Jan 10, 2023
As digital marketers, we’re all familiar with finding innovative and compelling ways to market brands to increase reach and sales. We learn what makes the brand unique and then develop engaging strategies to spread the message. Many marketers work effectively on several brands simultaneously.
But what about your own brand? How do you sell your own digital marketing expertise? How effective are you at publicizing Brand You?
In his interview with DMI, on how to market yourself and build your personal brand, recruitment and career expert Morgan Cummins explored steps that digital marketers can take to effectively promote themselves, especially at time when the industry is growing and there are plenty of opportunities to explore.
Let’s discover how you can effectively market yourself to capitalize on these opportunities.
Now is a good time to market yourself because there’s a talent shortage in the digital marketing industry, as shown in the DMI CMO research study. As the industry grows, the demand for skilled digital marketers is increasing all the time. So, it’s really time to build your own personal brand to make yourself be heard above the noise.
One of the first things a potential client or recruiter is likely to ask you is, “Why should I hire you?” And this is a question you need to ask yourself too. Why should anyone hire you? What makes you unique? What are your values?
In order to effectively market yourself, you must have a good understanding of what you stand for. Tap into your passion and let it guide you towards your values. By taking time to understand your values, you can focus on clients and companies that align with these values. If you don’t understand your values, you could waste time promoting yourself to people whom you ultimately don’t want to work with!
Linked closely to your values are your goals. What do you hope to achieve by promoting yourself?
Some people are motivated by simple financial rewards. Others work to earn peer recognition, job titles, and promotions, establishing themselves in a professional community. And others are motivated by more personal rewards, such as ongoing development, solving problems, overcoming challenges, or contributing to society. Understanding your values will help you clarify your goals.
Once you have crystalized your overall purpose, you can start to break that down into career goals. This goes beyond simple business goals. What do you want to achieve? Ask yourself, "What are the three top things, from a career point of view, you want to achieve in the next 12 months?"
Goals aren’t going to be much use to you if you don’t achieve them! So how can you progress from aspiration to achievement?
Writing down your goals is a great way to help you tease out the nuances of what you want to achieve. It also helps to make the goal more concrete, taking it out of your head and down on paper.
Having written the goal, show it to someone. If no one is monitoring your progress, your career is likely to stall. Having an accountability partner will help keep you focused and motivated, especially when your career starts to drift. Did you know that 80% of people abandon their New Year's resolutions within four weeks? However, if you have an accountability partner – someone who monitors and encourages (and yes, nags at) you – you are more likely to stick to your goals. They’ll remind you of your deadlines and targets, and they’ll nudge you when you start to get a bit too easy with yourself.
So, have clear, concrete goals and find yourself an accountability partner who’ll help you achieve them.
In marketing, it’s all about increasing reach. How can you increase your own personal reach? This simply involves growing your professional network.
One obvious way to do this is to engage with others on LinkedIn. This involves more than simply promoting yourself. Establish yourself as a thought leader and an engaging collaborator. Create a compelling personal profile that arouses people’s interest. Keep your profile relevant and up to date, and stay on top of emerging trends, adding your thoughts to ongoing debates and showing yourself as staying in touch with others.
Start off with people who are similar to you and who are likely to be interested in what you have to offer. Open conversations and engage with debates, offering solutions to their problems. But, in time, be prepared to move outside of this comfort zone and interact with people outside your immediate circles, connecting deeper with LinkedIn and other networks. Learn from others and approach all discussion with a sense of intellectual curiosity.
Don’t forget the personal touch, though! Meeting people face to face, or even through online means is a great way to build your network. When you attend workshops and conferences come armed with a pile of business cards. Whether it’s an in-person or online event, you can always be alert to ways to introduce yourself and make mutually beneficial connections. The next step in your career path could begin over a cup of coffee or in a Zoom break-out room!
To increase your reach, you need to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. To paraphrase the poet Robert Browning, your reach should exceed your grasp!
Public speaking is an exciting way to build your personal brand, but this is something that scares many people. Overcoming your fear of public speaking can help you get your message across to many people whom you can then connect with on a personal level. Remember that even seasoned public speakers, including actors, sometimes get nervous before they take to the stage.
Of course, you don’t have to start addressing theaters full of strangers. Develop your public speaking skills by first speaking to small groups, and then moving on to larger meetings as your confidence grows. Many join Toastmasters to develop their public speaking skills. The more you practice, the more confident you’ll become.
When marketing a brand, you often focus on its unique selling point (USP). What is your USP? What value do you bring to others? Give people a reason to engage with you.
Position yourself as a solution to their problem. This applies to potential clients and also to people above you. Develop a win-win situation where, by helping them, you can ensure that they can help you. Bring something of value to the table, whether it’s your expertise, your creativity, your innovation, or your efficiency.
Develop the knowledge that enables you to be of value to others. Sometimes we feel intimidated by those whom we assume know more than us. The reason they know more is because they’ve learned more about the subject. So, once again, push yourself out of your comfort zone and upskill. If you don’t understand data analytics, learn about it so that you can contribute to the conversation. Find the appropriate course, develop new skills, and become more valuable to your clients and your peers. This could become another career goal for you, one that your accountability partner will help you achieve.
Promoting your personal brand requires a carefully thought-out market strategy. Unearth your core values and use these to help you develop career goals, supported by your accountability partner. Develop a personal network and push yourself beyond your comfort zone. This will enable you to create a USP that shows others how you can offer value. There are many opportunities in the digital marketing section and, by following these strategies, you’ll be well placed to take advantage of them.