your audience’s money
  • Indirect competitors, competing for your audience’s attention

Once you’ve identified your audience, you need to take stock of the industry and find out who is turning the heads of your audience and what they’re using to keep them engaged.

You don’t want to mimic your competitors. That’s bad. Remember, you want to be unique.

A competitive evaluation will give you the insight to take whatever your competitors are doing and do it 10 times better so you can capture and hold the attention of your audience.

Conclusion

Your personal brand is how the world will see you. For that reason, you need to polish your brand and give it a strong start, out of the gate. Starting with an unpolished and uninteresting brand is only going to hurt your efforts.

Including these elements in the launch of your brand will connect you with the right people. Those people will begin to identify you with a specific industry or area of expertise. As you share information and build rapport, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a trusted authority in your niche.

It won’t take long before the right opportunities will present themselves, and your branding efforts will begin to pay dividends.

Have you started building and promoting your personal brand? Which elements do you think are most important for making you stand out in your industry?

Infographic: The Blueprint for a Perfectly Testable Landing Page

Original Post: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/crazyegg/~3/gEtT2yNft90/

Presented below is a beautifully designed infographic that breaks down all the elements of a landing page. This infographic is not necessarily a guide that is to be copied; rather it provides valuable insights into testable regions of a typical landing page. Every Marketing Campaign Should Be Directed to a Dedicated Landing Page There are some exceptions to this rule of thumb, but when you’re trying to establish a baseline of effectiveness for a specific campaign – there is no better way to measure than with a landing page. A dedicated landing page allows you to test and refine your…

The post Infographic: The Blueprint for a Perfectly Testable Landing Page appeared first on The Daily Egg.

Brand Ambassadors: Choosing and Maintaining a Relationship with the Right Person

Original Post: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ducttapemarketing/nRUD/~3/ka-iy4fSpp4/

Brand Ambassadors: Choosing and Maintaining a Relationship with the Right Person written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Brand Ambassadors: Choosing and Maintaining a Relationship with the Right Person - Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit: Underwear for Men

Brand ambassadors are a great way for any company to grow its online and offline business. A brand ambassador is defined as someone who is passionate about a brand or product and shares their love on their own accord.

As more business transactions are conducted online, the consumer journey gets further fragmented. Having a strong brand ambassador program has become an increasingly important part of your marketing campaigns for two reasons:

  1. Even in the digital age, people want to do business with people. A brand ambassador adds a human element to your marketing initiatives and offers someone your prospective and current customers can relate to when they see and hear your messaging.
  1. To effectively grow and maintain a social media presence it takes a lot of content and requires a great deal of engagement to ensure the people that matter actually see your messaging. A brand ambassador can help support content creation, broaden your reach and even add credibility to your brand.

The following outlines best practices for choosing and maintaining a relationship with the right brand ambassador.

How to Select a Brand Ambassador

A brand ambassador’s sole purpose is to present your company in a positive light. A brand ambassador should be someone that gets people excited about your company and gets them drinking your brand’s Kool-Aid.

When the right person is selected, a brand ambassador will increase overall brand awareness and sales. If your brand ambassador is going to be the face and the voice of the company, select someone that represents your customers. The ambassador has to be someone they can relate to.

If you want your brand ambassador to help grow your social media presence, select someone with a large network of active social media followers, but make sure those followers represent your customers too.

Since not all marketing budgets allow for top dollar endorsements deals, a brand ambassador isn’t just someone you hire to be your spokesperson. A brand ambassador program can include your customers and employees.

When targeting your customers to become brand ambassadors, it is important to define what you want them to do. Brand ambassadors can appear in ad campaigns, give testimonials, attend corporate events, write content, submit photos featuring your products, and so much more.Brand Ambassadors: Choosing and Maintaining a Relationship with the Right Person - Duct Tape Marketing

Once you determine the role, invite your customers to participate in the evolution of the brand. You can do this by sending email blasts, and by posting messages on your website and social media profiles.

At the start of the year, my company created a contest to search for our next brand ambassador. To find someone that truly represented our customers, we leveraged our Facebook fans. We quickly discovered our customers were thrilled to submit photos and videos that we could use in our marketing efforts. The program continues to evolve and now includes a dedicated page on our website that allows customers to submit photos and videos in return for discounts and complimentary product.

In addition to customers, another great place to find ambassadors is within your company. The person at the top, the person who answers the messaging apps, and the person who makes the sales calls, has the power to be an effective brand ambassador, once you arm them with the right tools.

By meeting regularly, you can ensure everyone says the same things about the company. Share corporate success stories and anecdotes so they can craft a message that is natural for them to share while they are going about their day. Encourage them to support all of your social media efforts by publishing a calendar of key dates and promotions.

What Should You Expect to Pay

When hiring someone an ambassador, in addition to compensation for duties, it is typical for a company to pay travel expenses (i.e., flight, hotel and rental car) to and from events. Some ambassadors require first class flights and per diem. Be sure to create a contract outlining everyone’s expectations.

While brand ambassadors can be paid for their work, not all require compensation. Some do it because they simply love your brand. If you are compensating for participation, evaluate the investment the same as any other form of media — what you put out should be proportional to what you put in. If you are not compensating for participation, make sure your brand ambassadors have access to free product and other perks you can throw their way.

Maintaining a Relationship

Maintaining a relationship with a brand ambassador requires relationship building. You should regularly check in with your ambassadors to ensure they are still “excited” about your company. Once a month is a good place to start to ensure you are not over or under-communicating

It is very important for your ambassadors to know what is expected of them. In the contract outlining your expectations, include a work and event schedule. If they are generating content for your website, make sure they know the deadlines and send reminders. If they are attending events, make sure they know what to wear, who to talk to, and what to say.

When someone knows they are helping move the needle, it motivates them. Be sure to send event follow-ups and clippings (photo and video recaps). Make sure they are the first ones to know about company news.

The key to growing any corporation lies in having a strong team that can execute with results. Whether you decide to hire an outside spokesperson, engage customers or leverage employees, it comes down to consistency and dependability. If the messaging is consistent and the promises made are things your customers can depend on, your brand ambassadors’ efforts will generate results.

John PolidanJohn Polidan is the Chief Executive Officer of Underwear For Men and regularly offers advise to startups and entrepreneurs on business leadership, marketing, prototypes, patents and lean manufacturing. To read John’s startup story, visit: www.ufmunderwear.com. For his LinkedIn profile, visit: https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-polidan-42936715

Grubhub’s CMO creates organizational agility to collect diners’ real-time presidential preferences

Original Post: http://feeds.marketingland.com/~r/mktingland/~3/5nzL68ISS0c/grubhub-gets-hungry-debate-cmo-creates-organizational-agility-share-diners-real-time-presidential-preferences-193282

Barbara Martin Coppola, CMO of GrubHub, tells contributors Nadine Dietz and Erica Seidel how she has created a truly agile marketing organization with 37% year-over-year company revenue growth.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.