The better way to sell online

How to overcome your fear of self-marketing

When we think of marketing our businesses we often think of the same tactic: make ourselves look as good as possible. But more and more customers want more than a sales spiel; they want a real understanding of how our businesses run and how our products are made.

This is easier said than done. Many of us are taught to keep our heads down and do the work, so it can seem counterintuitive to draw focus to ourselves and self-promote. But the line between business owners and businesses has grown ever hazier; it’s important to let people know who you are.

If you’re nervous about self-promoting, here are three ways you can start.

1. Get a social media presence.

Chances are that your customers are on social media. It’s likely your business is too. If you’re selling on a platform, it can be worth showing your face there too.

This can be awkward and feel strange, but it is worthwhile! Take the time to set up personal accounts for yourself. Don’t start posting pictures of your dog through official business channels, but set up your own channels designed to market yourself.

Use these to share the things you’re proud of, the work you’ve created and the projects you have in the pipeline. This will help customers get to know you personally, and if they like you they’ll be more inclined to buy from you.

Have a look around at some of the biggest entrepreneurs and business people in the world: you know all about their products, and you know about them as people.

2. Create a clear message.

If you never know how to introduce yourself and what you sell, come up with an elevator pitch.

Which message do you want to sell?

Are you eco-friendly? Are you passionate about child-care? Are you enthusiastic about scientific discovery?

While it’s important to think tactically, it’s essential to be authentic! Drawing attention to yourself is a marketing tactic, but it’s also a key way to share what really drives and motivates your business.

What is your goal, and the goal of your business? What’s your aim?

Instead of simply listing your job description, tell people why you’ve created your business and what your goal is. You’re not just a CEO or an entrepreneur; you’re someone with a vision.

Decide who you want to be, and share that message.

3. Start slow.

If you’re nervous about showing your face at events or promoting your business in person, start slow. Everyone has to begin somewhere, and every step is an accomplishment.

What are your concerns? Are you worried people won’t like your business? Are you nervous about public speaking? Does small talk make you uncomfortable?

A huge part of entrepreneurship is stepping outside of your comfort zone.

You don’t need to push yourself too hard too fast, but do start taking steps to combat your nerves. Try speaking at smaller events, or rehearsing pitches with friends. Commit to emailing or calling a customer or client once a day, and then build up from there. The more often you promote yourself and your business, the more ordinary it will feel and the more confident you’ll grow.

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Self-promotion can feel strange but it’s an essential part of business building.

Lena Klein

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