We live in a time more than ever that makes it possible to build wealth with nothing more than a laptop and a smartphone. More than 10% of the workforce identified as self-employed in the recent years, and you can expect those numbers to grow by leaps and bounds.
However, not all self-employed entrepreneurs are created equal.
Those who will really get a piece of the pie in 2018 are the ones who learn how to market, create a brand, and provide authentic value.
Since you’re responsible for everything from PR to accounting with your self-employed business, you also have little room for error in this regard.
Below, we’ll take a look at the four keys for winning in 2018 with solid branding and marketing practices.
KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND LEAN INTO IT
As an entrepreneur, you stand out from the pack already.
Since you’re all alone competing with other entrepreneurs and corporate giants, the worst thing you could do is try to blend in.
This is a common trap people to fall into.
For instance, a single mom with a thriving business might neglect to share their personal story, and instead, take the mainstream approach that others in the same area of business apply. This does more harm than good, because by sharing your story, struggle, and authenticity, you’re better able to attract people that identify with you on a personal level.
No matter what business you run, you need to think of yourself as a media company. In the same way that companies look to find common ground and build an emotional rapport, you’ll need to figure out what makes you unique and build on it, rather than shy away from it.
By connecting with your authenticity and allowing yourself to be honest and vulnerable, customers will feel compelled to support you for the long haul, which is the dream of every budding entrepreneur.
MASTER (INTELLIGENT) SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
You probably know that social media is important by now, but in 2018, make sure that you’re refining your approach to it.
Smartphone use rose to close to 70% of the population last year, and you can bet that this number will only rise.
People seek information and entertainment while on the go, so you need to make sure that you’re hitting your benchmarks and reaching people in a way that counts.
This means keeping up with key changes in platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, so that you don’t get left behind. These services change rapidly, so you’ll need to adopt practices that serve you.
For instance, changes in Facebook make it less friendly for free searches. To really stand out from the crowd, you’ll need to set aside some marketing money to boost your advertising. Video content is more important than ever across all platforms, which is why investing in a DSLR and some editing software might be a great idea this year.
The key is to always learn and adapt, and use the social media platform to serve you, rather than just joining the noise and clutter.
CREATE CONTENT THAT ENGAGES AND PROVIDES VALUE
This is a key that really sets you apart, and that those trying to get a quick cash grab will never get.
No matter what business you run, providing value comes first and asking for money comes second.
Maybe even third or later. Seriously.
Instead of just filling blog posts with links or creating sales video, tap into the psyche of your customers to see how you can fill their needs. Think of them as your tribe, rather than just people that are lining your pockets.
When you focus on giving and engaging with authenticity, money will be a happy and natural byproduct. In terms of marketing it makes sense as well, because people are being sold to every single day and on every platform they access.
By creating loads of free value, it takes the pressure off the consumer and helps them fall in love with your brand and vision. When you do finally ask for a sale, they’ll feel compelled to support you no matter what thanks to the free content you’ve created without asking for anything in return.
DON’T GET STUCK IN AN SEO RUT
Mastering SEO is a constant evolution that requires you to change and learn.
SEO in 2018 will look much different than SEO in 2017, so you need to upgrade your optimization or get left behind.
For instance, voice search, snippets, and a greater emphasis on context will rule SEO this year, so you need to make sure that you’re honing your strategies accordingly. You’ll also want to optimize your videos, since this is how the majority of web users are accessing content today.
When you apply the four principles explained above, you can expect your marketing endeavors to be fruitful this year and beyond. Use these tips to the best of your ability, as you grow your entrepreneurial ventures and strive for success.