Think of your hand shake, your attire, and your resume – all of these are forms of personal promotion. As an entrepreneur, you constantly need to be promoting yourself. Skill comes in when you learn to do it in a way that does not feel like you are saying it.
I read an article after someone gently implied that I should not be marketing myself. The article was titled SELF PROMOTION IS THE WORST PROMOTION and I saw some good points in the article, especially if you are an employee. However, I completely disagree with the title for entrepreneurs and I think the author missed the genius in the message. In reality, no promotion is the worst promotion. If you are not taking the time to consider your public image and promote yourself, nobody will ever know your product exists. As a real estate agent, when someone does not advertise themselves and does not do any marketing, we call them a “secret agent”. This means that they may have a license to practice, but they don’t tell anyone about it. Self promotion is often free and it is the first step in becoming a successful business. Let people know you exist, then next step: provide a good, quality service when they show up.
McDonalds is a good example. I have not met a person who said McDonalds has the best cheeseburgers in the country and yet they sell billions of them. Why? Great SELF promotion. They provide a quality service and serve a purpose of fast food so people return. As I am writing this article I am thinking “I’m lovin’ it” with a little jingle to it. I am not sure I have ever “loved” eating there but I am usually in a hurry and hungry so I am happy for their product. That is the basis of the entire marketing industry. The company is paying a marketing company to self promote their business with a particular brand image.
The BEST part about self promotion is that you get to control the message. A perfect example of this is politics. All you ever hear is “talking points” and “their message”. It does not matter what side you are on, everyone has something they want to promote and the best thing about marketing is, the more people hear it, the more people believe it. You just need to come off as authentic and genuine. You will really have a strong business when you are able to match the quality of your message with the quality of your product.
If you read the other article, you will see a few examples used by the author. I believe he completely missed the genius of the “self marketing” in his examples. Jack Benny didn’t ask Johnny Carson to ask Albert, “where is Albert going to be next?”, he asked Johnny to ask him. Thus creating one last touch with the audience’s attention on him. It also left the audience hanging with the unanswered question: where will he be next? Finally, by redirecting the attention away from himself, he was able to come off as a generous person, someone you would want to support.
The goal of marketing is to be remembered in a particular way, ideally, right at the time they need your service. You can’t just wait around for others to promote you. Get out there, promote yourself, and do a great job for those you work with.