You can make the very best thing in the world but nobody is going to care one whit about it until you claim ownership of it. There are lots of reasons for this: people would rather support people than products; building one successful thing helps you build more successful things; shoppers like to know who makes the products they buy, etc. The point is: while humility is good in most social settings, it can be the kiss of death in marketing. In marketing, you have to be able to brag about your accomplishments, no matter how icky it might feel.
This is why so many entrepreneurs, small business owners and freelancers fail to find their footing. They know they’re great at what they do and that they’ve made great accomplishments but they feel like telling other people about them is sort of like being that kid in the class who always openly gloats after asking a question correctly.
The problem with that mindset, as we’ve already established, is that success begets success. Even if you sell a million units of your first product, you can’t build on that success with a second product if nobody knows that you were the source of the first. So how do you do this? How do you do this without feeling gross?
#1. Take to the Net!
Promoting your work and your successes online is the key to most marketing in the new millennium. In fact, estimates say that by 2016, around half of all purchases will be made because of online advertising and marketing. This means that you need to rely on more than direct mail, product placement ads and advertising on television and the radio. You need to have a website, buy a space on other popular sites, strategically place content on blogs and have an active social media presence.
#2. Set a Schedule
In the beginning, you are going to have to make yourself sit down and do your marketing work; especially for the “smaller things” like sending tweets and writing a blog post for your site. The good news is that, when you set a schedule, you can eventually train yourself to think about your marketing work as just another part of your day. You learned this when you were building your business. Dedicated and routine “self in chair” time becomes a habit and, eventually, you don’t have to force yourself to work; your body and brain start doing it automatically.
#3. Be a Person First
People want to support people. Nowhere is this more true than online. You will get a lot farther talking about yourself and the accomplishments for which you feel pride than trying to trick people into clicking on ads or posts. In fact, according to the Berbay blog, Facebook is starting to “crack down on clickbaiting,” because users prefer personal posts over sponsored ads. Twitter is sure to follow suit.
#4. Find Your Balance
A lot of independent creators and entrepreneurs alike struggle to find the balance between promoting too much and not promoting enough. Sending out updates for each little victory seems excessive. Waiting until something huge happens means people will forget about you. A good rule of thumb is to pop up in people’s lives at least once a day. This reminds people that you exist and that you are making great stuff but doesn’t cross the line into pestering.
Figuring out which time is best is going to depend on your audience and your promotion medium. Feeds that move quickly welcome multiple messages in a day. Feeds that move slowly are best collected into “digest” posts. For example, it’s okay to tweet about one thing twice (in the morning and evening) but writing two or three blog posts in one day about the same thing is poor form.
If you really have a hard time with this and you can’t figure out how to self-promote without feeling like a used car salesperson, you can hire someone to do it for you.