It’s so funny when you think about how you show up in your business. We talk about being authentic and generous and courageous and passionate. But what does that look like? How do people get to participate in what you have to share? More importantly are you showing up at all or are you hoping that people will find you simply because you’re fabulous? Are you ready to stop being the best-kept secret in business?
Whether you are showing off what you have, dreaming of being a house-hold name or day-dreaming the “what-if or when I have” game, being the best-kept secret in business is not the best business strategy to have. Sometimes you are waiting for the knight in shining armor aka the person that gives you a contract to do business with them or you are simply playing small and not bringing out your full potential persona. Either way…you’re playing a game of doom and gloom. The truth is more people are afraid of success than they are of failure, so they play small or not at all.
The reality is that it’s all about becoming known in the markets you serve and building a reputation that helps to start the buying and selling process with prospective clients. If you do it right you will not only build awareness, it will also help you to reach out to people you don’t know and who don’t know you.
The bottom line is this: If someone doesn’t know you exist, how can they ever do business with you? Here are some important guidelines that will help you in your quest to go from unknown to known:
1. Be persistent. Studies have shown it takes anywhere from 8-15 touches for your marketing message to sink in. So be patient… and stay with it!
2. Be consistent. Consider the look, feel and tone of your messaging, particularly when you use multiple channels. Make sure the viewer knows that all those messages came from the same business.
3. Show not just who you are but what you are. Make sure your messages also include why someone would want to do business with you and what sets you apart. In other words, what makes you unique?
Take an integrated approach. Your marketing tactics should all work together. Put your social media icons in your e-mail. Put your website URL on your ads. Make sure your LinkedIn profile address is on your business cards. And so on.
Awareness-building is 2-step process. Step 1 is getting to the top-of-mind position in the psyche of your prospective buyers. Step 2 is staying there over time. So, make sure your awareness-building plan covers both.
Marketing yourself is not always the easiest thing to do but it is a necessity. Let’s flash forward just a little bit to the point where you are starting to build a following and your product or service is showing positive results. Where can you find those walking ambassadors who will shout your name out every chance they get? Here are a few ideas:
1. Build trust- Word of mouth recognition for a job well done, a product or service, is built on the reputation of trust, which takes time, effort and even a few failures along the way. When someone asks how you build your business, let them know its word of mouth. It’s also important to let them know that when something doesn’t go as smoothly as you would like, acknowledge it and learn from it and let them know you appreciate their feedback.
2. Do a great job- Deliver service that’s so exceptionally good it gets everyone talking. Avoid spreading yourself too thin by trying to be all things to all people. Instead, focus on what you do best and exceed expectations. A strong, personal referral from someone that knows your value and conveys trust in your ability is far better than anything else.
3. Ask for testimonials- If a client gives you great feedback, ask them if you can use their endorsement to let others know about their experience. A one or two sentence statement in their words, can be helpful on your website, brochure, social media channels or other marketing pieces. If you can get that in a video, even better. I have mine in a folder and when I have those days that aren’t going the way I planned, I take them out and watch, listen and read…great reminder of why I do what I do.
4. Give back- Get your business involved with the community. Create visibility for your company that lets others know you are working to make your community a better place. That can be an important way to distinguish yourself from competitors.
5. Build relationships- Don’t forget a customer once the job is over. Continue the relationship with them so the next time they need what you offer, they will think of you. The heavy lifting comes after the contract is signed, the money is paid, and the job is underway. This is the time that service is at an all-time high. This is also where relationships are solidified.
6. And finally…Say thank you- When you get a new customer, ask how they heard of you. If it’s a referral from an existing client, be sure to thank that person for recommending you. Send a note via regular mail. Let them know how important their referrals are to your business, and that you are happy they have had a good experience with your company. So many people forget this important piece. Those that remember, stand out and start to become a little less of that best-kept secret.
Your name is your brand—and you’re anything but generic.
Remember, start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
Judy Hoberman www.sellinginaskirt.com