One of my all-time favorite movies is Auntie Mame, with Rosalind Russell. I always wanted to be an Auntie Mame when I grew up … traveling around the world, floating in and out of different groups, and (most of all) not worrying much about convention. (Some people think I’m already there.) If you haven’t seen the movie, I’d recommend checking it out for a delicious evening of escape.
The most famous lines in the movie comes when Rosalind Russell, as Mame, yells, “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.”
They just don’t write lines like that anymore … and frankly, they never did. Rosalind Russell wanted this movie to be successful, so she hired her own writers and modified the script. (The word “suckers” originally was much stronger).
Rosalind Russell understood that personality can be compelling. Her Mame personality created the movie’s theme, whether she was selling skates at Macy’s, visiting her southern in-laws or facing down the uptight family of her son’s first girlfriend.
“What’s Your Website Personality?”
You’re not required to present yourself as the hero who walked in the client’s shoes. Your online personality doesn’t have to be the same as your “real” offline personality. Lots of business owners come across as “loud and proud” personalities on their websites, but they’re quiet and gentle “up close and personal” personalities on their classes and consultations.
You can choose your personality … and often your personality chooses you. Most service solo-preneurs and independent professionals fit one of these three — and sometimes overlap:
Personality Type #1: “Loud, Proud and Over The Top”
You can probably think of half a dozen marketers who fit this category. They’re in-your-face, outrageous and sometimes confrontational. They say outrageous things that leave you gasping: “Did he really say that?”
Service professionals in this category design their services to emphasize their celebrity status: very limited one-to-one access, lots of gatekeepers and intermediaries, and events that have the feel of destination weddings.
They make no claim to be “just like you.” In fact, their website reinforces their celebrity status. They use social media so rarely, each post becomes a special event.
At the same time, they’re playing a high stakes game. They’ve got to keep up with the time and offer the latest, most current updates. They need to create a strong tribe or community
Personality Type #2: “Up Close And Personal”
You probably recognize those personalities, too. They share a lot about their personal lives and their struggles for success. Their videos invite you into their living rooms (and they don’t care if you think they need a decorator). They’re active on social media and their posts reference parents, spouses, dogs, cats and last night’s dinner.
If you create this type of personality, your list members stay loyal because they love you. Your followers think they know you. In fact, your list members call to say, “Hey, I’m in town: want to have lunch?”
Solo-preneurs in this category design services to be accessible, whether via one-to-one coaching or groups they lead personally. Send an email and they’ll respond warmly.
If you fit this category, your website has to communicate your limits and boundaries as well as your friendliness. And you face challenges when you grow and clients start to deal with you through assistants.
Personality #3: “Just the facts, please! “
A large number of highly successful professionals don’t try to create a personality or persona. They deliver very solid information in a matter of fact way.
Sure, their social media posts might mention what they’re doing, but they rarely get personal. Some of these marketers don’t even talk about family or pets. They relate to YOU rather than discussing who THEY are.
Don’t confuse style with personality. An “just the facts” marketer can use humor, pushy promises or a friendly informality to communicate information. You don’t have to be Dilbert with a bland white shirt and pocket protector.
You do need to offer genuine expertise. And in some fields, you need to take on this personality when you create your website. Get too personal and you’ll annoy your prospects; become a celebrity and they’ll dismiss you as unapproachable, arrogant and even a little scary.
Of course these categories aren’t uniform and they may overlap. Additionally, styles change. Strong language – the kind that gets your message banned – used to be reserved for over-the-top marketers. Today it’s common among people of all ages and many backgrounds.
But what’s important is your consistency as you create content on your website, social media and other sources… consistency within your copy and with your audience’s expectations. For instance, I came across a website by a life coach who wrote about “developing an agenda and implementing a plan.” His clients probably expect consultations that feel like boardroom meetings.
That’s why it’s important to take your personality into account when you develop your brand. I’ve mapped it out in this report (currently free as I write this — subject to change).