In the world of internet marketing, it is relatively inexpensive, and straightforward to create your own brand. With a variety of free platforms including YouTube™, Instagram™, and Facebook™, combined with the ability to create a simple WordPress™ blog, and generate podcasts from your laptop, is it any wonder that so many people are branding themselves? The question is really this – to brand or not to brand? My answer is simple – if you have a business, you require some form of a brand and in essence, there are three levels of branding.
The question isn’t, ‘should I create my own brand,’ the question is, ‘what kind of brand should I create?’ Ultimately, when we are on social media we are a brand regardless however branding comes with its own level of costs from essentially free to investing hundreds of thousands of dollars. On more than one occasion, I have witnessed people spending a significant amount of money to brand themselves when inherently, they could have done the bulk of the work on their own and used extra money to invest in marketing tools such as Facebook™ or Instagram™ advertising.
Chris Gram, writing for New Kind whose founders had a hand in getting companies like Red Hat going, suggests spending no more than 5-15% of your start-up cost be spend on branding. Therefore, if your start-up costs are $10,000, do not spend more than 15%. Thanks to a plethora of APPs, social media, and even free blogging sites like WordPress™, you can brand yourself efficiently on a minimal budget.
Just because you can create a massive presence doesn’t mean you should and additionally you may not be ready for it. With this in mind, here are three phases of branding. I encourage you to checkout my podcast on this subject available on ITunes™.
In this phase, you are perhaps just starting out as a life coach, personal trainer, direct seller, realtor, or some form of solopreneur. You do not require a massive brand investment and can do the bulk of it on your own. The goal is to generate followers and be interesting enough that people become curious about your services. Here are a list of essentials:
- Facebook™ personal page.
- Twitter™ account.
- LinkedIn™ profile.
- Snap Chat™ – depending on your demographic.
In this phase, you want to make sure you have a professional photo and maintain consistency with your posting. I recommend social share programs like Buffer™ because you can post to multiple platforms simultaneously. A good rule of thumb is to post at least 3-5 times per week about the service you offer. Instead of coming on too ‘salesy’ share the results of your clients. Also include some lifestyle posts to let people know you are a real person.
Furthermore, it is good to share other people’s posts that resonate with your target audience. For example, if you are a life coach, you might share an article from Psychology Today™ that gives tips on overall happiness. If you are a trainer, you might share exercises from Muscle and Fitness™ online. Sharing other people’s content, especially from validated sources, illustrates that you are paying attention to your field and adds credibility.
At this phase, you are generating you require some form of online commerce and a CRM (customer relationship management) tool. You might also be starting to generate larger sales in real estate or building some form of large following – let’s say for example, you are a fitness model. In this phase, you are going to require all of the Phase One items and a few more.
- Facebook™ Fan Page
This phase is where the monthly costs begin. I am certified in one CRM and am licensed to integrate small businesses. If you are interested in this service, which also comes with training on how to do Phase One, Two, and Three – email email@example.com right now and we will reach out to you. The goal of this program is to save you money in branding and become self-sufficient.
The monthly expected costs to integrate Phase Two can be as low as $99/month right up to $1000/month depending on how much you are willing to take on yourself. Furthermore, website design can run in to five figures or more, the more bells and whistles on your site, the more money it will cost.
At this point, you are generating multiple four or five figures per month online. You require 1-2 staff members and are at the point where you physically cannot do it all. At this phase, we recommend some a la carte options to take it to the next level. These can include:
- Paying for television or media appearances.
- Custom coding for your site.
- Custom campaign building.
- Video production.
- High end graphic design.
My company has a variety of preferred partners that we can recommend once you reach this phase. The cost to do any of these things is going to run you four to five figures. This is why I do not recommend this until you are generating enough revenue to justify the costs.
Lastly, my company Step Into Your Power™ has launched Step Into Your Power ™ Business Solutions. This is a spin-off of our company to help take you through all of the above phases. We only onboard people a limited number of times per year and if you are interested in taking yourself from Phase One to Phase Three expeditiously and cost effectively, email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org .