A ‘personal brand’ is someone who markets themselves and what they do as their brand. Their knowledge and expertise IS their product and they’re able to charge money for it. Examples of personal brands include Pat Flynn, Amy Porterfield, Chris Ducker and Janet Murray.
With the rise of social media, it’s now easier than ever for personal brand businesses to connect with their audience, however, it’s also becoming increasingly competitive.
What’s the difference between a personal brand website and a standard website?
Personal brand websites should have their own set of unique features. These features should help you:
- build an audience
- build trust
- inspire action
Ultimately, there’s no difference between what a personal brand website and what a service-based/ecommerce website should achieve. You’re still aiming to solve your customers’ problems. The goals are the same, but it’s how you get there that’s slightly different.
What should a personal brand website include?
Your website should reflect you and be unique, but if you are a personal brand, you might consider including some or all of these on your website.
1. Images of You
This is a no-brainer. I’d argue that EVERYONE must include pictures of themselves on their website, but for personal brands, I’d say it’s essential.
What’s the difference between images of you for your personal brand website and images of staff on a service-based/ecommerce website? Remember, you’re selling ‘you’. People need to buy into you and trust you, so your image needs to be displayed prominently throughout your website.
A service-based/ecommerce website can get away with having images of the team on the about page, but you can’t.
How to Display Images on a Personal Brand Website?
If you’re planning on having a photoshoot for your business, check out our blog post on What We Learned on Our Business Photoshoot, for some hints and tips.
– Images need to be on brand
You need to think about who you are, and who you’re not. Your images should represent you. If you’re relaxed, fun and adventurous, then don’t, whatever you do, dust off your suit for your photographs!
You might think this is obvious, but we often see people get this wrong. I get why. It’s ingrained in us to look our ‘best’ for a photographer (especially a professional one).
If you are suited and booted for your work, then great, but if not, avoid looking too smart and causing confusion about who you are as a brand.
Finally, think about the setting of your photography–what do you want your reader to see? What props/set best get across who you are?
– Images need to be of good quality
Investing in high-quality images for your personal brand is a good idea, and ideally, you’ll use a professional photographer to do this.
For service-based/ecommerce websites, I’d say they could get away with just using a good quality camera, but for personal brands, your image is everything. If you’re deciding where to invest, I’d say professional photography should be up there on your essential list.
Good Examples of Imagery on a Personal Brand Website: Amy Porterfield
We love the use of images on Amy Porterfield’s website. She hasn’t overloaded her site with too many images of herself, but the few that are there are of good quality. They’re relaxed and give you a sense of who she is.
2. You Need to Build an Email List
Every website should encourage your end-user to do something, whether that’s sign up to your email list, give you a call or hit that ‘buy-now’ button.
However, more often than not, personal brands focus on their email list.
Your email list is important because it’s yours. You don’t have to rely on a platform like Facebook or Google. Even if you’ve got thousands of Facebook followers or impressive search results, things could change in an instant.
Your list is controlled by you, and it’s a base where you can grow and nurture your followers. For personal brands, nothing is more important.
How to Grow Your Email List on Your Website
Your website is the main platform you’ll use to grow your email list. Below are some ways you can do it.
– Call to Action Above the Fold
You should also include a clear call to action in the ‘above the fold’ area of your website. This is the first section of your website your user will land on, and, if you can, you’ll want to encourage them to sign up for your email list.
We always recommend giving something away in order to encourage sign-ups (just make sure you’re GDPR compliant!). One thing we don’t recommend is a generic ‘sign up to my newsletter’ call to action. One, it’s boring, and two it says nothing about how you’ll help your target audience.
– Add Your Call to Action within Your Content
Content is particularly important to personal brand businesses, and I’ll talk about that in a little more detail later.
Each piece of content you produce, whether that’s a blog, podcast or YouTube video, should encourage users to subscribe to your email list. On a blog, that’s fairly easy as you can include little reminders throughout your blog post, encouraging your end-users to sign up.
Example of Building Your List on A Personal Brand Website: Chris Ducker
Chris Ducker does a great job of encouraging users to join his email list. He hits you with it as soon as you land on to his homepage and he clearly outlines the benefits of joining. He also has call to actions throughout his content as well.
3. A dedicated speaker page
A lot of personal brands want to showcase themselves as leaders in their industry, and there’s no better way of doing that than through public speaking at events, workshops and seminars.
If this is something you’re doing (or want to do in the future) then it’s worth having a dedicated speaker page on your website.
What Should Your Speaker Page Include?
A speaker page is slightly different to the other pages on your website and should include some different elements, including:
– Images and video
For someone to book you as a speaker at their event, they’ll need to see you speak confidently on stage and deliver an engaging presentation. That’s why it’s important to include images and video on your speaker page.
Even if you’ve only spoken at small events, it’s worth getting someone to take pictures or record a video of you in action. Just seeing you speak to a crowd builds instant credibility.
Many successful personal brands have a speaker reel (a short, snappy video of them on stage) or even a full forty-five-minute keynote.
– Topics you cover
Don’t assume people will know what you speak about. It’s helpful to give people an idea of the topics you cover and also the kind of talks you deliver, e.g. are they workshops/seminars/presentations etc.
This is where you can be ultra-specific in what you offer, and the more detail you can give, the better.
Also, try to give an indication of how much you’re likely to charge. There’s no point people contacting you with a budget of £100.00 when your price is £1000.00. Learn more about why you should add your prices to your website here.
– Call to action
Don’t forget to include a call to action on this page. This is your opportunity to get people to get in touch with you directly or check your availability. Encourage them to book a call with you to discuss how you can help them.
Example of a Good Personal Brand Speaker Page: Ann Handley
Ann Handley has a fantastic speaker page. She encourages you to check her availability and she outlines the kind of topics she covers. She also features images and videos of her speaking.
4. Put Your Content at the Forefront
Creating consistently good content is a sure-fire-way to position yourself as a leader in your industry. How are you going to build loyalty and get people to trust you, without proving you know your stuff?
Content marketing works to benefit most businesses but for personal brands, I’d say it was essential.
How to Showcase Content on a Personal Brand Site
Content is a key component of the websites we build for personal brands, and it can be somewhat different to how we present content on service-based or ecommerce websites.
– Feature Your Content on Your Homepage
To show your readers that you are knowledgeable, it’s a good idea to showcase your content on your homepage. This could be in the form of your most recent content or the best resources you have. The reason it’s important to put it on your homepage is so it’s easily accessible for your end-user.
This is better than having a simple ‘blog’ link in your main menu, as (hopefully) your content will encourage your user to click through.
– Build a Learning Centre
If you want to get really fancy-pants, then build a learning centre. I’d like to say this was my idea, but actually, it came from Marcus Sheridan, who we’ve learnt so much from in terms of content marketing.
A learning centre houses all of your content (podcast, blog, videos, guides etc) in one place. It’s a space for people to explore more about what you offer and how you work, as well as learn from you.
Example of a content-driven personal brand website: Andrew and Pete
Andrew and Pete are expert content marketers, so it’s no wonder they feature content marketing at the forefront of their website. Their website is a showcase of their (vast) knowledge and expertise. It’s a great resource we use often to learn more about marketing.
5. Online Shopping page
A lot of personal brands also sell physical products as well as their coaching, speaking or membership. But even if you don’t sell physical products you might want to sell event tickets and ebooks. It’s, therefore, a good idea to include an online shop on your website.
How to present your products on your website
This will depend on the platform you’re are using but here a few tips to ensure your shop works well.
– Use amazing photographs
When it comes to selling products on the web, good quality photos are essential. People won’t buy your products if you don’t take the time to showcase them properly.
If you’re selling books and diaries, pay a designer to create mockups. Alternatively, pay a professional photographer to make your shop items look amazing.
Even if you’re selling eBooks or event tickets, make them look good. Just because they’re not physical products doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put the effort into presenting them well.
– Create great product descriptions
We wrote an entire article on how to perfect your product pages and product descriptions are one of the most important elements. Creating persuasive descriptions for your products will go a long way to convincing your visitor to buy from you. Not to mention that the words you use will help you get found on search engines.
Example of a Personal Brand Shop Page: Janet Murray
Okay, we’re not just saying this because we built the site! But we love Janet Murray’s online shop (and the products too!)
The effort that Janet puts into marketing her products is incredible and the items on her shop look fantastic. Janet knows that the products need to look the part for people to buy, which is why she takes the time having them professionally designed.
6. Sales Pages
Most personal brand websites sell online products such as video courses, memberships, eBooks, etc. As a personal brand, you’ll need to be able to create sales pages quickly and easily in order to promote your products.
How to Create Sales Pages
Sales pages are quite different to content pages. Rather than having a very helpful page with links to other pages on your website, you want your visitor to stay on the page and take just one action.
– Get Rid of Distractions
You’ll need to change the layout of your page so it’s more conversion friendly, potentially getting rid of menus and other links across your site. This is the page where you need to maximise conversions, so you need your reader to do just one thing.
– Think about the Copy
The copy on a sales page is often slightly different to the copy on your main website. You’ll want to feature stories from people who have benefited from the specific product or service you’re offering (rather than just you in general). You’ll want to use persuasive and emotive language, and an exclusive offer to hook them in.
These are just a few of many examples of what you can do on a sales page!
Example of a Good Sales Page: Gavin Bell – Amplify
Gavin Bell’s Facebook advertising course is an excellent example of a sales page, it includes video testimonials, persuasive copy and impressive social proof. There are no distractions in the form of links to other pages or social media. It convinces you to take just one action.
7. Include Social Proof
Social proof is important for every business. Having testimonials, reviews, press, expert endorsement and awards etc, all go a long way in building trust in your brand and products.
This is doubly important for personal brands as the key to your success is showing that you have the knowledge and skills worth investing in.
How to use Social Proof on Your Personal Brand Website
Social proof is essential if you want to build instant credibility for your personal brand website. Here are some ways you can use social proof on your website:
– Media/publication logos on the homepage
It’s quite common to see media/publication logos on the homepage of a personal brand website, usually within the first third of the page (right under your big, bold statement).
These logos are usually from places you’ve been featured in the press, such as the BBC, Guardian, Huffington Post etc, or where you’ve been speaking, such as Social Media Marketing World. People trust these brands so if you include these on your website, you’ll be seen as an authority in your space.
– Genuine Testimonials
Make sure you feature GENUINE written or video testimonials on your homepage.
Video testimonials are golden, and if you can get video testimonials from your clients, it shows clear evidence that you know your stuff. And of course, you can create text testimonials out of these too.
If video testimonials aren’t possible, then try to get someone’s picture at the very least, include their full name and maybe a link back to their website.
Example of Good Social Proof on a Personal Brand Website: Content Marketing Academy
Throughout Chris Marr’s (Content Marketing Academy) website, you see little video testimonials dotted through the copy. This is a great way of integrating social proof. Chris clearly has a lot of fans (including us!) who are more than happy to get themselves in front of the camera and sing his praises.
This is really powerful stuff that goes a long way to building trust in your brand.
8. The Copy Must Reflect You
This is your opportunity to speak to your audience. When your users read your web copy, they should have a sense of who you are. Your reader should feel like they’re having a conversation with you personally.
How to Write the Right Copy for Your Personal Brand Website
This is vital for personal brands to get right. You’re selling you, and it doesn’t matter whether you want to develop a friend, teacher or influencer relationship with your audience, they still need to feel some kind of connection.
– Talk to them like you would your clients
It’s tempting to go formal when we start writing, but often this isn’t a reflection of how we communicate.
Before you start writing, have an idea of who you’re talking to. I create a profile of my ideal client. I give them a name, think about their goals, their issues and what keeps them up at night. Only then can I speak to them on their level.
– Make it about them
The word ‘you’ is your new best friend. You need to consider what problems your audience is having and address them within your website copy.
Don’t say generic stuff like you’ve been doing what you do for twenty-five years and blah, blah, blah. It’s dull. Address your audience’s issues head on and tell them how you can help.
Examples of good personal brand copy: Hot Content
Natalie from Hot Content is a great writer. When you read Natalie’s writing, it feels like you’re in a coffee shop talking directly with her. In this snippet, you gain a real sense of who Natalie is. Her writing is informal yet professional. She doesn’t patronise. Or like she says, make you feel stupid. She does a great job.
9. Give a Personal Touch
The majority of the copy on your website should be geared to your target audience (what problems they’re facing and how you can help). However, for personal brand websites, it’s nice to have a personal touch too.
How to Add the Personal Touch to Your Personal Brand Website
It’s cliche, but people do business with people, so give your readers a glimpse into who you are.
– Talk about your story
A good story is a great way to build a connection with your reader, especially if your story starts with the same problem your audience is facing. You can tell them how you overcame your problem and how you like to help others do the same.
Make sure the story is genuine. It’s easy to spot someone who’s disingenuous. We know that you need to make a living and you’ve not set up your company out of the goodness of your heart. However, it’s also good to show people that you do care about their problems, that you’ve been there and that you have a genuine solution that can help.
– Use Your About Page
Don’t talk about yourself on your homepage. Keep it reserved for a section (not all, just a section!) of your about page. Not everything should be about you, but it’s good to give an insight into your life if you feel comfortable.
A Good Example of Including a Personal Story on Your Personal Brand Website: Pat Flynn
I love Pat Flynn’s about page. I love how he talks about the downturn in the economy in 2008 and how it impacted his life. He also shows pictures of him and his family. From this, you get a sense of what he’s like personally, making it easy for you to develop a connection with him.
Your personal brand website should be unique and be completely different from other personal brand sites. However, there are many similarities when it comes to how your website should work to promote your products and services. Hopefully, you now have a list of things you can add to your website to improve it.
What do you think?
I hope this post has helped you think about your personal brand website. Do you think there’s anything I’ve missed off the list? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.