How To Market Yourself OnlineMar 19, 2023
Building a strong personal brand is more important than ever for freelancers, solopreneurs, and small businesses.
Showing up online offers the opportunity to reach a wider audience, increase brand visibility, and ultimately drive more sales. If you're a solopreneur or freelancer looking to grow your customer base and achieve greater success, then it's crucial to develop an effective personal brand with a strong marketing strategy.
Let's take a closer look at the key steps involved in marketing yourself online.
Define Your Brand Pillars
To market yourself online you need a strong personal brand that is a reflection of your identity, values, strengths, and expertise. It's the way that others perceive you and can be a powerful tool in gaining recognition, building credibility, and achieving success. One of the most effective ways to build a strong personal brand is by creating brand pillars.
Brand pillars are the foundation of your personal brand. They represent your core values, attributes, and strengths, and define who you are and what you stand for. Developing brand pillars is key to creating a clear and consistent image of yourself in the minds of others.
To create brand pillars, start by identifying your core values. Your core values are the beliefs and principles that drive your actions and decisions. Consider what motivates you, what you stand for, and what you believe in. Once you have identified your core values, you can define your brand attributes. These are the qualities and characteristics that you want to be known for. Think about your strengths, skills, and unique talents that set you apart from others.
Once you've established your core values and brand attributes, you can begin to develop your brand pillars. Your brand pillars should reflect your personal brand's overarching themes and key messages. They should be authentic, unique, and relevant to your target audience.
By building your brand pillars your audience will see you as an expert on your chosen topics, and gain trust with you as you create content. The primary goal of creating your brand pillars is to define why your audience will seek you out, and what values they will align with. Creating brand pillars will also help you shape what kind of marketing strategy you will need to reach your audience.
Define your target audience
Defining your target audience is important to identify your ideal customers, determine their characteristics, interests, and preferences, and understand where they spend their time online. This will help you develop a strategy to reach and engage with your target audience.
This will be dependent on the brand pillars you have created as your ideal audience should align with the core values and mess.
When defining your target audience break them down into age, gender, income level, occupation, interests, and engagement levels to create user personas of your audience. By defining your audience this way you can see where you should focus your energy when connecting with your audience.
You do not need a large audience to be successful online. Using the theory of 1,000 true fans, you can replace your income online or boost sales in your business by gaining an audience of 1,000 fans who will engage with your content on a regular basis. These 1,000 fans should be your ideal audience and have an interest in the content you are creating.
Defining your target audience takes time and testing and should not be rushed as this will be the backbone of your personal brand and help you monetize new audiences. Your target audience will also be your testing ground for new products and offers, new marketing messaging, and organic growth through shares and word of mouth.
Build a strong online presence
Building a strong online presence in your industry is key to marketing your business. Traditionally many businesses start with paid advertising to gain an online presence, but for many solopreneurs and small businesses that is not an option due to budgets and the high cost to obtain new customers
Instead, become a key figure in your industry by educating your audience, and making them look good through actionable content, tips, and guides. Justin Welsh and Ben Meer do an amazing job of this by educating their audiences and potential customers this way.
They have both created strong online presences by showing up daily on Linkedin and Instagram and creating educational content, that drives audience engagement, audience growth, and audience action.
Using your brand pillars define what actionable content you can educate your audience on, and show up daily where your audience hangs out online. Here are some examples of how you can do this in any industry.
If your audience or business is in the food industry:
- Create content around healthy recipes
- Create content around how to use your products to better your customer's lives
- Create content that shares the benefits of your food products
- Create content that shares how to stay healthy
If your audience or business is in the Corporate Space (Tech/Marketing/Saas)
- Create content around the best business hacks to speed up your workflow
- Create content that shares the best business practices to grow
- Create content that gives a holistic view of your industry (Health/Wealth/Community)
- Create content that helps your audience move away from their pain points
These two examples provide actionable content ideas that will help you build a strong online presence. Focus on helping your audience instead of selling to them, education is the path forward as it builds trust with your audience.
By making your audience look great with actionable, shareable, and selfless content you can create a strong audience of 1,000 true fans who organically scale your online presence quickly.
Develop a content marketing strategy
Creating a content marketing strategy is crucial for engaging with your target audience and driving more traffic to your website. You should determine the type of content that resonates with your audience, create a content calendar, and publish content regularly. Use keywords to optimize your content for search engines, and share your content on social media and other relevant platforms.
Using your brand pillars define what actionable content you can create that will serve your audience. Then for 30 to 60 days post daily on the social media platform that your target audience is on. During that period test 10 to 15 different content ideas that are connected to educating your audience.
After the 30 to 60 days see what content performed best, what content your audience engaged with most, and what questions your audience asks you. Continue to create the content ideas that performed the best and got the best engagement. Turn the questions your audience asked you into actionable content.
Continue this cycle to develop your content marketing strategy, and revise your brand pillars if you are finding success with a different approach than you originally intended. The primary goal of having a content marketing strategy is to show up daily for your audience, meet their needs, and serve them content that makes their lives better.
A fleshed-out content strategy will have you plan out what to post every day and when so you are always making quality content days and weeks before you post it, allowing you to refine it if needed. This strategy will also help you create more consistent content that will be more successful with your audience.
Engage with your audience
Engaging with your audience is key to building strong relationships and driving more sales. You should respond to comments and messages promptly, encourage reviews and testimonials from satisfied customers, offer promotions and discounts to your followers, and host events or webinars to engage with your audience in real time.
The key to being successful on social media is to be social! We do not live in a vacuum where you can post one piece of content and it will become viral. Instead, you need to engage with your audience and build relationships with them through comments, DM’s, and videos. People only want to give their attention to creators who they know and trust.
If you are a faceless brand, that doesn't engage with your audience they will not convert into customers or raving fans of your personal brand. Let your audience get to know you through your story, and constant engagement with them. Build relationships, and your audience will build your online presence organically for you.
Monitor your progress
To ensure the success of your online marketing strategy, it's important to track your website traffic, social media metrics, and other key performance indicators. Use this data to adjust your strategy based on what's working and what's not, and stay up-to-date on the latest online marketing trends and tactics.
Keep monthly data on all your social media posts, marketing campaigns, and video content to see what your audience likes and dislikes. Create more content that engages with your audience and less content that they do not interact with. I personally set up a spreadsheet in google sheets to track every post I put out. Then at the end of the month, I can see what content helped me grow the most, and what content I should avoid.
The key here is to test, revise, and analyze your content on a weekly to monthly basis when you build your content strategy. Monitoring your progress will help you spot trends, and underserved niches, and find what your audience is looking for that isn't available online.
Don’t get wrapped up in the likes and shares of monitoring your process but rather in how you can improve what you do to better serve your audience. Being a content creator is about serving the people who consume your content, not showing off and alienating them!
Stay true to yourself, stay humble, and serve others to the best of your ability and it will show through as your monitor your progress!
Deplatforming and monetizing your audience
Deplatforming and monetizing your audiences on social media is the number one goal of every creator and solopreneur now. By moving your audience to an email list, your website, or to a paid product like a course or E-book you can create additional income on the work you are already created.
This is important because none of us own our social media profiles, at any time our profiles can be banned, hacked, or kicked off of any social media platform for no reason. By moving your audience to a platform you own like an email list or your website you can engage with them more effectively and monetize yourself.
One way to de-platform your audience and monetize their attention is to focus on building an email list. By collecting the email addresses of your followers, you can establish a direct line of communication with them that is not dependent on any particular social media platform. This allows you to continue reaching your audience even if you are banned or suspended from a particular platform.
Another benefit of building an email list is that you can monetize your audience more effectively. By offering valuable content and exclusive offers to your email subscribers, you can create a loyal following that is more likely to purchase products or services from you. Additionally, since you own your email list, you can use it to promote your own products or affiliate products, instead of relying on social media algorithms that may limit your reach.
In addition to building an email list, creating a paid course is another effective way to monetize your audience off of social media. With a paid course, you can offer valuable knowledge or skills that your audience is willing to pay for. This not only provides a new source of income but also establishes you as an authority in your field.
To successfully monetize your audience off of social media, it's important to provide consistent value to your followers. This can include offering free resources such as blog posts, videos, or podcasts, as well as engaging with your audience on social media and through email.
Overall, every successful solopreneur mitigates risk by owning their audience off of social media. Instead of competing with millions of other accounts on Linkedin and Instagram, you have no competition when you directly email your audience or send them to your website.
Bringing it all together
Marketing yourself online can be a daunting task, but by following these steps and staying committed to your strategy, you can build a strong online presence, engage with your target audience, and drive more sales.
Make sure to show up daily, test new content, and provide the best content you can to your audience. In turn, they will let you know what they want to see through questions and comments. They will organically build your business and audience online for you, and become true fans of your content.
Growing a monetized audience online and on your own platforms takes time, testing, and commitment to organically grow. Don’t give up as with time your audience will compound and scale to heights you never thought of before.