The Key To Promoting Your Business

If you’re like most colleagues I know, you love doing what you’re doing for a living…

… but you hate selling yourself. 

Am I right?

I know I felt that way for a long, long time.

My mom and dad brought me up to be modest, and to never put myself on a pedestal. And that’s what selling and self-promotion really is about, right? Tooting your own horn is an exercise in vanity, telling the world how great you are, and why people should buy from you.

Maybe it’s a generational thing, but millennials don’t seem to have so many reservations about it. The word “humble” has been removed from the humble brag. We live in the age of the shameless selfie, and the i-everything. The iPhone, iPad, the i can have anything I want whenever I want it. Now. 

Beauty is in the I of the beholder, and the world shall bear witness. 

These days, it’s super cool and common to document one’s life in “vids and pics,” and give everybody a front row seat. Just follow people around on social media. Without telling you they’re telling you: 

Look at where I’m going!

Look at what I’m eating!

Look at my kids!

Look at my cats!

Look at my coffee!

Look at my new car!

Look at my new wife!

Look at ME!

Gimme some likes. Gimme some love. Gimme the feeling that I matter. I beg you!

Worst of all, some people are taking this self-absorbed attitude to their marketing strategy, because they believe that effective marketing revolves around self-promotion. If you don’t tell the world about your magnificent offerings, the world will go somewhere else. At least, that’s what they’re afraid of. 

Let me ask you: Is that really how it works? Is this the new way to attract clients? Why are people doing this?

INSTAGRAM

I spend way too much time on social media, and this week I’m trying to crack this monster called Instagram. It’s exciting to see how many colleagues have embraced it wholeheartedly, and I want to learn from them. What are they posting? What hashtags are they using? Do they seem to have a specific strategy to promote their business?

Here’s what I’ve noticed.

I see lots of pictures of cute animals, sunsets, waterfalls, babies, fabulous food, family members, beaches, cups of coffee, art work, quotes about the meaning of life, and yes… selfies. 

Don’t get me wrong: some of these pictures are gorgeous, and as an amateur photographer I get inspired. But what do snapshots from a family album tell me about someone’s business? Are they meant to promote something, or what?

PERSONAL OR PROFESSIONAL

Perhaps I’m wrong, but it looks like a majority of the colleagues I am now following is using Instagram strictly for personal reasons. That’s why they don’t have a business account, and that’s why I see photos of cousin David’s bris, and auntie Annie’s aging Pomeranian. Both are equally painful, I might add.

I see these things on Facebook too, by the way -particularly if people have connected Facebook to their Instagram account. That means you get to see the same boring stuff twice. I’ve also noticed that some colleagues are still using a Facebook Profile to promote their voice-over services, instead of having a separate business page (click here if you want to know more about that).

What’s behind this? Is it because the boundaries between our personal and professional lives are slowly fading? Are people doing this because they feel that good marketing is based on self(ie)-promotion, or are they basically clueless, or too self-absorbed? 

IT’S NOT ABOUT ME

My philosophy as a solopreneur is simple: I am in business to serve my clients as best as I can. That means my marketing has to be centered on the people I serve, and hope to serve. It has to be about them. Always.

To come up with a marketing message, I have to think about my clients, and ask them questions like: 

– What do you need? 

– What do you want? 

– How can I best help you?

Contrast and compare that to the “Look at ME” strategy.

I strongly believe that I have something to offer; something my (potential) clients are searching for. I am a resource, and it is my job to connect (future) clients to that resource. Now, people won’t find me if they don’t know I exist. The challenge is to make it easy to find me, and to show my prospects what I can do for them without making it the never-ending Strikwerda show. 

My marketing goal is threefold. It is to…

1. Increase awareness of the Nethervoice brand

2. Position myself as an experienced, knowledgeable premium provider people can trust

3. Engage my audience, and lead people to my website

As one of the more outspoken members of the voice-over community, there’s a fourth goal worth mentioning: I want to be a strong voice in, and a resource to my community. That’s why I use social media to promote this blog. It’s obvious that this effort supports my three main goals. 

The question is: Will I reach these goals by posting cute pictures of cats, sunsets, and sangria?

WHAT’S YOUR REASON

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against people who are using the internet to share their lives with others. If you’re one of those people, you’ve got to ask yourself: For what purpose am I doing this? How can I use social media to grow my business?

It’s no secret that with more and more talent trying to make buck or two, clients have a huge pool of people they can choose from. What are the chances they will find you, and pick you? What can you do to increase the odds? Yes, YOU! Not that Pay-to-Play, or those agents. YOU!

I’ve come up with a marketing strategy that works for me, and I’m refining it week by week. That doesn’t mean it will work for you. Not everybody is a blogger. Not everybody is comfortable using 140 characters to craft a message. It takes time to learn the ins and outs of Instagram (and I’ve only started to scratch the surface).

But no matter what you do, it all starts by thinking of the people you wish to serve, and the clients you want to attract.

It is not one, big ego trip.

Use your marketing as a magnet.

If it’s strong enough, you’ll be able to monetize it.

Once the money starts coming in, you’ll have lots of time to post cute pictures of your feline friends. 

Paul Strikwerda ©nethervoice

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About the author

Paul Strikwerda

is a Dutch-English voice-over pro, coach, and writer. His blog is one of the most widely read and influential blogs in the industry. Paul is also the author of “Making Money In Your PJs, Freelancing for voice-overs and other solopreneurs.”

by Paul Strikwerda in Articles, Career, Freelancing, Journalism & Media, Promotion, Social Media

14 Responses to The Key To Promoting Your Business

  1. Tina Wilson

    I just happened to stumble upon your article, and I’m so glad I did. It’s an accomplishment for me to find anything on LinkedIn; so that was a miracle in itself. This was very well put.Everyone has their own way of marketing, but for me, it’s all centered on a one to one conversation with the prospective client and what they are needing. Thanks for posting.

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  2. Anne Ganguzza

    Unless You are marketing your feline friends…. 🙂 #VoStudioCats

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  3. David Dwortzan

    Never thought I’d see the word “bris” in a voice over column! You DO have a way with words!

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    That’s because this is a cutting-edge blog, David!

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  4. Brian Broggie

    For me, trying to document my daily life on Instagram seems REALLY pointless. I live in a quiet little neighbourhood in a quiet little town and sit at my DAW desk all day either recording auditions or working on marketing.
    I have a couple of pics of me recording I took a few months ago and, other than a different shirt, I look pretty much the same today.
    In summary…*yawn*.
    You, Paul, on the other hand have this wonderful ability to write theses blogs and really hit the nail! I am following your adventures on Instagram with a keen eye, learning along with you.
    Thank you for your output!!

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Instagram allows one-minute videos, ideal for pianists who can play Chopin’s “Minute Waltz” in sixty seconds. I’ve seen some voice-overs showing footage from the booth. To me that makes more sense than posting pictures of cats and dogs. I am analyzing the success of different posts, and at some point I should have a better idea of what works for me, and what doesn’t. Stick around, Brian. Things could get interesting!

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  5. Heather Henderson

    Excellent post, as usual, Paul. I’m so glad you talked about Instagram — this is how I have perceived it, but it seems to be used so much (purportedly) by people for marketing, that I was wondering what I wasn’t getting. Your analysis fits what I’ve concluded. Thanks!

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    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Instagram is great for people who sell physical products that can be shown. Stores and restaurants benefit from posting their specials. As voice-overs, there are only so many shots from our recording booth we can post before it gets repetitive. Besides, it does not highlight what distinguishes us: our voice. Lastly, you can’t post hyperlinks unless you have 10k followers. The only link that’s allowed is a link in the bio. Forget posting a link to a demo. In spite of that I’m going to stay on Instagram for at least a year, and come up with creative ways to highlight my website and my services. To be continued!

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  6. Rick Lance

    I’m with you on this, Paul! Maybe I’m old fashioned but… hey, nothing wrong with giving people a little”peak” into your personal life but.. MAN… save a little for later! A little mystery can go a long way. Or maybe this works for me because of my Americana brand/sound. I also understand that those talent who work with a younger demographic may expect this kind of openness from younger talent.

    I’m more concerned with finding those sources that are interested in the way I approach their scripts… their products or services… what personality, humanity or reality and value can I offer them. Works for me and I’m not about to change… just expand!

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    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    In my story about Facebook I gave a number of scenarios based on people using a personal profile to attract business clients. I totally get that today’s society is more voyeuristic, but I think we need to realize the risks of exposing ourselves too much. I think the chances of losing a job are greater than landing one. Besides, most people’s lives aren’t that interesting. Personally, I’m fine with my life being on the unspectacular kind.

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  7. Ken Cowan

    Paul as usual, you have an I for this stuff. Just don’t tell me to take a hike. Thanks. Ken

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    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    No hike needed, Ken, unless it’s a pay hike, I guess.

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  8. Dave Johnston

    Heartland greetings,from Manson,Iowa.Your blog was so informational. In my opinion I believe you are one of the best bloggers out there. I love hearing from you. I can always depend on finding information that is practical and useful. You play a vital role in my success as a voice actor. After reading your book “Making money in your PJ’s” I am always referring to this excellent book by the way, I have learned so much about blogging, and I am in this phase right now of marketing my services. This particular blog is very timely for me. I am focusing on one social media platform at a time. Starting with Facebook. Thanks again for all that you do to move me forward in my voiceover journey. You are a great inspiration for me. Just finished my second blog. Feel free to browse at http://www.davejvoices.com. Always wishing you the best of successes.

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    I’m humbled by your praise, Dave, and I thank you for your kind words! We’re here to help one another, and if I have inspired you in some way, it makes my day! I just added a few links to your comment to make it easier for readers to access your blog and website. Wishing you the very best!

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