How to get your name out there without feeling like a douche!

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I’ve noticed recently there are a few people who find that self-promoting their business and getting their brand out there can often feel as excruciating and painful, like going to the dentist – you know you gotta do it but it’s still painful. Hey, I know what it’s like and used to feel this way too.

So in this week’s post I wanted to share how you can get over that ‘painful’ promoting and start thinking about it in a different way.

Can I start by saying that it doesn’t need to be if you’re thinking of the cheesy and “traditional” way of advertising? But instead, getting your name out there and promoting a brand today doesn’t have to be about advertising and it doesn’t need to be done in a douche kinda way.

I guess that’s why we think it’s sleazy and uncomfortable because we see it on or in advertising and we’re bombarded with the messages “come and buy” or “we’ve got a sale on – don’t miss out”. This way of promoting a business or advertising a product may work for retail and it works because they are communicating to the masses and they don’t have one “advert” every now and again.

You’ll notice they advertise the one advert with the same message, over a certain period [which can be over months or short as a few weeks] and that’s why we get sick of them because they appear at a certain time, day and week over and over again. But it works. If it didn’t they wouldn’t be doing it.

However, what if I shared with you it doesn’t need to be uncomfortable and doesn't need to be this way – unless of course your business is a product and you’re in retail.

In today’s world we build a brand, not a business.

And as part of your brand building strategies we need to know

exactly who our dream customers are and then share our brand stories that they can relate to.

To clarify – advertising is quite different to promotion and promotion is about brand awareness. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with advertising – as you may find during your business journey you want to simply put an ad on the sidebar of a big blog or in a magazine. Nothing wrong with that – it can be costly but still nothing wrong with it.

But I’ve compiled a list of where or what you can do with your stories and whether you have no budget or a small budget to achieve your brand awareness.

BRAND AWARENESS [the self paced way with no budget]

1. Participate in Facebook groups – but be selective + be proactive than reactive in the groups

Provide value in your brand stories, especially if you work with one on one clients and particularly in the service industry like a designer, virtual assistant and business coach.

This tip was a biggie for me when working with or finding new clients. If I happened to be in a group and someone posted who they were looking for such as an ebook designer, this meant throwing your name in there of which felt like a “meat market” for me; like when the bride throws the bouquet and it’s a free for all. Not for me!

Instead, try participating in 3 or 4 groups you know that you can add value in each one. And this low number means it doesn’t take up too much of your time.

Give value to those who ask for something that you know you can answer. Could it be you know how to set up something technical that you’ve worked out for yourself? It’s about being of value and making connections.

Also providing value can mean starting conversations in those groups, put a poll up and ask questions. Or post about some questions you think your customers would be asking. The more you be proactive and chime in the more clear you will get on your potential clients or where you want your brand to head. At first, this process may feel like you’re talking to no one, but keep going because it’s worth it.

You can also share stories, share your blog posts if it’s ok with the Facebook group rules. And if it’s not ok then think of and write down 5-10 topics or questions, your ideal client would be asking and answer those questions in your stories.


2. Guest blogging with someone who is influential in your industry

This option requires some detective work. You will need to find one or two people in your industry or someone who has the same set of target markets that you have.

For example, if you’re a business to business then ensure their target markets are business to business. There’s probably no point writing an article on “running social media ads to grow a business” to a bunch of people who wish to read about green smoothie recipes. You get what I mean.

BRAND AWARENESS – the very quick ‘band-aid’ way and on a small budget

Facebook advertising can be hugely beneficial for brand awareness. Do a promotion through advertising on Facebook and select a highly targeted audience. You can either get them to sign up to a webinar you’re holding or give them an exceptional PDF freebie.

But have in mind who you are targeting a cold audience [in other words they have no clue who you are] vs a warm audience [your followers] will depend on the freebie your giving away.

Earlier I mentioned advertising on the sidebar of a high volume traffic blog. This one is possibly the most painless out of them all – but you do need to do your homework before dishing out your hard earned cash.

Whatever you decide to do, either promoting with or without a budget, just remember you’re creating brand awareness in a non-douche way. And besides we all do it and it has to be done.

And my last note on this - whatever you do for your business the first time, it only gets easier the second and third time and then after that it becomes a “no-brainer”. ;0)

Let me know in the comments below, if you’ve had this 'brand-promoting' obstacle and how you overcame it. Or if you’re in the middle of this hurdle and need some ideas on how to overcome it. I'd love to know.