Building a Brand Online: Your Ultimate Strategy
Build an online business, they said. It would be easy, they said. Well, they were wrong. If you’re struggling to build an online business, chances are, you’re missing a crucial piece of the puzzle — building a brand online.
Okay, what do I mean by this?
When someone starts an online business, they are soooooo excited. They quickly become a human billboard laser-focused on their product or service. You know the type.
They send you weird connection requests on LinkedIn and immediately start pitching their underwater basket weaving courses to you. But you’re a hydrophobe and everyone, like, knows that. It says so right in your profile!
All right, here’s the thing,my friend. A business is an entity that makes and markets a particular offering, but a brand is totally different. A brand is that entity’s personality. It’s also the image the business portrays.
A business’s personality, or brand, is the thing that fosters trust, builds rapport, and creates a connection with customers.
When Marketing Breaks Bad
Think about this:
When all you see from a business, whether it’s email messages or social posts, is marketing marketing MARKETING, it feels a bit sleazy. It’s a bit of a turn-off, right?
So, what are you doing online? Be honest. Are you only creating and posting marketing and self-promotional messages? Then you’re alienating everyone who isn’t already interested in what you’re selling.
By focusing solely on marketing and promotion, no one has a compelling reason to follow you if they don’t think your offering is right for them at first glance. So in a way, you’re really narrowing down your audience, and not in a good way.
You’ve got to start branding and branding with influence. Let me break it down for you.
When most people think of a brand, they picture things like logos, colors, and other cohesive visual elements. But branding is more than just the image a business portrays, although that is one crucial aspect of branding.
Branding is really the voice behind your business.
Think about it this way — picture your business as an actual person. What do they wear? What mannerisms do they have? Are they bubbly and outgoing? More reserved and serious? Do they like Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain?
All right, now what types of emotions does your brand personality invoke in the audience? Is it comforting, thought-provoking, inspiring?
Bottom line, branding is way more than just your logo, business card, or website. It’s about emotions.
Your brand is what you stand for and who you are, and how it relates to your ideal audience member. Branding boils down to how you communicate your personality and values.
Successful Branding: An Example
Do you remember the Nike Just Do It campaign? This campaign wasn’t just about selling shoes. It was about the values the brand encompassed.
The campaign featured professional and amateur athletes talking about their accomplishments and their feelings when achieving a goal. They did all this without ever mentioning Nike. The tagline, Just Do It, was displayed after the athletes finished talking.
This campaign was so powerful because of the emotions it provoked in the viewer. When the campaign debuted, people reached out to Nike, telling them how they were inspired to just do it, like ending a bad relationship or starting a weightlifting routine.
- Distinguish your unique skills and expertise
- Help you capitalize on your strengths
- Make it easier for you to stand out from competitors
- Get people’s attention
- Create a memorable impression
- Help you charge a premium price
- Find your tribe and create fans for life
- Put you in charge of the narrative
- Increase your visibility
So how do you do it? Here are some steps you can take for building a brand online.
First, figure out who you really are.
This is the part where you narrow down your unique brand personality. Are you quirky, serious, dark, and brooding? Have fun here and really narrow it down.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to get started building a brand online:
- What are my skills and core values?
- I’m passionate about what?
- What experiences do I bring to the table?
- Can I offer something that’s unique?
These answers will help shape your personal brand narrative and make it easier for you to craft content and messaging that resonates the most with your target customer.
Next, narrow down your ideal customer.
But my business will help EVERYONE!
Omg no! Stop right there! If you think your business serves everyone, you won’t sell to anyone.
There’s a core group of people who will most resonate with your unique brand personality and your offerings. You need to find out who those people are and how their values and desires align with your brand. That’s your ideal customer or target audience.
Let’s narrow them down:
- Who can you help the most?
- What type of person will most benefit from your knowledge?
- Is there someone you’re most passionate about serving?
- Who’s gonna resonate the most with your brand?
Create that ideal audience member’s persona or avatar. This is more granular information that will help narrow down your target audience member further. Things like:
- Are they married? Have kids? Dog or cat person?
- What type of job do they have, or are they retired, still in school, in-between jobs?
- How much money do they make?
- Where do they live?
- How old are they?
- What challenges do they face, and what are their hopes and dreams?
Figuring out your ideal customer will help you craft your brand voice and personality. Once you narrow this down, you’ll have an easier time creating content that will most resonate with your ideal customer.
Determine your unique value proposition or USP.
A USP states, in no uncertain terms, what you do and how it helps your ideal customer. It’s a simple formula that goes like this:
I help (ideal customer) (achieve a goal) so they can (major benefit or outcome).
Your brand messaging will center around your USP. Your website and other assets should also reflect your USP when building a brand online.
Consistently give value to your audience.
This circles back to what I was getting at at the beginning of the article — too many marketing messages feel sleazy, and it won’t help you achieve your goals. You’ve got to consistently give value to your audience.
All right, that sounds like a fluffy, new age-y business term. But giving value is just offering something to your audience with no strings attached. Mostly, the content you produce and provide for your audience will be providing value in the form of tips, how-tos, insider knowledge you possess and want to share, that sort of thing.
Build a community.
One of the best ways to showcase your business’s unique personality is to build a community. A community is an excellent place for you and your audience to connect, communicate, and help each other. The fastest way to cultivate your income is through collaboration.
Another great benefit of building a community for your brand is that other people will get involved in promoting your business without you having to ask for it. Third-party promotion becomes a natural byproduct of building a community. And, you’ll be creating a group of people who are passionate about what you do and where you’re going.
Here are some action steps for ya:
- Create a private Facebook group for your business.
- Host live events, Q&As, and mastermind groups on your page.
- Start a membership site where people get access to exclusive content.
Now go forth and build your brand online, My Friends.
Learn how to brand successfully, and your business will make a huge impact on your life and the lives of your customers.
Branding makes it so much easier for your business to stand head and shoulders above the rest, find your tribe of fans, and earn your ability to sell. Remember to narrow down your USP, values, personality, and ideal customer.
Once you create the blueprint for your brand, it’s time to put your hardhat on and turn into the architect who’ll make it all happen. Start a community and keep bringing value to the table with compelling, branded content.
In my guide, Branding with Influence Guide, I give you a roadmap and the keys to the brand-building luxury car. You can put the pedal to the medal because I’ll show you exactly how to craft your brand and narrow down your messaging, so it’s on-point with how you want people to perceive your business.
It’s waiting, and it’s got your name on it.