Today I want to share my experience in what I did when no one knew who I was, basically when I was a nobody. No one was asking me to be on podcasts. No one was pitching me to see if I would let them be on a podcast. And brands were definitely not partnering with me. I knew I needed to work on my brand visibility, especially to prepare for any slow seasons.
I didn’t want to become a somebody just for the sake of popularity. After looking at other business owners, I assumed that by growing an audience and increasing my visibility, it would probably make it easier to get more clients. So today I want to share with you a few things I did that worked really well to help me increase my visibility.
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The first thing I did to increase visibility was start my YouTube channel.
But the key thing to remember here is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be YouTube. I chose YouTube because there weren’t many people in my circle of friends, or in the Facebook groups I was in, doing YouTube. Now I was by no means the first entrepreneur to be on YouTube, or the first designer on YouTube, not even close, so I’m not trying to say that, not at all. But just in my little circle of the internet, I was one of the few on YouTube when I first started, which helped my brand visibility a lot. Creating video content helped me stand out because there weren’t a ton of people doing it, but also because video helps you connect with people really easily. When they see you and hear your voice, it builds that know, like and trust factor much faster than blogs.
Podcasting can also be great for connecting and brand visibility because you’re still hearing someone’s voice. Now based on my own personal experience with creating blogs, videos and podcast content over the last few years, video has always brought me the most clients out of those three. This could totally depend on you and your audience though. I think it’s a matter of experimenting with different types of content. I would first poll your audience and ask what type of content they like to consume most. And then honestly, give it time. Set realistic expectations. You might not get 100 views on your first video. You might not get 100 downloads on your 50th podcast episode. You might not get a client from your content for six months. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. It does take time.
The second thing I did was actually more a collection of things because it was a goal I set in 2017 to be featured 35 times.
I actually surpassed this goal in the fall of 2017, and ended up being featured over 40 times total in different blogs, podcasts, magazines and online summits. I set this goal simply to get more brand visibility. I didn’t have a super specific goal of funneling people into a product or service. For example, usually authors will do a press tour to help promote their new book. It could be book signings in stores, appearing on podcasts, magazine interviews, et cetera. Now it was a really good year. I was able to get in front of a lot of new audiences and connect with new people. But if I could go back, I would’ve been a lot more strategic in what I talked about and where I pitched myself.
In the grand scheme of things, no feature is a bad feature unless it’s actually something bad about you. But for example, I was on a podcast talking about how to use Pinterest to drive traffic to your website and your content. Yes, it’s something I’ve talked about on my own content channels. It’s related to the work I do. But it wasn’t the greatest topic to use in front of a brand new audience because I didn’t have a product, a service, or even a freebie to drive people to after that interview. I wasn’t niched down yet in my business at that point like I am now, but if I were to redo that goal this year, I would really try to specifically get in front of the health and wellness audiences more, not just general business or female business owner audiences, which actually leads me into the last thing I did, which was what I just mentioned. I niched down.
A lot of people are really afraid of niching down because they think, “Well, why would I want to narrow down my potential audience? Why would I want to exclude someone?” But this is actually a tiny bit easier to do in the health and wellness field because many of you have a specialty, like your degree, or your certification might be in pediatrics, so that’s really the only people you should probably work with. But you can still niche down within that. For instance, if you are a certified diabetes educator (like Kim!), you could choose to only work with type two, or type one, or you could, say, only work with type one females, or type two males, or whatever demographic best fits your business and your skills.
I decided to niche down into health and wellness for really two main reasons.
First, I have always really enjoyed health and fitness. Being a type one diabetic for basically my entire life, my health is at the forefront of my mind. I played sports in high school. I’ve been working out pretty much consistently for probably 10 years now, so it’s definitely a passion and a hobby of mine. But also, I looked back at some of my favorite clients I’ve had in the last few years, and two specifically stuck out in my mind. Kristen was one of the first web design clients I ever had, which I don’t even know if she knew that at the time. And I loved working with her so much. And she was a personal, or is a personal trainer. That was actually back in 2015, and we haven’t formally worked together since then. But she’s been a beta tester for me several times and has really done so much to support me and vice versa since we last worked together.
Then another favorite client of mine, Katie, is also a personal trainer. She was referred to me by Kristen. And honestly, Katie and I really bonded over tacos. Not that we’ve ever met in person, or eaten tacos together, though I’m trying to make it happen. But I love her personality. And like I said, we both love tacos. And she was a total joy to work with. These two ladies really stuck out in my mind. And I realized they were both personal trainers, and so it just clicked. I wanted to work with health and fitness coaches. Now again, I know a lot of people are afraid to niche down and exclude people. But I found that it’s actually easier to stand out in a niche market. I can run around to everyone saying, “I’m a web designer,” and they’d probably be like, “Well, yeah. And I know 1000 other web designers.”
But when I say, “I’m a web designer that works with health and fitness coaches,” that makes me more memorable and my brand more visible.
Like I’ve mentioned before on this podcast, if I need brain surgery some day, I want to go to the best brain surgeon, not just some general practitioner. So I’m going to Google best brain surgeon in Atlanta. And the same goes for anything else, so if a trainer is Googling web designers, there’s a potential chance they could Google web designers for personal trainers or fitness coaches. And there’s a chance that I might show up in that Google search result because I’ve optimized my site to do so. By niching down and then carrying that over into my content and what I post on social media, that helps my brand visibility with a very specific market.
Now the common theme between these three things is that I did something different. I started doing video when none of my friends were. I pitched myself to podcasts when a lot of people are too afraid to even put themselves out there like that. And I differentiated myself when others like to keep their target market more broad. I just want to encourage you to figure out what you might need to do in your own business to increase your brand visibility. If you have questions about how you might do this, or questions about anything I mentioned, please feel free to DM me on Instagram at @JessCreatives.