When you begin your online business, your confidence is never 100%. Doubts inevitably creep in. Do you have what it takes to make your business profitable? And, even if you’re certain of your abilities, will you be able to influence the number of people you need to build a successful business?
For a number of reasons, you may have decided that your online branding should not include you ~ neither your name, nor your face. In many cases this is an unfortunate decision. Branding *YOU* is the easiest way to show your unique greatness to the market. Also, people like to do business with people over companies. If you are the face of your online branding, rather than a logo or a company name, it’s therefore easier for you to appeal to your audience.
The good news is, no matter how you’ve decided to do business, your online branding can still include you. If you are not doing business online as “you.com,” you are either doing business as a company, an affiliate, or through a direct sales company. Let’s look at how you can still brand you in each case.
1. Online Branding for Companies
Using a company name rather than your own name doesn’t mean you have to hide behind your company. I’ll show you two great examples. ME Marketing Services is a social media management company run by Mandy Edwards. Mandy uses a business name, but there’s no doubt that she’s handling your social media management. Here’s a look at Mandy’s website:
She’s clearly branded as her company, but you also see her photo at the top of her website, as well as the “Meet Mandy” and “Mandy’s Work” sections in the header of her blog. This is a great example of how to combine a company with “you.”
Another good example is Michele Quinn and her company Fan Page Focus. While her Facebook Page carries her company name, there’s no doubt who the company is:
She has a photo of herself, rather than a company logo, and has her name and title in her cover photo. This is another great example of how your company can include “you” in your online branding.
2. Online Branding for Affiliates
Affiliate marketing used to be easy. Find a hot niche, buy some Google Adwords, and drive traffic to an affiliate page. Not so much anymore. Again, people want to buy from people. And “people” have names and faces.
That doesn’t mean affiliate marketing is dead. You just have to market yourself as a person, and sell other people’s products that you actually use. Lisa Irby does a good job of this. Her business is 2CreateAWebsite. But her picture and bio are right there at the top of her blog:
You will have a much better chance of being a profitable affiliate marketer if you are a person selling products you can personally endorse like Lisa does. Not only does she market products related to website development, as a bonus, she’s been able to create her own products teaching what she knows about affiliate marketing.
3. Online Branding for Direct Sales
Finally, if you are in direct sales – also known as network marketing or MLM – don’t, do not, and never rely on your company replicated website to be your online branding. First of all, this is a bad idea because you have no ability to maximize the SEO value of the site. It’s completely controlled by the company. And, it goes away if you leave the company or the company leaves you. And, you are left with nothing.
I know the company usually lets you upload a photo of yourself for your sight, and have some sort of “about me” section, but these details don’t outweigh the above problems.
So, instead of primarily promoting your business, promote your business through yourself. My friend Stacy Stevens is the best example I know. Her website tells the story:
Stacy’s website is clearly about her, but, right there in her header you can learn about her company “It Works.” The advantages of this branding are huge. First, if she ever went to another company, she’s attracted a team that is loyal to her brand, not her company’s brand, so they’ll follow her.
Second, in addition to marketing her direct sales company, she can offer leadership coaching and branding services. Opening up multiple income streams is always a smart move, obviously.
I hope you can see how your online branding can effectively include you, no matter how you decide to structure your online business or what you decide to market. Do you focus on you in your online branding? Are there other ways you use to make sure your market gets to know you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.