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How to Market Your Small Business When You Don’t Like to Toot Your Own Horn

How to Market Your Small Business When You Don’t Like to Toot Your Own Horn

Marketing comes easier to some people than it does for others. Take me, for instance. I hate marketing. There. I said it. I don’t mind marketing for other people as I rather enjoy helping small businesses get their name out in the mainstream by providing “content that sells.” But when it comes to marketing myself, I struggle. And struggle. Sound familiar?

Although there are many pros to being self-employed, marketing can be one big, fat con. So, how can you market yourself when you’re the last person to ever toot your own horn? Here are three options to consider:

Option #1: Use Social Media

The great thing about social media is that your followers can do an awful lot of marketing for you. Social proof is huge when it comes to compelling people to do business with you, and what better place to find it than on social media platforms? The best part is, sometimes you don’t even have to ask for it. People often provide it in posts to your site or via reviews.

However, if you’d like to get the marketing ball rolling, you can always reward positive reviews or shares with free products or services. Everyone likes free things, and this is a great way to get your followers actively involved in doing your promotions for you. You see it all the time on Facebook where small businesses encourage people to share their images or sales in order to potentially win something.

Admittedly, social media can also work against you too. As Arielle Calderon, author of BuzzFeed’s “19 Companies That Made Huge Social Media Fails”, points out, there are times when social media hasn’t been a company’s best friend. For instance, when Kmart used the Newtown shootings to promote their toy line or when the London Luton Airport posted using the picture of an airplane crash that resulted in a child’s death to promote their service. Huge fails that could and should have been avoided.

Option #2: Promote Referral Marketing

Another marketing option that doesn’t involve you having to say how truly wonderful you are is referral marketing. By getting others to say it for you, you accomplish the same results without ever having to even open your mouth.

Certainly, this first requires that you do a good enough job to get referrals. That being said, a lot of self-employed people miss this opportunity simply because they don’t ask for it. So, whenever you complete a job, for instance, maybe you want to give your client a couple extra business cards and ask them to share them with people who may need your service.

Something I personally do is reward current clients when they refer me to someone who hires me for my services. In fact, I even include this in my email signature so that anyone who deals with me directly knows that I offer this type of promotion.

Option #3: Hire a Marketer

A third option when you really don’t like to market is to hire someone else to market for you. This allows you to simply provide the material they need and they take care of the rest. You can now tend to the business matters that you do like, whatever those might be.

Here are some tips to make sure your marketer is reputable:

  • Look at their marketing content. For instance, if their website isn’t convincing to you, their target market, then what makes you think that they can create a persuasive website for you? The same goes with any other marketing material they offer. Honestly look at it and see if it compels you to want to hire them. If not, they probably aren’t the marketer for you.
  • Ask for referrals. Someone that has done right by their customers should have a whole list of referrals to offer you. However, having the list and doing nothing with it isn’t going to get you anywhere, so you need to actually call some names on the list to verify. Ask about whether the marketer was on budget and on time. Find out any issues or concerns the person had along the way that may alert you to potential trouble.
  • Request specific results. A good marketer should be able to provide specific examples of how they boosted other customer’s conversion rates, email open rates, and other metrics commonly used in marketing. Some of these may even be listed on their website under their testimonials, such as they are with top marketing strategist Bob Bly, so you might want to look there too.

Marketing isn’t always easy. And if this is how you feel, then these are just three options that can help you get your small business name out there without having to stand on a rooftop and yell it out to the world. Of course, you can do that if you w

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by Christina DeBusk // Freelance writer, author, and small business consultant committed to helping entrepreneurs achieve higher levels of success.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.