When creating a website or developing marketing materials for yourself, a starting point might seem to be listing your awards and accomplishments. You likely have admirable credentials and skills that could be noted. If you have a long track record or experience, it could seem fitting to include these too.
While these are all valid points, individuals who see these resources may not be strongly attached to statements that focus on you. As visitors click on to your website, they might only glance at the achievements you have listed there. They’re more likely to look for material that speaks to them.
That’s why, when building a personal brand, I always encourage professionals to think about their customers and target audience first. Once you understand what they’re looking for, you can address their needs. You’ll be able to design solutions that resolve their challenges and help them improve their lives or businesses.
Follow these steps to create a personal brand that helps others connect to you.
1. Walk in Your Customer’s Shoes
I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the work of Donald Miller, bestselling author of “Building a Story Brand,” through my coach Rod Santomassimo, founder of the Massimo Group. Miller emphasizes the importance of understanding the problems you are helping your customers solve. Instead of focusing solely on showcasing your strengths, direct your attention to your customers and their needs.
2. Create Customer Avatars
Before I sat down to build my own personal website, JamesNelson.com, I spent ample time thinking about the audience. I created avatars who represented the types of visitors who would likely be interested in the site. I did the same during the process of writing my book, “The Insider’s Edge to Real Estate Investing.” It was important to know who the book was for and why they would choose it. The audience included college students and individuals who were just starting to learn about real estate and think about making their first investment. It also consisted of veteran real estate investors who might be looking to step up their game. Addressing multiple audiences can work, as long as you have meaningful messages for each one.
3. Craft A Compelling Value Proposition
Spend some time thinking about the value you provide to your customers. You’ll want to clearly define your value proposition and highlight how your products or services solve your customer’s pain points. Focus on the benefits they will gain by connecting with you. My speaking coach, Joel Weldon, is quick to note that the audience is always more interested in what’s in it for them as opposed to hearing about you. The more your marketing materials can speak to those points, the better.
4. Emphasize How They Can Improve
As you address your customer’s challenges and provide solutions, be sure to include how their lives or businesses will change. On your website or other promotions, help individuals see what they’ll be able to accomplish if they connect with you. Perhaps they’ll be able to increase their savings, build a portfolio, or reduce the length of time they need to accomplish tasks. If the customer can envision themselves in a new way, they may be more likely to reach out for what you’re offering.
5. Establish Yourself As The Expert
As you share resources, focus on providing the information your target audience is hoping to find. If you can give them what they’re looking for, they’ll start seeing you as an individual who can help solve their problems. The chances of them turning to you the next time they need a solution will increase as well.
Once you place yourself in the journey of a consumer, you’ll be able to connect with them and provide a product or service that helps them solve their problems. As you do so, think of the values you stand for, and how that sets you apart from competitors. The more you can reach customers on an emotional level and establish yourself as an expert, the more you’ll grow your network and future business opportunities.