Some people love to market themselves and easily promote their talents, opinions and personal characteristics wherever they go and they know well how to market yourself. You probably knew some kids like this in high school. Other people feel uncomfortable in the spotlight and would rather quietly pursue their passions and develop their products or services behind closed doors.
If you fit into this latter category, you may face a dilemma because personal marketing often connects to business success. Before you panic, however, look at some of these strategies and tips on how to market yourself without existing in misery for the rest of your life.
How to Market Yourself Effectively?
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone but Stay True to Yourself
Everyone needs to keep learning and growing, and this typically involves stretching yourself and trying new things. Learning how to market yourself is no exception.
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Fortunately, this doesn’t mean turning yourself into someone that you would never recognize. In fact, trying to become some brash new marketing star may backfire and prove detrimental to your purpose.
When you act out of character, you often create an awkwardness that everyone feels, which scarcely produces a positive impression. On the other hand, hiding back in a corner or hesitating to reach out to someone who could help you keeps you invisible.
You need to share your problem-solving abilities and keep others aware of the ways you can help them. You should consistently take steps to develop your niche and promote your new blog post and business acumen in this area to everyone who could benefit from your services.
Throughout this article, you will hear many times that the key on how to market yourself is persistence. We’re not talking about someone who is pushy, but rather someone who quietly keeps on going no matter how many mistakes or setbacks he or she experiences. Persistent folks remain polite and respectful, but they never give up.
It’s Not Really About You
This may sound strange since we’re talking about marketing you, but unless you’re some kind of rock star or celebrity, people typically aren’t that interested in personal details of your life. What they want to know is how you and the unique business skills you’ve accrued can benefit them.
Just like good writing, good marketing involves showing, not telling. People want to know about the value you can give them and the actual results you’ve achieved, and the best way to convey your accomplishments is through stories and examples.
When you relate these experiences, you’re putting the focus on the clients you’ve assisted and showing how you may help others in the same way.
Make A Plan And Start Slowly
The more reluctant you are to market yourself, the more vital it becomes to develop a detailed step-by-step plan. Putting it all down on paper will remove some of the apprehension.
It also breaks down what seems like an overwhelming project into one manageable bite at a time. As you check off each item, you will gain momentum and confidence that you can build on.
Each person brings different strengths to his or her unique business niche, so no single marketing plan fits all. You need to promote your individual strong points to clients who require your skills to solve their problems.
Your personal plan should identify these areas and pinpoint exactly how you will communicate your capabilities to your prospects.
Don’t rush to accomplish all your marketing at once. Take the time to implement each step correctly.
Professional speakers know the importance of identifying their listeners and preparing their approach accordingly. In the same way, you should think about the people you want to reach. Learning more about your audience is an important step on how to market yourself effectively.
If you are a financial services professional who wants to advance your career with a new job, you might develop a list of prospective employers who would find your particular experience a great addition to their staff.
If you are an entrepreneur who developed a new vegetable steamer, you should cultivate contacts and build your reputation in the restaurant industry.
Have you written a book about selling commercial real estate? Figure out who could use this information and how you might convince them they need your expertise. Concentrate your energy and marketing efforts where they will have the most effect.
What Problems Can You Solve?
Every person, every business and every prospect has a problem to solve. Figure out what it is and tell them about your proven solutions, and you may be on your way to marketing—and business—success.
Consider the audience you have identified. What challenges might they face on a daily basis? Write them down. How can your services, information or product help them solve these problems? Let’s say the author of a commercial real estate book decides potential readers include agents who specialize in distressed buildings.
They generally face a huge challenge finding potential investors or entrepreneurs willing to spend time and money to restore these vacant properties. If the author’s work features several chapters with unique ideas for locating and attracting prospects, the book may solve a pressing problem.
Likewise, the financial services job applicant should study prospective employers and discover problems they might face.
The resume and cover letter the applicant develops should pinpoint these problems and show how he or she has solved similar challenges in the past.
Summarize the most important benefits you offer your targeted audience in a simple statement. Similar in some respects to an elevator speech, your written message should emphasize the advantages you personally provide, whether to an employer or business prospects.
Here’s one typical example: “John Doe offers safe, innovative investment strategies that increase customer assets, provide transparent accountability and build client trust.” Notice that John Doe’s statement focuses on what he can do for the client rather than on his personal characteristics or achievements.
Ways To Get Your Message Out
For some people, defining the audience and creating a message seems like the easy part. It’s actually putting the message out there that is scary. Countless ways exist to circulate your message online and in person. Your choices depend on your business, your audience and your own personal preferences.
Keep in mind that you should never automatically rule any idea out before considering it carefully and even trying it. Most importantly, keep experimenting until you find ways to spread your message that work well for you. Here are some general suggestions to get you started.
Facebook works great for building identification with organized groups on the site. Just remember you want to market yourself in a positive way, so be careful what you post. It’s always a good idea to have another person review what you are going to put online.
Not everyone needs a personal website or blog, but for some business roles, such as authors or consultants, it may provide valuable exposure. While websites typically involve some costs, you can try establishing a blog at one of the many free online sites, such as Blogger.com.
A better way to get your feet wet involves following several blogs in your field and leaving appropriate comments when the topic interests you. Once you learn the type and style of a particular blog, you can submit guest blogs if the site accepts them. Guest bloggers usually get a short bio added at the end of the article, and this generally builds your reputation with the readers. You can also make money online from your blog.
Persons who want to advance in a given career often leverage memberships in professional organizations. You can build name recognition as you participate on committees or serve in offices. You also build relationships with fellow members that prove especially valuable when you are ready to move up the career ladder.
Probably less stressful than professional groups, service clubs give you the opportunity to the best CPA networks locally while performing valuable services to your community. You learn a great deal about many other professions, and you may often find supportive people while sharing information about yourself.
Don’t underestimate the value of forming helpful friendships with the people you see every day. As they get to know you and your abilities, they may unconsciously market you to other people they meet in their outside activities.
Many informal ways exist to help out people and organizations, both online and in person, without joining an established group. Keep alert for opportunities as you talk with others, read information or communicate with people online. Offering assistance gives personal satisfaction, and you become known for your knowledge and compassion.
Pick one of the above opportunities and make a start. You may often find that involvement in one area carries over into another.
Marketing yourself is not a one-time and done endeavor. As your skills, experience and outreach evolve, you typically want to keep adjusting your message and the way you disseminate it to your chosen audience.
How To Market Yourself: Final Thoughts
Review your plan every six months and take note of how your comfort level has increased with the steps you’ve taken. Change any strategies that didn’t work, but never give up on your objectives. As you learn how to market yourself without unreasonable stress, you may actually find that it is an enjoyable and productive activity.