5 Self-Promotion Tips That Aren’t Sleazy
As a web designer, you’re probably having to constantly sell your ideas and promote yourself. You have to sell your work to your clients, your co-workers and your bosses.
The struggle, of course, is that self-promotion can be a tricky game to play.
On the one hand, if you don’t speak up for yourself, no one else will.
On the other, blatantly tooting your own horn can be uncomfortable, and if approached the wrong way, your efforts might be perceived negatively by many.
We all want to present our ideas in the best way possible and to have clients knocking down our doors to get a taste.
But how can we do it without being a snake oil salesman?
For some ideas on how to tastefully market yourself, read the following five self-promotion tips.
1. Create Something Worthy of Promoting
Your reputation is attached to the work you do, the ideas you promote and the actions you take.
The best way to make self-promotion easier is to build a product or service that you’d be proud to pitch. If you love your latest work and believe that it’s the best you can do, then how much easier would it be to sell someone on it?
We all get excited when we do a great job. Sharing that enthusiasm is a great way to be a world class self-promoter and doing your best work is a surefire method for avoiding sleazy marketing schemes.
If you don’t believe in the work you’re promoting, then how can you expect anyone else to believe in it?
2. Stick to Your Guns
Before you start promoting your next great idea, spend some time deciding what you are willing to do.
Some people create a new project and tell everyone they know about it. Other people share their ideas with a close group of trusted business partners.
Spend some time deciding what type of promotional tactics you’re comfortable with.
If you jump in headfirst without thinking things through, then you might find yourself in murky water.
3. The Conversation Should Be About Results and Outcomes
Usually when we try to get a client onboard, we talk about why we’re a good fit for them — but we do it in the wrong way.
We say things like:
- "I have more than 10 years of web design experience."
- "My portfolio includes clients from large brand names to small boutiques such as…"
The only problem is that few clients actually care about those things. You need to start the conversation by promoting the benefits of your services, not the experiences you have had.
Clearly explain what the client will receive when they hire you. Show them the results they will get for their time and money. Use numbers and percentages that offer clear proof of why you and your idea are better than the rest.
Start with the value you provide, and end with the experiences you have had in delivering it.
4. Start in Listening Mode, Not Promotion Mode
When we start to market our ideas, we usually begin by searching for an opportunity. We look for an opening to pitch our ideas to anyone we meet.
However, you’ll probably find more success when you listen for other people’s problems instead of forcing your solutions on them.
Take your foot off of the promotion pedal and spend a moment talking and engaging with potential clients.
Listen to their stories, their thoughts and their problems. Once you discover what people are struggling with, you will find it much more natural to introduce your services as solutions to their problems, rather than ideas they never asked to hear.
5. Don’t Try to Be Someone You’re Not
It may sound cliché, but just be you.
It’s easy to find yourself in an uncomfortable spot when you try to promote like someone you’re not.
If you’re not the next Billy Mays, then don’t bother with shouting and yelling your way to new clients.
If you don’t like speaking to large groups, then stick with one-on-one conversations (and vice versa).
Despite our faults, humans are excellent judges of sincerity. If you don’t come across as genuine and trustworthy, then your self-promotion efforts will be in vain.
Want more? For more tips on promoting your ideas, building fruitful relationships, and marketing your business, check out these articles:
- Why Branding Yourself is Important
- How to email important people (5 tips you need to know) (Passive Panda)
- Top 5 Self-Promotion Articles (FreelanceSwitch)
- Use LinkedIn Company Pages to Promote Your Freelance Business (Freelance Folder)
- 24 networking tips that actually work (Passive Panda)
- How to Be a Purple Cow Among Designers
- The best way to get more customers (Passive Panda)
- 5 Practices Your Clients Will Love
- How to Find Awesome Clients
- Using "Preventive Medicine" Against Bad Clients
- Related categories: Project Management and Productivity
About the Author
This was published on Aug 18, 2011