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You probably already know everything that you need to succeed.

And if you’re like most people, there’s a chance you’re not actually doing it each day.

I had an interesting realization the other day. When progress comes to us slower than we feel that it should, our natural inclination is to look for the reason why.

We want to know what we’re doing wrong, and why the results are not showing up.

By doing so, we jump on opportunity after opportunity, but never stick with any of them long enough to actually see them through.

The funny thing is, there are no secrets. Chances are, you’ve already been told everything you need to find some initial success with your brand. I call these actions ‘The Basics’, and I’m going to share them with you here.

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Your brand is fragile.

It is difficult to build up – taking months or years to really connect with a person’s mind. You can get in front of a consumer hundreds of times, invest large amounts of money, and endless hours of work to reach a point where that person finally trusts you, and aligns themselves with what you stand for.

It requires a well thought out strategy and careful execution. Pull it off, and you’ll cultivate raging fans, happy to throw money at you – even if you’re more expensive than your competitors.

Do it wrong however, and you can alienate your audience – even turning once-passionate fans into people that begin to dislike you, and everything you stand for.

Brands take a long time to build up, but they can very quickly be destroyed. While no one thing will take you down, a pattern of bad behavior can quickly ruin the credibility and image you’ve worked so hard to build up.

On the opposite end, a strong brand can pay dividends for life – making every facet of marketing more effective going forward.

In this article, we’ll go over key branding mistakes you must avoid if you want to keep people on your side. By developing a framework and keeping these principals in mind, you ensure that the fans you cultivate remain fans forever – making new fans become even more valuable.

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One of the biggest misconceptions in marketing is that you need a large audience to make a large amount amount of money.

For most businesses, this simply isn’t true. It doesn’t take tens of thousands of followers on social media, readers on your blog, or subscribers to your email newsletter to make some serious money online.

It does however, take two things:

  1. The right people paying attention to your brand.
  2. A good system in place to maximize the lifetime value of each customer.

In this article we’re going to cover the first one. Let’s discuss a few proven, time-tested , and free methods to attracting hyper-engaged fans, that will flow your brand the sales, attention, and fan base it needs to flourish for years to come.

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We’re at an interesting time in entrepreneurship, particularly for small businesses.

Things aren’t the same that they used to be. As a society, our lives are radically different than they were 10 years ago, and marketing has changed as well.

So has the way we learn.

New entrepreneurs aren’t getting their business advice from textbooks or college courses. They’re getting it from online gurus or major online personal brands, who may have an agenda of their own that they’re pushing on you.

One piece of advice in particular that I’ve seen consume entrepreneurs is this:

“Hard-selling is bad, just focus on branding!”

I’m here to tell you why this often isn’t true, and help you find the balance between direct response marketing, and branding in your small business.

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In business, true safety is hard to come by.

Regardless of how hard you work, or how we’ll you’re doing now, things change.

Your product becomes obsolete, or a new, larger competitor enters your market. You’re hit with a baseless lawsuit, but still have to shell out  huge amounts of money for legal fees. You end up having a medical emergency, and have to take on serious debt just to get by.

These are all things we don’t like to think about, but become a reality for so many entrepreneurs. It’s not fair, but its a reality for far too many people.

And sadly, their companies often die in the process, and their lifestyle changes almost immediately.

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Let’s think about something for a moment. If someone were to come up to your car and try to sell you something while you’re stopped at a stoplight, how inclined would you be to buy it?

Now let’s think of a different situation. You’re over at your friends house, a place where you’ve been visiting lately. You hang out with your friend for a while, he helps you out with something you need done, and then before you go, he asks you if you want to buy something he thinks you may be interested in?

Now be honest here. Who would you be more likely to buy from? Chances are, you’d buy from your friend rather than a stranger.

The same kind of idea can be applied to selling products online, whether it be your own product or an affiliate product. People drive in their cars to get to places they need to go, places that offer them value. In the same way, people go to a website to seek out information, not to be hammered with a sales page. See what I mean?

Local businesses do this as well. Think about all the people you do business with on a regular basis. The store clerk, the owner of the gas station, the girl at your local café. They build relationships with you as a consumer. They present themselves in a friendly manner, converse with you, and the best ones even remember who you are.

And what happens? You keep going back. Would you do the same if they constantly started screaming “buy this!” at you? I doubt it.

You want your audience to trust you. You want your audience to value your opinions. You want your audience to want to buy from you.

So how does this happen? It’s pretty easy, actually.

Show your personality in your writing, or throughout your brand! Keep producing high quality, informational articles, for free. Give value to them. Allow your audience to get to know you through your articles. At the same time, let your audience know your name, and show off a picture of yourself. It’s much easier to connect with a picture of someone’s smiling face than to some random person behind a person labeled “Administrator”.

Connecting with your audience and building relationships with them is the number one way to eventually generate sales. Screaming “Buy This!” at them is most definitely not. So always, always, always, focus on building relationships first. You’ll thank me later.

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