How to Market Yourself (Without Being Sleazy)
We all know that one Golden Truth in business, you have to market yourself. There’s no way around it.
But how do you market yourself a) effectively and b) without sounding sleazy as hell?
It’s a pretty common problem. Marketing ourselves does not come naturally to most of us. It can feel fake and inauthentic even if you know you have a killer product.
Why would anyone listen to me? I’m worried about being seen as shady or scammy. If these phrases are crossing your mind right now, you’re definitely not alone. But it is a big roadblock we need to address if you’re going to be successful.
The uncomfortable truth about growing a business is you will have to get comfortable about selling yourself. One way or another. So, if you’re struggling to win clients and market your small business, we’ve got just the thing.
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Overcome the fear
This is an issue that Ramit himself struggled with in the early days. Being so afraid of selling, he priced his eBooks at a measly $4.95 — less than five bucks! He’s come a long way since then eventually launching a $12,000 product.
But how did he overcome this fear?
First of all, put yourself in the mind of whoever you’re approaching. Most people are pretty busy, no matter who they are. They’re bombarded by sales emails and unsolicited messages every day. So, how do you stand out?
It’s all about a subtle mental shift. Rather than asking for something, like everyone else does, offer to solve their problems.
When Ramit was wrestling with this fear of self-promotion, he found a book called The Trusted Advisor. The key message he picked up was that it’s your duty to put your clients first.
The way to do this is to really get to know who your clients are. Know what their problems are, understand their struggles. Once you’ve done your research and know your clients well, it’s your job to give them exactly what they need. You can protect them from the vague promises and sleazy sales tactics others throw out there. You can solve their problems.
So, don’t just look at marketing as you are getting something from your customers. Instead, frame it as if you are providing them with something valuable. You’re not asking for favors, you’re doing them a favor.
If you have what they need, it’d almost be cruel to deprive them of it.
Know who you are selling to, and who you’re not
As Ramit’s mentor, Jay Abraham said to him, you need to be crystal clear about who you are selling to and who you’re not.
That way, you’re not trying to convince someone to buy your product or service if it isn’t right for them. That would be sleazy.
Some people will find your book, your course, your product very valuable. Some won’t. Marketing to those who do find it valuable isn’t scammy, it’s helpful.
Knowing that you don’t have to sell to anyone and everyone leaves you free to only focus on those you know your product is right for.
For example, we prohibit anyone with credit card debt from joining our flagship programs. Those with debt still have tons of free resources to use, but we are really clear about who those programs are for and who they will help the most.
Be seen in all the right places
Overcoming the fear of marketing is a huge part of learning how to market yourself effectively. The next step is where the real work comes in.
Part of marketing yourself is what goes on underneath the surface. It’s not all about cold calling or advertising campaigns. A lot of it is about building your personal brand and building trust. A huge part of that is getting seen in all the right places.
Yes, we’re talking face to face but also about social media, blogs, email marketing, networking, giving interviews with other publications. These classic methods of putting your name out there are still solid tactics and should not be overlooked.
Sure, anyone can write a blog. But what separates successful marketers from everyone else is how they do it and how often.
Show up in these spaces consistently until you no longer need to introduce yourself. Become the expert, go-to person in your niche, the person who always has the answers.
Half your job is simply showing up and becoming a familiar face, but your main job is showing up armed with bucket loads of value.
Bring a strategy to social media
Head over to LinkedIn, jump onto Twitter, or load-up that Facebook group. But don’t just stand there.
I bet you have those connections that you instantly recognize, right? You know, those faces and names that pop up all the time, even if you’ve never talked before. You could have 1,000+ connections or followers and still recognize the same 2-3 people on there.
That’s because they consistently show up to the conversation, not just to mindlessly post their thoughts but to add value and insights.
These are the people who show up to push out content, ask questions, and engage with others on social networks every day. Spend some time analyzing their tactics and try to replicate them with your own personal flair.
Journalists and bloggers are always looking for quotes from experts. Getting your name and quote on a blog is a great way to share your expertise. It looks impressive and it’s something you can share with your social media audience.
Do some research on publications relevant to your niche and fire off a few emails to the editors. You might get rejected more than once, but keep at it, and refine your email techniques. Ramit has some fab advice on how to deal with rejection.
Don’t just ask for a one-off interview or guest post spot. Focus on developing relationships with people in your industry. Seek out publications, bloggers, and other editorial contacts to develop a long-lasting professional relationship.
Create great content
A great way to get your name out there and build credibility is to write great content. This could mean writing lots of high-quality LinkedIn posts, guest posting, or writing on your own blog posts. Or it could be all three.
Writing great content about your industry is a simple yet effective tactic to present yourself as an expert. This can go a long way in building trust and credibility.
Using these marketing strategies, while working on your selling confidence, are the foundations of marketing yourself successfully. Getting seen in all the right places and putting yourself out there will help you build a recognizable brand that people trust.