Also referred to as the velvet rope strategy, using exclusivity in your marketing can help you build an engaged and loyal client-base who can’t wait for the chance to pay you for your services. As a 1-on-1 service-based freelancer/entrepreneur, it can also give you more freedom with how you spend your energy and time in your business.
How exclusivity in your marketing works
The premise is pretty simple. Don’t say “yes” to everyone. In fact, don’t say “yes” to most people. Say “yes” to only a tiny group of people who represent your dream clients. The group Seth Godin calls “the smallest viable audience”.
When you’re selective about who you’re willing to work with, it creates a heightened sense of desirability. It’s that funny thing where we want what we can’t have. The less available something is, the more attractive and special it looks.
By having high standards and being exclusive, the clients who get to work with you consider themselves lucky to gain the opportunity. They’re completely invested in your services, motivated, and willing to pay premium prices.
Of course, this should all be based on delivering genuine value. Your clients should feel fortunate because they are fortunate. Because another big benefit of being exclusive is that you can afford to give your clients the attention they need and deserve. You’re not stuck stretching yourself thin over too many clients, some of whom may not even be a good fit.
Being exclusive is better for you and your clients
You may have a wide range of skills, but there are almost certainly some types of problems you’re better at solving than others. For some clients, you feel totally confident in your ability to get them the results they’re aiming for. For others, it might feel more like a gamble.
Why not just stick to your dream clients? The ones you feel confident about helping. The ones you love working with. If it’s with those clients you can really make transformational changes happen, that’s where you should be putting all your time and energy.
Remember that your services are not about the process. Your clients aren’t so interested in your methods. Not really. What they want to know is, can you get them to their desired outcome. If you can promise the outcome, your business is that much more valuable. You’re able to deliver services that produce great results. You know exactly how to help your clients reach their goals. You can charge higher prices.
Put all that into your branding and marketing, and you’re able to attract those dream clients who want what you offer and can afford it. They recognise the value of what you do and they feel excited to work with you. Both parties benefit.
Define your dream client
Choosing to be exclusive about the clients you take on has to start by defining exactly who that dream client is. A few desirable traits you might look for in your dream clients that make them an ideal fit:
- You’re able to get them their desired result
- They’re motivated and willing to do the work on their end to hit their goals
- They can afford your time and attention
Of course, many of the more specific traits you look for in a dream client will depend on your unique business and services. The more specific you can get, the better. Check out my post on defining your ideal client for more guidance.
Focus your time and energy into the right places
As a 1-on-1 service-based entrepreneur, you only have so many hours in the day with which you can work with your clients. If your only way to make a good income right now is to completely pack your schedule and risk burning out, you’re not only doing yourself a disservice. You’re also limiting the attention you can give each client — and that’s not good for anyone.
Instead, if you’re hand-picking just the best clients who can afford to pay for premium access to the results you offer, you can take on fewer clients and make great money. This means you free up a lot of your time and energy which can be given back to these highly-invested clients. You’re able to provide an amazing VIP brand experience that gives those clients the kind of high-touch attention they deserve. It’s a win-win.
How to communicate exclusivity in your marketing
Okay, so maybe now you’re sold on the idea of using exclusivity in your marketing. You’re ready to be highly selective about the clients you take on, but how do you communicate what you’re doing to your audience? After all, they won’t necessarily know just how lucky they’d be to work with you unless you explain to them why. So, here are a couple ways to heighten that sense of exclusivity in the way you offer your services.
Let your target market know that you only have a limited number of spots available, or that you can only take on a certain number of clients at a particular point in time. For example, you may send out an email to your list about how you’re now taking bookings for the next month and have space to take on just 3 new clients.
Right at the start of this post, I mentioned that this marketing strategy is sometimes referred to as the velvet rope strategy. It’s named for the velvet ropes you sometimes find alongside the queues of people outside of the latest hot-spots, all waiting for the chance to get inside. What’s interesting, is that it’s the queue and the velvet ropes that make the club seem all-the-more desirable and the fact that there are people waiting outside that piques your curiosity. Starting a waiting list for potential clients that your audience can join can have the same effect on your business.
You should always make it clear who your target market is in your branding. This helps you sift out people who aren’t going to be a good fit. Further down your marketing funnel, you can make this more and more clear by using things like intake forms that ask your prospects to self-qualify before they get the opportunity to work with you. For example, you might have all prospects to answer specific questions about what they’re struggling with and why they want your help, before they can book a consultation with you. This helps to make it clear that you’re not going to work with just anyone. Your prospects also need to convince you that they’re a good fit for your services.
This tactic is not necessarily so different to using waiting lists and a qualifying process. It’s simply about the language you use and can definitely ramp-up the exclusivity factor in the eyes of your audience. Give interested prospects a way to raise their hand and say they’re interested in your services (similar to using a waiting list), but of course, the ultimate decision of who gets to book your services lies with you.
So, there you have it. I hope I’ve been able to show you how adding exclusivity to your marketing strategy is an amazing way to drive a strong sense of desirability around your brand, as well as being beneficial for both you and your clients. I genuinely believe that one of the best ways to take care of yourself and your business is to take good care of your clients. It is, I think, the most powerful way to develop a brand that is going to be sustainable in the long-run.
Want to talk strategy and design desirability into your brand so you can work with dream clients? Find out more about working with me (and maybe becoming one of my dream clients)!