How to set your brand apart and attract your ideal client (without losing yourself)
Your brand is how you present yourself to the world and to potential clients.
It’s the colors on your business card, the intentionality behind your logo, the words in your Instagram captions.
It’s how you treat your customers, the values that go into your products.
It’s the sum of all those parts and more.
As an entrepreneur your brand has an important job to do.
You’re not the only hardware store in town anymore.
Even if your clients are local, and you work with them face to face, they likely have lots of other options to choose from. If not locally, then definitely online. Markets, and options for consumers, are far more full than they were 20 years ago.
Your brand - both the visual aspects and the content you’re putting out - has to do two things:
It has to authentically represent who you are and what you’re about.
I know, I don’t dig the word “authentic” any more than you do since it’s been used to sell us literally everything the last few years. But also, if it works it works, right?
Your brand needs to show people who you are, because people buy from people.
We want to feel connected to each other, we want to feel like we’re working with someone we can get behind, we buy from people because we trust them.
In short, brands that connect, convert. And in order to connect, you need to show people who you are.
But before you go throwing your dirty laundry at Instagram in an attempt to connect, there are caveats.
The parts of you that you bring into your brand are going to be well curated and intentional, and provide more of a ‘vibe’ than a specific element.
So… you’re not just going to say “I like purple, dolphins, and the Beastie Boys” and let that inform your design choices.
I repeat - do not do that.
Instead, you’re going to bring in your values and your sense of style.
Don’t try to look a certain way to fit in - build a brand that represents who you actually are.
Are you notoriously offbeat and quirky? Your brand should probably have an element of fun or something that makes it ‘different’.
Are you a hopeless romantic whose house is dripping with lace? You might want to work some of that feminine energy into your colors.
But also, don’t forget that your brand has a job to do, and keep your ideal client in mind.
On the flip side of that though, the other thing your brand HAS to do to be effective is to organically attract the types of people that you can best serve.
The entire point of developing a brand image is so that people will be intrigued by what you’re putting out there and feel drawn to work with you. The ultimate goal is for those people to be the types of people you’re really great at working with and enjoy serving.
If your ideal client is a hefty fellow named Louie who frequents biker bars, you’re probably not going to attract him with the same branding that will draw in Sam, the health conscious 22 year old yogi.
That might feel counter-intuitive though… how can you represent yourself well and authentically, while also making your brand appealing to your ideal client?
Here’s the good and bad news about that...
The intersection of these two things is your special sauce - the ‘it’ that sets you apart
The good news is that it gives you a place to start building a brand that connects with people in a meaningful way and converts them into clients - allowing you to serve them well.
The bad news is there’s no magic formula for finding it.
It’s basically the answer to the age old entrepreneurship questions - what makes me different? Why do people buy from me? How do I stand out from the crowd?
It’s the beginning of creating a business that feels satisfying on the inside and looks great on the outside.
Don’t panic if you can’t see it yet. It’s a process. It’s iteration.
Remember what I said - it’s the beginning of the process. Finding answers to age old questions rarely happens overnight.
It takes starting small, iterating, layering, trying and trying again, learning a little more about what makes you tick, finding that one client you just fell in love with and figuring out why, and iterating some more.
Don’t feel like you have to know what your ‘it’ is right this very second. Business is a marathon, not a sprint, and it’s okay for your brand to grow as you do. Preferred, really.
Do you know what your special sauce is? Are you still struggling to figure it out? Tell me about it in the comments below!