When it comes to promoting your business, are you an “in your face” kind of person? Are you constantly tweeting and posting about yourself all day on your blog? Do you have a compulsion to mention your business every time the subject in a conversation changes to anything remotely related to your business? Or are you more introverted, unwilling to talk about yourself at all? Do you avoid mentioning your company even when provoked? Does the idea of talking about your company in front of a room full of strangers give you the shakes and the quakes? Learning how to properly market yourself without being over (or under) the top takes a lot of time and practice, and a good dose of soft skill practice! The above two situations are the extremes and can either get you nowhere or actively drive customers away. How do you find a happy medium?
ALL ABOUT THE CONVERSATION
Customers are used to companies yelling at them to buy stuff. They get commercials on TV, ads on the web, billboards while they drive, and even spammy phone calls telling them this or that product is the best thing ever. After a while everyone learns to tune this stuff out. What they won’t tune out is an honest conversation. If you can get on their level and really talk to them, they will be more inclined to go to your business and shop around or hire you. Being able to connect with people about what is important to them will separate you from 99% of other businesses.
You also have to make sure you save time to tell people your items or services are for sale or they won’t know to go check out your business! You can’t completely keep your business a secret and hope they’ll discover it on their own after talking with you – it may work, but you’re likely to fall into obscurity. The trick to maintaining a balance is to remember the golden rule. Would I want to be treated this way? If not, adjust your strategy. You know what you like and it’s likely very similar to what prospective customers want. If you keep this in the back of your mind when you say or do anything related with marketing, you’ll be fine.
TRIAL AND ERROR
As mentioned above you’re more than likely going to go through a trial and error period before you lock the exact conversational tone you want with your target audience or the greater community. To make it even more confusing, you may be off the mark when it comes to predicting what your fans want. For example, you may assume as a freelance graphic designer who focuses on children’s interest websites that you can be as fun and whimsical as you want. After all, you want your business to reflect your clients’ interests, and kids are typically fun and whimsical! However, you soon realize your fans aren’t responding to this. You try a more direct and serious tone with your marketing and social media and quickly see a change. For whatever reason, your clients want you to be serious and have serious conversations. Who knew?
There’s no shame in this trial and error. The only shame would be to not learn anything from it. The best way to truly get a grasp of what people think is to monitor their responses. Get an account at Hootsuite and monitor all your social media from one place. Also, try something like Social Mention if you want a more detailed view of what people are saying about you and your company. From there you can amend anything that isn’t working.