October a Self Promotion Month
When I discovered what I thought was an October silly holiday, I realized that promoting yourself, your business, your talent or your work is one of the most difficult things anyone can do.
A few years ago I began studying jewelry design and found I was pretty good at it. I began to create my own jewelry, then I decided I wanted to sell my jewelry.
To my horror, I realized that I cannot simply set up shop and expect people to buy, I would have to promote myself and my jewelry.
It is hard for me to explain why promoting myself was such a scary thought, but it is something I find extremely embarrassing. I want people to like and purchase my jewelry, but I do not feel comfortable with face to face promotion.
So when I found this holiday, I researched it and discovered that it was created by someone who has an understanding of exactly how I feel and was able to explain why I and others feel uncomfortable promoting ourselves.
Photo from All Things Learning, Wordpress
October Self Promotion Month was created by Debbie Allen who is an author, professional speaker and marketing expert. She is very good at what she does and has written extensively about the difficulty of marketing yourself..
Allen created this month after writing a book about self promotion. Of course she created this holiday to promote what she does, which is speak on the subject.
Smart self promotion technique, creating a holiday to draw attention to the presentations you make on the subject of the holiday. I give Allen credit for devising a holiday that promotes her business and helps other people promote theirs. We can all learn from her and that is what I am trying to do.
Promoting Without Fear
Not an Easy Task
Let's say you are convinced that what you have to offer, whether a product, talent or advice is worthwhile. You are also passionate about what you do. and you have proof that those who have used or purchased what you have to offer are extremely happy with their purchase.
This is reinforcement at its best. You have satisfied customers. I have satisfied customers, so what is wrong with telling people about them?
I know what is stopping me from promoting myself in a face to face situation - fear of rejection. I would have no idea how many untapped opportunities are out there for selling my jewelry, because I have never looked. I have sold in a few shops, but those were actively looking for handcrafted items, so I was going into a ready made situation and did not have to actively promote anything.
I have never tried to sell in shops that were not actively looking for artisans, because I don't want to take the chance of being rejected. That is why I have a website and sell my jewelry on Etsy.
Selling online is very difficult, but it is not a face to face situation. I am just as anonymous as my customers, no matter that I have a bio and an about page that describes me and my jewelry. I am comfortable with this way of selling, but I am not creating a successful business.
Photo: Google Images
Overcoming Fear of Rejection
Be Active Instead of Passive
So when I discovered October was Self Promotion Month and that there was someone out there trying to help people in my situation, I was intrigued with her advice.
Debbie Allen has a Ten Step Plan. Overcoming fear of anything requires a comprehensive plan. She is a strong believer in promoting every part of your business, but she requires that you set goals that challenge you.
One of her key points is to seek out opportunity, not shy away from it and, of course, network in your own community. One way to do that is to volunteer.
Allen wants you to follow up on your customers, which I never do. I have been told many times to ask customers to leave their name and address or email so I can let them know what shows I do, but I have never felt comfortable doing that. I leave my past customers in the past, unless they contact me.
Market with other similar businesses. I am not sure how this would work, since I feel they are my competition, but maybe that is the wrong approach. Certainly there are numerous commercial jewelers around. I wonder if they ever co-market.
Find your target audience and let them know about your business. This is one thing I have never been able to do. For some reason I do not understand target audiences. To me my jewelry could appeal to such a broad spectrum of people, that I would have no idea where to start.
My inability to find and, therefore, attract a target audience has hampered my ability to connect with the right people and to encourage repeat customers and their friends to purchase my jewelry.
One of the most important things is to understand how to use the internet, create a website and market on the web. I've done some of that but I am still trying to understand SEO and keywords, so it has been hard.
Enter contests, win awards and promote in the media. I've won my share of awards, but my customers would never know. I have not tried to promote in local magazine or papers, which could do wonders for my business.
Photo: Google Images
Where Do I Go From Here
One Step At a Time
I have decided it is time to promote. Fear or no fear, I have to get out there and see if I can promote my jewelry to the kind of shops I think I should be selling in.
Don't get me wrong, reading Debbie Allen's suggestions does not magically eliminate my fear of promotion or rejection. But if I do not do something, I will keep losing opportunities and keep feeling rejected anyway.
So what can anyone say to me when I call to make an appointment or walk into their shop? They can say they are not interested. Of course they can, but so what, no one is interested anyway, if I don't try.
I will be no worse off than I was when I started and I could possibly be much better off. Maybe I could be selling in places where my jewelry will be appreciated and purchased. Maybe a little rejection is worth a chance for opportunity.
We shall see.
Photo by designsbyharriet