Why You Don't Have a Marketing Problem: The Missing Piece to Attracting Clients OnlineFeb 02, 2023
The first thing I hear from so many fempreneurs looking to attract more clients is that they need help with marketing. And while marketing is an important piece of the biz-building puzzle, it is not the first step!
One of the most common mistakes I see entrepreneurs make is that they skip over branding, and go straight to marketing because they’re taught that’s where the money is.
In order to create the impact you set out to create, make the income you deserve, and feel the fulfillment that comes with running a successful business on your terms, you need to first have a completely dialed in brand, and then market it while staying consistent with your brand guidelines!
Should You Focus on Branding or Marketing?
First, let’s get on the same page with some simple definitions – marketing refers to all the things you do to get your business in front of the world, while branding refers to how you’re showing up and the experience you’re creating while you do those things.
I like to think of branding and marketing as your favorite power couple or unbeatable best friends – they are both distinctly different and valuable in their own right but when they join together, they're unstoppable!
One simple way to differentiate branding from marketing in your mind, is to think of branding as “being” and marketing as “doing”.
Marketing without solid branding won’t do much good because, while potential clients might see you, they’ll be much less likely to think you’re credible, understand how you can help them or remember you later when they need your service.
On the flip side, branding without marketing doesn’t do much good either. You could invest tens of thousands of dollars in the most beautiful, authentic, and clear branding on the planet, but if you don’t get that brand in front of your ideal clients through marketing, well, no one will know you exist!
So to answer the question, “Should you focus on branding or marketing,” my answer is BOTH – build a purposeful personal brand, then show up consistently to market that brand to your ideal clients.
What is Personal Branding
A personal brand is essentially how you are going to become known online. It defines how you show up as the face of your brand, and the experience your brand delivers everywhere it shows up.
As a service-based coach, healer or consultant, your ideal clients’ experience with your brand is their impression of you – how they feel when they’re around you, what you do and how you do it, what it’s like to work with you, what you sound like and even how you dress.
When you are clear on your personal brand, the experience you deliver through that brand, and how you show up as the face of your brand, you are able to attract ideal clients with ease, act in complete authenticity, and build the business of your dreams.
And that was a lesson I had to learn the hard way…
Why Branding is so Important
10 or so years ago I was having coffee with a colleague when she shared something with me that really hurt. It was the last thing I wanted to hear and everything I was trying not to be.
She told me that my brand came across as immature and cheap.
For a couple years prior, I had been working hard to build a life coaching business, with very little success. One the primary things I did to try to build my business was to start my Meetup group, Daring Divas (now The Daring Fempreneur). I was devoting tons of energy and hours into planning and hosting events for my group, but despite the fact that people were showing up, nobody was taking the next step and hiring me as their coach.
I was burning out and had nothing to show for it. The passion, inspiration, and motivation I felt at the beginning of my business was starting to fade as I began to feel more and more like a failure.
Hearing that my brand came across as immature and cheap was like jabbing a knife into an open wound. It was one more thing that made me feel like I was failing.
But it was actually just the thing I needed to hear, because although it hurt, it put a fire under my feet and inspired me to make some really important changes.
You see, up until that point, I had never really thought about personal branding or considered why it might be an important thing for me to do. I just thought that if I wanted to grow my business, I needed to get in front of more people, hence, the Meetup group.
But when I started to do the research and looked at the commonalities between the successful coaches in my industry, I realized that the one thing they all had in common was a clear, authentic, and strategic brand that set them apart from the crowd.
Then I took a closer look at my brand and could start to see how others perceived it. My colleague was right. My brand did look immature and it did look cheap. It was slopped together and scattered. My brand’s look and feel wasn’t resonant with my personality, and my messaging wasn’t consistent or clear. There was nothing about my brand that made me stand out (at least in a good way), or made me memorable to my ideal client. I didn’t know who I was or what I stood for, so my brand was always inconsistent and unclear.
I realized that if I wanted to build a successful business, I was going to have to first build a recognizable, memorable, and authentic brand so that people “got” me, understood how I could help them, and most importantly felt inspired to want to hire me!
This was a big “aha” for me.
Although my colleague’s feedback was hurtful, it was also extremely motivating.
I decided to jump in with both feet and learn everything that I possibly could about creating my personal brand. So, I…
- Studied psychology with a special interest in color psychology to learn the underlying impact of different colors in branding.
- Earned a masters degree in Communications so I could clearly and effectively communicate my brand to the world.
- Hired a business coach who helped me align all of the facets of my personality into a clear, authentic and strategic brand that inspired my ideal clients to want to work with me.
- Worked with a fashion consultant to help me align my outer appearance with my brand personality.
- Studied personal presence so I could learn how to deliver my brand experience through my body, voice, and energy.
- Have invested countless hours and tens of thousands of dollars into learning as much as I possibly can about how to build a successful personal brand.
- And, pulled the most important pieces of all of my research and study together into one comprehensive system so YOU don't have to take the long road like I did.
The benefits of building my brand have been profound.
Today, 10 years after hearing that my brand came across as immature and cheap, I’m happy to say that I no longer feel like a failure. Instead, I feel immensely proud of myself for building a business that not only has a positive impact on other people’s lives, but that also allows me to live a lifestyle that, 10 years ago, felt like a far off dream.
Soon after taking the steps to clarify my brand, the clients started rolling in. First, I sold my first 1K VIP day, then my first 5K program, then my first 15K package and it only went up from there.
I didn't quit my Meetup group ... instead, I great it to 2,800 of my ideal clients, and since 2011, hosted over 600 events that consistently bring me new clients.
My colleagues understand what I do and see me as a trusted referral for their clients. In fact, I’ve had clients sign up to work with me and pay in full because they were referred by a mutual colleague. And because they trusted that colleague, they trusted me too.
Clients and members tell me through tears of gratitude how much being a part of this community of women has changed their life!
I get to lead a life where I call the shots – I can go on a hike, attend a yoga class, or meet a girlfriend for coffee in the middle of the day.
My relationship with my husband is so full of love and we do things together all the time that enhance our connection – like traveling, cooking, hiking, attending concerts, and theater.
These are just some of the things that I get to experience today that I attribute to building my brand. I truly believe that building my brand is the single most important thing I’ve done to be able to achieve these results and make the shift from feeling like a failure and wondering if I was going to have to go get a “real job,” to creating the success that I have now. This wouldn't have been possible if I just kept trying to market my business through my Meetup group without getting clear on my brand.
I share this story with you for a few reasons, but perhaps the most important one that I want to get across is the importance of personal branding.
Building a meaningful, authentic, beautiful personal brand really can be the difference between a struggling, failing brand, and one that is fully booked with a year-long waiting list.
If you skipped over creating your brand in the past – it’s not too late to fix it!
If you’re ready to say a big, bold yes to feeling unstoppable, making a bigger impact, feeling aligned with your business, attracting more clients and opportunities, and taking your brand to its fullest potential, then check out the Impact Tribe! For just $79 per month, you get access to a library of courses, bi-weekly coaching calls, templates for building your brand, and so much more. Check it out here!