Most small business owners hate self-promotion. In our culture, self-promotion has gotten a bad reputation and often conjures up negative connotations. Some small business owners feel that if their products or services are good enough, others will promote their businesses for them, and in some cases, that’s true. However, for the vast majority of small business owners, self-promotion is necessary for their company’s survival.
As a small business owner, you must let people know about your company any way you can, and self-promotion is among the most economical and effective ways to accomplish the goal. After all, who better to tell others about your business than you?
If you happen to be naturally shy and withdrawn or if you have a negative image of self-promoters, the first step toward overcoming these obstacles is convincing yourself that it’s o.k. to sing your own praises. Your fear of coming off as pushy or conceited is typically a good indication that you won’t be perceived as either.
You Can’t Please All the People All the Time
Realize that some people won’t be receptive to your self-promotions, and don’t take it personally when they’re not. Most customers and potential customers expect you to blow your own horn as long as you can back up your claims and aren’t overly aggressive in your delivery.
There’s nothing wrong with letting others know about your accomplishments. They’re what separates you from the competition and what customers use in making their buying decisions. Providing customers with useful information about your business helps them make more informed choices and leads to greater satisfaction with their purchases.
Make Sure You’re Sold on Your Business
If you still feel uncomfortable about promoting your business, ask yourself “why”. The answer could be that you feel your products or services aren’t really worthy of promotion. You’ll never feel completely comfortable about promoting your business until you feel it offers your customers some value they can’t get from your competitors. Once you reach that point, self-promotion feels a lot more like sharing and a lot less like “selling”.
Focus on the Right Audience
Keep in mind that not everyone fits your customer profile. Promoting yourself or your business to the wrong audience is a waste of your time and theirs. Worse yet, you could come off as annoying and self-serving. Remember, no matter how great and affordable your products or services are, people like buying from people they like and identify with so that’s a risk you never want to take.
Focus on Providing Solutions for Your Customers
No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be all things to all people, so be selective about which benefits you promote and focus on those that benefit your customers the most.
In some cases your competitors will beat you on price. As long as you can justify your higher prices on the basis of the superior quality of your products or services your customers won’t mind paying a little more for them.
In other cases you’ll want to focus on your lower prices and position your products or services as being of equal or even higher quality and value to the customer.
Your customers will tell you whether they’re more concerned with higher quality or lower pricing. If you can meet their need for either, you’ll likely gain a loyal customer who’s confident in your business because you are.