I have a strong stance on how “attractive” one needs to be in their brand, website, and social media presence, in order to attract ideal clients…
I’ve worked for a decade to slowly and steadily build what I would call a “loyal” and “true fan” audience for my business… an audience that feels connected to me not through flashy marketing or clever persuasion, but through shared values and an appreciation for my authentic presence.
So what I share with you below comes from years in the trenches developing my approach. May you find something here to be valuable for you as well.
In my business, I never try to be attractive. In fact, I don’t mind being unattractive in the conventional sense of how polished or well-designed my marketing is.
The reasoning behind this contrary approach is simple: I want to attract only the most aligned “soulmates” to my business. The souls who resonate with my energy signature and are seeking exactly what I have to offer.
An apt analogy is dating or friendship. If you have to always be drop-dead gorgeous, impeccably dressed, and constantly impressive in every way just to attract and keep someone, then you’ll inevitably have to keep up that facade for the rest of your life. It’s not sustainable. It’s exhausting.
On the other hand, if your partner loves you deeply even when you are just being your casual, unpolished self… then you know they love you for you. They aren’t attached to the surface. They’re connected securely to your core.
That is the kind of audience I want. Not those who are swept away by attention-grabbing first impressions, but those who are patient enough to understand the authentic value of what I provide.
To achieve this, I have made some very intentional and contrary choices when it comes to my marketing and branding.
For example, the overall design of my website has not changed for 9 years at the time I’m writing this. Only minor changes to the core pages.
When I first created my site way back when, I just wanted to slap something up quickly to get started — I think I built the entire thing in half a day or less. It was bare bones basic.
And guess what — that original website is still up today in all its retro, amateur style… aside from adding new blog posts and simple sales pages over the years.
Most of the pictures scattered across the site are a vintage 10–15 years old at this point. I sometimes joke that my goal is to keep this outdated design for the next 30 years as an ongoing experiment to prove that I can run a successful business with an “unprofessional” looking website!
And… in case you’re wondering… who is this crazy person rambling about un-attractive marketing and refusing to update his site?
I can’t blame you for being skeptical.
Allow me to provide some context:
I’ve been running my business at a consistent six-figure income level for over 13 years at the time of this writing. As a solopreneur. In fact, my business has been more financially profitable than most of the peers I’ve had a chance to talk to and share numbers with.
I’ve also had a multi-year waiting list of clients since 2016.
So while I may fly against the norm with my marketing, I hope this gives you a sense that it has worked incredibly well. I have the privilege today of only having to “whisper” when I launch new offerings, and still have lots of people sign up.
But it wasn’t always that way.
When I first started out back in 2009, I tried to have all the slickiest marketing I could muster. A slicker looking website (than I have today), persuasive sales copy, the whole thing. I thought I had to impress people and have a sharp image to compete.
I also heavily researched and utilized all the latest marketing and sales tactics — funnel strategies, scarcity email sequences, tons of social proof. They helped me gain some clients in those early days for sure.
But a curious thing happened…as the months and years went on, I noticed almost none of those original clients from my slick and polished marketing days remained. They came for the sizzle… but most of them had no deep connection to me as a person.
Once I dialed back the aggressive tactics and took the time to share my authentic self, a new type of clientele began emerging. Ones who resonated deeply to my energy signature first, and secondly appreciated my knowledge and services.
These “true fans” are still with me today many years later. They have grown alongside me as my business has developed.
Their reviews and testimonials lend me credibility with new people. Their referrals and word-of-mouth allow me to sustain a business with ease. They are my loyal community.
This whole journey and contrast revealed an important insight — that marketing based on trying to be attractive and persuasive can tend to generate short-term results, but does not lead to sustainable, thriving businesses built on trust.
With that realization, I made a conscious pivot…
Today, my marketing focuses on substance over style. Character over charisma. Patience over persuasion.
I know this can mean slower growth and smaller audiences… but I rebel against the typical model of always trying to hook people’s attention.
The constant push for clever tactics now makes me allergic.
I would much rather be seen for my authenticity first, with business as a secondary endeavor… even at the point of being ignored or dismissed by many people at first glance.
But here is the interesting part…
Even with my minimalistic website and virtually non-existent branding, my business somehow manages to not just survive, but thrive.
Because in being patient and genuine, I have attracted an audience that sees true value in what I offer. They are willing to look beyond the surface.
Once they have gotten to know me past the lackluster first impressions, they tend to become raving fans who promote me to all their own networks.
As a result, my clients consistently tell me I attract the “best” people of any group program or courses they’ve joined. Because my marketing acts like a filter for only those who care much more about substance over style.
This brings me to my first piece of marketing advice based on all my experience:
If your priority is to build a sustainable business fueled by an audience that truly resonates with your work and values, then you must practice patience. Lean into the long-term practice of authentic business.
It will probably be a slower ramp up on the front end compared to others. But once you have your community of true fans, even a small circle of them, they will tend to be loyal for a long time. Audience growth will get easier over the years.
When you eventually “whisper” about a new offering, all the months of nurturing your community ensures that the message will spread fast.
Recently, I nonchalantly launched a new course with only minor promotion. I expected possibly 40 participants to join.
To my surprise, over 80 people registered within days of my soft announcement.
This is the power of having a tuned-in audience. A gentle launch is all you need. And that makes it much more sustainable for your energy over time.
But… what if you are just starting out or struggling to gain traction? What if you need to rapidly gain clients now, but still want to move towards sustainable connection and trust?
First, tap into your existing network of contacts, friends, and acquaintances to look for early adopters of your services. Reach out individually and thoughtfully to see if they need support.
The key is real conversation — don’t jump into a sales pitch. Show you genuinely care about them. Those who reciprocate care will then ask you how you’re doing in return.
At that point, you can naturally mention that you’ve been working on your business and are seeking connections with potential clients. See if they know anyone looking for help with your expertise.
When you’ve created comfort and trust, some will naturally refer you or hire you directly. And as you work with them, many will refer their own connections to you as well.
Secondly, start cultivating your online audience at the same time. Document your journey on social media, even in small simple ways. Share day-to-day insights from your entrepreneurial path.
Don’t worry about polish or production value. Just practice showing up consistently and sharing what you learn along the way.
Broadcast on whatever platforms you already use rather than learning new technology right away. People will appreciate seeing your authentic journey unfold in real-time.
Pay attention to the topics and types of content that get engagement. Then make more of that. Repurpose your most resonant content by refreshing it and reposting it.
Stick to the 80/20 rule — 80% of your content should focus on pure value with no sales pitch whatsoever. Just share authentically and aim to help.
Yet 20% of your posts can focus exclusively on your services and offers.
This balance allows you to build trust through generosity while still gently marketing your services at times. Over time, your audience will grow.
Resist short-term marketing tactics if they conflict with your long-term vision of building an authentic audience and sustainable business fueled by trust.
Have faith that spending time to understand your clients’ deepest needs first, then serving those needs consistently, will lead to the outcomes and security you seek.
It requires a transformational mindset shift away from quick results towards nurturing genuine connection with your audience. The stability and satisfaction you seek will naturally emerge.
Wishing you much clarity and success.