building a brand

How to be yourself in business

Marie Forleo (one of my online marketing heroes, creator of B School!) shares her insight about building a brand that’s unique to you and your passions.

Today’s topic is all about personality, baby!

I believe in infusing your personality into your business. After all, as a freelancer, people are working directly with YOU. Therefore, they want to get to know you – your story, your personality, your expertise.

And this isn’t just fun, it’s good business too! As soon as I embraced this idea, I started seeing serious gains in my own business.

No one is you and that is your power. Your style, your delivery, your quirks – this is what will separate you from competitors offering the same thing.

As the client gets to know you better, their trust in you will build. And trust is everything when it comes to keeping clients and gaining new ones!

Ways your personality (often referred to as your “voice”) comes across online:

  • your tone on your About page
  • the language you use (is it casual or formal?)
  • the way you sign off your emails (are you writing “Cheers” or “Warm regards”?)
  • your tweets & other social media posts

You Are Your Brand

Here are secret successful marketers know: customers don’t buy a product. They buy you.

Your personality.

Your experience.

The unique qualities only you possess.

There was a time when “branding” meant a corporate-looking logo and a slick catalog, but in today’s online marketplace, the real value is not in appearing to be a big company, but rather in just being you. And your personality shines through in a variety of ways.

Your Authentic Voice

How you speak and write and even how you act on camera or in an audio interview has the power to instantly identify you to your audience. You can see this in action if you scroll through your Facebook feed. It’s easy to know who has posted a particular image or status update, just by recognizing the voice with which they generally speak.

Your Story

How did you get to where you are today? The backstory—which to you might seem boring and uneventful—is a powerful tool that can help solidify your brand and attract just the right audience.

Your story doesn’t have to be dramatic, and you certainly don’t have to share more than you’re comfortable with, but it does have to be yours. Be your true self, and you’ll never have to worry about attracting the right audience. They will self-select, and your perfect client will find you.

Whether you want to touch a nerve, reach a new audience, or boost your sales, storytelling is the most powerful weapon in your arsenal. As humans, we love a good story, and when it resonates with us, it can drive us to take action when nothing else can.

Think about it. Which would you rather read, an interesting story, or a sales letter?

Which are you more likely to remember a week from now, a compelling story, or a features and benefits comparison? And which are you more likely to buy, a story you can see yourself in, or a product that does x, y, and z?

If you think back on your most recent purchases, from the business coach you hired to the car you bought last summer, chances are you’ll find a story that resonated with you, and that drove your decision to purchase.

Stories About You

You’ve heard it time and time again: People buy from those they know, like, and trust. And part of getting to know you is hearing your stories. Your potential clients want to know how you came to be in business, what experiences you’ve had that drove your decisions, what lessons you learned along the way.

Your stories don’t have to be directly related to business to be powerful, either. That anecdote about the time you nearly got arrested for not having a valid driver’s license is the perfect lead into a blog post about better record keeping. Or the story about how you accidentally seated two warring families together at your wedding reception? It’s just what you need to drive home a point about relationship building.

Stories About Your Clients

Otherwise known as social proof, stories about your clients are incredibly useful in your marketing and branding strategy. Testimonials, white papers, case studies and the like are all just stories, after all, and they showcase how you and your products have changed a life or a business for the better.

Stories About Your Products

Yes, even your products have stories to tell. Why did you decide to create that new coaching program? What will it help your clients achieve? Who is it not suited to? These stories and more can show your potential clients more about your products and services than any sales page ever will. When you openly share your thought processes as you were creating your program, buyers will instantly know if it’s a product that will work for them or not.

Clearly, stories have a lot of power when it comes to branding and marketing, but you have to use caution. Beware of the awkward insertion of a story just because you’ve heard it’s good for your marketing. If you find yourself midway through a blog post and you write something like, “but anyway, enough of that, let’s get on with business” and then making a total shift to a completely different subject, chances are the story isn’t working.

But if you can tie your story in naturally to what follows, that’s your golden ticket to better branding, more sales, and a more profitable business.

We love stories. Don’t be afraid to tell yours.

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