The digital age necessitates that everyone — not just organizations — build and maintain an online presence in order to achieve greater success. This is especially true for private equity. Without an online brand, you risk losing out on business deals and networking opportunities.
Of course, making your brand work properly for you requires the right strategy. Here, we’ll examine several key online branding tips that both individuals and companies can apply. Use it as a guide to establish a brand that delivers you greater success.
Create valuable, insightful content
Potential investors and partners may be impressed by announcements of new business endeavors, transactions, financial results, milestones, and other positive news. You absolutely need that sort of good press in private equity.
However, what’s going to deliver the most return on your investment in branding is informative content that’s relevant to the field. Those reading it should walk away feeling they’ve learned something helpful. No matter what you specialize in, you can produce articles, videos, infographics, and other content that informs (and doesn’t advertise).
According to a survey by BackBay Communications, an incredible 70% of private equity firms believe that having a strong brand is very important. It’s very encouraging that so many are recognizing the importance of branding.
So, how do private equity firms and team members build that strong brand?
Bill Haynes, President and CEO of BackBay Communications, says private equity firms must “embrace the need for differentiated firm positioning and ongoing integrated communications programs that position them as experts.”
This is done through content. For a private equity firm, that could mean articles about how to close deals, alternative investment options, entrepreneurship, the importance of using CRM tools, and more.
Secure your domain
According to MineWhat.com, 81% of consumers conduct online research prior to purchasing. When potential investors and companies seeking liquidity search for your business on Google, you don’t want them to be led to websites and content you don’t control. You want them discovering content and info that showcases you know how to invest in and grow businesses.
This means you have to secure a domain name. As noted in a guide published by GoDaddy, having a domain name offers you many benefits, including:
· Increased accessibility: You’ll be within reach 24/7.
· Brand protection: Don’t give someone else the opportunity to register your domain name.
· Promotion: You can use the website to publish content, make offers to clients, etc.
When choosing a domain name for yourself, try to make it your first and last name, like so: http://www.[firstnamelastname].com. If choosing one for a business, it should be your exact company name: http://www.[companyname].com/.
Just remember: Do what fits you on the website. As Gary Vaynerchuk, a serial entrepreneur and digital marketing guru, states, “you need to know your personal brand and stay true to it,” instead of doing things just because a famous person in the industry does it.
Run paid campaigns
By producing content and maintaining your website, you’ll drive organic traffic over time. This will increase your chances of gaining business and finding networking and investment opportunities.
The issue is that this can take time in private equity. To speed up the process, you could pay for promotion through content distribution networks, such as Taboola. Content distribution networks enable you to engage new audiences and maximize the reach of your content and products or services.
For instance, if you maintain a blog on your company’s website, a paid campaign gets you native ads in well-known media sites like ESPN, USA Today, and Time. According to Outbrain, brand recall with native ads is twice as effective as brand traditional banner ads.
Just imagine how many people come across those ads. With the right headline and great content, you could position yourself as a thought leader in the investment industry, making it more likely to gain access to investment dollars and close deals.
Do note major online advertisers like Outbrain and Google Adwords allow you to set budgets with flexible pricing. Using real-time data, you can see how effective the campaign is and calculate ROI based on traffic, leads, and conversions. Start small if necessary. If the campaign works, you can put even more money into and continue to grow your brand.
Connect with an audience via social media
As of late 2017, LinkedIn estimated that it had more than 500 million users. That’s a lot of people sharing content in their field, networking with potential partners, and looking for jobs.
Both companies and individuals in private equity must be on LinkedIn. It’s where the professional world interacts — and where you’re most likely to connect with the most promising investors and investment opportunities.
You can also maintain existing relationships with shareholders through LinkedIn. I personally use it to network and share articles about private equity, investment, business development, and other related topics. The conversations those pieces generate help me build a brand.
Beyond LinkedIn, you should be active on some other social media sites. For instance, since private equity firms engage in leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations, growth financing and other types of investments, you want to go where many middle-market businesses are: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. On such sites, you may be able to find hidden treasures, like a lower middle-market company with a disruptive business model and strong potential for explosive growth.
Build your brand — and win more deals
Investors and companies want to trust the people they’re working with. You can do that by publishing valuable content, maintaining a website, running paid campaigns, and connecting with audiences on social media.
As private equity firms increasingly have to compete for dollars and deals, you must find a way stand out. Branding is how you can differentiate yourself in the industry and get a step ahead.