It’s pretty clear… if you want to build a successful business you need to start up a digital business. Don’t get me wrong, you still need to speak to real human beings at networking events and talks, however, digital is where it is at. This article is for anyone who is feeling confused about how to start this business. I want to start off with this idea.
Intellectual property is an underutilised business model in the 21st century. It is the monetisation of ideas.
Quite simply, a digital business as a personal brand is the monetisation of ideas that have been organised under a framework. This framework aims to solve a specific set of problems for a target audience. Customers are help using various platforms such as online content, video courses, events and one-to-one consulting. Below I will highlight the key steps to starting a digital business.
Determine your Superpowers
As an entrepreneur, you need to be confident about your skill set, and how that skill set can help solve a specific problem. For example, you may be really good at providing relationship advice and helping repair damaged relationships. If this is the case, how can you evidence that you are good at this? Is it based on your years of experience? Do you have testimonials from people? Do you have any qualifications that support your skills? Determine your super skillset and back it up with evidence. If you don’t have evidence, the best thing to do is gather experience for free, and get as many testimonials as you can. This will help you understand your processes, and be a lead magnet for attracting new clients.
If you feel that you don’t have a set of sought after skills, is there something you would really like to learn? And if so how much so? Your ability to learn a new skill is based on motivation and desire. If this is not present, then do not waste your time!
Understand Market demand
The next thing is determining the demand for the market by checking places like Google, Clickbank, Udemy, and Amazon to see what people are buying. This is a form of validation that you need to do and can’t skip. You will be checking for courses, books, products and services in your niche, and determining the volume available online. If the search volume is high, you know there is definitely demand. If the search volume is low, then it may indicate that it will be difficult to enter this market. Generally, it’s good to get into a market that is thriving already. If it is too big, then it will be dependent on how niche you go with your products and services.
You may even want to survey your market such as asking them “What is the one thing you want to know about….” When you get responses from this, you should identify the themes and analyse the information. You should be able to clearly see the demand for specific problems that need to be solved by your audience. If you can’t survey people, you can use the same principle on Quora. This is a great question and answer website that can help you do solid market research. See what people have asked in your industry throughout the year and see what themes pop up also.
The aim is to create a product or service that directly solves people’s problems, as well as creating content that solves a need. For example, a childminder may develop content that helps parents with bringing up their children. Educate people as often as possible using content from the criteria you have developed
It starts with Keywords
Qualify and verify the keywords to be used in your industry. Check out auto-suggested and related keywords on Google and YouTube. Write down a list of these keywords on a spreadsheet in order to generate ideas. In addition, look at topic titles and content pages in books on Amazon to get more ideas. This list of words can then be used in Google Adword’s Keyword Planner, which will help give you an idea of traffic volume for paid ads. If you find keyword phrases that have high traffic and low competition, it could be an indicator that you should use that keyword. Generate a priority list of keywords to focus on when developing your content.
It’s about the Hangout
Think about where your audience hangs out, and think about where you hang out. If you are going for a professional feel then LinkedIn is great for you. At the moment its algorithm has great reach for your audience and is proving to have really good organic engagement on the platform. If you’re going for a more educational feel then YouTube and Facebook (video) are great for you. Like any online platform, YouTube and Facebook care about how long users stay on their site, as well as whether content creators develop engaging material. If you’re going for a more creative feel then Instagram and Pinterest are for you. Like all of them, this is a time commitment and requires you to be unique and creative for your niche. Check out what other thought leaders are doing in your industry.
You may want to create a content calendar to help you structure your content to give you peace of mind, but at the same time, this may interrupt your flow. Spontaneous posts are also a good way to engage with your audience, especially if it fits with breaking news or a seasonal theme. You may also want to start doing Lives such as with Facebook, YouTube, Hangouts, and Instagram. This can consist of Q&A sessions weekly or monthly. This is a fantastic way to validate your expertise and develop your relationship.
Every time you do keynote at an event, make sure you film it and publish it online. Get someone to film your talks, or use your smartphone and a stand. Then post your talk on your website, YouTube and Facebook. You can also export the MP3 and upload it onto your podcast, as well as transcribe it and turn it into an article. What’s also great about this is that you can produce micro-content, and generate more ideas for content. Capturing your keynotes are a great way of generating content.
You also want to capture moments when you are building or creating your products and services. Showing your journey creates relatability with your audience. This is typically done on Facebook and Instagram Stories, as well as Lives. The more you capture, the more content you have, which is your tool for attracting your audience.
Develop an attractive offer
You need to be able to provide an offer to people such as a report, video series or webinar that invites people to get their problem(s) solved or addressed for free in exchange for their information. I’ll be honest, as a personal brand the best way to do this is to offer a signature talk. This can be a video series, a longer educational training video or a webinar. Whatever it is it must be a presentation that educates your prospects. Check thought leaders in your industry and see what sponsored Ads they are running on Facebook and look at their funnels. You can check this by going onto their Facebook pages and clicking on “Info and Ads.” If you did this for 50 different people and recorded your results in a table, you’d get an idea of what people do in your industry.
To develop your offer think back at the key problems highlighted in your research. Use that information to develop a compelling offer.
Create a Value Ladder
Once you have done this you can start thinking about your value ladder and how you can introduce value to people. What does the natural progression from prospect to paying customer look like?
Is it a free video series, then a membership site, then an event and then maybe 1-to-1 coaching?
Think about your products and services as ways to leverage your time and services with integrity. Consulting services are great as they actively solve the problem for your customers. In-depth video courses are fantastic for giving people step-by-step advice they can always refer to. You can use screencast software to record your videos such as Camtasia or QuickTime. You can also use platforms like Teachable, Thinkific or sales funnel building software like Clickfunnels to host your video course or membership site. Coaching is also great provided you have years of valid experience and testimonials to back it up. Remember a lot of your information is out there for free but your aim is to create clear and concise step-by-step information that helps your audience as fully as possible.
Marketing is an Active Process
Marketing requires work, work that a lot of people can’t be bothered to do. You should still be using methods such as networking, public speaking, and email to attract an audience. Furthermore, getting featured in publications, guests posts and expos are more ways to market your products and services. Other common paid marketing routes include PPC options such as Facebook Ads. If you start out creating a Facebook Ad don’t make it complicated, if you want more leads use a lead form if you want conversions then do a conversion Ad, if you want brand awareness do a brand awareness Ad. Facebook’s algorithm is smart enough to know how you can get the results you want.
This article should have given you enough to go on to start your digital business as a personal brand. Follow the strategies succinctly and systematically develop and grow your digital business as a personal brand.