A professional brand is essential in business, especially with online marketing, but it takes time and money. When done right, creating a personal brand will pay dividends for your business by attracting more potential customers. The following branding tactics are possible on a budget.
Part 1: Build Your Brand
Before PRing your brand, you have to create one that communicates its value. Here’s how.
1. Determine who you are
Build a brand that’s built off of your strengths, motivations, and strong points. Stay away or outsource projects that drain you, overwhelm you, or don’t excite you. Once you’re aware of different aspects of your personality, you can easily brand them and start niching down. Don’t be afraid of narrowing your focus because you can evolve your brand as your company grows.
2. Figure out what you want to become
Your personal brand is a reflection of who you are today, but it doesn’t indicate what you’ll become. Having a goal in mind can help you scale and grow as a brand. At the same time, assessing your current skill pool allows you to recognize what you need to improve in order to advance your company. It’s important to reassess these goals as you continue to scale.
3. Create a customer persona
Your audience, or customer persona, is who you communicate and sell to. A cheap way to find your customer persona is by checking social media metrics, but you can also ask your current customers what they expect from you. Even with all that research under your belt, you could still be missing the mark, so you’ll need to experiment with different content and marketing methods.
4. Research your competition
In building your brand, your goal is to stand out from your competition, so research other brands to see what they do right and grow from their mistakes. Be careful that what you imitate isn’t illegal. For example, if you’re planning on being a real estate agent, you’ll want to check your state’s licensing requirements to ensure you’re marketing within the laws of your state.
5. Network, interview, and pitch
Talk to people in your industry to get a professional critique of your brand. That advice is often priceless because you’ll gain valuable insight into how the experts create and manage their personal brands. To build more business connections with mentors and possible future clients, write a 1-3-minute elevator pitch that will make you sound interesting to work with.
6. Ask for reviews
Allow others to communicate your value to you. Potential customers are more likely to buy from you if you have a lot of positive reviews. If you haven’t sold your product or service to a customer, ask for personal recommendations from your colleagues or employers. To get reviews, use email marketing and social media websites like Linkedin and Facebook.
7. Grow an online social presence
Your online presence will look different depending on your industry of choice, but what’s important is that you have one. It’s good practice to create a website and stay active on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as that will attract more clients. Once you know your customers’ preferred social media platforms, you can narrow your focus and save time.
Part 2: How to PR Your Brand on a Budget
Now that you have a personal brand, start PRing it with the following low-cost solutions.
1. Get the media’s attention
Instead of hiring expensive PR firms to handle your marketing burden, start searching for media contacts yourself using social media. Journalists and blogs are typically open to outsiders submitting a guest blog post. You can use HARO to appear on influential media websites, like CNN or Huffington Post, as an expert on a topic or subject related to your brand.
2. Enter to win an award
Search online for awards you can enter, as most of them are inexpensive to enter for the returns they yield. Industry peers and potential clients will feel more confident in your abilities as a business if you receive accreditation for your products or services. Most award shows also provide their own PR for finalists when they’re announced or after they’re shortlisted.
3. Host a conference
Start doing small events for free or at cost, and speak to businesses about your expertise. Not only will this provide free PR, especially if they’re televised or live-streamed, but a business conference allows you to network with other professionals in your field. At the same time, you can hone your presentation skills, which could be lucrative for your personal brand.
4. Try traditional branding
The time you spend traveling to and from your office can provide a whole host of marketing opportunities. For example, you can put your business logo on your car if you drive to work. You can also put your insignia, logo, or business name on your laptop, pens, notebooks, and business cards. Take every opportunity you can to promote your brand without overdoing it.
5. Invest in photography
If your money is going anywhere, it should be towards photography for social media. The tactic of imagery in branding has never been more critical than in a world that’s constantly online. As your potential customers look for the new best thing, you want to ensure that their initial impression of you is positive. Using well-photographed images will make you stand out.
6. Live stream for free
Off-the-cuff live streams require no editing skills or high-cost equipment; just turn on your camera and start recording. Of course, it’s better that you have great equipment so your customers can see and hear you clearly, but you can buy a better camera and microphone as you scale. Raw, unscripted videos, high-quality or not, will make your brand feel more authentic.
7. Create a steady content flow
Blog posts are the best way to promote your brand, especially if you can write and produce the content yourself. To attract more clients, create something of value for your potential audience and give it to them for free. You don’t have to limit yourself to just blog posts; you can also write eBooks, checklists, templates, or record videos, podcasts, audiobooks, or seminars.