Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs…these are some of the largest personal brands in human history in terms of name recognition and global impact. Now think about your personal brand for a moment. Where would you be if you had to start over, with only the benefit of a strong personal brand, and the ability to influence and connect with a large number of people?
As an example, Elon Musk has never paid for advertising or marketing. In his most recent Tesla Cybertruck launch, he booked over 200,000 preorders that, when fulfilled, represent over $10 billion in sales! (That’s assuming an average price per truck of $50,000). Yes, Musk is a unicorn — but when you have an audience of thousands or tens of thousands of people, you can produce impact, a shift in perception or millions of dollars in sales with an article, social post, video, speech or book... in hours or days.
I recently had the opportunity to chat with an expert on the subject of personal branding. His name is Dmitriy Kozlov and he is the Chief Expression Officer of Influex.com. Kozlov is in the business of creating personal brand websites. He shared his biggest secrets to creating a powerful, personal brand for yourself (he’s also responsible for creating my personal website) and an asset you can leverage for all your future activities.
Kozlov has been in the branding business for 10 years with Influex, a word he invented that combines the words “influence” and “expression.” Influence refers to marketing and everything that influences your audience, and expression refers to the art and beauty - who you are at your core essence and bringing it forth to the world in an elegant way. Kozlov believes that your greatest influence comes through your fullest expression.
When Kozlov was in college, he built his own personal brand website. It was a simple WordPress blog, but people liked it enough that they started paying him to build their websites. Fast forward to July 2014, and he was running a web development agency that builds branding sites for internet marketers. One of Kozlov’s early breaks came when renowned marketer, Mike Dillard asked him to build his personal brand site Kozlov dove in, did a great job, and produced what would become one of the first epic personal brand sites. Dillard shared it with his audience of 400,000 people and soon leads started flooding in asking Kozlov to build their sites.
Many of those leads asked Kozlov what Wordpress templates or framework he used for Mike’s site. His initial reaction was frustration because there were no templates or framework to share simply artistic, creative expression. He soon realized he had a market opportunity to help people create what he had created using a system and process that produced consistent, predictable results. It wasn’t about the templates or framework - it was about the psychology of influence.
Related: Your Personal Brand Is Just as Important as Your Business Brand
Kozlov built an impressive portfolio of personal brand sites for major entrepreneurial influencers and in the process learned, step by step, every piece of what makes a really great personal brand site. In this article, you’ll learn the major principles that anyone can apply so that before you start a pixel of design, you'll know exactly what to do — and what mistakes to avoid.
Before you start building a website, you must get really clear on its purpose. The Brand Clarity triangle focuses your intent.
You can build separate Personal, Company or Product sites, or create combinations of both - where YOU are the product or YOU are the company.
Determining your brand type will influence your website’s design, especially if you have multiple brands and your personal brand is not your company, as with Kozlov’s client Joe Polish. In this case, it’s important to keep the brands distinct but congruent. Polish’s personal website and his Genius Network websites are clearly artistically related and have the same “feel” but are different entities.
If your personal brand is your company, as with JJ Virgin, then you only need one website. Your status as an expert or influencer is what people are buying.
A common misconception is that your personal brand is about you. Your primary goal is to speak to your audience. In the case of Mike Dillard’s personal brand website, the home page displays of Dillard and reads, “I help entrepreneurs start and grow the business of their dreams.” It states what he helps with and speaks directly to his audience, helping them feel understood, then details how he can help them. Instead of a website that proclaims, “Look how great I am,” it says, “I understand you, and here’s how I can help empower and help you.”
One of the best ways to connect with your potential clients is by sharing your origin story. A great example is Roland Frazier. Frazier is a successful entrepreneur with over 40 companies. When he and Kozlov started working together, Frazier had a long, intimidating business biography, so people thought he was the smartest guy in the room. hey rewrote his story to an include his anecdote from when Frazier was 16 years old, playing in clubs, showing how he got started in his teens. The revised bio demonstrated that for Frazier, business has been all about creative expression and creativity is what really drives him.
Related: Why Personal Branding Must Be Your First Focus
The next way to create a powerful connection with your potential clients is through photography. The first way to approach this is through an epic, professional photoshoot, like Alyse Parker;the second is by using photos of you in your “natural environment,” doing your everyday activities, like Ryan Deiss. Whichever you choose can be highly effective. It just depends on which approach you prefer and how comfortable or private of a person you are. Make sure that your photos show the full range of who you are, and represent an authentic glimpse into your life.
Combine content and credibility by sharing your client’s success stories, testimonials and industry recognition. This point is especially important if you have testimonials from influential or noteworthy figures, as with Joe Polish, whose website features quotes from leaders like Richard Branson. Highlighting these as further builds your credibility and character.
Another great way to highlight your credibility is with client testimonials in a video format, story format, and screenshots from Facebook or text messages, like on Alex Moscow’s website. This shows a full range of impact in the context of your community. Provide social proof whenever possible.
Another effective way to build credibility is by highlighting any media or press coverage that you’ve received. Take a look at Cameron Herold’s website. His headline is a quote from Forbes, which conveys Herold’s credibility in a humble yet highly effective fashion. Herold also displayed all of the major media logos where he’s been featured. This website element adds social proof, attracts media attention and enables people to request to interview you or bring you onto their platforms.
Whether you're an executive or an entrepreneur, you influence your company. Being on more stages, even if those are virtual stages like podcasts, will impact your business positively and most likely will be fulfilling for you. Speaking is a combination of credibility and content. Let’s look at Cameron Herold again, as public speaking is a core element of his career.
The structure of this page includes a headline that sells the benefits of you speaking, an opportunity to book you, and clips of your past talks. You’ll also want to include testimonials from people who have heard you speak or hosted you at their event, and your speaker biography. This bio credentials you in a dynamic way - similar to how you would be introduced on stage - and teases topics that you would commonly speak about.
Content is king, and Kozlov uses my website as a compelling example of how to combine credibility and content. When you scroll through my site , you’ll see a quote from Tony Robbins, testimonials from clients, information about my podcast with Dan Sullivan, a mini bio, a link to my blog, a free informational video and a clear call to action to work with me. All of these elements provide value,build credibility and establish trust with potential clients.
How do you monetize your brand with success? Calls to action fall into two primary categories of calls to capture and convert.
You capture a lead, or bring someone into your world (typically by enticing them to give you their email address in exchange for free, valuable content), or you convert them when they buy one of your products or agree to get on a call with you to do business.
Kathrin Zenkina is a great example of effective calls to action. She has built a huge business empowering young women to manifest their dreams and create financial freedom. At the top of her website, there's a free quiz and an offer for free journal prompts, both of which capture leads in the form of email addresses. There’s also an opportunity to get to know Zenkina and join her community. If you end up taking any of these actions, it’s more than likely you’ll end up purchasing at some point.
Footer fun and function is focused on connection, community and conversion. So many websites view the footer as a throwaway and don’t make it very intentional. What if, instead, you focused on connection, community and conversion? After all, many website visitors scroll to the bottom of a website; it’s worth taking the time to make your footer spectacular.
In Kozlov’s opinion, the header and footer are the most important areas of your site.
Dr. Venus’s footer hits all the points. She features great photos, allowing people to connect with her, join her community, stay connected through her social media platforms and hire her. Intentional connection, community and conversion.
Ultimately, consider your personal branding website as a creative canvas for your own expression. It’s your opportunity to fully express your essence and have fun — and it works so much better than if you try to fit yourself into a box and mimic other popular sites.
If you’d like to learn more about Kozlov, his company, Influex, and how he can help you build your personal brand, head to Influex.com or get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch the whole video here: www.MrBz.com/DmitriyKozlov