For the last six years, Write Business Results has helped entrepreneurs build up powerful personal brands through the creation and promotion of expert content.
These days, I truly feel it’s one of the only ways (if not the only way) for businesses to stay relevant and compete in a virtual world.
And no one knows this better than entrepreneur, investor and two-time author, Dan Bradbury. I took some time to speak to him recently and pick his brain on the topic of personal branding and what that means for businesses today.
This article will summarise some of the highlights of that fascinating conversation and provide you with some key tips on how to brand yourself in a changing marketplace.
Dan and I go way back. We met around eight years ago through the excellent Strategic Coach® programme and, more recently, worked together on Dan’s bestselling book Turnover is Vanity, Profit is Sanity.
Having had so much success in the world of business, I was curious to hear what Dan had to say about being an entrepreneur in the current climate (personally, I think it’s a great time to be an entrepreneur!):
Those who can adapt to change will thrive
Dan: “One factor that I think is working in the entrepreneur’s favour is that there’s an awful lot of disruption right now. This means that things are changing, and the people who can best adapt to change thrive on that disruption.
In these changing times, the people who have got some money, are flexible to change, and ensure they are branded and positioned well will get a significant competitive advantage.
For example, technology is changing everything, and this means if you’re an entrepreneur, if you can solve problems, and if you can be flexible, you’ve got the opportunity to catapult forward.”
I totally agree with Dan here. Nowadays, the need for branding and positioning yourself is greater than ever. So, how can entrepreneurs ensure they are giving themselves this competitive advantage? What can they do to start building up their brand?
I asked Dan for some tips:
Marketing-led vs sales-driven businesses
Dan: “These days, you can have two types of business. There are marketing-led businesses and sales-driven businesses.
In a sales-driven business, the kind of old, traditional paradigm is that marketing generates leads for the salespeople to call, and you don’t get off the phone until the client buys or they say no.
That’s a very inefficient way to scale a business because, no matter the salespeople’s success rate, they always blame the leads. Salespeople tend to think that if they don’t buy right now, they will never buy.
However, science supports the idea that it’s consistent follow-up where around 80% of sales are generated. In fact, research suggests it takes around seven or eight steps for the average sale!
Unfortunately, when you try and implement this follow-up process in a sales-driven business, there are usually two problems:
- Salespeople are notorious for not following up consistently.
- It’s expensive.
This makes it very difficult to scale a company.
On the other hand, a marketing-led business takes a different approach. It looks at how you can ensure that potential buyers are consistently nurtured automatically.
Nurturing your potential buyers like this means that rather than being sold to, they choose to buy. They’re more warmed up so that either they buy automatically online, or they’re engaging with the sales rep, already feeling like they want to purchase from you.
That conversation is a lot more valuable, and that means your salespeople will only speak to pre-qualified leads who are interested in what you offer. Also, the better marketing you have, the less you need to spend on more, higher quality leads.
All this means a higher conversion rate and a more efficient business.”
Using content in business
So, it seems that businesses need to start looking at ways to adopt a more marketing-led approach. At Write Business Results, we help entrepreneurs move towards this idea of a marketing-led business through expert content creation in the form of books, blogs and podcasts.
Having worked with Dan on his latest book Turnover is Vanity, Profit is Sanity, I asked him how he goes about leveraging content like this in his own business and the effect it can have:
Dan: “One of the first things I noticed after publishing my book was the buying habits of my potential customers. I noticed that the people who came along to my events who had read the book were far more likely to buy the back-end mastermind programmes that ranged from £10–40K!
And it wasn’t just the book. I also noticed that people who had binge-listened to my podcast were also more likely to buy. When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense.
I’ve bought and sold about a dozen different companies, and I’ve had seven figure exits twice. Now, you’d think that would make me credible for people who want my business expertise, but the reality is if nobody knows about it, and if they haven’t heard the story, it’s just a claim. It’s got no substance.
However, if that story and those successes are positioned well, in a book, in podcasts, in interviews or blogs, and people hear the story time and time again, then you start to sow that seed in their mind. You become someone they want to learn from, and they start to seek you out.”
Dan is spot on there. It’s not enough to simply have the knowledge and expertise any more. People need to see you demonstrate that over and over again through content that’s easy to contain and consume. The more people who can experience it the better, because that also adds an invaluable layer of social proof to what you do.
The power of consistent marketing
Becoming an author, writing a blog or owning a podcast demonstrates your expertise and gives the public a chance to review your content.
And the only way to get consistently solid reviews is to be consistent.
Here’s Dan’s take on it:
Dan: “However great your product is, don’t think that it will just sell itself – it never will. You also need to be very consistent with your marketing and get it out there. Sometimes entrepreneurs get so bent out of shape over everything needing to be perfect, but as my good friend Daniel Priestly likes to say, ‘Prolific beats perfect.’
The more you put out, the more awareness you generate. This awareness will lead to sales, which means more positive reviews, and that means even more sales.”
Building a strong, well-positioned brand is not about publishing just one book or one blog post, it’s about becoming a regular in that person’s life. I think it’s quite empowering because not only are you marketing efficiently, you are also equipping your audience with the information, the knowledge and the tools they need to solve their problems!
Dan expands on this:
Content does the heavy lifting
Dan: “You need to be really consistent and rhythmic with blogs, podcasts and books because there’s not one thing alone that will persuade somebody to take action.
For example, I guarantee you if you asked 10 different people what they liked the most about your book, blog or podcast, you’d probably get 10 different answers!
That’s why you need to be prolific, because you don’t know what’s going to touch the button for that one person that’s going to make them want to learn more.
The great thing about books is that they do a lot of heavy lifting. They don’t just help you to find customers; they help you find the RIGHT customers.
In this way, your content can act as a filtering tool. If you read my book and it doesn’t resonate, you’re probably not going to be a good customer for me anyway.”
Don’t hold back
One concern I think entrepreneurs have is that they get a little worried about putting out too much content. They tend to think they are giving away their whole system for free.
I asked Dan for his thoughts on this:
Dan: “Sometimes we see people trying to hold back information, worried that if they give away their whole model, nobody will want to buy the solution; but I’d say the opposite is true.
You don’t read something once and think you’ve got it down 100%.
So, don’t hold back. Transparently share information, and it will attract more people to you.
However, you still need to think carefully about the positioning of your content.
You’ve got to make sure you are packaging your content and yourself in the right way to add as much value as possible. If you’re writing a book, make sure it’s packed, edited and marketed for sale at a good price point.
Those first impressions count.”
I hope you found this useful!
More to come next week!