I recently received a message from a friend who had taken a look at my website and wanted to let me know that he felt the images I use are perhaps too female-orientated. He had been looking for marketing advice, but it seems that my website put him off. And do you know what, that’s totally OK.
I have to admit that his comments took me a little by surprise. I have not created a brand around female entrepreneurs specifically and don’t market to a specific gender group. In fact, I work with a diverse range of clients, although I know that my brand appeals to some women more than some men.
What I have done, is evolved my brand over time by paying attention to what resonates with my ideal clients and being led by my mission and my vision for the business. To put this into context, I want to show you how my brand has changed over the past couple of years:
My original branding (left), in my opinion, looks professional and it communicates the field I work in. However, it’s also pretty bland, unmemorable and it certainly didn’t stand out from the crowd. My branding has evolved to have more personality, a unique style that runs through all of my visuals and it feels much more “me.” And that final point is more important than you might think.
Whilst my marketing is really not about me, it’s about my clients, it is important that I attract the right clients; that is clients, for whom I’m going to be a good fit. It really is impossible to be all things to all people. I have a unique style of working and an approach to social media marketing that is purposefully different to other strategies that are taught. I won’t be a good fit for everybody, and that’s absolutely how it should be. I want my clients to get the most they possibly can from working with me and for that to happen, they need to be 100% on board. This is the true purpose of your branding. It’s not just about standing out in a crowded marketplace, it’s about drawing in a tribe of people who truly get and value what you have to offer them. In a way, your brand acts as a filter which brings the right people to you at the right time.
It actually took me quite a long time to come to terms with this. I was frightened of putting anyone off, and so I created a brand that was pretty bland and generic. But by trying to appeal to everybody you end up appealing to hardly anyone.
With my original branding, 90% of my sales came from referrals – these were people that wanted to work me because they had heard good things from other people. Of course, that’s great, but what my brand and my website looked like had very little bearing on their decision. With my new branding and the marketing strategy that backs it up, 90% of my sales come from social media. There are referrals mixed in amongst that, and people may hear about me from someone and then follow me on social media before then becoming customers, but my brand is now doing the hard work. I’m spending very little time chasing business and attending meetings, instead, I get to spend my time focused on actually helping my clients and I get the opportunity to work with entrepreneurs from all over the world!
“People will love you. People will hate you. And none of it will have anything to do with you.” – Abraham Hicks
I love this quote from Abraham Hicks and it’s as true for business as it is for life.
I know that when someone makes a comment about your branding, your website or a post that you’ve shared that it can set off a serious case of the wobbles. Often that person doesn’t even realise the impact of what they’ve said. To them, it’s just a flippant comment but to you, it speaks to every worry you’ve ever had about putting yourself and your business out there for the world to judge.
It can knock your confidence.
It can make you question the decisions you’ve made and the direction you’re heading in.
It can cause you to hide and avoid sharing anything that might provoke another comment in the future.
It might even make you angry or frustrated, and that angst stands in the way of you doing anything productive for the rest of the day, or longer still.
If this happens, the first thing to do is acknowledge the source of the comment or “advice.” Is it from someone who knows your vision, your ideal clients and understands the ins and outs of your marketing strategy? Chances are it is not. No matter how well-meaning that person may be, you do not have to take unsolicited advice about your business.
If it’s made you feel wobbly and knocked your confidence, step back and take an objective look, as best you can, at what you’re putting out there. Doing this will remind you of the rationale behind your decisions and the reasons why your brand has evolved as it has. You might spot things that you aren’t 100% happy with and would like to improve, and that’s absolutely fine, but you are the best person to take that helicopter view and make informed decisions about the direction of your business. Avoid knee-jerk reactions to those type of comments.
The person that made the remark has already forgotten about it. You need to let it go too.
Know your vision and let that illuminate your path – you won’t go far wrong.