Personal Branding for agency new business

Personal branding is nothing new. But using personal branding for agency new business is often misunderstood. In the fast-paced world of marketing and advertising, standing out from the crowd is essential for success. Often people realise that they know how to network in person, but if you put them on LinkedIn, they don’t know the social etiquette, how to leverage relationships and how to use it to move prospects through their pipeline. 

In this article, we will explore the significance of personal branding for agency new business, how to do it (correctly), and how it can fuel your growth.

What is Personal Branding?

Personal Branding is an opportunity for people on LinkedIn to tell their stories, build relationships with people, rather than with businesses. 

People work with people, not businesses. 

So personal branding presents an opportunity to lead with emotion, and then the logic and credibility of their business follows on afterwards. It’s also an opportunity for people to show their most authentic selves and get people to buy into their values as much as their product or services.

What Personal Branding isn’t

Personal branding is not THE THING that’s going to fix all your problems. It should be something that is a part of your end-to-end solution. You should be still doing outbound activities and campaigns like webinars; you should be doing podcasts; you should be doing in-person events; you should be doing email marketing – you want to do as much as you can. Obviously, it comes down to time and budget for most people what they can do.

However, there’s nothing stopping you from writing a few LinkedIn posts and actually just learning what works for your audience and what doesn’t. It’s not going to detract away from anything else that you’re doing. You can’t go wrong initially – but don’t expect personal branding alone to bring you your entire annual lead quota.

How do you go about starting a personal brand?

A lot of people get stirred up into how to position themselves. The easiest way to do it is to decide what your personal values are. Normally, they’re aligned to the business. 

For example, your values might be honesty, integrity and creativity. Then combine those personal values with content pillars. Choose between three to five content pillars, and run your content plan for the next three months or so with those content pillars, and interchange them week-to-week and post-to-post. 

At our Pimento BD Club, Scott Millward, who is CEO of Pimento Member Voir Agency, and who specialises in using LinkedIn to build personal and business brands, said:

“I don’t talk about LinkedIn posting or personal brands on my Linkedin Page. I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone how to write a post on LinkedIn.”

It’s the results of what you do that people care about, not what technically you do.

Optimise your personal branding for agency new business

There’s a subtle difference in the types of posts on LinkedIn and social media in general. 

What most people do is they document: 

“I was at this event, and I met these people and it was great”. 

Engagement will only go as far as “Great, nice to see you”. 

Whereas, you can actually make that very same post talkable. For example, take a conversation that you had with someone at that event and reframe it, push it back to the audience, ask people what they think about that topic and generate engagement and talkability. Once you’ve had that common exchange with someone, then you can latch onto that to move them further down the pipeline: send them a Direct Message, then it’s a phone call, then it’s a coffee… 

It’s about thinking three or four steps ahead as to what’s the point of this post rather than simply documenting it like you would on other social media platforms. In order to optimise your personal branding for agency new business on Linkedin, it’s about how you post and how you can keep that touchpoint trail going.

“Being a thought leader is about what other people say about what you say – not what you say. It’s about how good you are at cultivating a discussion.”

A good example is one of Scott’s posts for his client about the junior doctors’ strike, which went viral. No one talked about what she said in the post about the junior doctors’ strike, but they did share what they wanted to say about the strike in the comments. So the post just created an environment which was safe for people to engage about that topic. The post got the engagement, the views and the enquiries from people that bought into her values, not what she said. That’s thought leadership.

Measurement with Personal Branding

The most important metric is your profile views. But you want more views from relevant people. 

Obviously, you can look at UTM tags and look at how many click-throughs to your site from LinkedIn. But that’s only going to tell you part of the story. 

It is better to work with a touch point system where you tag a prospect every time you get a profile view, or a common exchange or a DM and start to stack those touch points. And then when we’ve got five/six/seven touch points, you know how engaged someone is.

It’s about getting 1000 touch points with 5 people rather than 1000 people with one touchpoint.

It depends whether you want to get married to your client, or you want to have a one-night stand with them. You could just send out 1000 messages and just hope for the best. Or you could approach 30 people in a considered way, give them value and then see that come full circle. Most people don’t need 100 new clients, they only need <10 a year, and their business will be much healthier. Quality over quantity.

Lead Time in Personal Branding for Agency New Business

How many enquiries do you want in reality to satisfy the business need? The higher your average contract value, the longer it’s going to take to build the relationship that you need to make a sale with that person. So, if you’re selling a £1000 course, you can probably do that in two touch points: a common exchange, a DM, sold. But if it’s a £200,000 outsource marketing contract, it’s probably going to take three to four months of touchpoints, relationship builds, contact exchanges, between the two. 

The goal is that you become a big, shiny, interesting profile and your profile holds a level of intrigue for prospective clients. So when you start to engage with a prospect, a good piece of advice is not to talk about your service offering until they start talking about their problems. It can be frustrating. It can take months. You have to do things differently in order for them to open up about their problems and for you to match them up with your services. What it means is, it’s a slower process. In the meantime, talk to your prospects about things that aren’t your service offering. A normal everyday conversation can turn into a relevant conversation. 

If you’d like to find out more about personal branding for agency new business, you can watch a recording of our webinar here.

If you have any queries, or if you’d like to find out more about becoming a Pimento Member, please do get in touch and find out more here.

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