Marketing the products you sell might seem logical, but your prospects do not make buying decisions based solely on logic. When it comes to close, people hire your services because they like you and relate to you, They have no relationship with your products or services, only the individual selling them. That’s why Personal Branding is so important.
Personal Branding focuses on you: your experience, your character, and your skills. It turns you into a “brand” in a brand-driven society. Branding addresses the core issue of the modern marketplace: when competitors are equal, a brand that sets itself apart in the perceptions of the buyer will be successful.
Personal Branding shapes perceptions. So does Personal Marketing – the nuts and bolts process of putting your brand in the public eye.
Quality Look and Feel
Most independent professionals create cheap marketing that looks cheap. The thinking is usually “I’m saving money,” when the reality is “I’m losing clients.” Your prospects will be swayed just as much by the quality of your Personal Marketing materials – your Personal Brochure, your website, your direct mail — as by their content. Cheap paper, bad printing and cheesy photos telegraph unprofessionalism.
Industry leaders produce marketing with quality in mind. They have materials professionally designed, opt for professional photography, and print with a reputable printer on thick, quality paper. You should do the same: your marketing tools are the vanguard of the Personal Brand that will attract the clients you truly desire.
Marketing materials that focus on nothing but hard facts are the least effective, because people don’t make buying decisions based on facts. They buy emotionally, and justify their emotional decisions with logic. A brochure full of numbers and financial data will put the cart before the horse, and intimidate and bore a prospect. A marketing truth: you can’t bore people into doing business with you.
Personal marketing, on the other hand, presents your services in the context of your Personal Brand (your background, your sense of humor, your life) to make you human, and interesting. Leading Personal Brands generate an emotional response from prospects, who link the Personal Brand with valuable attributes and characteristics.
Positioning means defining yourself within your industry as a provider of something unique and/or essential. Brands are constantly positioned; for an example, turn to the auto industry. Volvo’s position is the “safe” car. BMW’s slogan, “The Ultimate Driving Machine,” positions it as a performance car. The Honda Accord is positioned as “reliable,” while the Mazda Miata is “fun,” and Cadillac is “traditional American luxury.” Each successful brand stakes out mindshare.
Personal Branding demands positioning. That might mean branding yourself as a specialist in corporate retirement benefits, or as an agent for mature character actors, or as the divorced woman’s therapist. The point is, you must “package” yourself to allow the consumer to differentiate you from your competitors. Once you’re different, you’re remembered.
It would be nice if your prospects could commit that difference to memory after a single direct mailing or print ad. But that’s not how it is. You promote a Personal Brand with consistent Personal Marketing.
Take the case of a top fashion photographer, who in one week:
Sends out the latest in a six-piece series of direct mail cards
Sends personal brochures to agencies and designers who called to respond to his previous mailings
Updates information on his Web site
Makes follow-up calls to interested prospects
Gives two speeches at fashion industry events
Writes an article on fashion photography for an apparel magazine
Cross-promotion and continual support of your marketing efforts brings results. Most of all, persistent Personal Branding creates an indelible image, bringing you a constant flow of clients even when you’re not selling.
For more info: Click on “Subscribe to Newsletter” and enter your email address at the tops of the page to receive notice of this weekly feature and other new articles. You may also email your Job Search related questions to Mark@MarkMontoya.com Mark Montoya has been working in personal branding for more than a decade for hundreds of online and offline companies, small businesses and individual service professionals. His focus has been toward improving the way jobseekers find employment on the Internet. He has synthesized his expertise by helping job seekers obtain their ideal choice of employment over the Internet on his sites MyOnlineCareerSpace.com and MyOnlineCareerCoach.com, and through his books 101 Tips Every Job Seeker Should Know and The Ultimate Online Job Search eBook. Learn more at MarkMontoya.com, on Twitter, on LinkedIn or StumbleUpon, or Google+.
"It is the responsibility of the individual to reject the prospect of mediocrity and to strive for the betterment of society as a whole" ~ Mark Montoya