• Learn How to Build a Powerful Personal Brand That Will Differentiate You and Allow You To Compete in the Global Marketplace.
  • 5 Creative Communities That Can Help You Level Up Your Skills

    Fertilizer is to plants what community is to creative professionals. With enough time, water, and sunlight, they grow themselves. But sprinkle on some peer feedback and support, and they grow faster and bigger than ever.

    Not long ago, finding that community was no easy task. To spot one that specialized in your medium, you had to check the paper, pick up fliers, and haunt the local library. Now, it’s as easy as pulling up your internet browser.

    Most online creative communities are medium-specific. Join as many as you can that align with your work and interests, and you’ll see your personal brand take on a new sparkle.

    Skill-Building Creative Communities

    There’s not a single personal brand that can’t be helped by boosted skills — and not a single one can be hurt by bringing stronger processes and craft to the table. Here are a few to consider as you build your skill set and portfolio:

    1. ViewBug

    Instagram may be having its moment in the sun, but the social image site isn’t necessarily the best community for serious creatives. Not only are many of its posts intended to impress friends rather than push artistic boundaries, but most users are there to follow their favorite influencers rather than give photographers feedback.

    Classes, contests, and photography challenges make ViewBug a more constructive photo community. Much like Instagram, ViewBug’s more than 2 million members “like” and comment on each others’ photos. Unlike Instagram, however, ViewBug users typically post details about their camera, the time when the photo was shot, and settings like focal length. By adding tags, such as “night” or “transportation,” they can see how it compares to shots of similar subjects. 

    2. Doodle Addicts

    If drawing is more to you than a way to kill time in meetings, check out Doodle Addicts. Featuring illustrations done with pen, pencil, charcoal, and paint, Doodle Addicts welcomes an enormous range of art styles. Some canvases are as small as Post-it notes, while others cover whole walls. Although its community is smaller than ViewBug’s, at 25,000 individuals, it does provide users many of the same features.

    Artists on Doodle Addicts can “like” and comment on each others’ work. They can use tags like “urban sketching” to see how others approach similar spaces and styles. Also like ViewBug, Doodle Addicts has a “Learn” section, which features tips on techniques and monetization. Doodle Addicts spotlights leading artists, but it invites everyone to participate in challenges in which winners receive gift cards or art supplies.

    3. Dribble

    Freelance opportunities for graphic designers are everywhere, but sites like 99designs are more about doing work for brands than actually building skills. Especially if you’re just getting started as a digital artist, check out Dribble. The platform does have “Designers” and “Jobs” sections, which help brands and artists find each other, but the heart of the site is its “Shots” page.

    Dribble claims that tens of millions of people view the site, though it’s not clear how many are actually members. Dribble also hosts meetups in major metro areas, which are great networking opportunities. Best of all, Dribble has a huge selection of discounts and deals. Designers can get everything from free business cards to automatic self-employment tax withholding.

    4. Absolute Write

    Although it doesn’t have the most beautiful interface, Absolute Write doesn’t need one. The site features a “Water Cooler” section with stories from more than 68,000 members. Content runs the gamut in terms of genre, from sci-fi to historical nonfiction, as well as length. Some posts qualify as flash fiction, while others approach the length of a novel.

    One of Absolute Write’s best features is its interviews with professional writers. It recently published an interview with Peter McLean, author of Priest of Bones, and another with Suzanne Palmer, who wrote the Hugo Award-winning novelette The Secret Life of Bots. For those new to the industry, Absolute Write provides tips for navigating the publishing industry, writing exercises, and Q&As with freelance writers.

    5. Filmmaker Forum

    For the same reason Instagram shouldn’t be photographers’ go-to creative community, YouTube isn’t necessarily the best place for budding videographers. Although it might be the go-to site for posting and viewing others’ videos, YouTube comments can be downright toxic. Rarely do they provide meaningful feedback on elements like lighting, perspective, or acting. 

    Although Filmmaker Forum’s “Articles” section isn’t particularly active, its actual forums have threads with hundreds and thousands of posts. Participants can get legal advice, chat about indie films, develop editing skills, and discuss distribution. Because Filmmaker Forum doesn’t actually host videos, users have to look elsewhere for feedback on their content specifically. 

    Whatever your artistic medium, the internet has a home for you. Contribute regularly, make connections, and don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. Online or not, that’s how creatives go from good to great.

    Tagged with: , , , , , ,
    Posted in Career Development, Career Resources

    4 Ways to Plan for Your Business in 2020 and Beyond

    In business, planning for the future is as difficult as it is necessary. Branding your business, just like building your personal brand, means you have to think about the long term. What works in establishing your brand today might feel stale tomorrow. It’s impossible to know what the coming year might hold for your company — or others — but that doesn’t mean you can’t start preparing.

    Future-prepping means trying to assess what your company is going to need, both in the short and long term. Immediate planning means balancing budgets, identifying target markets, and anticipating industry changes. For longer-term planning, however, you have to think bigger.

    It’s hard to predict what’s coming next — or how it will affect your company. If you’re looking to build a sustainable business brand going forward, focus on these steps first:

    1. Invest in cutting-edge thought.

    Most people try to predict what’s going to happen down the line, but some actually know what they’re talking about. Thinkers on the bleeding edge of their fields aren’t easy to come by, but their insights can be invaluable for helping your business thrive well into the future.

    Whether it’s an outside consultant or one of the country’s best futurist speakers, finding an expert with insights relevant to your business can go a long way. Whether it’s blockchain, the Internet of Things, dynamic ads, or something else entirely, expertise in a sector you want to capitalize on can give your brand a powerful edge moving forward. 

    2. Make it digital. 

    You’ve heard it before: Digital platforms are the way of the future. But what does this mean for your company? Sure, more and more business is done digitally every year, but what else can be done on computers that isn’t already? 

    As it turns out, quite a bit. Telecommuting is surely poised to take over as time goes on — more than two-thirds of managers report an increase in productivity from remote workers. Remote work can save money on commuting and office overhead as well. Similarly, video conferencing looks to slash travel costs while enabling businesses to enjoy more personal face-to-face communication than ever before.

    Anything from accounting to marketing could almost certainly be streamlined using a digital platform, so how is your company preparing?

    3. Go green. 

    It’s not just a trend — consumers are increasingly looking toward companies that have environmentalism at the heart of their message. More than 70% of consumers are willing to pay a premium of at least 5% for more sustainable products, with many happy to pay even more. By taking the green revolution to your office, you can significantly increase your brand’s standing with a large number of consumers.

    It’s not just about image, either. As time goes on, renewable energy gets cheaper. Switching your business’s infrastructure to more sustainable power sources now can save you big bucks down the line. A more energy-efficient office can also slash power bills. When it comes to greening your business, it’s an investment in your company’s success, both now and in the future.

    4. Automate the right way. 

    Everyone has heard that robots are coming for humans’ jobs. While that may not be completely true, it is true that automation is becoming a more valuable tool for businesses every single day. Marketing automation alone has grown into a multibillion-dollar industry in less than a decade — and other sectors are looking to follow suit. 

    One of the best places to start the automation process is with menial tasks that prevent workers from doing the valuable work you hired them for. Look for automation platforms that do things like store email templates or perform mundane customer service. By eliminating those tasks, your workers can focus more on expansion and increasing revenue. 

    Businesses planning for the future need to account for the fact that their competitors will increasingly automate their workflow, and you’ll have to do the same to keep up. Automating at random isn’t going to cut it — you need to develop a strategy for automating the tasks the currently drag your team down the hardest and go from there. 

    Planning for the future might sometimes sound like science fiction, but it’s very real. Businesses that stay on the bleeding edge of what’s happening are far more likely to survive and thrive as time goes on. If you want to make 2020 and beyond work for your brand, you need to stay ahead of the curve. 

    Tagged with: , , , , , ,
    Posted in entrepreneurship, Positioning, Success Strategies

    She’s Using Sassy Facebook Posts To Market Her Accounting Firm

    Rachel Michaelov is on mission build her accounting business into a multi-million dollar enterprise. You’d think accounting is boring, but Rachel’s Facebook posts, punctuated throughout the day with color and vibrancy show that she sees accounting quite a bit differently.

    I was clued into Rachel by Ramon Ray an entrepreneur and producer of the 14th Annual Smart Hustle Growth Conference in New York City. 

    At his conference Ramon is bringing together successful businesses owners to share their growth insights. Some of the speakers include Deepti Sharma, founder of FoodToEat – she’s helping women and minorities build their catering businesses; John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing will speak how to build a self-reliant business; Mark Levy, brand positioning coach to Simon Sinek will give his insights on finding your ONE BIG IDEA; Josh Cohen of Junk Luggers will share how he grew from borrowing his mom’s car to a multi-million dollar franchise.

    And of course Rachel! Rachel says that Facebook is one of the keys to her marketing success. It’s not just “Facebook” but it’s HOW she’s using Facebook!

    While so many business owners focus on advertising on Facebook, which is important, Rachel focuses on telling stories through her posts. It’s FREE. She tells captivating stories about her client’s success or business owners who have screwed up. One of her recent posts read:

    I don’t know how businesses hire unlicensed accountants to do their taxes.. it’s literally like hiring unlicensed doctors to perform surgery on you!

    I just don’t get it..This is the kind of post that draws you in and makes you sit up and take notice Sure, it’s “fear based marketing” but it works. Another post Rachel recently made, in big white letter with a pink background reads:

    You still need to file corporate tax returns even if you had NO income.

    It’s informative posts like this that make Rachel a go to source for accounting insights, and she’s converting these followers and fans into customers. For sure, it’s getting harder and harder to use social media organically. In order to reach a wider audience most of us have to invest money in advertising. However, you can see from Rachel’s example that by being focused and frequent you can build a loyal following of fans on social media who over time will become your customers.

    Here’s how to get the most out of social platforms and not spend money on advertising.

    • Be consistent
      Posting here and there is no good. Train your fans and followers that every Sunday at 8pm, or Thursday at 11am, you’ll be posting something.
    • Be frequent
      To build a fan base on social media you have to keep at it. After 3 months of posting something on Twitter and you stop? You won’t get results. Give yourself 3 – 6 months of consistent, quality posting to start seeing results.
    • Be interesting
      Boring content is just as good as cold rice. No one likes it. Let everything you post, be it plain text or an image, be interesting and of value for your readers.
    • Measure your results
      If what you’re doing does not work, try something else. Facebook has extensive analytics to gain insights into each post. Other social platforms have similar analytics tools. Take a look at what works, what resonates with your fans and what gets the most engagement. Do more of it.
    • Be responsive
      As people start to engage with you, make sure you engage bag. If people ask a question, make sure you answer and respond. Even if your team responds be sure to respond to your fans and followers.
    • The power of video
      For some people, video is tough. They’re shy. I get it. However, video is a powerful way to connect even better with your audience.

    Facebook can be big, scary and intimidating. However, if you keep things simple and focus on your AUDIENCE, how you can add value to them, how you can make their lives better, how you can serve them, you’ll be fine. Some of your posts might have to “scare” people into action. Other posts might “inspire” people into action. Other posts might give people a chuckle. Yet others might pull at their emotion.

    If Rachel can make accounting fun, sassy and interesting, you can do the same with your business!

    Tagged with:
    Posted in brand matchup

    Direct Response Marketing Amplifies Social Media Results

    Social media has always been a strange marketing channel. On one hand, Facebook gave businesses a unique ability to find their markets and build relationships. No other marketing tool has been able to reach such large numbers of people and allow businesses to maintain a long-standing connection with them. Despite the ability to enact some type of direct response marketing tactics, those connections don’t immediately translate into sales.

    Social Media Content + Branding = Direct Response Marketing

    That’s where content marketing steps in. Typically described as “branding” or “engagement-building,” content marketing’s success has been measured by reactions and shares, not by sales. The sales come later.

    In many ways, companies are okay with that process. They know social media has contributed to those future purchases. In fact, it’s easier to land a new customer when the lead acknowledges they have a problem and knows there’s a solution.

    Even easier is when leads know and trust your solution. Facebook has been an ideal social media marketing solution for raising awareness about those solutions. The social media channel has also helped to build that trust. As a result, conversions can take place when the offer is made.

    Using Live Video to Propel Direct Response Marketing

    That’s especially true when it comes to live video on social media. Marketers who have used live video have found that there’s no better way to bring leads closer to a sale. Businesses can demonstrate their products, show people how to make the most of them, and emphasize the extra value customers receive from their purchase.

    At the same time, though, companies can communicate directly with their audiences. The ability to directly interact builds the trust necessary to convince people to buy from a particular brand.  For example, as viewers watch, sellers can answer questions and quash objections. They get a first-hand view of the benefits available from selecting that product.

    Until now, even live video hasn’t been able to close the deal. On the other hand, infomercials have always been able to show the price of the product, flash a phone number, and urge viewers to make a purchase. With live video, sending viewers to a sales page where they can take that action just hasn’t been the best process process.

    New Solutions For Direct Sales Results

    However, there may be a potential solution waiting in the wings. BeLive, which makes a leading third-party add-on for Facebook Live, recently launched a live shopping list feature. Users can now showcase their products, including item descriptions and prices during the live broadcast.

    It’s a simple feature. But, it’s one that promises to make a big difference not just to live video marketing but to social media marketing, in general.

    If marketers on a social media platform are able to present information about a product, including its price and sales points, and direct viewers to a place where they can make a purchase, then social media is no longer just about branding and engagement. It’s about sales.

    With this transfomation, it’s possible to add a new direct sales benefit to social media content. Marketers can leverage new techniques to finesse the content. Also, there are an expanded number of metrics to measure direct response marketing success.

    Although we’re not quite there yet, the direction is clear. Ssocial media marketing is moving toward direct sales. Are you ready, marketers?

    Posted in Personal Branding

    Branding yourself during a job interview – what should you know?

    Job interviews can trigger a lot of stress, especially if you don’t have that much experience with them. While you might be properly qualified for a certain position within a company, if you don’t do well at the interview, you won’t be able to land that job.

    But what exactly can you do to increase your success odds? How can you make a great first impression?

    The key to successful interview results is to know how to brand yourself. There are a few important aspects you should be aware of, which will make this type of experience seem less overwhelming, and will allow you to tackle any trick questions asked. Here are some useful pointers on the matter to keep in mind:

    Show up prepared

    Simply not being able to answer a common interview question will make you seem unprofessional in front of the recruiter, and will put you in a rather uncomfortable position. Being prepared is the most important thing here. What does that mean? Besides learning everything you can about the company and job you are applying for, make a list of questions you think could pop up during the interview, and prep some great answers.

    Nowadays, you have all the resources you need to learn the most compelling interview answer just by searching online. Sites such as algrim.co help you get acquainted with different interview topics, so you can easily understand what you should and shouldn’t say while discussing with your recruiter.

    Bring along your personal branding toolkit

    Presentation is often more relevant than skills and abilities. It’s up to you to build the image you want in front of a potential employer, and to start off on the right foot, you should bring a personal branding toolkit along. Besides the usual resume (which should be well written), business cards, cover letter, references should also be incorporated in the toolkit. If you’re applying for a job in the creative field, you should have your portfolio on you as well. All of these materials will help you “sell yourself” and will also likely impress your interviewer.

    Ask questions!

    Get involved in the conversation and show your interest in the job and in the company by asking questions. This will allow the recruiter to see you as thoughtful – you will be presenting yourself as someone who actually wants to know more about what the said enterprise does. Don’t let the interviewer be the only one asking questions.

    Work on your body language

    Your handshake, your facial expressions, your posture – all of these things matter during an interview and can make a difference in how seriously the recruiter actually takes you. Do a bit of practice at home and work on your body language until you get it right.

    These are the main factors to keep in mind when you are preparing yourself for an important job interview. The way you choose to brand yourself can be the thing that differentiates you from other candidates, and increases your odds of actually getting the job. Each interview is unique, but there are some standard questions that are likely to work in your favor. Look over these suggestions with care, and use each one to your advantage.

    Tagged with:
    Posted in Personal Branding

    How to Apply a Procurement Strategy to Your Personal Life

    How do you decide what to buy and when to buy it? Odds are high that it comes down to two major factors: need and price. You know when you need to get something new, and you know what price works for your budget — but is that enough? 

    You may default to big-box stores like Walmart and Amazon, but the truth is that you have more vendor options than ever before. Mindlessly buying from the same distributors over and over again prevents you from finding the best and cheapest options out there. 

    The phrase “procurement strategy” means being more intentional about the things you purchase. Everything from extreme couponing to shopping exclusively online represents a procurement strategy. Yours should match not just your budget, but your lifestyle and personal brand.

    Brand, Meet Budget

    What you buy and where you buy it says a lot about you. If you’re an environmentalist, you probably patronize socially responsible brands like Patagonia. If you’re a deal hound, you shop at secondhand stores so you can wow your friends.

    Whoever you are, your brand has to fit your budget. Only 41 percent of Americans maintain a personal budget, a critical tool for maintaining your financial wellness. If you’re looking to create a personal procurement strategy that works for you, start by plotting out your expenses.

    First ask which products you truly need. Things like food, toilet paper, and soap are your non-negotiables. To get quality versions cheaply, take your cue from companies. As part of their procurement strategies, big businesses often turn to group purchasing organizations, or GPOs. GPOs use the leverage of their large client base to negotiate with distributors and manufacturers for lower prices. 

    While GPOs don’t cater to individuals, there are several similar options you can use in your personal procurement strategy. Membership-based wholesalers like Sam’s Club or Costco are brick-and-mortar options for getting the products you want at lower prices — but these options also force you to purchase a membership and buy in bulk. They also might not carry some of the specialty brands you appreciate.

    What’s the solution? Check online. Companies like Groupon offer special deals when a large enough customer base is willing to buy the product or service in question. As the Groupon model has grown in popularity, so have its competitors. Platforms like LivingSocial or Tippr also offer big discounts for consumers based on how many others buy in. 

    Getting What You Want

    While procurement strategies based on opting into group deals can save you money, they can’t afford you a lot of product flexibility. With Groupon and its competitors, you’re forced to stay in the confines of predetermined deals. When it comes to your brand, you should select the products that work best for you and find the right price from there.

    Say you want to be seen as a tech-friendly outdoorsman. Sure, you don’t need that $100 flashlight from REI that’s also an emergency beacon, bear spray, and battery backup — but it’s OK to splurge a bit on items that are tied to your personal brand.

    Start by checking outlets. Does the REI Outlet, which regularly discounts new but unsold items by half, have that do-it-all flashlight? Call around to brick-and-mortar locations, too: If thy want an outlet item off their shelves badly enough, they may even be willing to toss in extras like free shipping.

    Secondhand stores are a great place to find items like outdoor equipment as well. If it’s something that people tend to use once or twice before storing it in their garage, you can probably find a gently used version at a steep discount. There’s a reason that online resale stores are becoming a “new normal” for many shoppers.

    What if still can’t find that lynchpin of your personal brand at the price you need? Get creative. Can you barter with a friend for it? Can you volunteer to be a product tester? If you’re patient, might it go on sale soon? Outdoor equipment often gets marked down right as the leaves start to change color.

    Procurement strategies aren’t just for major corporations. You spend a lot of money every year; spend it intentionally. Developing a plan for how, when, and from whom you buy your products will give you more financial flexibility and get you closer to who want to be in the process.

    Tagged with: , , , , ,
    Posted in Brand Yourself As, Positioning

    Four ways to help your franchise succeed


    Sponsored Post

    Four ways to help your franchise succeed (Picture of McDonald’s)

    When you take ownership of a franchise, you enter a professional environment that comes with a series of established benefits. These include a concise and easily learnable system of operations, including equipment that’s already in place and a well-established customer base that is loyal to the popular brand you now represent. Additionally, you’ll be in the midst of employees who are already familiar with the system of operations, be part of a supportive network of fellow franchisees, and obtain the backing of a franchisor.

    All these benefits will elude those who have decided to start their own business operations, and they’ll certainly give you a great deal of comfort when you begin your position as a franchise owner. What you must remember, however, is that owning a franchise is still hard work, and the onus will be on you to keep your franchise running at full speed. You’re still in charge of what is, in effect, a small business, and it’s your responsibility to ensure the successful development of that business so that it properly represents the brand as a whole. Here are four ways in which you can make that happen.

    Stick to the system

    Taking ownership of a franchise means becoming accustomed to an established system of operations. This system will dictate how each and every one of the brand’s franchises is run, covering everything from administrative processes to products sold and services rendered. A system such as this is extremely necessary in expanding a franchise operation. If the system is concise and comprehensible enough to be taught to a workforce in one location, then it can easily be replicated in various other locations.

    The system of operations is also particularly important with regards to brand consistency. No franchise can operate differently from any other, otherwise the brand itself will be seen as both irregular and undependable when it comes to fulfilling its promises to its customers. That’s why it’s crucial that you run your franchise exactly according to the system of operations in place.

    You might be used to creating and following your own set of rules, but if you don’t act according to the system, you run several risks. You might jeopardize the brand’s image, create tension between you and your franchisor, and possibly break your franchise agreement. If you’re a good sport, then you’ll be closer to helping your franchise succeed.

    Hire well

    As a leader, you will want the best team possible to help you on your way to success. That means being thorough  and selective when you hire. When looking to fill any position, choose candidates who are properly skilled, possess an impressive work ethic, and exhibit a positive attitude. But, it must go further than that.

    Anyone who becomes part of a franchise operation should possess a sufficient amount of knowledge about the industry they are entering. They should also have the same vision for the brand that you do as a franchisee. If this is the case, then you’ll constantly be on the same page as your employees, and you’ll all be working towards a common goal.

    Be a hands-on franchisee

    It’s easy to be lulled into a sense of comfort by the perks associated with franchise ownership. While it’s perfectly fine to be comfortable at work, it is not fine to be detached from the goings-on at work just because everyone’s working according to a set system. A good leader gets fully involved in the job at hand and works alongside his or her team members.

    When you’re a franchisee, it’s a great idea to step into various roles in order to help your teammates out. Not only will you be challenging yourself, stepping outside of your comfort zone and learning new skills, but you will also positively influence your workforce. They’ll be encouraged by your actions and will be motivated to work hard. The end result will be a team of people working towards the success of a franchise.


    Transparent communication should exist between every person working within a franchise operation. This means talking openly with your franchisor about your experiences as a franchisee, bringing up queries, challenges, and successes with your support team, and suggesting ideas for franchise growth. Communication also means being available to members of your own team. If anyone has a problem, be on-hand to address it. You’ll be seen as an effective leader and will create a positive work environment.

    A franchise is a big responsibility. To help it succeed, you need to be a hands-on leader who’s happy to work according to a set system of operations, communicates openly, and is discerning when it comes to hiring new employees. If you tick all these boxes, then you’ll see your franchise become a thriving part of the brand you represent.

    Tagged with:
    Posted in Personal Branding

    3 Reasons Why LinkedIn is Important for Job Seekers

    Yes, your LinkedIn profile is more important than your resume!  Do I shock you with this declaration? Think again. Your résumé is typically being sent to individuals, to recruiters, or as a job application, which has limited exposure. Yet your LinkedIn profile is open to literally the entire world around the clock. Moreover, as I understand it, LinkedIn is now considered the choice tool by recruiters and human resources professionals because it is so user-friendly and searchable.

    If you think like I do, then you may want to revisit your LinkedIn profile and make a few easy improvements. For example, upload a professionally produced photo to enhance your image. Make sure the tagline contains a good description of what you do. The summary section should be your marketing piece. Your current and past positions should be clear. Don’t say too much; rather, make them intriguing. Include a few but strong accomplishments in your bulleted items. Keywords pertinent to your profession should be listed as well. Listing your specialties offers additional, specific information that enhances your chances to distinguish yourself.

    LinkedIn lets you upload various applications. Take advantage of that. Recruiters like to see that you have several recommendations. After all, they have to sell you to their clients. Recommendations serve as strong support for your candidacy because they come from others. Everything else you say in your LinkedIn profile comes from you, and in this case you’re a salesperson selling a product, which is yourself. If you have a Web site or blog posts, list them. Belonging to several professional groups also enhances your image. Similarly, if you’ve received honors and awards, they should be listed. You also should include some interests because you’ll be selected not only for your qualifications but also for your fit factor.

    And finally, review your personal settings. There may be great qualifications listed on your Linkedin profile, but if you limit those you allow to view the profile, who do you think is losing out?

    Posted in Personal Branding

    How To Leverage Your Brand To Attract New Clients

    Social Media Branding

    What is the best way to use your brand online in order to attract clients and customers?

    These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

    1. Show Your Face

    Clients need to see a brand as more than a logo. It is a great strategy to use social media to give insights into the lives of the people behind the logo. This creates a human link between the company and the customers. This helps create a more likable persona of the company, which is seen as an extension of the people that customers get to see. This makes you more approachable and relatable. – Abeer RazaTekRevol

    2. Amplify the Voices of Others

    Your brand can’t effectively be an expert at everything and well-informed about every single topic. However, you can still take part in online discussions around trends and industries outside of your wheelhouse. Simply engage in conversation with people who are knowledgeable on these things and you can increase your brand’s online presence while also helping other people. – Bryce WelkerCrush The CPA Exam

    3. Ditch the Hard Sell

    The biggest mistake people make with their online presence is trying to pitch their products and services to the audience. It’s the easiest way to lose attention. Show yourself to be an expert in your field and educate them without the hard sell. Your prospects will come to you naturally because eventually they will trust you and look to you as the authority. It’s a much more natural process. – Frank B. Mengertebenefit Marketplace (ebm)

    4. Start Conversations and Build Relationships

    Create a conversational brand. Use online platforms to engage with customers through your brand vision and voice. Interact with them and use current customers stories and feedback as ammunition for building trust and support around your brand. The more you can use your brand to foster a community and relationship with potential customers, the stronger your business and brand will be. – Jared WeitzUnited Capital Source Inc.

    5. Educate Your Clients

    Content marketing is a super scalable way of generating more leads and increasing brand awareness. I’m not talking about posting a few funny Instagram photos, witty tweets or product videos. Share educational content around your greater industry. If you’re a tailor for men, create content around your product and craft, but also talk about men’s style in general. It’s the new radio ad. – Karl KangurMRR Media

    6. Tell a Relatable Brand Story

    People buy from people. If a potential customer is deciding between you and a competitor, you can make yourself stand out by being personal and sharing your story with them. Regularly post your story on social media. Have a page on your site that tells your story. Talk about it on podcasts. Network and share your story. The more your brand story is out there, the more attraction you will create. – Connor GillivanFreeeUp

    7. Find Your Niche

    Knowing your niche can help find your lifelong customers. Find out where they hang out — online message boards such as Reddit or popular social media pages. Become part of the community to gain recognition and to also make sure you’re always up to date with what your customer base’s needs are. The information gained through the niche community will be invaluable. – Andrew SaladinoKitchen Cabinet Kings

    8. Provide Tremendous Value

    You need to understand your customers better than any of your competitors. This means you know what their psychological needs are, their fears, how they think and their consumer journey in your industry. Only then can you provide tremendous value to them at each stage of their journey. This value will come in the form of content and experiences that meet those psychological needs. – Kevin GetchWebfor

    9. Personalize Every Customer Experience

    Attracting new customers and clients requires an attention to detail that most companies fail at achieving. I’m talking about personalization. Make sure you’re making every experience with your potential customers personal with targeted content and products based on their behavior on your website. When a business nails personalization, both consumers and clients remember their experience. – David HenzelLTVPlus

    10. Share Your Expertise Through Thought Leadership

    I think the best way that brands can attract clients or customers online is by building thought leadership. Showcase your expertise through writing bylines, guest blogging, booking podcasts and getting featured or quoted in the media. – Kristin Kimberly MarquetFem Founder

    11. Retarget Site Visitors

    It’s very rare that a user visits your website for the first time and makes a purchase. To get consumers to come back to your website as well as to keep your brand at the top of their minds, use retargeting. A retargeting pixel is placed on your site, when a user leaves without buying, it “follows” them around the web to display targeted ads, encouraging them to return and make a purchase. – Stephanie WellsFormidable Forms

    12. Solve a Problem

    The No. 1 thing every single brand can do to attract clients and customers is to solve a problem that currently doesn’t have a solution. When you create something that improves the quality of life for a large number of people, potential clients and customers will take notice. – Blair WilliamsMemberPress

    13. Stay True to Who You Are

    As a branding expert, I’ve seen so many times how people move too far away from their real, authentic brands when marketing online! Stay true to who you are, but take steps to reach out to targeted online clients, including leaning into aspects of your brand that certain targeted cohorts will appreciate. – Beth DoaneMain & Rose

    Tagged with: , , ,
    Posted in Personal Branding

    How to Monetize Your Skills with an Offer That Sells

    From where you’re sitting, everyone else has made it online. Are you really the only one who hasn’t figured it out? You know you want to build an online business, but you have no idea what to actually sell. You tout a long list of digital accomplishments. You can do it all – social media, content creation, email marketing … the whole kit n’ caboodle. But, it’s not just about knowing what you’re good at. It’s what you do with that knowledge.

    Cue the road block. I bet you regularly ask yourself these 2 questions.

    1. “How can I make a difference online (without working for pennies)?”
    2. “Once I know what I want to do, where do I start?”

    Believe it or not, monetizing your skills is (a) possible and (b) profitable. And, you can do it without forcing yourself to dredge up that list of “Things I Can Do, but Don’t Really Want to“.

    Sell your obsession (and nothing else).

    Between you and me, I can barely stand social media marketing. Somewhere in the last 5 years, I lost my passion for posting. I’m “just not that into” the Instagram worthy photos, cheesy captions, etc. I can do social media and do it well. I just don’t want to.

    But, teaching SEO for bloggers? I live for it. I love using systems and storytelling to make ranking seem achievable for everyone online. So, SEO is my thing.

    Take it from me, when you monetize your skills, that offer becomes what you’re known for. It’s the one thing you can chat about for hours on end.

    It’s what builds the foundation that will become your brand.

    This isn’t the time or place to offer the bare minimum. Don’t even think about being a jack of all trades. Zoom in on a one of a kind specialty. Something that won’t just act as an original hook – but also guarantee customer satisfaction and loyalty.

    Once you’ve narrowed in on your obsession, peel back every single layer. Search for opportunities to improve. Don’t focus on perfection. Just build enough confidence in your offer to sell without hesitation.

    First rule of thumb? Don’t be afraid of feedback.

    If you already have an engaged online community, take the market temperature. You’re probably good at many things – maybe even hundreds. But you don’t have to turn all those skills into an enticing offer.

    For example, let’s say you’re a writer. You churn out blog posts, sales pages, and fan fiction. Showcase your best work. Let your community pick what they’re drawn to. And, if there’s equal interest in all 3, then by all means; you’ve found yourself 3 different offers. But, no matter what, focus on creating one at a time.

    Bottom line. Don’t ever be afraid to ask the question: “How can I improve?”

    Know your people better than they know themselves.

    Your audience should shape your offer creation. For example, maybe your online course would fit nicely into a 12 part video series. But, if audio content really resonates with your community, then audio it is.

    When you know who you’re selling to, you won’t miss these important preferences. And, if your audience still doesn’t latch onto your offer, it means one of two things.

    1. You need to continue molding the product.
    2. You need to reconsider who your target audience should be.

    Bottom line. Your community can offer invaluable insight.

    Use this insight to improve and further develop your product (and more importantly) your craft. Always keep yourself open to constructive feedback.

    Finally, test until the results become predictable.

    So, you’ve put together several offers, but want to pick the one with the most potential. How do you know which one to choose? Test, test, and test some more.

    Split testing helps you tap into the perspective of the people you’re trying to reach. And since they’re the ones making a purchasing decision, their opinions matter. Release each offer to a small list of users (at a discounted rate), and collect candid and detailed feedback.

    Even though your core offer is ready to go, remember, the fine-tuning never ends. The market is always changing, and your consumers will evolve. Don’t let yourself get stagnant; keep your ear to the ground and look for ways to improve.

    Posted in Personal Branding
    Content Partners
    As Seen In