So you have a winning business idea, but where do you begin with marketing that business? The first step has to be to build a solid brand and marketing strategy that will resonate with your ideal customers.
Marketing your business doesn’t have to be complicated. It starts with four key questions:
- Who are your ideal customers?
- What are their interests and challenges?
- How can you position your services/products as the solution to their problems?
- How can you serve them better than the competition?
Once you’ve worked through these, you’ll find it much easier to create content marketing and social media strategies to build up trust among your target audience.
All good in theory, but what happens when the service/product is yourself?
When your brand is yourself it suddenly becomes much harder to answer these questions because you don’t have the required distance from your business.
When I set up Lollipop Social last year, I knew potential clients would be judging my skills as a marketer on my own marketing. I had to nail it, but my vanilla website was not really doing it for me. Nothing stood out to show how I was any different from all the other digital marketers out there.
So how did I get from vanilla to the sugar high of #SweetLikeSocial?
I took charge of ‘brand me’. I joined Andrew and Pete’s ATOMIC and took part in their Content Mavericks programme to help me develop Lollipop Social’s personal brand and maximise it through my content marketing.
I asked myself:
- What are my strengths and passions? What do I enjoy most about my work?
- What makes me stand out from the competition?
- How do I convey that?
With Lollipop Social, I’m passionate about helping business owners achieve sweeter results with their marketing, whether that is by working as their outsourced marketing director or by creating one-off social media or marketing strategies for them that hit the sweet spot.
My strengths lie in my logical German brain – just look at the way we play football and build cars – and abundant empathy. For the right clients this can be a winning combination. I like entrepreneurs to have fun with their marketing and knew that it was essential to convey this in my branding.
With Content Mavericks, I went on a rollercoaster brand and Content Stamp discovery journey towards finding my own confidence and owning my ‘why’ and what makes me different.
That was pretty tough. After 20 years spent working for corporates, I was an expert at adopting their brand and, while I never completely blended into the background (I am a rather tall German, after all), I felt comfortable being part of the bigger marketing machine.
But this approach doesn’t work when you want to create a brand that stands out.
Andrew and Pete encouraged me to develop an ‘About me’ page that had ‘oomph’. Instead of a bland explanation of my experience and professional skills, I revealed some anecdotes from my upbringing in former Eastern Germany and talked about being a mum.
Adding this personal touch was a big step for me as I was used to having a professional persona, but people work with people. When you run your own business you need to let them in. Yes, your logo should be amazing, but it’s whether people believe in your ability to help them solve their problems that matters.
My website is now packed with pictures and increasingly also videos of me. People want to get to know the person and team behind the company so they can tell whether they’ll be a good fit for their own brand and needs.
When you transform your brand good things happen. Since supercharging my own branding and content marketing, I have seen fantastic results:
- I have been invited to be the guest on Twitter Chats and podcasts, most recently #TwitterSmarter and WeRSM
- I have appeared on panels of social media experts at events such as Kickstart Social
- People in the wider marketing community recognise my name and share my content with their audience
- My website traffic has increased by nearly 70% over the last six months
How to unleash your own ‘brand me’:
- Good branding starts with asking the right question, Content Mavericks is a valuable resource for taking you through this soul-searching process
- Have a vision and own your uniqueness
- Know your ‘why’ and shout about it
- Be bold with your brand values. Things like being ‘friendly, professional and delivery focused’ are a given. Tell potential customers something they don’t know and why you’re different from the competition
- Develop a niche
Personal branding is one of the most important things you can do for your business, and also one of the most exciting and fulfilling – enjoy it.
Get in touch if you’d like to know more about how to inject The Sugar Rush into your own marketing.
Nicole Osborne is a Chartered Marketer passionate about helping businesses grow with sweeter marketing. Most recently Nicole was a guest on the popular #TwitterSmarter Twitter Chat with global social media expert Madalyn Sklar, exploring tips for successful Twitter management.
With nearly 20 years’ experience leading marketing teams, Nicole has successfully delivered growth-focused marketing strategies for the Financial Times, Institute of Directors and Association of Colleges.
When Nicole became a mum, she wanted a better work/life balance and trained with the award-winning Digital Mums strategic social media programme.
Nicole founded Lollipop Social and has been helping small businesses have sweeter results with their marketing and social media ever since. Nicole comes from a family of Eastern German entrepreneurs and enjoys working with ambitious entrepreneurs to inject a sugar rush into their marketing strategy.
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