Question: if everyone is #beingboss and has the answer to all of your business dilemmas, how do you tell a real #ladyboss from a "yes man"? You know the type. The graphic designer who takes on every project under the Sun and then (here's the foul play) showcases every single one of them. Wait, are you a boutique design agency or a corporate freelancer? Do all your designs involve calligraphy or are we Helvetica or bust? I'm not sure.
The "problem" is that many young businesses are so focused on trying to make a living that things can get a bit jumbled from the client's point of view. That's why maintaining a consistent brand presence online is crucial to building trust and attracting dream clients.
At Flourish, we see these patterns occur all the time. A small business owner will approach us in desperate need to find the right clients. They're tired of saying yes to everything and don't understand why their dream projects aren't manifesting. While our focus is first and foremost brand strategy, so often these marketing issues lead back to a few crucial brand mantras:
Be clear about what you do and don't do (and who can hang)
It's okay to say no. It's okay to define who's in your tribe and who is most certainly not. This isn't being a bully; it's being clear about who values you and will gladly pay you to do what you do. This is business. I encourage you to get comfortable drawing the line at what you do and who you serve, and what's not for you.
1. I really love doing this "type of work" and tend to lose track of time while doing it.
2. When I say yes to this "type of work", I usually regret taking it on.
3. People seem to be really drawn to "this type of service", which is surprising to me.
Once you figure out the type of work you want to be known for, only post things online to support that. Everything else should stay in your back pocket and away from your portfolio.
Dive deep into who you're targeting (and who you're definitely not)
I get the need to pay the bills. There will certainly be clients who come along who don't see your true value or are a bit difficult to get along with. It's your call as to whether you need to take them on. However, everything that's going on in the backend should not affect the vibe you're putting out online. Spend time getting behind the psyche of your customer. What language do they use? What are they into right now? How do they spend most of their time (and where)? The key to finding dream clients is rather simple: go to where your people are, and foster those relationships.
1.When I get to talking about life in general to "this type of person", it's like we can go on for hours. (Describe that person: what they do, what hobbies they enjoy, what their vibe is).
2. My dream clients seem really drawn to "these brands, trends, events."
(Use these affiliates as anchor points when finding your customer online. If they're deep into the Kinfolk lifestyle, find out who's engaging on their Instagram feed and tap them on the shoulder via likes and comments.)
3. When a potential client has "these qualities or mannerisms", I see a red flag.
Be conscious of your teaser (Instagram)
The imagery that you're putting out into the world - whether on Facebook, Instagram, or your website - needs to be absolutely stunning. It should clearly communicate your brand's aesthetic, and immediately connect with your dream target's personal style. Wondering what that is? Find your target, look at who they're engaging with, and start taking notes.
Open your Instagram profile and take an objective look at your "quilt".
1. Is there consistency found throughout? Are there patterns with color, font choice, post topic?
3. Are there posts you published only because you were freaking out about going radio silent? How true are these images to your brand standards? (Hint: it's okay to delete these.)
The key with all of this is to realize that building consistency takes just that: building. Brick by brick (or 'gram by 'gram), you have to lay the foundations so that when your dream customer happens upon your page, they see themselves in you.
And that's the ticket; you want to build something that reflects your client's innermost values and desires. You want them to buy into your lifestyle, not just a single product. Focus on building that relationship - one that involves engagement and transparency - and the sales will come naturally.
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