We are all so close to our own talents and innate abilities that we can’t see how special they are. After all, they come to us naturally.
Oh, those nagging questions of self-doubt our brains sometimes throw at us.
Am I good enough?
Can I distinguish myself from others who do similar work?
Can I offer something something unique to my customers and clients?
The answers are:
Everyone has something they bring to the table that is unique. Whatever that thing is, it speaks to the people who are your “perfect” customers. I’m going to call it your “X-factor.”
Granted, it can be a challenge, even a struggle, to figure out what that unique thing is, and here’s why I think that is: We are all so close to our own talents and innate abilities that we can’t see how special they are. After all, they come to us naturally. Can’t everyone see what we see? I mean, it’s right there!
It could be something you’re naturally talented at. Or how you project yourself and communicate. Or it could be a skill from a job you did in the past, or the fact you grew up with a different language, or maybe even your sense of humor. How can you somehow integrate “It” with what you are doing now?
X-Factor: Your Unique Experience
“T” (not her real name… ok, so she doesn’t really exist. But she’s an example!) makes handmade jewelry with beads and charms, in fact, quite similar to so many artisans on Etsy. She also happened to have grown up speaking Italian and visiting Italy often. To her it’s the most natural, even boring, thing in the world. But to the rest of us that is not boring at all, but enticing.
To make her jewelry (and to some degree her branding) stand out, I might suggest she might evoke the culture in how she names her jewelry: “espresso brown” or “amaretto brown” instead of simply brown (for search engine purposes “brown” is still good to include); “capri” instead of turquoise, etc. Or, perhaps in her non-isolated product photography, juxtaposing a bracelet against a background of, say, a cup of espresso, hanging on the handle of a Vespas, or on an issue of Vogue Italia.
This gives her products a certain cachet, a flavor, if you will, maybe even a way to make a potential customer feel as if possessing that item will bring a bit of Italian style or Tuscan charm into their life. And since she knows it from her own experience, it’s genuine. That creates an emotional bond, one that is specific to her.
Similarly, when I design a website, I strive to connect emotionally to the site’s visitors via imagery, wording and color, based, of course, on my client’s unique vision and X-factor. When you visit Designs by Diane, for example, a website for a client who really does exist, I hope you feel the both the heart behind her Maui-inspired contemporary jewelry, as well as life on a white sandy beach: a clear, aquamarine sea, soft breezes, restful and calm, and with the simple elegance that is reflected in her designs.
This is not the kind of tropical imagery that is loud and lively with hot colors. I even extended the visitor experience, with a bit of a wink, to the 404 “Not Found” page.
Diane’s designs are beautiful in and of themselves, but her X-factor, that little extra kick, is how she shares her experience on her adopted island home, and the magic she finds there in its natural beauty, “pure” and unadorned.
X-Factor: Relatable Stories & Humor
Sometimes the emotional connection isn’t that overt. Les Berman is a mortgage consultant who is smart and vastly experienced. His X-factor? He’s funny.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t find mortgage particularly amusing; nevertheless, I do read Les’ weekly e-newsletters. He tells funny, often personal, stories and quirky observations in his e-newsletters that appear to have nothing to do with what he does for a living. That is, until you get to the end, where he cleverly connects a seemingly out-of-the-blue story with his business mission, along with his invitation to call “the guy with the shiny golden dome.” Les’ website similarly shows him to be someone easy to talk to, and who will make an often-dreaded process easier and less arduous.
The reason this works so well is because Les doesn’t let his humor and personal stories detract from his professionalism, or how he demonstrates his depth of knowledge and experience. Instead, he uses it to build relationships, and make him approachable, relatable and memorable.