How Your Personal Brand Can Boost Your Contracting Career

Contracting

One of the things many of our clients love about contracting is that it’s all down to them; they stand or fall based on their own skills and abilities. Of course, we help as much as we can, but in the end it’s down to you to make your contracting business work, and it’s this challenge that gets many contractors fired up and excited about their work.

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This independence means that sourcing new work is a large part of contracting. The hiring process varies between industries, so different contractors will find work in different ways, but the goal is to arrange it so the work comes to you, and the secret to that is marketing.

What we mean by “your personal brand”

Your personal brand is a series of ideas that clients and potential clients associate with your name, or the name of your contracting business. It’s value to you, positive or negative, depends on the impression you leave behind you, and the image you project to the world. By taking control of your personal brand, you can make it work for you, so your clients and your network naturally drive business your way. Here’s some more information about how to create your personal brand.

Making it work for your contracting business

To paraphrase Jackie Chan in the remake of a well-known kids’ film, everything is marketing. Everything you do in a professional context, every contact you have with a client, a potential client, or someone who knows a potential client, is an opportunity to leave a positive impression behind you. Every piece of work you do is a chance to offer someone more value than they expected, to make them feel lucky to have hired you, and encourage them to share that luck with their colleagues and friends. That stranger asking a question on social media is a platform to display your expertise and helpful attitude to hundreds of people.

So, by taking control of the impression you make, you can fill your network with people who are willing to recommend your business and drive work your way. Depending on your industry, that may be enough, but most businesses will, at some point, want to extend their reach.

Choosing the right channels

Extending the reach of your brand is just about making more people aware of it, so when they or someone they know needs your services they naturally think of you. Your approach will depend on who you’re trying to reach and where you can find those people. Take some time to think about the kind of people who need your services, as this will help you decide how best to reach them.

Finding your audience is one of the more challenging aspects of modern marketing, so don’t be afraid to do some research and try things out. For example, you could ask your current clients which social media they use, and take notice of where your current network is largest and most active.

 Direct interaction

If your target audience has an obvious presence on social media or elsewhere online, you could interact with them there. For example, joining relevant forum sites or groups on Facebook and LinkedIn will allow you to interact directly with potential clients, answering their questions, helping them solve their problems and creating new relationships with them.

You’ll leave an impression with the people you’re interacting with, and also with others who see your posts. Think of your online interactions as happening in a public place where the world can see what a hero you are.

One important thing to remember is to make it easy for your audience to contact you from your posts, either by having your contact details in your signature or having a business page they can click through to.

Content marketing

 If there are no obvious online forums, or your audience don’t tend of operate that way, you’ll need to bring them to you. One way to do that is to create the content they’re looking for online, to bring them to your website, blog or social media page.

There’s a lot of information out there about content marketing, and for some it’s a full-time job, but you have a business to run and limited time so here’s a basic process that you can use to help potential clients find you online.

  • Collect questions from your existing clients and contacts. Whenever someone needs your professional expertise, that’s an indication that other potential clients will have the same problem or question, and many of them will turn to a search engine for the answer.
  • Create content that answers the questions you’ve collected. This can take the form of a blog post, a page on your website or an article on social media. The idea is that people searching for answers online will find your content and become aware of your brand.
  • Include an easy way for potential clients to contact you with further questions, or to request that you contact them.

This strategy is only as good as the content you’re publishing and it will take time to start producing results. However, the advantage is that once you’ve created the content it will continue to help clients find you with no additional work, so as long as you’re solving the problems and answering the questions your clients care about, your work will have a cumulative effect.

Tracking your marketing performance

Like any kind of work, you’ll want to know that you’re getting value for the time you put into it, and that you’re spending your “marketing” time in the best possible way. For this reason, it’s important to take note of how new clients find you, so you can repeat successful strategies and adapt or abandon the ones that aren’t working so well.

This could be as simple as asking new contacts how they found you and keeping a spreadsheet, or it could involve using an analytics program to tell you how content on your website is performing. Most social media platforms have analytics available for any content you post.

Adjusting your strategy from your marketing data

As your brand develops, you might see your clients finding you in different ways. For example, maybe at the moment most of your clients find you from personal recommendations. Through your marketing activity, you might see this changing, so more people contact you through your Facebook page. In this case you can take note of the strategies that are working, and focus your energy there. In this example, posting more often from your business page could improve your reach on Facebook.

Likewise, your data might show you where something isn’t working as well as it could. Maybe an article on your website has a lot of traffic, but you’re not getting many contacts from it. In this case you could try making changes to encourage readers to contact you, like adding a contact form in the margin, or linking to your contact page.

Over time, by trying things out and adapting your approach, you’ll find strategies that work well for your business and your particular audience, to help your brand drive more work your way.

If you have any questions or if we can help in any way, please contact our expert team on 01296 468 483 or email info@orangegenie.com.

 

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