Do you know that there are over 1 billion websites (and counting)that are online right now? With competition among online businesses getting fiercer and stiffer, how can you set yourself apart from the rest? It comes down to personal branding. Because you’re dealing with people regardless of the industry you’re in, building a solid and unique identity for your business is imperative in today’s day and age.
Personal branding, unfortunately, is one aspect that most businesses tend to overlook. Most of our efforts are focused on ranking high on search engines, lead generation and conversion. All those things are of course essential to online success but personal branding is just as important. If you want your audience to trust you then you must learn the art of getting personal.
In this article, we’ll tackle getting personal with your potential customers by enhancing your website to reflect your personal brand in the best way possible.
The Importance of a Personal Brand
Whether you’re a one-man business or a mid-size company with several employees, establishing a personal brand in addition to building the company brand is what will make you stand out. Just look around you and how brands are everything today.
From the computer or the mobile device you’re reading this article from to pretty much every other product you’re using, branding is an ever present element. If you have an apple with a bite stamped on your devices, for instance, chances are high that you’re an Apple avid consumer.
No one really needs any introduction to one of tech’s biggest names. Why? Because the behemoth company was able to establish a personality that their target consumers can easily identify with. If you want innovative products that are different with superior quality, for example, look no further than Apple. This is how the brand continues to sell itself and beat the competition by a mile.
Personal branding is the same way. While you can’t compete the same way Apple can, you can certainly learn from today’s most successful brands. Regardless of the competition or the industry you happen to be in, you have a chance to stand out by creating a personal brand that will communicate how you and your company is unique, relevant and suitable for your target audience.
As Tom Peters, author of the Fast Company article called The Brand Called You, puts it, “We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called YOU.”
Key Questions to Ask
In the online world, one of the best ways to stand out is by having a website which reflects your personal brand. But before we delve deeper into the process of creating a website for your business, let’s first ask these critical questions to help give you a clearer picture of your personal brand.
1. What makes you unique?
Getting personal no matter the business you’re in means that you need to dig deeper and find out what makes you different. Remember that you’re not the only person or business offering the same expertise, product or service. To stand out from the plethora of other brands that do what you do, you must present your business in a way that highlights your unique strengths and characteristics.
Do you remember Apple’s legendary “Think Different” campaign? Rumor has it that Steve Jobs did not really like the campaign but it was a turning point nonetheless that catapulted the brand to the next level. Taking cue from the campaign, you should also think different and be different if you want your business to succeed.
2. What can you offer better than everyone else?
Many of the best brands today have something great to offer to their customers. Apple, for example, is known for their most innovative products. When building your personal brand, another important element is to think about one thing that you do better than everyone else in your niche. Highlight that one thing whatever it is because that’s how you will continually stand out in a world where competition will get more intense as the years roll along.
3. Who are your target customers?
No one brand can cater to everyone else’s needs. Even Apple can’t do it. When building your personal brand, you must focus on finding out your target customers. Who are the people who will benefit most from your services? What are the types of customers who will find your products or services useful?
Remember that personal branding is about being personal. This means that your goal is to be selectively famous to the set of customers who need your products or services. Don’t try to gobble up the entire pie. Instead, focus on a portion of the market where you know you can reign supreme with the right business strategies.
Refining your Personal Brand
Maybe you’re starting to build your personal brand from scratch. Maybe you’re here to enhance what you already have at the moment. Either way, one of the best ways to get your personal branding across your target customers is through your website. But how do you enhance your personal brand with your website?
If you need some help, let’s not look further than some of the best websites with the best personal branding.
Take for instance, Lewis Howes’ personal website. Dubbed as a “true online marketing champion” by Ryan Holmes, Howes created a website that reflects exactly what he does – a lifestyle entrepreneur who is living the dream and who wants to inspire and help other achieve theirs. His website is a perfect reflection of his personality starting off with a video of Howes himself sharing his story to the images and other details included in the first page. What you can take away from Howes is the importance of knowing your audience.
Chris Ducker is another personal brand worth learning from. Ducker believes that “your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Ducker positions himself as a virtual mentor who will show you how to start, run and grow a business in the 21st century. That’s exactly what his website says. It’s simple, straightforward and perfectly on point.
We could list more names here that seemed to have mastered the art of personal branding. Some other websites to check out are that of Marie Forleo, Nathalie Lussier, John Chow and Seth Godin among others. In any case, you’ll see that they’ve included key elements that helped make their website reflect their personal brand in the best way possible.
To get started with refining or enhancing your personal brand through your website, below are some hacks you can try:
1. Start with a professional head shot
Nothing says more personal than a good head shot. When people visit your website, it should be the first thing they see – a head shot that looks professional and that captures your personality to a tee. Trust is also easily established when your visitors and potential customers know exactly who’s running the show. You might even want to a hire a professional photographer to get the job the right. The goal is to make you look like the best representation of the brand you’re trying to sell.
2. Grab attention with great headlines
If a good head shot is what captures your audience’s attention, great headlines are what will make them stay longer. So, rather than bore your audience with lengthy and boring texts, make them stay and linger longer by grabbing their attention further with great and exciting headlines. Your headlines obviously should zero in on your target customers and what they need and want. If you’re in the business of offering financial advice, for instance, you may want a headline that reads something like this “Are you ready to be rich and happy for the rest of your life?” Then back it up with a great web copy.
3. Add a video to get even more personal
To get even more personal, there’s no better way to communicate what you do and who you are by including a video starring none other than yourself. Remember Lewis Howes? He has a great video that tells his story and what he does. You can learn from what he did and make your video where you focus on what makes your brand different and you talk directly to your visitors. Keep it short and snappy though. It’s not supposed to be a full length movie of your life in case you have other ideas.
4. Layout and design matters
Your job doesn’t stop with a great photograph, video and attention-grabbing headlines. Your website’s layout and design are equally important elements if you’re trying to enhance your personal brand. While cheap web designs and layouts won’t cost you much initially, skimping on this aspect of your website may cost you more in terms of loss in profits. If you really want to stand out, hire the best designer you can afford. A good design sometimes is what it takes to convince visitors that you have indeed something valuable to offer.
5. Inject some testimonials
Talking about yourself in your video is one thing and having another person talk about you is another. Both elements are important if you want to build a strong and solid personal brand. Simply promising your customers with great products that will meet their needs and wants is not enough to fully establish trust. To really establish your reputation in your niche, what you need are powerful testimonials of people who have tried and tested your products and services. One powerful testimonial from a reputable name is usually enough to help with your personal branding.
6. Keep going with a content strategy
At this point, your personal brand should have been clearly defined and reflected on your website. Those who’ve been to your site know who you are, what you do and what makes you different. But how do you continually convince your customers that you’re the best in the niche not just today but for a long time? You can do so with a good content strategy. To keep the ball continually rolling, you must have a content strategy that will shift the focus from you to your content, products and services once trust has been established.
Personal brand is the new way of building a brand especially in today’s often intense and competitive online world. Customers more than ever want to know who’s steering the ship. The best way to keep up with the competition and with your target customers is to build a personal brand that captures who you are, what you do and what makes you different. If your personal brand isn’t perfect yet, now is the time to start refining and enhancing it starting with your website.
(Lead image source: toby___)