You’ve finished! Your book, your website, your product, your shop.
After all the hard work it’s done! But now it’s time to start marketing. You need to get people to come into your new shop, buy your product, read your book, or attend your workshop. You need to find your perfect audience or clients. It’s time to self-promote.
Some people thrive on being in the spotlight but, for many of us, even the very idea of being the centre of attention brings us out in a cold sweat! So how do you get past this and actually share your passion?
You may well be proud of the work you’ve accomplished but too modest to want to shout about it. Perhaps you feel a certain embarrassment asking people to pay for your talent or creation. But self-promotion is a necessary tool (or a necessary evil, depending on your outlook) if you want to be successful. It’s as necessary as taking the time and effort to create your work or product in the first place. If you want your career to prosper and you want your work to make a positive impact, you need to embrace marketing and learn how to do it properly.
So, if you have got something to say or sell, you aren’t the attention-seeking type and you hate the thought of self-promotion, here are few suggestions to help.
Rejection is the by-product of marketing. Keep doing it anyway.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR FEARS AND SELF-DOUBT
Impostor syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments. They hold a deep-seated belief that no matter how good their achievements, they will ultimately be discovered as a fraud. It is especially common among those who have changed career path or started a totally new venture.
Those experiencing imposter syndrome might look to others to validate their own sense of worth as a talented, capable and intelligent human being. They may be hypersensitive to criticism, seeing it as proof of their incompetence or proof that they are indeed just pretenders.
This type of fear can present itself in different ways. You might downplay your achievements, constantly compare yourselves to others or be reluctant to subject yourself to scrutiny. Putting yourself in the limelight can be scary; the bigger you are, the more critics you might attract. If you allow your hopes to grow, you’ll only have further to fall if the dream doesn’t come true.
If you suffer from imposter syndrome the first thing to realise is that you are not alone. Self-doubt is common but you are no better or worse than the person you are trying to impress. Even some of the most successful entrepreneurs feel like this at times. Virtually any career can be derailed by the fear of self-promotion. But, why is talking about something we have done or created a bad thing?
Self-promotion is not about you.
CONCENTRATE ON THE BENEFIT
When it comes to self-promotion you may need to change your mind-set. Think about who will miss out if you don’t share your service, story, or offering. Try to focus on your audience rather than yourself. What is the benefit for the person who purchases it? Focus on what you can give rather than what you can get.
Someone out there needs you, your idea or your product. When someone approaches you with the perfect solution to your problem, do you see it as bragging or are you pleased they found you a resolution? Promotion is not about begging people to pay attention to you. It is about finding a way to make a difference in the life of someone who needs to hear from you.
If you don’t toot your own horn, there is no music.
FOCUS ON THE WHY
Whatever it is that you need to promote, you need to believe that someone out there needs it, and your aim is to get it to them. Let your passion shine through. Worry less about the results of your promotion and just promote the product that you believe in.
Remind yourself of your journey and your achievements to get to this place whether it’s having learnt a new skill, left a job you hated, or set out on your own to offer a better future for your children. Be proud of what you have achieved and focus on the positives: a better work-life-balance, less time commuting or simply more money!
You are brave for starting something new and for wanting to achieve something for yourself. Stop thinking of your passion as just a hobby: it’s now your career.
START SMALL AND BE YOU
Your first step does not have be a live video! Start with what you feel comfortable with and build upwards. You might start by setting up a page on Facebook or Instagram. You might launch your own blog. Think about where your talents lie. If you are selling a product get some great photos. You don’t have to be at the end of the camera (…yet!). Let your chosen media do the job of marketing for you.
Choose content that benefits your potential customers in a way that simultaneously promotes you without you feeling like a show off. You don’t have to be shouting about how amazing you or your product is. Position yourself as the expert in your field so that your audience starts to recognise you and believe in you. The sales will naturally follow.
It’s great to be honest and let your personality shine through. Try talking like you might if you were introduced at an event. You would not start by shouting about how great you are. You would find out about them and understand their needs. If you realised you had something great to offer them you would feel less embarrassed bringing it up. The best campaigns always focus on the client’s needs.
Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.
FOCUS ON WHAT YOU DO KNOW RATHER THAN WHAT YOU DON’T
The best approach for your marketing is to play to your strengths. If you are a graphic designer or artist you will know what looks good. Even if you don’t understand much about hashtags you can probably create a stunning and eye-catching Instagram or Pinterest account that people will want to follow. If you are an author, words will be your tools. Create copy that resonates with your audience on social media, even if you are not sure how to tag other pages yet.
Don’t be afraid to seek help. There is a lot of online guidance for social media and plenty of support forums. Talk to an expert. If you feel you can’t articulate what it is you want to say hire a copywriter (if you can afford it). If you need to understand how hashtags work then ask a social media expert. You don’t always have to pay huge retainers to get good advice. You don’t have to do it all yourself.
Don’t worry about getting things perfect. You don’t need to spend hours and hours crafting the perfect post. The great thing about social media is if you get something wrong you can change it or delete it! Facebook and Instagram even recommends you experiment to see which posts (and adverts) work best. Trial and error is the best way forward.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
If you have to present at a workshop, or join a networking call, or even host a live video then practice! The more times you run through something the more smoothly it will run even if your heart is still pounding! Practice in front of a spouse, a friend, or even your dog! If you can bear it, try filming yourself. Yes it’s cringy but you will be your own worst critic. You may notice some little awkward habits or even just realise you need to smile more! Being prepared will massively help your confidence as you tackle a new situation.
Big shots are only little shots who keep shooting.
CELEBRATE YOUR WINS AND YOUR PROGRESS
If you have created a social media post that you are really proud of, and it received a few likes or comments, then give yourself a pat on the back! If you filmed a video and it wasn’t a complete disaster be pleased about how far you have come. And rest in the knowledge that the more often you make these steps, the easier the process will become.
JUST DO IT!
It is common to feel like a rabbit in the headlights when launching something new, especially if you are out of your comfort zone but be brave and go for it! Do not let fear control you. Ask what is the worst that can happen; hopefully this will reassure you that all is going to be ok.
In fact you might just find your perfect people who really value you and want to know more. And how good would that feel?
Need more help?
If you need help with building your confidence, understanding which social media platforms might be best for your business, or specific issues such as knowing when and where not to use a hashtags, then contact Marketing Pace.
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Samantha Rumens, Marketing Consultant at Marketing Pace: email@example.com
A first-rate outsourced marketing team: the marketing experts your business needs. For start-ups, established businesses and everything in between. Let us support and advise you to create engaging and successful marketing and social media campaigns. Based in Chislehurst.