While large businesses understand the non-negotiable importance of branding via digital marketing, most of my freelancing peers shortchange themselves from this ample opportunity.
But here's the thing: whether you own a Fortune 500 company or you're just trying to make some spare change on your personal blog, your branding can make all the difference in helping you stand out from the never-ending tough crowd of competition.
It's Not About You
Newsflash: there are a whole lot of really good freelancers out there. They're all vetting for the same clients, hustling that same grind, and ready to throw down their time and energy to rise to the top.
Branding isn't about you. It's about what your clients want and need. Jeff Bezos, the CEO
If you don't have any semblance of branding right now, that's okay! Start with asking yourself a few fundamental questions.
- What do I want people to say about my business?
- How do I want people to feel about my business?
- What kind of people will use my business, anyway?
Before you tackle your digital marketing strategy, you need to answer those questions. Don't know yet? That's your work. No excuses. Being able to answer these questions will help you narrow down your target demographic- that, in turn, will help you shape your branding.
What's In a Name, Anyway?
A lot. That's what. Catchy names matter and you want yours to be just as memorable as your favorite book, movie, or band. In my experience helping colleagues with company domain names (yes, even freelancers can benefit from them), I've discovered a few takeaway tips:
- Don't get too kitschy with it. What's trending now will seem outdated in two years.
- .com is always superior if you're freelancing (it's universally accepted and memorable).
- Get specific without limiting yourself (it's a fine line, but an important line!)
Avoid numbers unless they're relevant. When in doubt, run your name by a few people and see what they think. When I came up with one of my blog names, Soul of Therapy , a few years ago, that's exactly what I did.
Always Provide Solutions
When it comes down to it, the premise of any successful business is always the same. The product or service provides a solution to a customer's problem. Successful freelancers know how to provide solutions in everything they do- this comes down to every single blog post, social media hashtag, and guest comments.
You want to establish expertise in your field, and that means coming from a source of knowledge and generosity (as you want to be able to demonstrate that you can give your knowledge away).
Solutions aren't optional, and they shouldn't be exclusive to only your current, paying customers. They need to be easily accessible to every single person who lands on your website- whether it was an intentional landing or not.
The Relationships Come First
The bottom line to branding? The relationships you cultivate with other professionals and clients stands out above any of the work you do. People don't always remember what they bought or needed from you- they will, however, remember shoddy versus excellent customer service. They will remember the way you made them feel.
Stay professional and friendly, but also stay authentic to your voice. Your voice, after all, defines your brand.