In today’s crowded marketplace, failure to have a strong personal brand for your adult entertainment business will lead to needless struggle and frustration, especially when it comes to attracting the type of clients that are right for you.
Before I break down the fundamentals of personal branding it might be helpful to understand what branding actually is. Here’s Wikipedia’s definition:
“Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands … also involves creating an asset by defining an individual's body, clothing, physical appearance and areas of knowledge in a way leading to a uniquely distinguishable, and ideally memorable, impression.”
The first step in developing a strong personal brand is to fully embrace who you really are.
For independent escorts, the days of trying to play the role of a catwalk glamazon are long gone. First of all, not every potential client desires a runway model and, while personal appearance is important, having a solid brand is not solely based on a stereotypical cookie cutter style. In my opinion, the best and fastest way to accomplish this is by emphasizing your uniqueness - especially your personal quirks and idiosyncrasies.
In essence, your unique personal brand will comprise many elements beyond your physical appearance. Here are a few examples:
- Your stage name or persona
- The services you provide or specialize in
- The way you treat your clients -- are you creating the experiences for your ideal clients they would expect?
- Your physical environment: Does it complement your persona?
- And finally, your photos, website and web copy -- are they consistent with the experience you provide?
Keeping all of this mind, let’s get started on the fundamentals of brand clarity.
Before you can effectively retool your personal brand you must first take inventory of where you are currently. Start by exploring the following areas:
Take a look at your website: Does it reflect your personal style and the experiences you provide for your clients?
Your photographs: Are they current and true to your interests and the persona you wish to portray?
Your web copy: Does it accurately describe who you are and the type of experience your ideal clients will enjoy?
And while we’re on the subject of clients: Are you clear on the type of client you want to attract? You must know, down to the last detail, who they are and why they should call you over other providers in your category.
The key to effective personal branding is knowing who you are and what type of experiences you want to create - not just for the clients you want to attract, but for yourself. Your brand has to honestly reflect that - otherwise you’re selling a fabrication that’s not sustainable.
Fast Track Tip: If you have recurring clients, I highly suggest asking them why they consistently come back to you. Their response will provide you with valuable insight you can use to attract similar ideal clients. If you don’t feel comfortable asking your clients directly, another option to explore are any recent reviews you may have received from prior clients on advertising sites like Redbook and The Erotic Review.
Here’s another tip for defining your brand: Recall a recent client session that you really enjoyed. Think about that experience in detail. Were there any particulars about the session that stand out for you?
For example: Was the client on time, polite, obedient, easy to get along with? What did you like most about the session? How did you feel after the session concluded? Would you describe it as a representation of future sessions you'd like to repeat?
Stop Hiding So-Called Flaws ~ They are the KEY to your brand!
When you focus on bringing more of yourself into your brand, your ideal clients will find you more attractive. They will pick up on it through your website, photos, ad copy ,and ultimately through your in person interactions with them.
In order to get a clearer sense on where your brand is going, let’s explore where you are currently. You can start by asking yourself a few questions. Approach the following exercise as if you were taking inventory of your ideal life.
Personal Brand Awareness Inventory
In order for this exercise to be truly effective you must be very specific in your answers. Completing this questionnaire will help you tap into your authentic self and, as a side benefit, supply you with a roadmap for connecting with the type of clients that are perfect for you.
1.Who do you identify with? Imagine that you could be anyone from Cleopatra, to Angelina Jolie. Who are your heroines/archetypes? Why do you like her? What elements about her persona could you use in your brand?
2. What's your background? Think of special skills, degrees, certifications or specialized training you might have. Why did you choose this path or field of study?
3. Why do you do what you do? For example, do you view your work as a life calling - that you're fulfilling a higher purpose?
4. What do you desire to create in your work? What's the legacy of your journey here you want to leave behind?
5. If you could create something even bigger than what you're currently doing, what needs to happen to take your work to the next level? Do want to become an educator/advocate for other sex workers? Do you need to go back to school, or join a community outreach organization? If you would you like to write a book, what would you write about? Do you desire to travel the world and work with a wider variety of clients, and learn about other cultures? Knowing where you want to go in the future will help you make better choices in the present.
6. When you think about your work what do you like the most?
7. What do you like least or wish you could change? If you were to take on the role of the advocate, what would you fight for?
8. What sets you apart? For example: Do you speak multiple languages, are you well traveled? Do you sing opera or love to knit? Are you a gourmet cook? Or a tea connoisseur? Do hold any special citations or awards? You get the idea! The key to personal branding is bringing your whole self to the table.
9. If you were only allowed three adjectives to sum up up your desired brand what would they be?
Finally, complete the following sentence:
When I am queen bee ruler of the world, my ideal business/life looks like this?
Important Side Note: Don’t rush this process, take some time with this exercise, write your answers and put them away for a day or two. Then go back when you’re fresh and review your answers. Have they changed? Do they still hold true for you? Which questions would you answer differently?
Once you’re clear you will find yourself in a much better position to take specific action on setting up the physical aspects of your personal brand (ie. your images, website, web and ad copy etc.)
Designing A Website That Reflects Your New Brand
If you find that the time has come to make over your existing website (or create a new one) consider the following tips as the first step towards creating a website that reflects your newly defined personal brand.
Consider asking your existing clients what they think of your current website. It’s very important that you ask people who could potentially hire you - not your friends. During a recent makeover of my website the best advice I received came from my copywriter.
He suggested I ask men (my target market) what they thought of my website. It made sense as they were my target market and I found the feedback illuminating and totally affected the direction of website from my color palette to images and, in particular, my web copy.
The goal is get into the minds of the people you want to work with and get their feedback.
Looking for inspiration? Go online and do some research. When you find sites that inspire you make note of the elements you like, those that stand out for you. If this were your site what would you do differently?
Very Important: Make sure you don’t directly copy any elements of another person’s website. That's lazy, bad karma, and could get you into legal trouble.
Additional Places to Look For Inspiration
When searching other websites for inspiration, explore high-end or VIP providers. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you uncover. The old adage is true: There is truly "something for everyone".
Another option to consider are websites outside of the adult entertainment industry. For example: high end fashion, films, music, design/lifestyle, influential experts and authors, sports/athletics figures and food/cooking sites. Focus on websites that place a high value on visuals.
As you explore these sites keep your fantasy heroine/archetype on the forefront of your mind. Ask yourself, “How would she represent herself online?”
Additional Resources To Explore:
Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future by Dorie Clark
Whether you are marketing yourself as an escort, dominatrix, tantrika, or another adult entertainer, creating a personal brand is an ongoing work in progress. It takes time, and won’t happen overnight. Remember also that your brand will change and shift as you do, so don’t afraid of the process of tweaking your brand as necessary. Be patient with yourself and enjoy the process.