Marketing your personal brand
Learn how to market yourself and improve your personal brand. Melinda Emerson, known to many as SmallBizLady, is one of America's leading small business experts and is a paid contributor for Wells Fargo.
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Hi, I'm Ed Lawler for the Wells Fargo Business Insight Series. Today we're talking with Melinda Emerson, the Small Biz Lady and author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months. She's going to tell us how small business owners can market themselves, and improve their personal brand. Thanks for joining me, Melinda.
Thanks for having me, Ed. I'm excited to share all this great information.
When it comes to marketing yourself, where should people start?
Create the brand first. That means figuring out who you are, what you do, and what you really want to be known for. And most importantly, who you serve. For example, I'm a baker that makes mini gourmet cupcakes. Included in this package is how you appear. For example, the pictures and colors you choose to represent yourself. In fashion and design worlds, it's a splash of color or a pattern on an image that catches the eye of your audience.
And how do people establish this brand effectively?
Start by establishing profiles on LinkedIn, and connecting with people online. It's also important to establish yourself as an expert. For entrepreneurs, it's really necessary to do this to step in front of the brand, and let people know who you are.
To put this into action, business owners should determine their content approach. It could be written articles, podcasts, videos, or pictures. You want to use content to position yourself as a resource. People will buy from you if you show authenticity and expertise, which will give you credibility. Think about creating stories, images, infographics, testimonials, and more for your personal business website. This can make you and your business more relatable to your target customers by offering them ways to see how you work, and who you do it for.
You mentioned LinkedIn, Melinda. I imagine business owners will want to use other platforms as well.
The key to being online is using the right social media platform. It shouldn't be the one that you like most; it should be the one where your target customer spends most of their time online. It's better to focus your marketing efforts on one social media platform, so that you can eventually dominate there. It's easy to get burned out trying to leverage six social media sites a day. Start with one, and focus your efforts there.
That's really helpful. What other specific channels do you recommend?
Facebook and Twitter are great, and are pretty common places to reach customers. Blogging is one of the best ways to build your online brand because it allows you to show off and highlight your expertise. Email marketing can also be helpful, by building personal relationships with people who've given you permission to reach out to them. But it doesn't make sense to use social media if you don't have signature content of your own, and a great website to send the traffic to.
Traditional marketing tactics are also still effective. You can try direct mail, flyers, local cable advertising — the more specific the audience, the better.
Those options seem like great advice. Any final considerations for our audience?
You have to market, no matter what. Use the channels that can reach your best target audience. Test your campaigns first, and be willing to lose some money to learn. Social media might seem tough at first, but eventually it will become easy, effortless, and enjoyable. Hand-select a small number of marketing tactics that you're willing to lean into and commit to on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
Thanks for those parting thoughts, Melinda. I think these are great ways for people to jump-start their personal brands.
I'm always happy to help small business owners figure out how to market themselves.
And thank you for joining us for this segment of the Business Insight Series. To learn more about how Wells Fargo Business Banking can help you, visit wellsfargo.com/biz. In the meantime, we wish you continued success.