Building a brand isn’t only important for large businesses. Independent entrepreneurs, small business, self-starters, and even influencers all depend on their personal brands to attract new clients and retain existing ones.

Building your own brand will help you establish yourself as an authority in your industry, whether that’s real estate, tech, marketing or something else.

Without a strong online presence and local brand recognition, you will always be a step behind your competitors. Why go to you when someone else has countless positive reviews and a professional image?

Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to create a successful brand. There are just a few things you need to consider to get things going.

Finding Your Voice

What kind of brand do you want to be? Are there certain qualities you want people to associate with your brand?

The first step toward developing your personal brand is deciding how you want to be seen by customers.Your brand should reflect yourself and your business. Authenticity is key. When you’re building a personal brand, you have the opportunity to let customers know exactly what they can expect by choosing you over your competitors.

If you want to demonstrate that you are personable, this can be as simple as emphasizing your dedication to customer service by interacting with customers on social media.      

Build a Reputation

Solidifying yourself as trustworthy and authoritative in your industry will go a long way in growing your business. New customers need to trust that you will provide an overall positive experience and fulfill their needs.

One of the easiest and most common ways to do this is to generate reviews and client testimonials. Positive reviews from real customers can be enough to convince a wary customer to give your services a try. There’s a reason so many people search for reviews on sites such as Yelp and Google before making their final decision.

This is particularly important for professionals who work directly with customers.

Real estate agents, for example, face stiff competition in any location. Independent brokers also have to compete with larger companies like RE/MAX for new clients. As such, they rely on testimonials from satisfied buyers and sellers to build reliability and trustworthiness in their communities.

All it takes to generate reviews is to kindly ask customers to leave a testimonial on a website like Yelp or even your own personal website. Satisfied customers will often be more than happy to do this favor.

Implement a Digital Marketing Strategy

Digital marketing is one of the most beneficial things you can do as an independent entrepreneur. People look to the internet for dozens of solutions, from searching for apartments to trying to find the best credit card with no annual fee. To capture this audience, you’ll need to launch a digital marketing campaign.

It can be challenging to create a marketing strategy if you don’t know the basics, but it’s an important part of expanding your brand recognition.

Independent professionals tend to start with social media. Social media marketing is a great way to increase brand recognition by using your personal voice to communicate with your audience. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great ways to share announcements, post pictures and provide customer service.

Additionally, you might want to hire a freelancer to help you with SEO practices and PPC advertising. Search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising allow you to generate conversions from popular search engines such as Google and Bing. It may even be a smart idea to apply for a modest small business loan to help jumpstart and fund your marketing strategy.

Create a Professional Online Website

Many entrepreneurs who provide in-person services, such as real estate agents, neglect to create a business website. But even if your business isn’t conducted online, customers will want  to find you there.

While setting up a business page on Facebook is a great idea, it’s not enough for customers who want to find out more about your services or don’t have a Facebook profile. Though many professionals do have personal websites, they often have outdated designs, lack relevant information and reflect negatively on their business.

Creating a professional website with a modern image, a description of your services, and a place for new and current customers to contact you is critical to your brand’s success.

Fortunately, doing this is easier than ever. Countless services, such as Wix, Squarespace and WordPress, allow people with no web design experience to create professional sites using themes and plugins.

If you want to take it a step further, you can hire a web designer to cater to your specific needs. While the upfront investment may be costly, the value it will bring to your brand is immeasurable.

Personal branding is more important than ever in the digital age. From real estate agents to tech entrepreneurs, you have to be able to establish yourself as a recognizable and reliable brand. Establishing your brand is also a way to affirm your own individuality. You have complete freedom to express yourself to your customers in any way you wish. Take advantage of this opportunity and be the truest version of yourself!