Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
As brands and creators compete for the attention of their audiences, the ability to stand out amongst competitors becomes a marathon and a competition of who can outlast whom. Through my agency, I have worked with clients across many industries, and I have been able to identify four simple ways that my agency helped leverage the “basics” to find client success at a relatively low cost. I challenge you to implement these basics, and uncover how much success your small business or personal offering discovers.
1. You need a website
As technology continues to evolve, and the race for attention becomes more of a fight, small businesses, thought leaders and digital creators should own their space on the internet, which serves as the main hub of information and authority for what they offer.
Owning a website helps create brand awareness and increase authority by serving as the official online hub for what you are offering. With more than a handful of services you can sign up for today to quickly create a website, even with little to no experience, there is no excuse for not owning your space on the internet. A handful of my favorite platforms to quickly build a website with include Shopify, WordPress, and Squarespace for their ease of use as well as for their template and plugin libraries. With these platforms, you can easily create simplistic personal websites, insightful blogs, and powerful ecommerce storefronts. These platforms check the boxes for most websites and can scale with your success.
Your website should serve as the main hub of information for your offering, and what information you include on your website can differ. A small business should include a physical address if applicable, inventory (if applicable) and contact information. A digital creator or thought leader should include their contact information, social media handles, general analytics and a mention of brands that you have worked with in the past.
If you are offering a product or service, you need a website.
2. Be easy to find
Now that you have a website where you can showcase your business or personal offering, what’s next? Make your offering easy to find on the internet. Spend some time analyzing how your business displays on the internet and ask yourself if it’s difficult to figure out which search result is your offering. Check for contact information and hours of operation that could be incorrectly published. Are all of your social media handles the same across the social media platforms that you utilize? Avoid using long, over complex social handles that include numbers, underscores and other special characters that make it difficult for your audience to know if this is your profile or not.
Consider using a profile photo and color theme that is consistent across your social media accounts. Small businesses should consider using their logo or something that represents their brand. Digital creators and thought leaders should consider using a professional headshot with a colored backdrop to match their personality.
Be simple to find, your business depends on it.
3. Become an authority within your niche
Your website is live and ready for traffic, you have taken some time to review and refine your brand presentation. Now, you are ready to become an authority within your niche.
Personally, I recommend starting with writing blog posts on your website. Any of the do-it-yourself platforms that I mentioned above offer a blog feature, and when written well enough, they can help generate free traffic to your website. After you have written a handful of blog posts on your own website, I recommend contributing to other blogs and publications that align with your offering. Guest-posting on other publications will allow you to contribute your expert opinions to others and capture a larger audience by doing so. Through time and continued reciprocation of knowledge with your audience, you or your business will become an authority within your niche.
Related: How to Establish Online Authority
4. Consider branded digital assets
Think of a time when you interacted with your favorite brand, creator or artist online using branded digital assets. Does your favorite brand have branded GIFs that you can use? What about branded story filters? These elements allow your audience to interact with your offering that is familiar, fun and engaging. Personally, I created two simple GIFs for Linq Magazine on the popular GIF database, Giphy, that have earned a collective 130,000 views. Implementing branded digital assets like GIFs and story filters allows you to stand out amongst your competition and allows fans to interact and promote your offering with their personal audiences who may not know of you.
You can also consider NFTs (non-fungible tokens) to activate your offering. During my interview with Matt Sanders, or M.Shadows, lead singer of the heavy metal rock band, Avenged Sevenfold, about their Deathbats Club NFT endeavor, he spoke to the utility of NFTs and the solutions they present across different industries.
Your audience will enjoy these new ways to interact with your offering. By implementing these four simple-to-follow practices, your small business or personal offering will continue to evolve and stand out.