Promoting yourself without pushy sales pitches. If there is anything that today’s entrepreneur should understand, it is this. Target audiences are not interested in listening to anyone who only pushes his/her product or service – they want relationship building, education, entertainment, and inspiration. And when they get those, they are willing to consider purchasing products or services. Learning how to market without actually selling is the key to success today. Here are 5 strategies you can use to do just that.
1. Your website
Your website is your showcase. It’s where your branding begins. And it’s where your visitors get their first impressions of you as well. So, of course focus on what you offer. But as well, tell your story. This is how relationships begin. Potential customers need to see you as a real person they can come to know and trust. Human interest is always a draw, so make your story humorous, compelling, and engaging. If you have a pet or a pet charity, highlight these things. The breadth and depth of your website will depend, of course, on your products or services. If you are a freelancer who needs a portfolio of your work, the link to that portfolio must be prominent and quick to load. If you have received achievement awards or anything resembling that, these should be displayed too, but in an unobtrusive way. Think carefully about your design, and get a professional to create it – it’s worth the money.
2. A Blog
Business blogs were not considered too important 5 years ago. Today, they are not an option. A blog that is well maintained and that offers great content on a regular basis, can be a real draw. Again, it doesn’t push products or services. It educates, inspires and entertains. Popularity and regular readership of your blog is a long-term strategy, but if it is done well, readers will share your content and recommend others to it.
3. Publishing Articles and Posts Elsewhere
Being a guest content writer on forums and other blogs is a great way to spread your brand and promote yourself as an expert without being “pushy.” Gradually, if your content is fresh and exciting, you will be able to get published on blogs of influencers in your niche – this promotes your “authority,” and that is especially important today.
Networking is not a new concept. There have been business networking groups for years, and they are great sources for new business and referrals. But online networking has become increasingly important as well, because that’s where potential customers/clients are. Join online groups in you niche and in related niches – participate in discussions often, and get your name “out there,” as someone who knows his business well. Attend online events to expand your audience range.
5. Use Social Media Like Never Before
You need to be fully active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for starters. You can use these accounts to update readers/followers on your latest news/projects/services. You can attend Facebook events; you can use Twitter to announce new blog posts or articles you have written and now that images are allowed, showcase projects if you are a freelancer. Even Instagram carousels can be used to tell stories and to showcase projects. LinkedIn goes without saying, given that you can join so many groups, participate in so many discussions, and do such great networking.
6. Develop an Elevator Pitch
You will attend social events – weddings, bar mitzvahs, cocktail parties, etc. you are bound to meet strangers who will ask, “What do you do?” Instead of presenting some boring rundown of your business, create and practice an exciting and engaging 30-second pitch. For example, instead of starting out by saying, “I’m a freelance website designer,” how about, “I make the Internet a much more exciting place by creating really unique websites for my clients.” Then hand that person a business card and say, “You can check out some of my most recent projects on my site.” The more creative you can get with your elevator pitch, the more you will be remembered.
As an entrepreneur/freelancer, you must promote, promote, promote. But you must not sell, sell, sell. Today we have a customer/client-driven market. Your job is to focus on what your customer needs are, to meet those needs in unique and engaging ways, and to maintain your own high energy level while you do so.