How to Use Your Personal Brand to Attract Dream Clients (and Repel Nightmare Ones)

How to Use Your Personal Brand to Attract Dream Clients (and Repel Nightmare Ones)

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

At first, it might seem scary to think of actively dissuading clients from doing business with your company. Let me put it in perspective . I’ll ask you one question.

If you’re spending an hour networking in a room full of professionals, would you rather be surrounded by 200 people, half of whom make you want to roll your eyes and find excuses to leave, or 100 like-minded individuals who fill you with energy?

Your business is an important part of your life. It makes more sense to spend your working hours with clients who are happy to collaborate with than with those who don’t share your enthusiasm or focus. You won’t waste time disqualifying them later (after endless emails and discovery calls).

Plus, attempting to appeal to everyone makes you boring and unremarkable. You must be memorable in the eyes of your target audience if you want to be remembered.

Here’s how you can achieve all this in one go through your personal brand.

Related: The 7-Step Guide To Finding the Right Clients and Avoiding the Ones Who Waste Your Time

Understand what you want to be known for (and talk about it)

When you create a strong personal brand, your name and face will pop into your audience’s minds as soon as they think of your type of services or even some specific topics.

For that to happen, you first need to identify what you wish to be associated with, from key values to concepts:

  • Choose your brand words and use them to guide your marketing. What do you want people think about you? Start brainstorming. Ask your friends and clients who have worked with you in the past: What words do they associate with your brand? If they match, great. If they don’t match, great. One of my brand words is “playful”, so I created some GIFs of myself being silly in my photography studio. They’ll probably put off the more uptight and serious prospects, but they’ll attract the type of fun women I enjoy working with
  • Decide what you want to be well known for. This could be the unique angle or twist you have added to your services, or some values or other topics. Then start talking about it, especially on social media. You want to be remembered for being authentic, bold, visible and visible in your business.

Related: This Is Why It’s So Important to Articulate Your Brand Values

Dare to show up as your authentic self

To 88% of consumers, authenticity is key when choosing what brands to support. Social media and the entrepreneurial world is saturated with the same old statements and posts.

You have a huge advantage over your competitors: None of them is “you”. Embrace this instead of trying to blend in.

When you share your quirks, passions and sense of humor, you finally create meaningful connections with your dream clients. The same applies to expressing your opinions, even if they are divisive. As long as you do this respectfully.

How many times have your stopped posting something because you were afraid that “some people won’t like it?” You might not agree with some prospects, but guess what? They are not your people. People who care will remember and appreciate you for it.

Related: 6 Positive Changes That Come When You Start Showing Authenticity in Your Business

Use color theory and graphic design strategically

If someone describes their brand as “peaceful and tranquil” but uses bright red backgrounds and a cluttered all-capital typeface, would you still associate them with those words? I doubt it.

That’s why it’s important to reinforce your brand words and values through your graphic elements.

I consider myself to be creative and quirky. When I used to photograph weddings, I preferred classic bridal colors and graphics. It’s no surprise that I kept attracted the most traditional brides, and found my old job very boring.

So, unless you’re one yourself, I recommend investing in a professional graphic designer to:

  • Harness color theory (a.k.a. different hues have different meanings)
  • Actually represent your brand visually through the right aesthetic

Related: What Colors Should You Use For Your Personal Brand? (and Why It Matters)

Showcase your personality in your brand photos

Some authentic personal brand photos will help you form a connection with the right prospects and, once again, discourage the wrong ones from getting in touch:

  • Wear outfits that are quintessentially you. While you might want to take it up a notch to really make an impact, your audience shouldn’t be confused if they were to bump into you in real life
  • Include your brand colors.
  • Choose locations that align with your values. A coffee shop photo conveys a different vibe than one taken in an office with a lot of authority.

For example, I now show up with a bold palette, bright pictures and the clothes my clients see me wearing when I take their photos. Professionals who want corporate-style headshots are not interested in this, but it makes it easier to work with dynamic women who are open to having their photos taken.

Related: 3 Ways to Use Images to Elevate Your Business

Pop up where your audience is lurking

Another way to attract your dream audience is to show up where they’re at. Send personalized pitches to magazines and podcasts and ask to be featured. Use that opportunity to discuss what you want to become known for.

They don’t have to be business publications. As long as you can reinforce your values, they are fine. Are you unsure where to begin? Ask your clients.

Doing this consistently will result in a strong personal brand, which will be hard to ignore by your dream audience.

Don’t be vanilla. Be your own unique flavor. It’s possible that some people won’t like it. But the right ones? They will absolutely love you for it.

Read More