When I mention branding to new internet marketers their eyes tend to glaze over as their minds start to think about Nike and Coke and Ford: all those big brand names that are part of our everyday language. It’s kind a like I’ve just brought up the subject of relativity and I’m about to explain the concept to them.
However the basic steps of branding are very simple, it’s like giving out your home address so visitors can find you, with some visual landmarks to help them along the way.
Think about the last time you gave someone instructions on how to get to your house.
In Panama where I lived for four months last winter, there are no street addresses so your directions have to be specific and visual.
My address went something like this: take Los Olas Beach Road, in the barrio of Rivera, just past the Mini Super Baru, 4 streets down turn left, the small green house on the right ,second house in, across from the man with the turkeys.
In real life you brand yourself, either consciously or subconsciously.
I have a friend who wears a toque, (a close-fitting knitted hat, which is usually associated with winter sports) all year round even indoors. Some people wear particular colors, black and white for instance, or they always have some article of clothing or an accessory that is orange. It’s something that makes you distinctive and helps you stand out from the crowd.
On the internet your brand is your personal identification that lets people get to know who you are and what you are all about.
There are four basic elements to branding.
- Your real name
- A good head shot photo of you
- A way people can connect to you.
- A personal logo or company logo closely connected with you.
If you are new, you might not be familiar with these. If you’ve been around the block a few times you know these elements but it doesn’t hurt to refresh and update your knowledge, especial if you are mentoring others in your own business.
Branding with Your Real Name:
The biggest stumbling block to using your real name is this idea of remaining anonymous online even though you are in business in the same way you would be in business offline.
Trying to operate with a fictitious or made up name in an off-line business wouldn’t make sense.
If you went to a store to buy a TV and the sales person introduced themselves as james52genius would you be inclined to buy from them. Perhaps they might say their name is prettygirl5 : same problem.
Your name is an important element in the know, like and trust bridge that leads to a buying decision.
A quality head shot that is clear and easy to see is critical to your branding success. If you have a friend who is a good photographer get them to take the shot for you. Keep the photo simple and limit what is in the background.
Here is the head shot I used taken by a professional photographer. The original had a background which I had removed
I use either of these two photo everywhere I can.
Don’t use icons or do unusual things with your photo. After you get the basics in then you can experiment but not before you’ve become recognizable in your niche.
So many people don’t upload a picture so you get a ghost image. I wrote a story about this as a tongue-in-cheek to illustrate what would happen if you had this option in an offline business.
You can read the story here. Highly recommended if your profile picture looks like the photo on the left.
If you want to make sales online you need to have a proper head shot photo.
Don’t scrimp here. If you have to, spend the money.
A Way For People to Connect With You.
In these days of social media the places for people to connect to you are infinite.
Include on your advertising a place where people can connect with you.
Facebook is the obvious choice sending them to your Facebook Profile page is a good option where people can learn more about you.
Even in internet-land people still want to know they are dealing with real people.
If you have a business page on Facebook you might want to link them to that. (See sample from my page, Nick’s Mindset Marketing)
Twitter is another great social platform to use. My twitter id is @ngrimshawe
Having your own domain name is a good branding strategy (I’ll go into more detail on this in a follow-up post) . This opens up many possibilities the simplest one is having a personal email address.
My personal email address is email@example.com .
People see my name again and again in a slightly different forms.
Name recognition helps you build that all important bridge of know like and trust.
The last piece of branding I recommend is to get a personal logo designed.
Again eyes glaze over. People start thinking of cost. Getting a logo for you offline store is very expensive, but all your cost online are significantly reduced. On Fiverr my go to place for logo design and graphics, you can get a logo for as little as five dollars. Here are just two ads offering 5 dollar logo designs.
This is the logo you see on most of my splash pages and other marketing material:
Here’s a landing page example with my logo:
Of course there are refinements and other ways to increase your branding which I will cover in a future post.
However your first steps are to carry out these four branding basics and start to use them where ever you have a presence on-line.
The more you use these elements and the more you combine them the quicker you build brand awareness.
The result of doing this work is people cross the like, know and trust bridge.
When that happens people feel comfortable buying from you.
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