- August 12, 2016
- Posted by: nathanwebster
- Category: Marketing
One of the most recurring questions I continually receive the most from startup businesses and founders is on marketing more than anything else. The question is asked from both founders in the nonprofit and for-profit arena, but it is asked in different ways. Here are some of the questions I’ve received in the last 10 years:
- “What’s your secret to getting out there?”
- “How do you get noticed?”
- “What do I need to do to market myself?”
- “How do I get people’s attention?”
For beginners, this is a loaded question. Also, there’s a long and short answer; nor is it easy to answer. The short answer is to get out there. The long answer to marketing yourself will come in stages with different phases. There’s no one size fits all model or blueprint. Every company is different. No product or service is the same.
Not to be too literal with things, but you have to understand what marketing is to truly know how to market yourself. We throw around the word promote and market as if it’s the same thing. Wrong! When you start developing a marketing campaign, you’ll learn the discipline of marketing.
Marketing– is the array of plans designed for an audience. This is done on the strategic level of leadership in your operations department. The results are tied to the company’s vision.
Promotion– will be all the activities you’ll do to engage and encourage your clientele to act. This is executed with your project management team. The results are connected to the marketing campaign.
In case you haven’t figured it out by now, marketing is a science. It’s a lifestyle for some. For a business owner like myself, this is what keeps me up at night.
Every person should be responsible for the marketing of your company, but not everyone does your promoting. Marketing your company is done in various ways. Marketing yourself is no different. The difference between the two is knowing a company’s promotional materials will produce desired expectations (e.g. – contact info, business card, a scheduled meeting, or even possibly a sale of your good).
Promoting yourself is really no different. The goal doesn’t change. You promote yourself to receive the desired outcome.
For example, submitting job applications on websites rather than to direct employers is marketing. When you take it a step further and hand it to someone, you start the process of promoting yourself. Promoting is intentional. Every action with an individual from this point forward is to be hired. That’s the goal. Any other accomplishment would be a failure and not your desired expectation.
Marketing yourself is no different. The biggest problem is people’s comfort level. For some reason, people get uncomfortable with talking about themselves in a positive way. We all get marketed to every day. As consumers, it’s an expected desire before the purchase is made. We like to see some form of promotional materials unless that brand has already earned our committed loyalty.
Well, now that you know it’s time to have a paradigm shift. It’s time to sell yourself. This can be to an employer or to a prospective lead. You can be ready to sell yourself to your next spouse. Sell yourself to earn that starting position. You should be your best salesperson.
Putting it All Together
Here is what worked for me. Again, just because it worked for me doesn’t mean it’s going to be the best for you. Make it your own. Use your personality and strengths. People will see if you’re uncomfortable and disingenuous.
Here are the 3 simple ways to market yourself:
- Tell People Who Care About Your Success. Everyone and/or anyone that cares about your success should know what you do. Don’t keep it quiet. What you do shouldn’t be a secret. Go on and tell them. More than likely, these people will be your biggest cheerleaders. Some will even help you earn business deals.
- Test Your Product/Service. This will be your proof of concept. Does it work outside your group of supporters? In other words, people who don’t know you will give a ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ without the need to please you. Having this information can save you lots of pain. If you haven’t gone outside your friends and family, grow some tough skin. When you go to the marketplace, don’t go without anything to offer. People will look at you funny.
- Expand Your Network. Increasing your network doesn’t mean you attend a whole bunch of networking events. Networking is important, so I’m not saying don’t go. When you do attend events, don’t be that person and grab a bunch of business cards on a table and then put them in your distribution list. That’s not cool. Expanding your network is increasing the number of people that support you. You can’t have enough supporters. They’ll encourage you, cheer you on, help you, and refer you. Growing your network will grow your business.
On one of my recent podcasts, I had Anvil Media’s President Kent Lewis on discussing some of these cool tips for social entrepreneurs. He listed what he does, and he’s a professional marketer. Again, everyone will have to put their own spin on to it. Find what works best for you and multiply your efforts to create results.
In Seth Godin’s Purple Cow, it’s all about the cow. It’s a good book on getting attention, so I won’t spoil it for you. The key takeaway is about standing out. His writing is simple to understand and the book is a quick read. And at the end of the day, we want our work to stand out and mean something.
We all have our wants and desires. Why not market yourself for what you want?! When it comes to my business, I want relationships to develop into sales. Those are the results I love.
I write this because my business is personal because this service is for the advancement of all humanity. My failures and successes are for your gain. No strings attached.
Nathan A. Webster, MBA
NW & Associates – Consulting | Social Media | Web Design