Visibility means having your entrepreneurial business be visible to the audience you want to serve. This means being in front of them in any number of ways and creating a strategy for promoting brand awareness that is custom-made for the stage of development your business is in.
This week, I will walk you through two main aspects of visibility strategy: Scaling visibility efforts to match your stage of growth and how to make the most of your networking efforts.
Stage Appropriate Visibility Efforts.
Your strategy for creating brand visibility needs to be tailored to the stage of development your business is currently in, with an eye towards future growth.
Startup Mode: Your focus should be on awareness and feedback from customers so that you can craft your brand and offer to what your audience wants. Visibility should be one of your top priorities during this stage. After all, no one can work with you if they don’t know you are there!
Validation Mode: (The first active 1-2 years in biz) Your focus should be on positioning and developing expertise to cement who you are and what value you bring to your customers.
Scale Mode: (2+ years in biz). Now you are in a period of growth. You want to be seen as a thought leader to create more demand on a larger scale.
Multiply Mode: When you are ready to max out your growth and reach. You should be looking for ways to elevate your personal brand.
Here are a 5 ways to create visibility that are sure wins, especially in those first few years.
1. Network strategically.
We have all been to networking events that were a waste of time. The attendees were not your target audience, the event was poorly planned, or everyone was just handing out business cards. Not a good use of your time!
Do some research in advance of signing up to attend. Go online to their website and Facebook page, check them out on LinkedIn, find a few members and connect with them directly to get a feel for past events and the overall climate of the organization. Then decide if you want to attend.
To maintain momentum with your networking, shoot for 1-3 events per month to keep yourself in circulation. But not just any event – make it count!
2. Pick an organization to join and go all in.
Sign up and show up! It’s tempting to join several organizations that look promising and then attend meetings and events only sporadically. That does you no good for your visibility; in fact it may even be harmful.
Pick ONE group that you are going to commit to. Organizations like NAWBO, E Women Network, Women’s Networking Alliance all have local chapters. There are also many industry-specific organizations that might be a better fit for your business.
Choose just one to start and make a commitment to get the most value out of your membership by attending events on a regular basis, connecting with other members, and offering to speak or sponsor events to provide value to the group as a whole. The deeper personal connections you will make by investing in quality relationships have much more value in the long run.
3. Be seen consistently.
Choose your medium wisely. You may want to create a podcast, a newsletter, or YouTube videos, but the real value will be in creating content on a consistent and predictable schedule.
You are establishing your brand and consistency sends a message that you are serious about your business, are trustworthy, and can be relied upon.
If you can’t maintain a weekly schedule than appear monthly or bi-monthly. Whatever you choose, stick to your own schedule and you will build a loyal following. It will be small to start but will grow over time.
4. Be of service – Don’t just show up, engage! Connect with the intention of assisting others, not just asking for something. Actions will speak louder than words. You will add to your visibility by being seen as a connector and someone who provides ongoing value, rather than a taker.
5. Advertising? Be careful! This is probably the first thing that we all think of for creating visibility. But no matter what platform you are considering, this will be expensive. Wait until you know what you can afford to pay per lead and make sure your business can truly afford an advertising budget.
Don’t be shy!
The most important thing in business is being visible to your perfect audience. Develop strategies that are appropriate for the stage of growth your business is in. Reach out and develop quality relationships built on adding value for those you come into contact with. Take your time to identify the right organizations to join, and commit to being an active member of that community