This week’s article is in response to a question on the Accidental Entrepreneurs group at Facebook. You can join the group and get answers to your own questions about self employment by clicking here.
Last year when my book was published I tried a variety of marketing ideas and projects with limited success. I feel like I’m flitting about following every shiny object that comes into my peripheral vision. Any insights on deciding which projects are right, authentic and fulfilling for me and my clients/readers/visitors?
If you’ve ever talked yourself into a pair of shoes that don’t fit, you know the consequences of Bright Shiny Object Marketing.
Maybe you weren’t even shopping for shoes. But from the moment you spotted this pair, they exerted a magnetic pull. Perhaps you’d been feeling a bit dowdy or down, and when you imagined yourself in these shoes, you felt exotic.
You tried them on. They didn’t actually fit too well. The toes pinched. The heels slipped.
Still, did they look great. So you bought them. You wore them once or twice, and then consigned them to the back of your closet.
Marketing methods are like shoes.
Marketing is all about putting your best foot (!) forward. It’s about being visible, which can trigger fear and self doubt. So you’re vulnerable to methods that, on the surface, look glamorous but don’t actually fit who you are or whom you’re trying to reach.
And when you do try a method that doesn’t work, you get a bit anxious. The pressure to get results increases, and you’re even more vulnerable to the next marketing idea that floats by. It doesn’t take long before you have a stack of marketing programs and nothing to show for them except a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach and an empty checkbook.
So how do you choose a marketing method that is right, authentic, and fulfilling?
Right, authentic, and fulfilling, the short version
The right marketing method will be sustainable.
An authentic marketing method will fit your personality.
A fulfilling marketing method will be about service, not persuasion.
The right marketing method is sustainable.
Marketing is a conversation, and to be successful it needs to happen over time. It requires repetition, because different people will enter the conversation at different times. This means that whatever method you choose must be something you can see yourself repeating over and over again, not just for weeks or months, but for years.
What makes a marketing method fit so well that you can imagine doing it repeatedly for years?
For one thing, it has to fit your values. If you’re reading this ezine, it’s a sure bet that get-rich-quick marketing schemes, however enticing in the short term, aren’t going to work for you. Even if you can bring yourself to follow the system once or twice, you won’t be able to keep it up.
Another key to sustainability is that it needs to build on your strengths. An ezine or blog are good marketing vehicles for you if you write well. If you are comfortable in front of an audience, offer your speaking services to professional associations and service clubs.
Are you a natural educator? Give no-cost introductory seminars or teleclasses. Do you love to collaborate? Focus on strategic alliances where other people promote your work and vice versa.
If you don’t know what your strengths are, ask friends for their perspective. We’re often blind to the things we do well and naturally.
An authentic marketing method will fit your personality.
Authenticity and sustainability go hand in hand. Marketing that makes you feel inauthentic won’t work very well, nor will it be sustainable. One key to authenticity is suffusing whatever method you choose with your own personality.
My friend Jennifer Louden excels at putting her personality into her marketing. When you read the description of her Writers’ Retreat, for example, you feel like she is speaking to you personally. Her warmth and exuberance are palpable.
The same is true of Jennifer’s blog, ezine, and audios. Every one of them consistently expressed her bubbly, caring nature.
Much as I love Jen, her personality and mine are different. I come down more on the irreverent, recovering intellectual side of things. If I get too warm and fuzzy, it strikes a false note.
Perhaps the biggest barrier to allowing your personality to infuse your marketing method is the belief that you need to be a certain way—a way you are not—in order to get clients. The opposite is true. What makes you stand out in a crowded field is the way you are different from others.
A fulfilling marketing method is about service, not persuasion.
I’ve said that marketing is a conversation. Instead of entering this conversation with the intention of persuading people to buy, enter it with the intention of providing service. You’ll be happier and more confident, and you’ll develop a following of loyal clients.
The marketing method you choose should allow you to give something of yourself and of your work. For example, this ezine contains information, inspiration, and tools for authentic promotion that are valuable in and of themselves.
The more you give, the more people will come to see the value of what you do.
Choosing a marketing method is as personal as buying shoes.
I hope you see now that it is essential for your marketing method to be in deep alignment with who you are. You’re better off choosing one method that really fits than trying four or five that pinch.
For help finding the marketing method that fits, check out Authentic Promotion: Grow Your Business, Feed Your Soul.
“I’ve been putting myself ‘out there’ for prospective clients more… This is a HUGE, ENORMOUS, TREMENDOUS, STUPENDOUS step for me… It’s truly eye-opening and life-changing.” Vicki Manning, Coach, Organized by Design
Find out how Authentic Promotion can solve your marketing problems here.