There is no trickier tightrope to walk in advertising than learning how to be self-promotional without coming off as being self-promotional. It’s been said that if you simply focus on products and services that are worth talking about, that people will talk about your brand. That’s great and all, but you still have to get the word out, and the greatest products can feel a little, well, tainted, if you learned about them through pushy, salesy promotional material. If you spend any time on Facebook, you’ve likely seen some jokes about amateur rappers going to great lengths to try and get people to listen to their mixtapes. They could be the next Tupac, but it doesn’t matter, because your first encounter with them will always have been their subjecting you to what basically amounts to spam.
In other words: you only get to make a first-impression once. Come off too salesy, and you might turn a customer away from something they might have loved.
The key word when it comes to bad marketing?
A small business needs customers if it’s going to survive. You know what, though? There are a lot of small businesses out there that need your patronage. If you chose who to support based on that and that alone, you’d be thousands of dollars in debt trying to carry the burden of helping businesses as if they were charities.
Framing your brand in terms of the prospect’s needs is marketing 101. Easier said than done? Sure. But with a little experience, it becomes easier and easier to put things in terms that the prospect will respond to. The question is how you put the word out without coming off as desperate, how do you let the prospect know that you have what they’re looking for without seeming like you’re just trying to sell them something?
The answer is easier than you might think.
Stop Trying to Sell Them Something
Engage your market in a way that is not needy, embrace your prospects in a way that they won’t feel as if you’re just trying to get a few dollars from them. Let’s say you’re a horror writer trying to find readers for your novel. Why lead with that? Instead, why not start a blog about underrated horror writers in order to attract the kind of person who likes discovering the undiscovered?
Suppose you run an auto garage. Why not offer free advice through your blog? When your readers run into a problem that you’re addressing, they’ll come to your blog. When they encounter a problem that you can’t fix with a blog post, they’ll come to your garage.
Give. Give useful advice, hire content writers to produce the kind of content that people seek out, and give it away to those in need. This is how you establish yourself as a thought leader, and how you self-promote without coming off as a shameless self-promoter. Don’t say “Please look at my blog.” Say “Maybe I can help you out with that.”
Writer Bio: Gilbert S is a writer and artist who lives with his wife and his dog, Sir Kay, in rural New Mexico.