As an entrepreneur, building a personal brand is about more than getting a fancy business card or a winning logo. It’s about being intentional with all the factors that affect your persona to the world, all the combined details that create a sense of who you are.
Rather than just letting impressions form as they may, branding seeks to affect how those impressions are formed—and one of the key tools for personal branding for entrepreneurs is websites.
As a budding business owner, how can you use your website to establish a personal brand that is unique and compelling yet still instills confidence and is not too far out there? What do you need to know?
Here are some tips for building a solid personal brand on your entrepreneurial site!
OVERALL STRATEGY & TIPS
Establish What You Want Your Brand to Be
Who are you? How do you want clients and potential clients to see you? What attributes do you want to emphasize? Personal Branding 101 means sitting down to brainstorm and decipher exactly what you want your brand to look like.
Know Your Audience
Ask yourself what your target audience would respond to. Then, choose a couple of key qualities to define your image. Try to make this as specific as you can, along the lines of an elevator pitch, giving you a quick description of what your branding should communicate. Once you have this in place, it will be easier to see what decisions to make as you work to make them align with this mission.
SPECIFIC WAYS TO BUILD A SOLID BRAND
Match All Your Social Profiles
Your key brand message should be consistent across all your profiles online, from your website to your Facebook page to your Twitter profile. Ask yourself what kind of takeaway someone would have when looking at one of your pages—will they get the message you are trying to communicate? How could you strengthen it? This will be the overarching question in all your website branding efforts.
Social media questions to ask:
- Is my messaging consistent across Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc?
- What key takeaways does each profile give?
- How can I make all my profiles more unified?
Choose Design Carefully
It doesn’t matter if you specialize in educational resources or video on demand servers, design matters. Your website’s design not only affects aesthetics, but also the emotional reactions customers will have when they see it. On your website as in your other marketing materials, use fonts that are clear and readable; designs that are well-organized; and colors with appropriate connotations that won’t detract from your message. The elements of a strong, consistent brand include logo, colors, fonts, messaging, multimedia and organization.
Design questions to ask:
- Will this design complement my message in terms of tone, style?
- What do these colors represent?
- Is this attractive?
- Does this design make it easier or harder to read content?
- Can I use this color scheme across marketing materials?
Start a Blog
A great way to amplify your online brand is through blogging because of its “ability to command more attention from Google…and because you can use it to build your voice,” says Chris Brogan. Add a blog to your website and you add a way to provide meaningful content, industry-related resources and other tools to establish yourself as an authority in the field. So say you’re a medical specialist looking to set yourself apart for in-depth industry knowledge: you can blog about OSHA requirements, a quantitative respirator fit test and other topics in order to set yourself up in the minds of viewers as a trusted resource.
Blog questions to ask:
- Do I have the resources to blog regularly, or do I need to enlist help?
- What will my content schedule look like? Daily? Weekly?
- How can I network to build readership?
Online networking takes time, but it’s very effective. Identify specific strategies for building connections, whether that means leveraging offline relationships or regularly interacting with certain online individuals. The more prevelant your brand becomes in the online community, the stronger your reputation will be. Likewise, look for ways to stay connected to your potential clients and customers.
Networking questions to ask:
- Am I promoting my site to existing relationships?
- Am I responding to emails, comments, questions?
- How can I reach out to other voices in my community?
What do you think? Have you seen results from these strategies in your websites? What other brand-building tips are important?