What do the most financially successful personal brands have in common? They serve a niche, they have a unique methodology, and they are persuasive.
Persuasion does not mean being salesy, sleazy, or scheming. You can be tasteful and be influential with integrity.
As Hannah Houg says in her blog, How to Persuade People to Buy, a key to being persuasive is to gain peoples’ trust.
If you’re building a personal brand, you have ideas to help people lead more satisfying lives.
Persuading them to join your tribe of followers and work with you must first be about helping them to achieve their goals and allowing your profitability to follow naturally.
With a foundational understanding of what persuasion is and is not, let’s discuss six proven elements of using persuasion in your marketing efforts to grow your community and your personal brand.
One way to persuade someone to act is to offer them something in the hope of reciprocity. When we receive something from someone—a gift, a token, an offer, or an opportunity—they feel grateful and are more likely to want to do something kind for us in return. This is reciprocity.
Think about it. Have you ever had a non-profit organization mail you an envelope of personalized return address labels? You were grateful, weren’t you? It’s so much more convenient to stick an address label onto an envelope then handwrite your return address, yet the cost and effort to have labels custom made is just high enough that most of us don’t do it.
When we take labels gifted to us, however, every time we use one and see the non-profit’s logo printed next to our name, it makes us want to donate to the organization, even if it’s only $5.
How does the idea of reciprocity apply to the marketing of your personal brand and building your community? Consider all the possible ways to encourage reciprocity among prospective customers:
- Present a special discount code in a social media post that will allow a prospect to access one of your paid online courses for free.
- Give away a free copy of your book to the first 50 people who show up at your signing event.
- Offer 10 percent off your event registration to customers who sign up for your online course.
- Offer a free five-day trial of your 60-day educational course.
The key with offers such as these is to strike a balance between offering something of value to your customers that will not result in significant lost revenue if too many people take advantage of your generosity.
Ideally, what you offer should provide an impactful introduction to your personal brand, and ultimately encourage future, higher-cost purchases. This is key to persuasion.
Have you ever made a reservation at a restaurant or bought a ticket to a movie that you had never even heard of because a celebrity you follow on social media raved about it? If so, then you’ve been persuaded by a credible influencer. When someone you trust, whom you consider an expert on a specific topic, endorses a product, service, or person, it can persuade you to trust them too.
Be honest, didn’t a small part of you want to consider a trip to the Moon once you found out that Leonardo DiCaprio booked a SpaceX Moon Trip? We rest our case.
If direct selling is an uncomfortable aspect of building your personal brand (and if it is, we get it), consider asking a satisfied client or trusted colleague to share information about your products and services with their network.
If even that feels like too big of an ask, then ask if they would be willing to allow you to write a case study or pen a brief testimonial about their experience working with you. Three sentences can be incredibly persuasive if they are three sentences written by a well-respected authority.
Other ways to leverage trusted authorities to persuade prospects to engage with your personal brand include:
- Being a guest on their podcast
- Inviting them to speak on your podcast
- Co-hosting an event
- Creating a video, eBook, educational series, or another piece of thought leader content together
- Asking them to review your product or service on YouTube
If you’ve waited in line at the Apple Store to get the latest iPhone while supplies last, then you’ve experienced the persuasive power of scarcity. Similarly, if you’ve considered purchasing a product on Amazon and clicked “add to cart” only because the item reportedly was “one of only two left in stock!” then you’ve experienced scarcity.
We all have the potential to fall victim to FOMO (fear of missing out). When the risk of missing out on an opportunity is significant enough, it can motivate a purchase for someone who is otherwise on the fence. Similarly, when we believe that an opportunity or product is rare, it suddenly becomes more valuable to us, because we crave and prize exclusivity.
Consider the following marketing tactics to leverage scarcity to build your community:
- Offer a limited time early bird price for your conference or event.
- Send emails to your subscribers, letting them know when registrations for your event, mastermind class, conference, or webinar are running out and be specific as to how many seats remain to reinforce the element of scarcity.
- Offer a limited number of signed copies of your latest book for purchase from your personal brand website.
- Reinforce in your communications that because you dedicate significant time and effort to your one-on-one consulting clients that you only accept a limited number each year. Encourage those interested in working with you to reach out promptly or get on your waiting list.
- Create a VIP community that is only available to your most engaged clients—those who have purchased your book, completed your online class, participated in your mastermind course, and worked with you one-on-one.
Use scarcity to encourage conversions from prospects at the bottom of your lead nurturing funnel.
When leveraged successfully, and genuinely, scarcity can be a valuable way to motivate people who have been thinking about working with you for some time to finally invest.
You’ll note we stated that you must use scarcity genuinely. That means, honestly reporting how many mastermind class seats, books, or appointments remain—not dishonestly trying to create demand where there is no shortage of supply. As we said at the beginning, these persuasive marketing tactics are proven, but the most crucial element of persuasion when building your personal brand is to be trustworthy.
If you want to use persuasion to enlist people to choose your personal brand when they are ready to solve their problem, you’ll want to position yourself as the authority in your industry.
Think of the value that authority brings in enlisting people on your journey, or in your 6 week course experience, or in your Mastermind.
Many people have offered organizational advice over the years; however, when Marie Kondo explained her unique platform in her best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, her book began flying off the shelf, old clothes started flying out of closets, and we all started staring at our cluttered cabinets asking ourselves, “Does this What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas shot glass really still bring me joy?”
Marie Kondo created such a compelling methodology for organizing and letting go that she staged a revolution—a veritable war on clutter and a coup d’état of closet space. Ask anyone who the authority on organization is, and they will no doubt point to Kondo with gratitude.
Kondo did not earn her place in organizational fame overnight, and you, too, will need to leverage proven tactics to persuade prospects to trust your knowledge and become part of your community. Consider these fundamentals of earning authority:
- Ensure that you have developed a unique methodology that serves a specific market segment.
- Seek editorial opportunities in trusted third-party publications.
- See number two above and obtain testimonials and endorsements from trusted leaders.
- Donate some of your time and work and earn media opportunities.
- Seek out influential and impactful speaking engagements.
- Publish a book for those who crave in-depth insights into your methodology.
There is much more to the art and science of becoming a credible authority whose name alone persuades people to act. Start your in-depth education with this blog.
Overall, persuasion is correlated with positioning.
Another way to prove your trustworthiness and authority and persuade a prospect to act is to be consistent. Business leaders have found that it takes seven interactions with a brand before someone is willing to make a purchase.
Sure, we’ve all made an impulse purchase from a known and trusted business here and there.
(Hello plane ticket to Paris for only 10,000 miles).
But when it comes to making a purchase, especially if it represents a significant financial investment with a new brand or service, experience tells us that your prospect is going to want to get to know you first.
That means they’re going to be more comfortable and finally persuaded to make a purchase, only if they consistently receive the same message from you that reinforces the same value proposition.
To generate consistency of message, outreach, and touch, you’ll need to build a marketing engine that you can eventually automate so that you have plenty of time to continue your work with your clients. Developing a content calendar will need to be your first step to executing a strategy for building consistent content. Your content calendar may include such recurring engagement touchpoints as:
- Weekly blogs distributed to your email subscribers.
- Daily social media posts.
- A podcast with new episodes released bi-monthly.
- A monthly newsletter aggregating content that you developed and shared throughout the month.
- A quarterly webinar series.
- An annual mastermind class.
Bonus Ninja Content: Click here for three critical components of content creation for personal brands.
6. Be Likeable
When was the last time that you purchased from someone you disliked? It doesn’t happen often. We are more easily persuaded to act when influenced by people whom we find to be genuinely pleasant and likable.
If you’re in the business of helping others, then you certainly want to be liked.
There is a psychology to being likable that may support your personal brand in achieving 10X the results, impact and reach.
Persuasion is ineffective if you don’t bring a level of likability with it.
People like those whom they recognize as similar to them. It’s the reason why kids search the lunchroom for a peer who also has a superhero lunchbox to sit next to, and it’s the reason why empathy is such a critical component of building a personal brand.
People love underdog stories because they want proof that humans can overcome challenges when the odds are stacked against them.
It gives us all confidence to know that one day, when we find ourselves at the bottom of a hole, or bankrupt, or alone, that we too can climb out and reclaim our stability and our lives. For this reason, personal brand leaders who share their own stories of failure and triumph, particularly as they relate to their methodology, can be incredibly persuasive.
If you find yourself in financial trouble, you may be more likely to trust Dave Ramsey, for example. Ramsey is transparent about his personal experiences falling into bankruptcy and today shares the secrets he learned regaining his wealth.
In this article, publicity and marketing strategist Selena Soo shares her story of going from feeling lost and uninspired in her career to helping others go from hidden gem to household name. Such stories are powerful ways to attract those who can empathize and relate and persuade them that you are the one who can help them to solve their problem.
Final Words of Advice
As you look to leverage tactics of persuasion in your personal brand marketing efforts, remember that the most crucial component of being persuasive is to be genuine.
Persuading people to engage with your personal brand does not mean being pushy or pestering.
Persuasion will come naturally if you continue refining your craft, networking with fellow thought-leaders, amplifying the reach of your message, and showcasing your vulnerabilities. Do these things, and your community of raving fans will grow stronger—organically.