You have 50 seconds from when someone lands on your website to create an image of you in their mind. What kind of impression are you making? The initial image created in an individual’s mind after searching your name is what we like to call your first impression. It is important to differentiate yourself from others in your industry by owning your first impression which starts with building a mission-driven brand.
The best way to build your brand is to lead with your most unique asset, which is your thought leadership. We like to break this up into three phases: attract, activate, and amplify. In this first phase, try to think about who you are other than a business owner. You are the on-ramp to your brand. Are you positioned as a thought leader in your space or as a commodity? Think about how you are attracting people to your website. As our brand strategy director, Nichole David Williamson mentioned in her previous blog, it is crucial to prioritize authenticity as you build your brand and be able to adapt your strategy for doing so as times change. In the second phase, ask yourself how am I influencing my audience? You have an opportunity here to make a greater impact on the lives of others.
The amplify phase is all about what you are doing to intentionally empower your customers. Ask yourself, can you be found? Understanding the new media landscape is crucial to owning your first impression. Position yourself as someone with something to teach instead of something to sell. Building a successful people-driven brand also centers around building an influential content strategy. Focus on what channels you are active on and target your content based on those audiences.
The next step in building your brand is to conduct an online brand audit for yourself.
The first step is to define your three audiences. Next, ask yourself how do we give people a reason to take a seat in audience two? How can we move them from being interested to building affinity?
One way we can do that is through the implementation of a lead magnet. There are three lead magnet categories:
1. Join my list (click here to join my newsletter)
2. Free downloads (click here for my free chapter)
3. Interactive content (free assessment or quiz). Category three is where we are seeing the most traction right now.
The biggest mistake we see is people often build their websites like a brochure. You’re giving the user two options: book an appointment or close out that tab. You should be asking yourself, how can I extend my interaction with this visitor over time so I can nurture that relationship? The best way to do this is through the implementation of a lead magnet.
The next step is responding to your audit by changing your brand name, updating your channels with the same brand name, or purchasing your personal URL if you have not done so already. The next thing I would recommend you do is to look at the images on your website and ask yourself if they are credentialing you or not. Your images should say what you won’t say about yourself. Do you have a lead magnet you are using to grow your email list? Are you using logos to showcase authority by association?
Take a step towards building your personal brand today, whether that means purchasing your personal URL or implementing a lead magnet on your website, a step is a step in the right direction. As our CEO Paige Velasquez Budde mentioned in her previous blog post, one of the most important ways you can take ownership of your brand is by purchasing your name as a URL (ex. rustyshelton.com). Your brand name is like a piece of real estate and it is very important to own that yourself and protect it.
If you would like to learn more, we’d love to connect with you on LinkedIn!