If you have a fear of marketing yourself, you're not alone.
It's a common problem, and it's not only reserved for the socially anxious.
You can be the most outgoing person on the planet but have a tough time when it comes to marketing yourself. Though the problem can be much worse if you are shy or suffer from social anxiety.
This post is not about what causes the problem, though. It's about how you can market yourself despite your fear and finding strategies that will make marketing yourself easier and, dare we say it - more enjoyable.
Find your 'marketing voice'
The key to overcoming the fear of marketing yourself AND to enjoying it is to find your marketing voice.
And here's the thing - it doesn't have to be the same as everyone else's!
You can take inspiration from other people's sales, marketing and conversational techniques and strategies to help you develop your voice. But you don't need to copy it.
Instead, observe what they do and implement their techniques in a way that works for you.
With this in mind, I'd like to share with you a helpful little nugget from a well-established guru.
"Keep getting in conversations"
Do this, and you'll promote yourself.
It's as simple as that.
Make it part of your plan to join a conversation about your work with somebody new every day and watch how your connections, leads, confidence and business grows.
When you think about it, it's natural for people to ask who you are and what you do. It's also polite and natural to answer them, which means this is an easy task for most people and an achievable challenge for the painfully shy.
Getting in conversations is a strategy which is easy to implement particularly in Facebook Groups for your target market.
Publicly help people with little nuggets of advice and guess what, people will buy from you. Or you'll be on their radar for future business if they are not ready to buy yet.
They'll recommend you too. Often publicly.
This strategy works on all other social media platforms, and in real life.
Plus it's a great exercise to help you develop your conversational and networking skills. And you'll learn more about what your market needs too.
'Helping' is marketing yourself
You don't want to offer your paid services for free, but there are ways you could help people as a form of self-promotion. Marketing yourself doesn't have to be pushy at all.
You can provide tips and insights to potential customers during your daily conversations, but without giving too much away. When they purchase your services, that's when you'll give them everything they need.
So, get familiar with directing people to your products and services. If it feels too direct for you at first, offer to send them a blog post or a lead magnet you have created about the topic they need help with. This way, your website and email list can do the conversions for you.
When you help people this way, you have the opportunity to promote yourself and demonstrate your abilities, and you move the person further along in the "Know. Like. Trust." process.
Bonus Tip: The best time to sell yourself is right after you've helped them!
Always have something to say
Selling yourself will be difficult if you don't have anything to say.
If you don't have anything to say, it's likely that you haven't carved out a clear marketing message. So work on figuring out who your target market is and what problems they need solutions to.
When you fully understand your market and their needs at every stage of awareness, you can drop them a golden nugget.
A perfect golden nugget for their situation. One that causes them to notice you.
So make sure you spend time getting to know your target market, and what problems they have at all stages of awareness. In fact, make it a practice in your business to review this on a regular basis.
Once you've done that, you can start to imagine what kinds of conversations these people are having and what they need to hear to become interested in you. You can always look out for live discussions in Facebook groups to learn how the conversations might go.
Then chime in with answers, tips and useful resources. This is also a brilliant way to generate marketing content for your blog or sales pages.
People don't want you to be too far ahead of them
Most people feel much more comfortable seeking advice from somebody who is only a few steps ahead of them.
Unless they're about to have brain surgery, they want help from somebody who's in the trenches with them: Not some guru or a super experienced person who had their problem twenty years ago when things were different.
People might like gurus, but they don't NEED them, they need you! And if you don't market yourself, you can't help them. And you'll be doing them a disservice. Bear this in mind when the fear kicks in and it'll help propel you into taking action.
There are people out there who need you
You can promote yourself in a non-salesy way that you'll come to enjoy, even if you have to step out of your comfort zone to begin with.
Knowing your market and building a daily 'getting into a conversation' habit will soon become second nature and it will help you to develop your 'marketing voice'.
Remember that your services are likely to be more vital to your customers than you'll ever realise. There are many people out there who need you and are seeking your solutions, but if you don't sell yourself, they won't be able to find you.