Marketing Yourself and Your Business 101
Happy Thursday!!! << don't you hate it when people say that to you first thing in the morning?? I am sitting here only 2 sips into my coffee and I'm even annoying myself ... but I will say I'm happy that the weekend is almost here ... heading down to Cannon Beach this weekend with my family ... my favorite place in the world(!!!) ... and it can't get here soon enough!
LET'S TALK MARKETING
So, I think we all know what marketing means ... but for those of you who are drawing a big blank or need a reminder, in 'dumbed down' terms it's:
COMMUNICATING AND PROMOTING YOURSELF, A PRODUCT OR A SERVICE TO YOUR IDEAL MARKET
Basically: getting the word out in a way that makes people want to work with you, buy what you're selling or invest in your services! I think of marketing myself all the time and I've decided there are 2 main UMBRELLAS we, as business owners, need to apply our marketing to. They are:
- Your Brand + How Well You Apply Your Brand In A Cohesive Way
- Yourself + How You Brand Yourself For Your Target Market
First, if you can tell me you haven't rebranded within the last 3 years ... get to moving!! One thing that will help ruin your business and help your competitors with theirs?? A stale and outdated brand. There is not a single business out there that keeps their logo and branding the same ... and for good reason! Changing it up won't destroy you! I hear this waaaaaaay too often:
IF I CHANGE MY LOGO THEN PEOPLE WON'T KNOW IT'S ME!
^^ WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!! And if that's true, and you have a hideous logo because it's comfy-cozy, but business is down and your competitors are high on life with inquiries and new clients ... then is it worth it 'just so people know it's you' ?? Think about it.
Ok, back to your business brand. A logo is one thing, but you have to have consistency. If you have specific fonts you use then make sure you are using them across all your platforms. Don't use one font all over your website and then a completely different grouping of fonts and 'design style' on your social media ... and then a totally different look and feel in your newsletters. The goal here is for people to feel comfortable. Yes, comfortable. If I am on your Instagram feed and I'm lovin' it ... I'm loving all the photos, I'm loving your message, I'm loving your vibe ... and then I click to visit your website and I enter an outdated, mobile hideous space ... well, I'm going to get very uncomfortable and quickly ... and there will be a disconnect with everything and I will stop trusting you. << and that works the other way too! If I am on your website and it's GLORIOUS, can't get enough ... and I click into your Instagram feed and the message is all wrong ... you got it(!!!) >> disconnect and then starts the questioning and your company and why both platforms are so different and off!
The best way to create a successful brand is to:
PICK YOUR TARGET MARKET AND STICK TO IT!!
Does that mean you can't accept clients outside your target market?? No!! Take clients, pay your bills, don't be homeless << key to life. BUT << and it's a big but >> ONLY TARGET TO ONE SPECIFIC MARKET ... because that is how you will be successful.
Take me, for instance ... if you came to my website you'd probably know right away: ohhhh, she designs websites for wedding professionals. Does that mean I only design websites for wedding and event pros?? NO! I have clients from all over, but I market to one specific group. This is intentional. There is a reason. If you want to attract higher end wedding clients then you need to SHOW only that across everything you do. I can't stress this enough. Srsly.
When I am coaching my clients on ideas to skyrocket their business we focus on keeping the brand consistent with it all. The base layer needs to be:
WHO DO YOU WANT TO ATTRACT?
9 times out of 10 my clients say they want clients who have a bigger budget. They also say they want to be able to charge more. To be able to charge more you have to have VISUALS that support charging more. Visuals are:
- Your logo
- Your website
- Your portfolio of work
- Your Instagram feed
- ... and ... moving onto:
YOU are a visual thing that supports your business. If you want to charge more then you need to look the part. I'm sorry, yes I'm going here ... actually, I'm not sorry at all!! If you want to charge more money and you have the logo, the website, the portfolio and the social media following and 'look' to support charging more ... then you need to pull yourself together to LOOK and SUPPORT your pricing. This means a number of things:
- How you look
- How you dress
- Your personality
- Your wit
- Your composure
- Your confidence
You are a marketing tool. If you have all the 'first grouping' of stuff I spoke of ... the first umbrella of: YOUR BRAND for your business ... but you aren't super appealing to the group of people you want to appeal to ... well, then you only have half of it and you may find it's more of a challenge to whip up your ideal clients and make them want to hire you. Your lifestyle and how you sell YOURSELF is hugely important to your success.
The most sought after wedding professionals I know also enjoy that type of life, or at least are fashion forward in the way that they love weddings to be. When their 'target market' comes to them they share the same love for specific trends, brands, and restaurants. They can connect. I'm not saying that if you want luxe weddings then you need to walk around wearing thousands of dollars worth of fashion in order to be successful - let's not confuse this - I am saying you have to have a LOVE for those types of things so that you can be taken seriously by a client who is wearing thousands of dollars worth of fashion at your meeting ;) And this doesn't just apply to luxe and couture - if you love to plan whimsical, bohemian affairs then it will help if you live or appreciate that sort of lifestyle.
So go buy a Vogue magazine and flip through it
... srsly, I'm not even joking.
You are the key to your success. If people come to you for a consultation because your brand, website and portfolio are AMAZING and they are champing at the bit just to be able to meet you ... can YOU support and keep the momentum going!? If the answer is no ... then do you have the correct target market nailed down??
YOUR COMPANY BRAND + WHO YOU ARE AS A PERSON = TARGET MARKET
^^ don't fight that equation. If you LOVE a lifestyle that doesn't support the target market you want to reach then people will know and they'll be able to tell right away. The most successful wedding professionals I know plan events that are inspired by the lifestyle they lead ... it comes naturally from them! They can speak passionately about it because they LIVE it ... they aren't pretenders. Make sense?
If you are a laid back surfer type who loves boho-inspired fashion ... and you'd never EVER place a chandelier in your own home ... but you desperately feel the need to plan glitzy and glamorous weddings because you feel that's the only way you'll make money ... well, you're wrong!! Let your personality guide you to your target market so that you have the whole equation down, not just half ;)