The Future of Branding is Personal
We all have a personal brand — we just have to decide how big we want that personal brand to be and how to create it.
If you have thoughts, ideas, a strong belief system, or any kind of value to add, then people want to know more about you, follow & work with you. When you put these out for people to discover, you are essentially building your brand, which leads to countless opportunities, opens up a way to build your own community, and fetches great value for your work.
When Bill Gates comes up with his '5 books to enjoy this summer' list every year, some of us go through it, put the books in our must-read list, and even gift to friends — this is an effect of personal branding that created trust, and this doesn't happen because of ads, billboards, or fancy websites.
If you focus on the word 'personal', in personal branding, you will see that you don't have to be a big company to be known or heard. You can just be yourself - 'Me, Inc'., and still have huge impacts similar to a large company.
Why email marketing?
It has been said many times & if you want another validation, we will say it again — emails work. For any industry and any person when done right. And email can be much more effective than any social media, affiliates, or WhatsApp forwards.
Let me tell you why.
When someone signs up for your emails, they are permitting you to send them content, offers (& even cat GIFs). And once you have someone’s permission, you also have their attention, and this builds your relationship with them.
We know the attention span on social media platforms is as good as that of a goldfish. But you can always integrate social media strategy with your emails later on in your journey. So, let's focus on email marketing first.
Another reason email is so central to personal branding is its reach.
There are about 5.59 billion active email accounts, and the number is only rising. The email has stood the test of time.
A 5-Step Guide to Personal Branding Through Email
1. Build Your List
The term 'subscriber list' is nowadays more famous than ‘growth hacks’. But, unlike those hacks, a list actually helps increase your level of abundance & attract true fans. If you set it up a proper landing page, website banner, or subscribe pop-ups, they could fetch you emails day and night, and you could be on your way to building 'Me, Inc.'
Let’s look at an example of a good landing page.
When you are building a personal brand and plan to use the power of email marketing, the aim of your landing page should be to give people a snippet of who you are, what you believe in, and what value can you add to the reader if they become a part of your community.
Here is an example of how Allison Malson uses a landing page that clearly defines what she does and what you will get access to if you click the button - ‘Get Instant Access’. This page uses a single CTA ( call-to-action), which is one of the key features of a good landing page. A single CTA is important so that you don’t distract your audience with some other action.
The goal — folks should pass on their email address to you. Two tips for creating a good landing page:
Make it pleasing: You don't like ugly things. Neither do your readers or their brothers.
Make it clear & concise: Tell them briefly, beautifully & exactly what they will get if they give you their Email ID.
Elements of Effective Pop-Ups and Website Banners for Email Collection
Here are examples from two influential folks who use pop-ups and website banners to collect emails.
Two very clear elements from landing page, pop-ups or banners — clearly defining how you can help the audience (value proposal), and if someone wants that help what do they need to do (CTA).
Don't Forget SEO
All of the prettiness and sexy copy won't mean jack if people can't discover you online. Hence next is SEO.
Optimizing your landing page for SEO signals will mean more visibility, more visitors, and thus more people willing to be part of your email list. And since building a personal brand is a marathon and not a sprint, it makes sense to invest in activities that will reap benefits in the long term.
And, don't forget to put a great picture of yourself on your landing page. Everyone likes to put a face to the name.
2. Sharing Your Content: Choosing the Right Platform
Don’t wait for your list to get huge before you send your first newsletter or email. Think about how you can engage your audience, and your list will grow. But even before that, think about how you can leverage all the platforms and software nerdy entrepreneurs built to help you store & nurture your list.
How are you going to share your content, measure engagement levels, and take necessary action to fix potential problems?
The answer is email marketing platforms. While these platforms require payment, they also provide the immense benefits of saving time and giving you the peace of mind that your emails will be sent exactly when you intend them to (even when you are sipping your perfectly chilled coconut water or hiking mount Kilimanjaro).
If you search on the web for 'email marketing software,' you will get overwhelmed with choices claiming to be best, popular, affordable, customizable, or the cutest. Don't get swayed by promises. Most platforms provide a free trial for a few days, so test out the ones you like and then make a decision.
Here are some basic features you should check for before buying any subscription:
Lead capture: Fetches and stores contact information from web forms and landing pages.
Mass Delivery: Sends emails in big batches.
Segmentation: Groups emails by common traits.
Automated Journeys: Sends a series of predefined emails based on some trigger.
Email templates: Provides professional looking and easy to customize templates.
Metrics: Tracks open rate and click-to-open rate — two of the most important features to ensure that you are reaching out to the right audience with content that they want to read.
Go for something powerful, yet understandable, and manageable. There are many email marketing platforms that you can choose based on pricing, level of automation, ease of use, and other features.
3. Make a Good First Impression
Email subscribers are less likely to forget you and engage more with you if you make a good first impression with a series of emails telling them about your inspiring, moving, and interesting story.
That story demands to be told. But you may wonder if it is a lot of work to send an email whenever someone signs up? Not with automated email flows.
In your email marketing software, you can set up a rule that whenever someone new signs up, they should be sent a series of emails before you send them your regular emails or newsletters.
An automated series of welcome emails can look like this:
1. In the first email: Thank the person for subscribing to your newsletter and introduce them to your other social media channels too. Tell them about your schedule of publishing blogs, or sending the newsletter.
2. In the second email: Tell them your story - how you started, who you are and how will you add value to them
3. Finally, Introduce links to some of your best content from archives.
It doesn't have to be complicated at the beginning — just informative. Eventually, when you have a product, service, or free course, you can have a 4th email to send your list a free guide, course, or link to your product.
Once a subscriber has gone through this welcome funnel, you can create a rule to add their email to your broadcast list. And then, they will get all your regular emails. This is just one of the examples of automated flows. Once you are a ninja, you can do other things too.
4. Making Your Brand Sticky
Making something that sticks in people’s minds is not dependent on one factor, but three:
- How recognizable it is.
- How often and how consistently they see it.
- How relatable it is.
So let’s talk about how to achieve these.
A consistent brand style-font, logo, tone of writing, and style of emails helps your audience recognize you right away and builds trust in the long term. Choose a style guide that you can keep up with, in the long term. Something simple, quick to use, and mobile-friendly.
Be consistent with your schedule so that your email builds into people's routines. You can always write emails in advance and use the scheduling features built into your email marketing software. For the love of furry felines, stick to one day of the week and a specific time to send your emails.
People prefer content that is original, relatable, easy to read, and has a friendly tone. Ultimately, you are writing to Adam, who reads your email religiously with his Sunday morning coffee or Samantha, who opens it on her long commute to work.
You are conversing with people and not just blasting to the list. So write authentically and truly.
5. Figure Out What Is Working
Building your personal brand is not a one-time activity. It is an ongoing process, and to see if you are on the right track, you should check your list health and email performance which will cover 5 major elements:
List Health - Check subscriber growth, unsubscribe rate, and the number of active members (people who have opened your email at least once in the last 1 month, 3 months, or any time period that you define).
Email Performance - Check open rate (people who received the email divided by people who opened it) and click-through rate (people who opened the email divided by people who clicked on any links in it).
These five metrics will tell you how your strategy is working.
Don't go crazy over every metric or tracking every metric down to the decimal, and don't worry about making excel sheets with scary formulas. Most email marketing platforms have dashboards that you can configure and just look at once a week to see how you are doing.
These numbers will give you an idea about what kind of email your audience likes and whether you are adding actual value to them. Based on numbers, do more of what is working & less/none of what is not. This will keep your audience engaged, and their social sharing/word of mouth will help you grow your personal brand.
Building a personal brand might take time and effort, but it is totally worth it. Email #55 will definitely be better than email #3. So keep refining your message and your brand. You won't be perfect at the beginning.
I would again reiterate the importance of personal branding by saying that change is inevitable — online, in markets, in jobs, and even at your own company. But one thing you will always have is your personal brand.
Your 'Me, Inc.' That is unique and should be used to earn abundance, freedom, and growth. When you couple it with email marketing, you will be able to build a great strategy to grow your personal brand. Go and build it!
Figure out what you want to say and what kind of personal brand you want to build. Use multiple channels like social media, email marketing, collaborations, meet-ups, etc., to spread your ideas, words, and work.
We would love to hear what you think about using email marketing to build your personal brand, so do let us know in the comments section.