By Sherri D. Paxton
In today’s incredibly saturated marketplace it’s hard to stand out in the crowd.
What’s a small business owner to do?
How do you compete with the larger companies that have more money to spend on marketing and advertising? Where does the small business owner fit in this crowded marketplace?
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to marketing is that people do business with people they Know, Like and Trust. Corporate brands spend millions to get consumers to know, like and trust their brands. Companies like Nike, Apple and Coke work incredibly hard to make their brands fit the criteria.
So how do you do the same? By being your brand. You are your brand. The more of your authentic self that you bring into the conversation about your company the better. Let your customer know you, and once they feel like they know you they will begin to like you, and to trust you. Some of the ways you can accomplish this is first by identifying what it is about you that makes you unique among your competitors.
What are your strengths?
What is a personal trait that stands out?
What can you brag about and feel confident and unapologetic while doing it?
What’s your jive?
Once you identify what makes the brand that is you so awesome, it’s time to get the word out and start shouting it from the rooftops. Start first with your jive, or pitch, the one to two sentences that describes who you are and what you do best. “I’m a ___________ and I help people (do) ___________________.” Using this simple starting point you can craft your “elevator pitch” or as I like to call it, your jive.
“I’m a personal trainer and I help people get strong and feel great about themselves”
“I’m a financial planner and I help families create security for their futures”
“I’m a photographer and I create lasting memories”
Find the thing that you do and how it helps (benefits) your customers, and then crow about it baby! Let it rock and become your jive. Show it off loud and proud. This is you and this is your brand.
Getting the word out
Now that you’ve got your jive on, let’s talk about how you can start getting the word out to your audience while building on the Know, Like and Trust model.
Content Marketing – Content marketing is basically sharing yourself online. With blogs, social media, videos, etc. you are positioning yourself as an expert in your field. People look to experts to solve their problems. Become that expert. Give freely of your knowledge. If you are constantly trying to hustle up money for every little thing you share you will turn people off. They will see that as you just trying to make a quick buck and they will not trust you, or like you very much.
Think about what you can do right now, that you can give away for free. Can you write a blog post? Give away a free digital download? Hang out in an online space where your customers are and help to answer a question? Upload a tutorial video?
These are all great ways to position yourself as the expert you are and bump up the Know, Like and Trust factor.
Referral Marketing – People talk. It’s a given. They talk about what they ate, where they went, the brands they love, the things they hate. This is how things go viral. Word of mouth marketing is still once of the absolutely most effective forms of marketing.
Getting a good referral from a past customer will skyrocket your trust quota. According to the New York Times 65% of all new business comes from referrals. People are four times more likely to buy something when referred by a friend.
So how do you tap into this incredibly effective marketing strategy? Here are some ways you can use referral marketing to build your brand:
Ask for referrals. This seems so simple and it is absolutely the most effective strategy you can employ. Basically you just set up a referral program and mention it to as many customers as you can. Add a sticker or stamp to all your invoices, packaging, and marketing materials that says “we love referrals”. Add it to your email signature, your website, all your social media accounts. Don’t be afraid to ask for a referral.
Partner with a company that compliments but doesn’t compete with your business. For example a hair salon might partner with a massage therapist, a florist or a photographer to cross-promote their businesses. Supply them with gift certificates or vouchers with discounts or incentives.
These are just a couple of the many marketing strategies you can employ to build your personal brand. The most important things you can do are to follow these simple rules:
Find your Jive - Find the thing that makes you unique and shout it from the rooftops!
Position yourself - Your position is where you are in your customer’s mind. The concept of “Top of Mind Awareness” is that you are always at the top of your customer’s mind. You are the first one they think of to solve their problem. This is the best place to be and you should strive for it constantly. One of my very best friends has a promotional products business. She sells items that can be personalized with a company’s logo on them and handed out. These items help create top of mind awareness. And when her customers need these promo items they think of her first because she has one of the most memorable taglines ever, “you can’t be everywhere, but your logo can”. Brilliant. And incredibly effective.
Be consistent. And persistent. – Now that you have your brand positioned you need to get it out there. Don’t be afraid to advertise yourself. Again and again and again. Consistency is key. Using different marketing channels like social media, direct mail, referral marketing, speaking engagements , chamber meetings, BNI groups--anywhere and everywhere you can.
Now go out and build your brand that is you and rock it like only you can!
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