When some entrepreneurs think of self-promotion they consider it to be an ego-serving, distracting waste of time. However, every business owner needs to promote themselves in some way in order to increase brand awareness and reach new clients. However, self-promotion that offers no value to an audience will create a negative impression. Self-promotion is a balancing act that incorporates the good, bad and the ugly.
The ‘good’ of self-promotion
An essential element of brand development is self (and business) promotion. Your audience needs to know how excited you are about what’s going on in your business. They need to take that journey with you and celebrate victories alongside you as your business grows. Your enthusiasm will build brand loyalty. However, there is a fine line between self-promotion and being obnoxious.
The ‘bad’ of self-promotion
Constant self-promotion doesn’t make a good impression. The goal is to remain focused on your brand in the sense of building a shared community, not to impress them. Think about conversations you would have with friends around the dinner table. You would let them know about the wonderful things going on in your life so they can celebrate with you. However, you would not dominate the dinner party sharing with everyone how wonderful you are. There is a similar dynamic when it comes to self-promotion.
The ‘ugly’ of self-promotion
Self-promotion turns ugly when shameless promotion is your go-to messaging and all you have to say. Constant self-promotion that offers no real value will quickly turn people off from your brand. Instead you want to bring your audience on your journey, as long as it is authentic, and provide something valuable in order to build your credibility. Over time with constant it’s-all-about-me self-promotion, you will lose your audience and the opportunity to build a loyal following.
How to promote yourself and check your ego at the door
As entrepreneur Jason M. Lemkin says, “Self promotion works when what you have to say could actually materially impact someone’s day-to-day, their life, and their careers.” There are smart ways to promote yourself without seeming obnoxious.
Here are three tips that will help you approach self-promotion in a new way.
1. Create branded tools, tips, and checklists
These types of tools can be downloaded and contain all of your business information. If your business focuses on one specific area, create a checklist that might be useful to customers in that space. This way you’re adding real value and boosting brand awareness at the same time.
2. Partner with your local community
Promote your brand by sponsoring worthwhile events in your community. Sponsor a local charity race or meetup where you can mutually benefit each other and cross-promote your offerings. Most events offer company sponsored tables or advertising that can be utilized to build your brand in the community.
3. Offer your products and services for free
The business community at large is split when it comes to offering products and services for free. However, there are certain opportunities where a free trial, freemium revenue model or cause marketing campaign can provide a service to the community and build your brand as well. Pinpoint a worthy cause that could benefit from your business. Giving back is always a great self-promotional tool and it is personally rewarding.
Remember the goal is to build a relationship with your audience. Keep that in mind when it comes to self-promotion and focus on providing tangible value. It will pay off in the end!
Kathleen Marrero is the Founder and Marketing Consultant at First Fig Marketing & Consulting, a digital marketing and SEM strategies company that provides marketing strategies for various businesses including small business, entrepreneurs and legal. Connect with @KathleenMarrero on Twitter.
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