Have you thought about starting your own company? Perhaps an online business is a good option to save on costs? Or maybe you already have a business but are looking to take it to the online world to increase your number of customers? These are questions that must go through many entrepreneurs’ minds nowadays.
But sometimes, it is a daunting idea to venture into the universe of e-commerce. After all, it can be difficult to compete with the big brands that have already made a name for themselves and have a broad and loyal customer base.
Yes, it is a challenging task, but it is not impossible to get into the fight and claim your own market share. There are many examples of businessmen and businesswomen who did it, such as Barrington and Sara McIntosh, who started their own coffee business.
You can do it too, provided you make the right choices and take the right steps. A big part of this involves personal branding. So here are some tips on how to brand yourself online that can help you on your path to building your own empire.
Choose the Right Products to Sell
The first decision you’ll have to make is what niche you want to be in. At first, the best choice would seem to be an area where you have some knowledge, but this may not always be the case.
Likewise, it can be tempting to choose a market that is currently trending, which will allow you to quickly make some money, but trends can vanish quickly, leaving you wondering what to do to save your business.
So, the best course may be to choose a market that is always strong and stable and then build your knowledge on it. Of course, this is easier said than done, but the path to success is seldom an easy one. A good way to start could be to check the Amazon website for the bestselling products.
Ideally, you’ll also want to choose a market where customers are loyal and stick to a brand they like, which will ensure a steady income. A good example of this is the smartphone market. It is really difficult for a loyal iPhone customer to switch over to Samsung, and vice versa.
Choose a Good Brand Name
This can be a crucial part of your business branding. The first reason for this, of course, is that it can be difficult to change the name later. Sometimes it can be done successfully to indicate that you’re changing your strategy or moving to a new market niche, but it is always a risky move.
Secondly, you’ll want a catchy name, but one that does not limit the kind of products you are selling. For example, if you only sell apples but are planning on also selling oranges in the future, it may not be wise to name your company Apple Co., but Fruit Co. instead.
When you’ve settled on a name, you can then run it through search engines to see if any brands currently exist with that name. Do the same on a domain registrar like GoDaddy and also on Amazon. If you don’t find anything, then you’re probably good to go.
The brand name is really important to get right the first time, but the logo and website not so much. Don’t waste too much time searching for the perfect logo or flawless website. While these aspects are important, it is not worth it to spend 50% more time to make them look only 10% better. Initially, you’ll want to focus more on things that get your business going, like sorting things out with your suppliers or getting your first product reviews.
You have your brand, but now you need to sell that brand to others in a convincing way. In a way, that brand is part of you, so selling your brand is not completely separate from branding yourself.
Since your image will be associated with the brand, you’ll want to manage your online image in the best way possible. One of the things you could do is to make your own website or blog. A blog is really effective because it allows you to share your achievements and unique thoughts on the industry. The goal is to be catchy, but be true to yourself. Your business motto should reflect your own ambitions and vice versa.
Another way to brand yourself is to attend networking events, conferences, talks, or even coffee meetings. This type of events can be beneficial if you are good at communicating face-to-face, which leads us to the next tip.
Communication is not just about answering phone calls and going to meetings. If you want to create real bonds with your customers, partners or suppliers, you have to take some time outside of meetings to talk to them. This gives you the opportunity to really connect and get to know them better, share your ideas, and show them what you and your business are about.
Communication can also be in the form of social networks like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Make good use of these platforms because through them you can convey your message to a lot of people at the same time. But don’t limit yourself to posting information. Read the comments that visitors are making and take some time to reply, giving them support or advice when needed. The feedback they leave you can also be a precious tool to reassess your strategy and look at the areas of your business that need improving.
We’ve discussed some helpful tips that can help with how to brand yourself online, or even your business.
But don’t take it just from us. There are other valuable sources of information out there from people who went through the same process you’re going through right now.
Take the example of Barrington and Sara McIntosh that we’ve mentioned earlier. They outlined a plan, went online and successfully established their coffee business. They are sharing their expertise in their Coffee Master Class, where they are teaching people how to successfully brand themselves and their products.