Marketing yourself can be just as important as marketing your business. As the owner of your business, you are the face of your company. By making yourself a key part of your brand, you can build a human connection with your customers. After all, in most cases, consumers don’t put their trust in products–they put their trust in people.
Dress to impress
From the shape of your product to the look of your website, visuals are vital for making the right impression. Your personal appearance is an important part of your visual brand. One way in which you can win people over with your appearance is to dress the part.
You might not necessarily need to wear a suit (in many industries this could be inappropriate) however you should always aim to dress smart. This means wearing clothing that is clean, free of creases, and fits well.
Small accessories and details can sometimes make a big impact. Glasses, for instance can often offer a sense of intelligence–a particularly stylish pair from https://www.eyeglasses.com could also show an understanding for trends. Keynote speaker Phil Gerbyshak stands out in his trademark orange glasses. Wearing a distinctive watch, meanwhile, can tell people you’re organized.
You may also be able to wear certain colors to have a psychological impact on consumers. For instance, red can be a very persuasive color and blue can be a very calming color. But you don’t necessarily have to go as far as Joe Pulizzi with endless wardrobe of orange clothes, Mari Smith with her turquoise, or Jay Baer with his plaid suits.
Consider your composure
Beyond your wardrobe, it’s also worth considering the way in which you compose yourself. Certain postures and gestures will show a sense of confidence and approachability. This includes standing with one’s head tall, having a ready smile, maintaining eye contact, and offering a firm handshake.
Consider whether you could benefit from working on your composure (you can practice in front of a mirror).
Gain personal qualifications
Qualifications can serve as evidence of knowledge and skills. This could include a college degree, a license, or a certification such as the Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) designation for professional event planners.
Carefully evaluate whether it’s worth gaining any qualifications beyond the minimum requirements of your trade. Such qualifications can require a considerable investment of time, effort, and expense, but may you win over the trust of more customers.
You can showcase these qualifications on your website and on your personal LinkedIn profile, which leads to the next tip…
Build a winning LinkedIn Profile
Leaving one-time competitors like Plaxo and Konnect in the dust, and capitalizing on Twitter’s missteps, LinkedIn has emerged as the top site for professional networking. It’s a public resume that displays all of your working achievements as well as a place to learn, engage, and showcase your activities.
High-profile clients and suppliers will frequently check your LinkedIn profile before working with you. Consequently, it’s worth taking the time to create a polished LinkedIn profile.
There are many guides online such as this one at Pamtree.com that offer advice on building a LinkedIn profile. Taking measures such as building connections and encouraging friends and associates to endorse skills can help confirm your credibility.
Create a bio on your website
Too many businesses make the mistake of creating product-focused websites that can come off as cold and impersonal. To combat this, create a brief bio explaining exactly who you are and why you started your business. This can be a great way of building a human connection through your website, potentially converting more visitors into leads.
Also showcase key team members as a way of further building these human connections. Offering photos of you and your team will further put visitors at ease (but make sure to hire a professional photographer to take these photos).
Start a blog
Though it requires a significant time commitment, writing a blog is a great opportunity to get your personal voice across, show off your expertise, and drive organic search traffic. Most business owners use blog posts to offer advice that can help to attract new visitors. This free advice can be a great way of building trust in your company and can help generate new business.
Blogs can have other benefits such as improving SEO and as a regular source of content to promote on social media. This blogging resource guide may be useful when building a blog on your business website. It’s important to keep a blog regularly updated in order to show that you and your business are still active.
If you want to share your expertise but you aren’t an excellent writer, consider outsourcing the writing, podcasting, or if video is more your thing…
Launch a YouTube channel
When in place of or as supplement to a blog, you can also market yourself through a YouTube channel. Much like a blog, a YouTube channel can be used to offer advice. By showing your face and speaking on camera, potential consumers may develop trust in you and may even feel as if they already know you by the time they come to meet you in person.
Videos are some of the most engaging forms of content that you can share on social media. On top of this, videos can show a sense of tech savviness that can be good for your brand. Just make sure that each video is professionally made—a decent camera, microphone and editing software could be a worthy investment.
Provide guest content on other sites/channels
On top of creating your own blog and YouTube channel, you could consider creating guest content on other blogs and YouTube channels. This can increase your exposure and help you to build connections.
You’ll need to do your research to find sites and channels that accept guest coverage. You should then determine the best way of reaching out; a direct message on social media or an email is often the best option, though if the blogger has posted specific instructions or guidelines, be sure to follow those.
Encourage others to quote you by name
Once other people start quoting, citing, and naming you in news articles, reviews, and on social media, you know that you’ve built up a respectable personal brand. You may be able to encourage people to quote and name you by reaching out to your customers and industry influencers, as well as reaching out to your local media.
If your customer stories are newsworthy, hire a PR company to arrange coverage such as newspaper and radio interviews, which are a great way of getting your name out.
Just be wary of bad personal publicity, which could have the opposite effect. This guide at Technori.com offers more tips on dealing with negative publicity.
Join local business groups
Local business groups and events are great for networking. Some groups explicitly bring local entrepreneurs together to meet one another and build professional relationships. Others may be more industry- or activity-focused, but still highly relevant. Members of these groups will often support one another and help to cross-promote one another’s businesses.
Speak at events
Speaking at local events like seminars, launch parties, or business conferences can be a very effective channel for marketing both your business and your personal brand. Trade shows typically have slots for professionals to offer talks and demonstrations, though you’ll generally (unless you are a rock star speaker) need to be a paying sponsor / exhibitor.
Speaking is another way of getting your name and face out there, as well as showing a level of confidence and helping customers to trust you as an authority in your field. Public speaking can be daunting for many people. Don’t be afraid to hire help such as a public speaking coach; many public speakers hire coaches to help them deliver the best talk.