You’ve probably heard that there’s no better time to be an entrepreneur than now, right?
On one hand, it’s totally true. Channels such as social media allow us to reach clients and customers for little more than an investment of our time. Meanwhile, the wealth of online marketing tools out there allow us to build a business from scratch in no time flat.
Have a blog? Tuned into the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn?
Good. You can sow the seeds of a full-blown business.
But on the flip side, this low barrier to entry has invited fierce competition for entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes.
Consultants. Designers. Freelancers. The list goes on and on.
As a result, pushing a unique selling proposition and signaling yourself as a bigger influencer than the likes of your competition is a must-do.
And yeah, you better believe those same competitors are trying to do the same.
In order to stay a step ahead of the game, consider the following five approaches to marketing yourself that are proven to pay dividends.
Look the Part
Here’s some food for thought: your audience is busy.
Like, crazy busy.
“Customers today have 9 second attention spans,” notes John Williams of Flashmarks. People are constantly bouncing from one brand to the next, meaning a strong first impression is absolutely critical to getting more eyes on your business.
Looking the part means doing everything in your power to make your online presence bold and anything but cookie-cutter. Some of the best ways to do so include…
- Professional-designed creative assets, including logos, color schemes and landing pages which grab people from the word go
- Both professional and off-the-cuff photos of yourself: being the face of your brand ensures that nobody can effectively copycat you
- Signaling your trust online by having an active social presence and blog that highlights your active presence within your industry
Create Content Consistently
Consistency in terms of content creation can score you huge points from both a branding and SEO perspective. The more content you have published on social media and the blogosphere, the more avenues you have for people to find you. Furthermore, being able to point to linkable assets such as in-depth blog posts makes you look like a million bucks.
However, content creation is not solely limited to the likes of blogging. This also means taking the time to share and boost fellow thought leaders on social media by reposting their content. Similarly, putting your name out there via blog or LinkedIn comments is another overlooked way that budding business owners can make a positive impression within their industries.
Be as Human as Possible.
The need for authenticity in marketing is growing in the face of automation and a noted increase in competition. Highlighting your personal and professional struggles do double duty of making for compelling content while also serving as a way to tell your story.
Chances are there are tons of personal stories or hurdles you’ve overcome which make for brilliant blog posts. These types of posts are the bread and butter of thought leaders on LinkedIn and don’t require optimization at all.
In short, be willing to “get real” with your audience. Admitting a mistake or cracking the occasional joke allows to again highlight what makes you, well, you.
Build Your Tribe
The concept of “tribes” is something that guru Seth Godin has been pushing for quite some time. Doing so is much less daunting in the digital age as you can instantly educate an audience that not only stays hungry for what you have to say, but also what you have to sell.
The points above are key to building your tribe and social following, as is finding your brand voice. Remember: there’s a non-zero chance that there are others in your space competing for your prospect’s’ attention. Having a one-of-a-kind spin on your industry will ultimately make you seem more like a leader than a follower.
Don’t Walk the Fence
And on a related note, you need to commit to your principles and opinions, ultimately making them loud and clear. This rings true when talking about industry happenings and trends, especially. If you don’t provide unique commentary, your voice will ultimately get lost in the shuffle.
Think that a trend is little more than hype? Disagree with a big player in your space? Let others know: just make sure to be tactful about it to avoid burning bridges.
Finding your footing as an entrepreneur means finding ways to signal your influence. The combination of these tips represent the perfect storm to do exactly that regardless of what you might be selling.