It seems like everyone is an “expert” on the internet these days. Whether it’s kids on YouTube generating millions of dollars by live streaming themselves playing games, fashion Instagrammers cashing in on product placements, or individuals who actually have proven success selling their own online courses or consultation services – personal branding and business opportunities are everywhere.
The most important thing here to stress, is that there is NOTHING wrong with this.
With more than three billion people now on the internet, there is room for everyone to have their own tribe or niche following. At the same time, there is also more than enough money to be spread around in the process.
If you don’t agree, just take a look at any of these recent influencers and the markets they’ve been able to make a quick impact on.
The best way to set yourself up for success is to study examples and case studies of others who have already mastered this process before you.
That is exactly what we are going to be covering in this resource guide today. Let’s get started!
It’s All About the Product and Its Promotion
As much as we all want to believe that quality will always shine through and win over customers, it really comes down to the marketing.
Just look at brands like Nike, Starbucks, and McDonald’s… at the end of the day, there are plenty of alternatives for similar, if not better, products than what these brands offer. The difference is that they have amazing marketing and branding agencies behind them.
However, when starting a personal brand or small business of your own, you likely won’t have access to the same funds and resources these huge companies do. But… you do have a nice set of alternatives to work with.
The most important ones being your time and effort to reach and win over new audiences, and the next being the amazing set of tools, resources, and audience targeting methods that the internet has provided us all with.
Once you have an idea of your audience and how you want to reach them, it’s all about getting creative and building a sales funnel or marketing path that keeps working for you. You can see a few product promotion examples in this article and in the screenshot below.
In the case of Ryder, their target audience for this campaign is “students” – though they could create similar landing pages and ad copy variants for different audiences as well.
The takeaway here is that you can create online content, exclusive deals, custom offers, and remarketing campaigns that target to your exact audience. And, once they start seeing these targeted ads enough, they will start to have the same effect on them as seeing commercials from Nike or Starbucks.
Bottom line, make sure you have a great product or service, but don’t stress over making sure it’s the best around, as its success will likely come down to the overall marketing and branding you have in place.
Building a Team Around Your Brand or Using a Marketing Agency
In the previous point, we talked about the importance of branding and product promotion. This is easy for companies like Nike and Starbucks because they are already generating millions of dollars daily.
So what’s a smaller player to do?
Again, thanks to the power of the internet, the playing field can be leveled.
Just like there are of super high-end marketing agencies for Fortune 500 companies, there are digital and e-commerce marketing agencies for online businesses and personal brands as well – many of which do work with brands operating on a smaller budget.
When looking online for a digital marketing agency, it’s important to spend a good amount of time on the necessary research. There are plenty of resources online, so it’s best to try and find one from a brand that already has experience and authority in the online marketing space. You can see a perfect example of what I’m referring to in this marketing agency report, which highlights some of the top marketing agencies out there, and what you should be looking at when trying to find the best one for you or your brand.
When making your way through the list, be sure to look at the ‘services’ side, as this will also give you a few ideas for how you might be able to better market yourself as an expert or a trusted business. Many bloggers and content creators focus on SEO but also forget to spend some time on their site’s UX/UI and other areas of digital marketing.
Many of the companies on the list will also provide users with a free consultation as well. This in itself is a great idea for anyone looking to learn more about becoming an expert within their space.
Take Advantage of Social Media and Free Publicity
We could spend all day talking about paid advertising and outside services that you can start hiring others for. But what if you are just starting out and don’t really have a budget to work with?
Good news! We have a few working methods for you as well.
The first is that you should go live with a website or blog of your own. Register a domain name that is preferably your personal name. This way you are already working on your personal branding from day one.
The next step is to start getting active on social media. Again, using your personal name, try to secure accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Be sure to customize these social profiles as much as possible, and also keep them occasionally updated with new content that provides value to your audiences. These will all be useful over time and can also rank for your name in Google’s search results.
It’s not just about thinking outside of the box or trying to take advantage of free traffic from Google or social media. It’s also about putting in the time and effort to help others and being seen as an expert in the process. Quora is a perfect example of how to accomplish this. I’ve posted a few hundred answers on the site and am well on my way to over 500,000 views.
Now, think about your own expertise and niche market, and how you could be doing the same.
With all of these methods in place – and assuming you have a product or service to sell – it’s time to focus on free promotional methods and creative ways to reach new audiences.
Here are some great ideas to set yourself up for success.
- Appear on podcasts as an expert and share your story
- Write original stories and focus on guest blogging
- Compile industry data and create an infographic for your site
- Seek out “expert roundups” and ask the site owner to be included
- Run a contest on social media and make viral marketing work for you
- Post your product coupon codes on “free sites” and “coupon forums”
As you can see, there are plenty of great methods out there for reaching new audiences and establishing yourself as an expert while also not having to spend much money in the process.
Business on the Internet Is All a Numbers Game
I hope you’ve found a lot of value in the working methods mentioned above.
The last thing I want to leave you with is to NOT get too worried about your audience reach or feeling like you will never compete with other influencers out there.
Remember, we all started with zero visitors and followers at one point.
It’s also important to realize that the majority of followers that people like Gary Vaynerchuk and others have aren’t making them money.
On the flip side, there are many online experts with just a few hundred die-hard followers who could be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars each.
Before venturing out in the world of online marketing and branding, be sure to perfect how you want to be seen by others and the services or products you will be offering.
Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.
Published February 2, 2019