In 2018, a brand cannot succeed without both proper and effective marketing. That being said, it should come as no surprise that you need a personal marketing plan for the most valuable product of all, yourself!
But what is a personal marketing plan and what does it consist of?
A personal marketing plan helps to bring focus and direction to either your job search or your current career path. It’s a plan that lays out how you will implement personal marketing across your entire brand, whether that be for the first time or the 100th.
A lot of the benefits a personal marketing plan provides actually come through the creation of it. By outlining exactly who you are and why you stand out above the rest, you’ll come away with a better understanding of yourself as a brand and how to best promote yourself online.
Doing all of this will help you convey your core value throughout your entire personal marketing strategy in a clear and concise way. Being able to quickly show what you offer and stand for in your market will put you in a great position to capitalize on new opportunities.
What is personal marketing?
Perhaps when you think of marketing, you associate it with the marketing of a product or company. In the case of personal marketing, that it’s all about you.
Personal marketing includes the offerings, the price, the place and the promotion of yourself. It’s actually a practice that’s overlooked quite often, but shouldn’t be.
The brand you build around yourself is perhaps the single most important way you can stand out from the crowd. Your brand image is what you create to help build your business.
One of the most powerful examples of personal marketing lies in the most recent U.S. Presidential election, where both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton relied heavily on personal marketing.
Both candidates understood their target audience and spoke to their fears and concerns. They understood the value of themselves as products and used it to their advantage.
The exciting thing is that you can do the same for your career. In this guide, we’ll take you through what to include in your own personal marketing plan and how to pair it with your online personal brand.
Value and skills
When presenting your value and skills, you always want to accentuate the positive features. In this case, what you offer needs to be as polished as possible. How do you present the most polished version of yourself within a personal marketing plan?
Include your strengths and skills as an employee in your personal marketing plan. Point to specific examples that give credence to the skills you say you have.
For example, if you are presenting yourself as a highly skilled salesperson, include specific examples of projects or packages you have sold and the profit that was earned. If you’re marketing yourself as an accomplished writer, include links to published work.
Show tangible evidence of your success as much as possible.
You also need to be consistent when presenting yourself as a product or brand. Before you put your name out there for everyone to consume, create a cohesive brand and stick to it.
People will begin to recognize the key aspects of your brand and relate it back to you and your business. If you switch up your logo, colors, website, or offerings constantly, people will be confused.
The next component of personal marketing is the price. You can’t promote yourself without including the cost of what you’re promoting.
Think deeply about the factors that determine the price of your service. People need to know exactly what you’re worth, and why.
But how do you build price into your personal marketing strategy?
Like any other business document, you want to include a section addressing pricing or fees and list the specific metrics as they pertain to you as a brand. For example, if you’re a freelance photographer presenting a personal marketing plan, you absolutely want a portion of that plan dedicated to your price.
If you charge $3,000 for a session, include that. Then, list what exactly that $3,000 entails (hours of work, deliverables, etc.)
This will allow you to demonstrate that you’re organized and transparent to potential customers, all while providing info on any pricing questions they might have.
This is a commonly overlooked element piece of the puzzle that can save time and win you more opportunities.
Where are you providing your services? Are you available to work remotely or are you and your services specific to one geographical region?
Specify this in your plan (even if it’s a brief mention). Like anything else, consumers need to know the location of the services you provide.
Depending on the type of service you provide, the geographical location may or may not matter. As a remote content writer trying to promote yourself, this is unlikely to come up but smart to include regardless.
In the situation where a client wants to sync up for a weekly call but lives halfway around the world from you, having this stated clearly will help you coordinate from the get-go.
This part can be fun for some, and difficult for others. Effective personal marketing involves a great deal of actual promotion of yourself.
In your daily life, you need to be skilled at promoting yourself, whether that be through an impromptu elevator conversation or in a sit down meeting. The best way to become skilled at this is simply with a lot of practice.
Stand in front of the mirror and run through your elevator pitch as many times as necessary until you feel confident delivering it anywhere, at anytime. Just like a skilled businessman knows his product inside and out, you must know yourself as product. Be prepared to promote your strengths and skills as well as speak to any possible areas of improvement.
While you want to promote yourself in the best possible light, you also want to be as transparent as possible when it comes to your weaknesses. It makes you more human as well as shows that you are self aware and eager to improve. Never lead with the weaknesses when presenting your personal marketing plan, but always be prepared to speak to them.
Another common issue that people run into is the fact that they don’t shift their mindset to take advantage of new opportunities.
What does this mean?
Essentially, you should begin to look at all social situations as a potential opportunity. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you should dominate a night out with your friends with talk about your career.
It simply means that you need to be aware that some of the most effective personal marketing comes from natural connections and networking. If you neglect this, you’re going to hinder your growth.
Let’s say you provide marketing services to real estate agents as a consultant. If you bump into a real estate agent out and about, don’t let that opportunity slide!
You don’t have to corner them and give a hard sell, just naturally mention what you do and propose that you should connect sometime in the future. You would be surprised how much of an impact these small actions can make in the long run.
We’ll get into how to best promote yourself online a bit later in the guide.
While crafting a personal marketing plan, your audience should always be front of mind.
You want to have a great understanding of who you’re hoping will view your plan. Who are you marketing to in the first place?
This will dictate exactly what you include in your plan. For example, a realtor who is focusing on personal marketing is most likely marketing to brokers, lenders, and real estate agencies. This is the audience.
With that in mind, the realtor will craft a plan that speaks to specific members of that audience. In that case, a personal marketing plan should include numbers, figures, metrics and projections of upcoming sales. This realtor would ideally want their defined audiences be large enough to generate the number of sales and listings you want.
The core elements of a personal marketing plan
Since a personal marketing plan is a game plan for yourself and your job search campaign, it’s crucial for you to make one right away. Even if you’re not currently in search of a job, it’s important for you to be prepared.
Not only could you be on the hunt for a job in the future, it’s also important to consistently market yourself even while you have a job.
Why is this?
You simply never know what the future will bring. The stock market could crash, your business could suffer, or, on the flip side, your business could take off overnight and you need to be prepared for new opportunities that will arise as a result.
When you’re prepared for every possible situation, you will be able to rest better at night knowing that you can effectively market yourself at the drop of a hat. You may be marketing yourself for a brand new job or as the new CFO of your current company.
Whatever it is, with a personal marketing plan in place, you’ll be ready.
What is included in the actual plan itself? A high quality personal marketing plan includes your aims, your skills and your timeline. Depending on the situation, you may include more but these three should be included every time.
What is it that you’re looking to achieve? The answer varies from person to person.
While some people may be looking to get promoted, some are looking to find a new job altogether. Some people are using their personal marketing plan to try to get into the business school of their dreams while others use it to launch a new company.
Within this portion of your plan, you should include your mission statement. Your mission statement should define your mission as a professional as well as your career objectives.
Again, the product here is you and your marketing plan needs to include a detailed description of your skills and qualifications.
If you’re unsure how to best market yourself, do a search on Linkedin for some of the most successful people in your industry. Take note of the skills they have.
Maybe most of the people you are trying to emulate list Spanish as a secondary language. That’s a good hint that knowing Spanish is an important asset in your specific industry.
One of the beneficial side effects of creating a personal marketing plan is that you’ll get to know yourself and the skills you have a lot better. You will have to assess your strengths and weaknesses and figure out how to best market them.
In your personal marketing plan, you need to include a time frame of your plan. If you are presenting this for a job search, your time frame should relate to how soon you can begin working in a particular role. For example, if you are able to start work immediately, include that in your time frame.
If you are still employed with another company and won’t be available to start working for three months, that needs to be included in your timeframe. Be sure to include what you will be doing in those three months leading up to employment in order to ready yourself for the position.
Examples of personal marketing plans
Your personal marketing plan is just that, personal. Therefore, it can take many different forms depending on the person and their objectives.
Someone using a personal marketing plan in tandem with a job search would want to include specific areas such as location, skills and qualifications, and a timeline.
Someone using a personal marketing plan for growth within their company will want to include different material than someone who is on the hunt for a new job. Personal marketing while you are already employed should be geared more towards promoting a specific area of your expertise.
For instance, if you are looking to position yourself as more of a leader within your company, put together a marketing plan that highlights any areas of leadership you already exemplify. You would not have to include things such as location or price, rather you would focus on the skills and qualifications section more heavily.
Once you’ve constructed the first draft of your personal marketing plan, show it to three or four people that you know and respect. Allow them, invite them and expect them to provide critical input into its substance.
Listen carefully and with an open mind and make the appropriate changes. As with any important document, your personal marketing plan will undergo many stages of change and is always a working document.
Pairing your personal marketing plan with your online brand
Building an effective personal brand online is a key component to getting your personal marketing plan in motion. Whether you’re in the hunt for a new job, own your own company, or looking to take the next step in your career, you will be looked up online.
How you promote yourself online should be a direct reflection of your personal marketing plan. That means everything from your personal website to your LinkedIn should be crafted with your plan in mind. For example, when you’re writing a personal bio for your website, use your personal marketing plan as direction for your outline: What are your skills? What’s the value that you provide? What should your audience know if they want to work with you? Etc.
Whether you’re actively searching for a new position or the CEO of your very own company, you need to invest in personal marketing. Because of this, developing a personal marketing plan is a necessary step in getting to where you want to be.
If you’re in a job you want to move out of or you are in a transition between jobs, getting a plan together will give you a sense of direction and a good idea of where you are going as well.
A career plan and your resume are already behind you when you get to the step of creating your personal marketing plan. Keep in mind that the decision about whether you get hired or not is made by another human being, so target them.
Be concise about your product (yourself) and what you bring to the table. By putting the time and effort into marketing yourself now, you will save yourself wasted time and energy down the road. Hone in on your audience and market yourself effectively and you will reap the benefits.