Make your Mark by building your reputation

by Paul Duxbury

If you have to part with your hard-earned money for some goods or services, who would you rather trust: a novice provider or an expert one? The answer to that question is what makes branding so much important.

Branding is the process, nay, the art, of stamping a seal of professionalism and reliability on products or services that are related to you. It's the core of every business and the heart of every successful trade. Donald Trump has made a living out of branding. He has established for himself a reputation for producing quality goods. Since his name has been attached to this perception, he has extended the same to all his products.

Today, people choose his offerings because of the Trump name. The same principle can be applied online. Brand yourself as an expert in a certain field and people would go to you whenever they'll have needs relevant to your specialization. It's the best advertisement there is: a public perception of your expertise.

The Internet has taken this a step further with the formulation of a strategy called viral branding. The trick here is to allow the spread of your expertise is such a way that the number of people who would view you as a bankable provider would grow exponentially.

Contrary to popular belief, this is quite easy to pull off. Here are some ways to brand yourself and allow the word to spread like wildfire. Soon enough, your reputation would be synonymous with excellence.

Write about something you know by heart. Words convey your expertise, so you better use this avenue well.

Write an e-book, or a special report, or an article even. Make sure it is informative and helpful for anyone who chances upon it.

If you don't have the time to write, hire a ghostwriter. There are a lot of them on the net. Some charge high, while there are those who have reasonable rates. Find someone you could trust, and who would be able to present the topic you have in mind in the most interesting way possible.

If you have written, or have caused the writing, of an e-book or a special report, you have to distribute it with enough incentive for the reader to spread it in his network. Usually, a quality work would do the trick. But to be sure, give it away for free, or bundle it with other products. Explicitly state that the reader can give it away to his friends and family members. This would make your work go viral.

If you have written, or have caused the writing, of an article, submit it to as many free articles sites on the web, with your name and website prominently displayed in the resource box. Encourage the readers to republish the article for as long as they maintain the resource box.

Publish your own eZine. An eZine, or electronic magazine, would be a consistent venue you could use to show your subscribers your reliable business plan. Encourage them to ask questions, and answer these queries in your eZine. One person's question would then become everyone's concern, and broadcasting your answer to all of them could only reinforce your good reputation.

Provide excellent after purchase service. No matter how good your product is, the buyer won't remember your name unless you give him something extra. A good post-purchase service, i.e. technical support, eligibility for freebies, etc., would assure you that your clients will remember you instead of merely remembering the product.

Establish relationships. Treat people well and chances are they will treat you just as nice. Every online acquaintance is one person more to your network, and that one person has a separate network of hundreds more. Having good relationships with the people you deal with is the best way of getting the word out that your name means good business.