If you’re in business you have to be able to blow your own trumpet and shout about your success. You can’t afford to be a shrinking violet when it comes to celebrating what’s great about your business. But when does self promotion become self absorbtion and start to get on people’s nerves?

self promotion

We all know celebrities whose sole purpose in life is seeking publicity. They create situations to generate press interest and would turn up at the opening of an envelope if it meant a free lunch and the chance of being snapped by the paparazzi. And it’s the same in business. Some business owners are all ‘Me, me, me’ to the point where their over exuberance detracts from the product or service they are trying to sell.

So how can you sell yourself and your product without selling out and turning your customers off? Here are a few pointers:

Temper your enthusiasm – be careful how you describe your successes. I would much more inclined to read on if someone wrote “Genuinely flattered to have received such a lovely client testimonial today….” as opposed to “Wow, check out this AMAZING testimonial I received today….”.  A degree of humility & gratitude never went amiss.

Keep it relevant – if you’re going to seek out publicity, make sure it is appropriate to your market. Getting your name in a ‘true story’ magazine just because your dad had a sex change might not do your book-keeping business much good!

Keep it separate – with so many social media outlets available it’s tempting to flood all avenues with your self promotion, including Twitter and Facebook. But does you cousin in Australia really want to know you’ve got a 10% promotion? If you are going to use Facebook as a marketing tool create a page for your business and keep it separate from your personal page. Sometimes people just want to be your friend – they don’t want to be bombarded with business chatter.

Keep it fresh – don’t churn out the same news over and over and OVER again. All businesses have a unique selling point, but once I’ve heard about it 50 times I might start to switch off. Keep looking for new angles to explain how brilliant you are. Create topical news hooks to make yourself appear relevant and up to date. Don’t rest on your laurels and keep trotting out the same old story – make something happen to make yourself newsworthy!

Be extraordinary – Most mumpreneurs have a story as to why they started a business. For most of us that story is ‘we wanted to be there for our children and didn’t want to put them into childcare to rejoin the rat race’. This story, although genuine and true, isn’t headline news anymore. So what exactly is extraordinary about your story that makes you stand out from the crowd?

Never mind what you think – what do other people say about you? Testimonials from satisfied customers carry a lot more weight than just what you think of yourself  – but make sure they are genuine and not just from friends and family.

Please, don’t beg! – I have seen people practically begging for votes in competitions and awards, which is irritating and smacks of desperation. A voting system should be a fair representation of public opinion – not just a competition to see who has the most mates.

Less is more – many people can’t bear an awkward silence and feel they have to fill it will chatter. Some people feel the same with online marketing and social media – they feel they have to be saying something all the time.  When you design something, the amount of white space you leave is just as important as the content you include.  Remember silence, and some distance, can be a powerful tool too.

Quality not Quantity – carrying on from the point above, think about the number of times you engage with your public – are they all necessary? Do the people on your mailing llist really want to be bombarded with e-newsletters, ezines, updates, and other calls to action quite so often? I have often unsubscribed from a mailing list purely down to the the sheer volume of content sent to me. Whereas one really worthwhile piece of correspondence may be greeted far more enthusiastically by your audience.

Do you find it difficult to blow your own trumpet? Or do you have trouble keeping quiet? We’d love to hear your thoughts.