One of the main ways I drive revenue to my businesses is through my personal brand. People are learning about my companies through me.
It’s been so effective that I’m able to generate at least 7 figures in income within 12 months of starting a new business… all through my personal brand.
Just look at the screenshot above: it’s the monthly income I generated in December from a marketing business that is less than 4 months old.
So, how did I do it? And, more importantly, how can you replicate the process?
The power of personal branding
The cool part about Google is that it provides a lot of tools to businesses. And many of these tools are free.
One of them is Google Trends. It shows how many people are searching for a brand and how popular the brand is in comparison to others.
The image above shows the popularity of three brands: Crazy Egg, KISSmetrics, and Neil Patel. The Crazy Egg brand is represented by the yellow line, KISSmetrics by the red, and Neil Patel by the blue.
As you can see, my personal brand is almost as popular as both of my companies. And if my companies are able to generate millions of dollars using their own brands, why can’t my personal brand help if it’s almost as popular?
Now that you know how to measure your personal and corporate brand’s popularity, let’s get into how to build a strong personal brand.
How you can build a strong personal brand
Before I go into how you can build a strong personal brand, let me first tell you that it is hard and time-consuming. You can’t expect wonders if you aren’t willing to put in the effort.
Plus, you can’t expect results right away. It will take 6 months to a year of hard work to start seeing results.
But don’t worry, you will see results each and every month. And although you are putting in a lot of time, you’ll see an increase in revenue at the same time, which I will cover in the next section.
When you are starting off, I recommend you use the 5 tactics below:
- Guest-posting – there are a lot of popular blogs on the web. From Forbes, to Entrepreneur, to Inc Magazine… the possibilities are endless. You should be posting on all of these blogs on a monthly basis. If you want to guest-post, all you have to do is follow the steps in this blog post and this one.
- Participate on the social web – just pick 2 or 3 social sites to participate on. Search for people within your industry, and follow them or add them as friends. Once you do this, make sure you participate by answering questions and posting tips. For example, you can do a tip of the week on Facebook and Twitter. It will help brand you as an expert and generate a following, assuming your tips are good.
- Blog – guest blogging isn’t enough. You need to set up your own blog. There is no excuse as you can do this on WordPress for free. All you have to do is blog once a week on topics related to your industry. For example, I blog on marketing because I want to brand myself as a marketer and my companies sell products to marketers. Follow my guide to blogging to get started and this guide to build up your audience.
- Help people – one of the simplest ways to build a positive brand is to help people. When people email you a question, answer it. And when someone stops you at a conference, do whatever you can to help that person. Putting others before yourself will help you build a positive brand.
- Speak at conferences – I don’t care if you have stage fright or you suck at speaking. You have to start somewhere. When I first started speaking at events, I was terrible, but it has helped me build a positive brand. Plus, speaking on stage helps position you as an expert. This old post I wrote should help you get your first speaking spot.
To show you that these 5 strategies work, I’ll give you examples of how I’ve used each of them to earn more income.
- Guest-posting – I’m getting paid $20,000 in the month of February to speak at a conference to 500 marketers because they liked my guest posts on Forbes. The beautiful part about the deal is that the organizers are also promoting Crazy Egg to each attendee, which should help drive new customers to my business. And it’s not just me. Leo Widrich from Buffer drives over 100 signups a day from guest posts. Every time he writes a guest post, and he has written a few hundred, he links to Buffer.
- Social media – can you guess how many visitors my social media accounts drive to my businesses? Maybe you think it’s 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 a month? For December, my accounts drove 12,494 visitors and 62 signups. Total revenue from that traffic was $30,395.
- Blogging – I’ve been blogging for over 10 years. My first blog was a top 100 blog according to Technorati, and Quick Sprout generates over 500,000 monthly visitors… on a bad month. From paid speaking engagements to more signups to my businesses, the blog generates at least $500,000 a year in direct revenue. Indirectly, it generates more, but some of the transactions are hard to track.
- Helping people – once I helped a gentleman at a conference for free. No one else was willing to help him because he had body odor and spoke broken English. Later during the event, he was telling everyone about me. A company called Poker Strategy listened to him and hired my consulting company for $1,200,000. I wasn’t expecting anything from helping the gentlemen out… I just felt no one should pay to go to an event and get no help.
- Speaking at conferences – one of the best events I spoke at was an event in San Diego called Traffic and Conversion Summit. I spoke about marketing to over 3,000 attendees and mentioned my company a few times during my presentation. I didn’t do a hard sell, but my mentions generated over 118 signups. Out of those signups, two were large corporations that spent $50,000 and $125,000 a year. That’s not too bad for a 45-minute speech.
Now that you know the value of personal branding, let’s go over how you can use it to drive revenue.
How to drive revenue from your personal brand
Once you have an audience, generating revenue isn’t very difficult. You don’t have to do any hard selling. As people get to know you, they will naturally want to know what your business does.
For example, Air Canada reads Quick Sprout, and they signed up to KISSmetrics because they learned about my company from this blog.
I didn’t do a hard sell. Instead, they felt that if the content I produced was high in quality, then my company must be great too.
Don’t push your business hard. Mentioning it every once in a while or doing a soft sell is fine. For example, you could mention the company you work for when you speak, link to your company in your guest posting bio, or link to your own site from your blog… all of these things will help drive more revenue.
Being too aggressive will cause you to lose the trust of your audience, which can hurt your personal brand. So, try to avoid it at all costs. Sure, you won’t make as much in the short run, but it will pay off in the long run.
Just look at Quick Sprout… I only link to my companies within my sidebar bio. And every once in a while, I link to my businesses through my blog posts. Yet, I can generate at least $500,000 in income for my businesses from the blog.
Personal branding is a powerful tool. And as I mentioned earlier this week, it’s going to be a huge trend in 2015.
If you are strapped for time and you can’t do all of the things above, start off by helping others. My co-founder Hiten Shah has built a great name for himself in San Francisco, all because he has helped other entrepreneurs without asking for anything in return. This has led him to gain shares in companies like WordPress because he has built a strong personal brand through his generosity.
So, how else can you leverage your personal brand?