There are a lot of people within my professional and personal spheres who didn't study marketing at university. They think that just because you didn't study marketing, you can't develop your own online marketing strategies.
It's bullshit, so I've developed a 3-part series to help people create a name for themselves with ease.
This is Part 1 of The Learning to Promote With Pride Series.
I hear it all the time: people dedicated to their craft, living and breathing their life’s work…but they hate marketing.
They haaaaate writing, or they “can’t” write, or social media stresses them out.
They feel out-of-touch, out of their depth and exhausted by all these things they “should” be doing to market their business online. Or, they feel unsavoury in promoting their work. Unworthy. Uncredible. Unbelievably sleazy.
To compound the situation, internet marketing is always changing and updating, becoming harder, better, faster, stronger. It’s true (if you’re a marketing geek), that online marketing is a pretty exciting thing to be a part of – but it’s also a minefield of technical jargon, contractions and abbreviations. I liken the feeling to culture shock: if you’re well acquainted with traditional marketing methods – like TV and radio commercials, direct mail marketing, networking and cold-calling – then online marketing can be like learning about a new language and a different set of social mores. So much like a new exercise regime or diet, it can sometimes feel like a relief to throw our hands up in the air and vow to commit when we have time…or when we will “find time” to learn the proper enunciation and the local customs.
For true craftsmen – and I use the term loosely here to apply to anyone passionate about their life’s work – marketing can feel like a dirty word. Can artists sell themselves and truly be authentic?
The answer from me, as I bet you’re guessing, is a resounding yes.
Because everything is marketing, and marketing can be genuinely heartfelt and authentic.
All that you do to present your business, your public persona and your products and services…is marketing. These activities come naturally to you and you might not even be aware of the sincerity and natural business savvy you’re employing. That is, until you examine all the other forms of marketing out there.
Like social media marketing, content marketing and killer copywriting. All of these explicit marketing tactics and strategies can feel like giant obstacles, because they might not come naturally to us. Here’s a few common reasons why:
1. You’re an artist guided by your soul’s desires – not attracting new leads. Sleazy salesmen have no place in a studio or a gallery, so why should you resort to hard-selling? You’d prefer your work to speak for itself.
2. You have no time to do your own marketing – you’re trying to run your business or perfect your craft. I hear you, and I’m guilty of the same. For so long my excuse for deactivating my Facebook page was that I didn’t have time to do my own marketing, because I was too busy trying to help other people with their own.
3. You’re irked by social media’s lack of privacy laws, and have a bit of a moral complex about sharing personal data online. It’s true – some of what Facebook does is pretty sketchy.
4. You have an interesting relationship with technology. Kind of like an estranged married couple who’s lost that connection.
I get it – you love everything about your work. Except marketing.
But everything you’re doing to make a name for yourself is marketing.
EVERYTHING IS MARKETING.
Making a name for yourself doesn’t have to be ‘hard work’. In fact, it can come to you quite naturally if you use your existing skills and resources.
If you’re a real people person:
Be kind. All the time. Say hi to that person next to you at the café. Talk to your neighbours. Back when I was a student, I offered to help my heavily pregnant neighbour with her bins. Turns out, she was a copywriter too! She handed me her business card and we set up a meeting to chat, resulting in her giving me some advice about launching your own business.
If creating a Facebook Page seems incredibly wanky to you:
Post updates about your work to your personal page. Friends can make the best brand advocates.
If you’re awesome at your craft, but not so awesome on social media:
Blow your clients/customers minds so that they can’t help but rave about you to everyone. I would say a third of my clients come through referrals from existing and previous clients.
Extra 'non-marketing' activities that are actually really good marketing tactics:
- Stay in touch with previous clients. Just because. Send them interesting articles. Send them cat videos. Wish them Happy Birthday. Ask about their new baby.
- Love what you do, and let the world know. Develop your elevator pitch. Preach at it parties. At Yoga. At church. In the supermarket.
- Write for another person’s blog or website (guest-posting).
- Email those who send you email marketing. Just to say “thanks for this, & stay awesome”.
- Comment on blogs you follow. Praise. Provide feedback. Ask questions. Leave a link to your own website.