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Digital branding is something that everyone needs to master, but few get right. Despite this, today’s entrepreneur must dive into the murky Internet marketplace … or sink their own ship. These are the techniques I used to build a following of over eight MILLION people – then, in turn, blow up my business.
The term “digital branding” sounds broad and complicated. While it does cover a spectrum of activities, it is not as confusing as people make it out to be. Once you nail down the fundamentals of this branded content marketing technique, you just have to be consistent to win. However, some of you – especially veteran business owners – are resistant to investing time into this effort.
Trust me, I felt the same way. But waiting to implement digital branding was the biggest mistake I made in my business. AND IT ALMOST COST ME EVERYTHING!
I’ll tell you that story in just a moment. For now, let me make the argument as to why you must establish your online presence as soon as possible.
The fact of the matter is that everyone needs digital branding, whether they own a company or not. This is because how far you go in life depends on being known.
That is why the old saying, “It’s who you know,” isn’t quite right. It is how MANY people know you!
An effective digital marketing strategy helps you reach your target audience and the entire world. In other words, your business’s expansion and revenue become limitless.
That’s the upside of great online brand positioning. But it would be negligent of me to not tell you the danger you’ll be in by failing to take this seriously. Better yet, let me show you how obscurity and “getting comfortable” almost caused my downfall.
Unlike most of you, I did not grow up with the Internet or social media. To be honest, I didn’t put too much stock in it. It wasn’t until disaster struck that I had to give digital branding a second look. I was 50 years old at the time, by the way.
Middle age is not the ideal time to start learning new tricks, but I had no choice. You see, I had achieved a moderate level of success with a niche customer base. Specifically, I presented live sales seminars for car dealerships across the country. Simultaneously, I had some real estate investments working in the background.
The only problem was that I was a big fish in a small pond – and I didn’t realize it. I worked hard and did better than most. Both of those factors gave me a false sense of security. Until the economic crash of 2007 swept that all away in one fell swoop.
Waiting to implement digital branding was the biggest mistake I made in my business … AND IT ALMOST COST ME EVERYTHING!
My customers were paralyzed with fear, so they weren’t buying. The banks had frozen all of my real estate assets, so I had no cash flow. On top of that, my wife Elena was pregnant with our first daughter. I thought this meant we were going to die, but my wife snapped me out of it and told me I had to figure it out.
After some time spent sulking in my office, I realized the huge mistakes I had made: I was reliant on one industry, and not enough people knew me.
Then, a colleague told me about a place online where I could get my message out to millions of people for free: it was called YouTube – and I was allowed to “post” my message as much as I wanted. From there, I made it my No. 1 priority to have a massive social media presence. And, that is what turned everything around.
The rest, as they say, is history.
That being said, I didn’t go viral immediately. I started the same way everyone else does – with zero followers. The difference between me and everyone else is that I had the mindset to persist for my digital branding to work.
And, that is what you need to do for this strategy to work for you, as well.
Like I mentioned earlier, I went all-in on self-promotion because I was in do-or-die circumstances. As a result, I had a much different outlook than the majority of social media users out there. See, most of you think that if there aren’t a lot of likes, comments, etc., your post is a failure.
In contrast, I saw and still see all engagement – in any amount, on any platform – as a score.
The reality is that digital branding is a long game. It takes frequency and consistency over extended periods before you get traction. With this in mind, you must count everything as a win – especially in the beginning. Otherwise, you won’t keep up the momentum.
Nevertheless, there is another aspect to this mindset that is crucial for you to adopt. You gotta shake this idea that you are hitting these channels too much or too often. This is the opposite of how social media gurus and influencers will advise you. However, this practice is the only way to break through the noise in the marketplace.
Now that you’ve got a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset, we can get to the specifics of developing your brand.
Before digging into digital marketing strategies, you must be crystal clear about who you are – as an individual and as a business. Digital branding is an extension of yourself. So you need certainty about your message and core values first.
Whether you have established both or haven’t even thought about it, you should revisit and refine them often. After all, your brand should grow with you and your business. Take the time to nail down your brand voice, values and story.
Often those come from your life experiences which, in turn, makes you attractive to like-minded people – AKA potential customers. With that in mind, let’s talk about finding a great audience in the digital world.
Any kind of brand awareness campaign is reliant on knowing who your target customers are. If you’ve accurately clarified your brand’s mission, this action should be fairly easy. That’s because there are clues within brand messaging for how to communicate with your target audience.
So, start looking at things from this potential buyer’s viewpoint.
You gotta know who you’re talking to if you’re ever going to close the deal – in person or online. That being said, it is also important to understand the ins and outs of each digital platform.
It is not enough to be able to resonate with future clients. You also need to predict how they interact with social media. Now, you might be wondering what that looks like, exactly.
This is the point where you combine the data from the sections above with the purpose of the various platforms.
See, Joe Customer is going to present himself differently on LinkedIn than he will on his Instagram or Facebook accounts. I can guarantee that on TikTok, he will be unrecognizable.
But, you have to be able to sell to Joe in whatever digital space he runs into you. For that reason, research the “personalities” of these social media outlets and adjust your posts to fit the dynamic.
Doing this will already put you leagues above the competition. Still, you don’t want to compete … You want to dominate. The best way to do that is to determine who else can you get your products in front of.
Customer loyalty is great – until it ain’t. Like in my story earlier, relying on a specific customer base is like relying on one type of income stream. It’s stupid and puts you and your family at risk.
There are over 8 billion people in the world. I promise you won’t ever run out of people to market to and who could benefit from your offers. You may have to repackage, adjust or rewrite the messaging; but there is no shortage of customers. In short, you must be creative. And that creativity will become easier, the more committed you are.
On that note, I’ll show you how to build branded content that engages customers, new and old alike.
Now, we are at the part you’ve all been waiting for: how to create the posts that will make a mark on the digital space. This is where all the work you put into the previous exercises begins to pay off. Why?
Because people won’t always spend on what they need, but they will always find money for what they want. For that reason, understanding your prospective buyers’ point of view will guide your content.
We will discuss every type of social media post you can create; but, all of them are going to do three things:
For example, let’s say you own a health food store. You could educate followers on social media about the benefits of nutritional supplements or superfoods (value). Then, speak on how you have knowledgeable staff who can help guide customers to the right product based on their specific needs (goodwill). And after these, the post will wrap up with a call to action for them to visit your store or order online (making an offer).
Are you getting the idea? Great!
Next month, I’ll walk you through the nuts and bolts of getting this valuable content online.
A New York Times bestselling author, Cardone is the world’s No. 1 sales trainer and an internationally renowned speaker on leadership, real estate investing, entrepreneurship, social media and finance. His privately-held companies have annual revenues exceeding $100 million. Forbes named him No. 1 of the “25 Marketing Influencers to Watch in 2017.” He regularly appears on Fox News, Fox Business, and MSNBC and writes for Forbes, Success Magazine, Business Insider, CNBC, and Entrepreneur. He urges his followers and clients to make success their duty, responsibility and obligation. He currently resides in South Florida with his wife and two daughters.
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