Ugh. Just writing it makes me cringe along with a healthy dose of guilt for not prioritizing it.
There’s one thing I’ve noticed when chatting with my clients and freelancer friends, it’s that we struggle with how to promote ourselves without feeling awkward or sleazy.
We’re great at working on our own products or with clients, yet we just can’t seem to pull the trigger when it comes to promoting our own brand.
I’m going to get real with you. It’s holding you back! We can’t press publish on that new course, website or service because we don’t have a system in place for promotions. I know you, you want things “done the right way” from the start, and that includes the promos. It’s a hindrance.
I’m not going to pretend I have this whole marketing thing figured out, but I’ve certainly come a long way since starting Spruce Rd. Here are few things I’m working on so I can press publish with confidence.
Understand your customer
Our businesses should always come back to our customers/clients. Who are they, and how can we better serve them? Through understanding your customers, everything else will fall into place. You’ll develop new services that meet their specific needs, product ideas, blog post topics down to today’s topic — how you can promote yourself to them.
Devote some time to brainstorm who you enjoy serving the most in your brand. Ask questions like:
What is holding them back right now?
What types of questions do they have (related to your offerings)?
Where would they like to be?
Where do they spend their time?
These answers are the keys to how you can promote yourself to them.
Hone in on where to focus your efforts
This one’s a biggy. I’ll be honest with you, these days I only work about 10 hours a week (what?!?!). Full article coming your way soon on how I’m managing that. But, spoiler alert it all comes down to honing in on where to focus my time.
The same applies to promoting your brand. It can be overwhelming on where to focus your efforts. As online entrepreneurs, we forever feel the pressure of staying up to date on Instagram, Twitter, blogging, our website, Instagram and Pinterest (to name a few). Don’t give into this false need to be engaged on every platform.
Otherwise, you’ll be spread thin. Or worse, automated. There are several tools that will automate your social media, which certainly have their place. But to be truly engaged you need to do more than repost content on a schedule. We’re not robots; we crave personalization!
Select a handful of ways to engage with your customers. For me, this has become writing articles, interacting with my clients and freelance students, and occasionally Instagram.
What can you share?
Let’s get this one out of the way — you don’t have to post selfies! I periodically have this unnecessary guilt, and it says that I should be sharing more of my face on social media. There is some expectation that I NEED to do this, and it’s uncalled for. Sure, people love to see the face behind the brand, and maybe if you so choose you can do this to promote your brand. But I don’t want that “expectation” to prevent you from promoting your business.
Think of what your customers like to see from you.
Is it pretty photos of your products?
Success stories from your customers/clients?
Behind the scenes?
Sneak peeks at new products in the works?
Your personal life (totally okay… some brands intertwine personal + business really well!)
Your cat? (hey… no judgement!)
I love it when I see other brands get creative with their promotions! It adds so much fun to marketing, and makes it feel so much less of a “promotion.” My past client and friend Mandi is a prime example of how to bring the fun into marketing. If you didn’t catch my chat with her a couple weeks ago on how she does this, go give it a listen. She’s hilarious, so be prepared to laugh!
Instead of telling the world “hey, here’s my new product, go buy it for an X% discount” (guilty!), she reads her middle school love notes to her now husband. True story. I know that makes zero sense in this context, so you really should watch the video!
Her product was a “bae crate” to give your loved one on Valentine’s Day. Leading up to the launch, she would read those love notes on what she deemed “bae day” weekly for a month before the product was revealed. She had fun, and got creative with promoting her brand.
There are countless ways I’ve seen this done, and it makes me grin each time.
I even let my husband (also hilarious) create a ridiculous Craigslist posting to promote my course launch. It included pictures of the cast of Full House, Michael Phelps, a bald eagle and a pine tree, and yet it somehow tied these things together in an off-beat Shareworthy promotion. I told him he could do one fun thing for marketing, and that’s what he chose! He already has grand ideas for our next launch, just you wait.
Avoid falling into the standard promotion tactics, and get fun with what your audience would enjoy. I hope that a weight has been lifted off your shoulders, and that you feel rejuvenated in promoting your brand! Through understanding your audience, focusing your efforts, and getting creative, you’ll actually press publish in a way that honors your brand.