Be yourself, because everyone else is already taken.Oscar Wilde
Marketing is constantly evolving. And the businesses that experience the most growth? Are the ones that stay ahead of the curve. Here at StreetText, we believe that marketing has now entered the era of the personal brand, where your potential new clients are looking to build relationships with people, and where the best way to create a profitable business is to market not your services, but rather, your unique expertise.
So how can you build a personal brand that attracts your ideal clients and facilitates your selling process? Here are 4 steps you can take right now that will start you on the personal branding road and make you stand out in all the right ways.
But Why? Establish Your Philosophy and Driving Purpose
Step 1: Establishing your “WHY”
The first step toward building a strong personal brand is determining why you got into this industry in the first place.
In his New York Times bestselling book Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, organizational consultant Simon Sinek argues that there are two primary ways of influencing any kind of human behaviour: Manipulation and inspiration. And inspiration, he says, is ultimately the more persuasive and enduring method.
“People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it. We are drawn to leaders and organizations that are good at communicating what they believe. Their ability to make us feel like we belong, to make us feel special, safe and not alone is part of what gives them the ability to inspire us.”
Sinek’s words are equally true of both internal sales (ie. motivating employees to perform) and external sales (ie. persuading clients to buy). From the Wright Brothers to Apple to TiVo to legendary adventurer Ernest Shackleton to Dr. Seuss’ Star-Belly Sneetches, Sinek’s book is filled with case study after case study proving that forgettable brands start with WHAT and HOW, whereas persuasive, beloved, and memorable brands start with WHY.
When your audience can plainly see what drives you, it allows them to opt in as fellow followers of your “why” and make a value statement about who they are as people. And that’s how you use your brand to plant the seeds of a movement – one that persuades and inspires others to follow.
Who Do You Serve? Narrow Your Ideal Audience to Boost Your Appeal
Step 2: Narrowing your focus by aligning with your “Why”
In marketing, there’s a saying that’s been bandied about so much it verges on cliche:
“If you try to talk to everyone, you’ll be heard by no one.”
The reason why marketers keep repeating this phrase over and over (…and over, and over, and over, and over…) is because it’s true.
When you try to appeal to too many different kinds of potential new clients, you dilute your brand and your value proposition. It’s like every episode of Kitchen Nightmares where celebrity chef and browbeater-in-chief Gordon Ramsay tells struggling restaurant owners that no, you really DON’T need 183 different menu items spanning 6 styles of cuisine.
When you try to be all things to all men, you muddle your brand promise and turn yourself into a commodity, into just another real estate agent.
But when you can definitively tell people who you serve & why? That’s when your value proposition becomes clear.
Different audiences have different wants and needs. A luxury buyer who’s looking for a $3.8 million mansion isn’t going to be drawn to the same real estate brand as a 20-something couple who are entering the market for the first time.
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to only work with one type of client.
But it does mean that when you’re building your real estate brand, you need to figure out how your ideal clients talk about their pain points – and then match their language & concerns.
If you can do that? You can position yourself as the only real estate agent in the world who truly understands them.
What’s Your Style? Figure Out Your Brand’s Personality & Mannerisms
Step 3: Finding your authentic voice
In the personal brand era, it’s becoming more and more important for brands to act like people. Your potential new clients are looking to engage on a human level, and that’s why brands that show off some personality are quickly gaining popularity. The more you can make your brand sound like an actual human person, the more effectively you’ll be able to attract potential new buyers & sellers.
Quite simply, strong brand personalities make it easier to attract and convert your ideal clients. One Millward Brown study notes that “the strongest brands are those with the most well-defined personalities” and that in North America, the most popular personality traits that consumers want to see in brands are confidence, creativity, wisdom, and generosity.
While these are the personality traits that play best with consumers, how your particular business manifests those traits is entirely up to you – and the more unique and authentic you can be, the more attractive you’ll be to your ideal clients.
What Makes You Great? Prove Your Expertise and Provide Consistent Value
Step 4: Becoming known
Velocity Partners Creative Director and former Ogilvy & Mather marketer Doug Kessler says that the winners in the post-content era of marketing will be those who build Great Content Brands.
That is to say, the winners will be people who become known for producing excellent content – and for doing it consistently.
One of the very best ways to become known in the industry and build brand value is to contribute authoritative content assets that establish you as an expert and help your potential new clients to improve their lives, solve their problems, or learn new things.
This means publishing high-value authority content that is branded with your unique philosophy, personality, and promise. Content that serves your people – your ideal audience.
This kind of content should clearly demonstrate why you’re different and unique. It should show off who you are, what you value, and what expertise you have to offer. And it should engage with your audience on a human level.
If you can do that? You’re well on your way to building a strong personal brand.
Personal brand building is more than just a tactic – it’s an adventure. It’s a long-term approach to business that will pay dividends well into the future, and it’s quickly becoming the norm in not just real estate, but all professional services industries. And the sooner you can start building your personal brand, the better prepared you’ll be when online marketing undergoes its next major tectonic shift.
“I already have a brand, but I need a funnel! Can you help?”
Yes, we can! Lead generation today is being won by people who are building relationships and establishing trust. Contact StreetText today to learn how our funnel system works, or start a trial to test-drive our lead magnet system for yourself.
Helping businesses land new clients with smart sales funnels that sizzle. He founded Brand Gesture Marketing to help businesses that are tired of “just okay” marketing—and want to nix the cliches and do something that works.