Promote & Prosper
‘Maximize Your Biz-Ability Through Viz-Ability’
by Raleigh Pinskey
Growing up, I was taught that my reputation was worth more than gold. As I began doing business and establishing myself in my field, I became acutely aware that the message I learned as a child transferred to how business should be conducted as well. It was not long before my clients would come to expect the lilting refrain of ‘What image do you want to project?’ Or, ‘How does your marketing image affect your business? I would encourage them to design their business cards, mission statements, audio-on-hold message, and choreograph their marketing outreach with image on their mind.
For me an image is the representation of a person or thing — a counterpart, a likeness, a mental picture, an idea, an impression. This total created impression then transfers a picture to the mind. But here is the best part. Alone this definition serves as merely a series of words, but fused with a call to action, the words can become a powerful vehicle for business success. The way to execute a call to action is to present your image to others, to promote yourself.
Statistics from the Small Business Institute show that one of the top two reasons businesses fail in their first year is lack of promotion. Promotion,
defined by Websters Dictionary, is ‘the stirring up of interest in an enterprise,’ and in this case the enterprise is you.
In my consulting practice and my seminars, I find that the biggest problem I encounter in getting people to promote themselves has to do with the lessons they learned in childhood. When I ask what messages they were given I get, ‘Don’t brag.’ ‘Don’t make waves.’ ‘Don’t tell people your ideas, they’ll steal them.’ ‘What makes you think you have anything to offer?’ ‘Don’t take risks.’ ‘Don’t stick your neck out so others can break it.’ ‘Don’t be more successful than your father.’ And of course the classic orientation, ‘Don’t talk to strangers.’
Look inside yourself for the message you got as a child, and shift your emphasis from denigration into prosperity and success consciousness. Ghandi
said that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Think of promotion as asking for the prosperity and success you not only want, but that you deserve. I believe that success is a built in feature of our birthright. Now you might not always get what you want, but if you don’t ask you won’t get.
Another problem I encounter is the association the word ‘promotion’ has with the word ‘hype.’ ‘It’s sleazy, cheap and unprofessional’ is the response I often get. What I ask you to do is approach and experience the art of promotion from a different angle. How about replacing hype with enthusiasm or passion. From here on in, I would like you to think of promotion as the outward manifestation of the enthusiasm or passion for your products or services.
The third aversion I encounter is the perception one has to the cost involved in promotion. Believe it or not promotion does not have to break your budget or your bank. There are many no cost ways or low cost effective promotions to get your name and benefits in front of your target over and over again.
What kinds of promotions are most successful in enhancing your image?
* Promotions that are about giving and not taking
* Promotions that offer benefits rather than features
* Promotions that are selfless not selfish
* Promotions that educate
* Promotions that solve a problem
* Promotions that fill a need
* Promotions that change their quality of life
In other words, promotions that benefit others will benefit you. Information, strategies and technologies that help people improve their lifestyle, body, mind and spirit. Here are five credible, field-proven promotions from ‘101 Ways To Promote Yourself’ that fit these criteria.
1. Give seminars or teach a class. You don’t have to go through the expense of a hotel room. Utilize the meeting space within your community, religious or business affiliations. The effortless way is to speak on a program or at a service club, adult education facility, or at a business or religious organization.
2. Joint venture with complimentary professionals, much like a team. Expand each other’s data base and knowledge base by working together
on a newsletter or special report. Present educational events on your collective product and services. Send articles on your subject field or general helpful information either written by you or intellectual properties of others to your collective database monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly. Your clients will thank you for caring about them and their business welfare.
3. Place your goods and services in charity auctions. Along with the goods and services you provide, you are also a consultant with vast knowledge in your field of expertise. Attach a one-on-one informational session along with your goods and services to enhance the price. This also acts as a way to showcase what you have to offer. Depending on the type of event and the participants, I build on a menu of my books and audiotapes, a promotional materials evaluation, writing a media release, a one-hour business promotion strategy consultation to seminar or retreat for their association or employees.
4. Host your own TV show. Public access television offers free studio time, along with their crew and equipment. Take this opportunity to reach out to the people you want to engage in business, thank or enjoy. Show the tape in your store or waiting room. Transcribe the tape and send it out as a special report.
5. Mentor others. Either set up your own program or join up with an existing program. If you mentor high school students, invite their parents to join in the session. If your time or staff is limited, sit on the board of organizations that encourage mentoring and help set up the program.
6. Sponsor events. Name recognition on the brochures and program is not only great visibility, but a way to connect with the business and service community on a different level. Money is not always the object. Oftentimes you can barter for services. Sponsoring events is a meaningful way to network.
7. Hold a contest or give an award. If you’re a linen store, align yourself with the table accessories stores and a restaurant to hold a table setting and concept contest. If you’re in the apparel industry ask the public to contribute new designs.
8. Use the above strategies to generate a story in your local papers, on your local TV or radio stations. The exposure can be worth thousands of dollars to you in free exposure, ‘free advertising.’ It’s true that actively reaching out takes more time, energy and effort, but the benefits show up in increased business, lead generation and referrals, name recognition, but most of all, customer appreciation.
Now then, how is your business image? Is it all that powerful of a business success vehicle that it can be for you? Are you out there helping educate your target market on the benefits of your products and services? Are you informing them on facts and figures or tips and trends? Are you helping them improve their quality of life or are you sitting behind your desk waiting for your image to sprout wings and come to you?
My hero, circus impresario P.T. Barnum said, ‘Without promotion, a terrible thing happens… NOTHING!!’ You might have built the better mousetrap or have the solution to community issues, but if you don’t tell your target market where you are, how they can buy your goods or engage your services, how are they going to beat a path to your door? Put all your preconceived notions aside and stamp out that terrible NOTHINGness. Grow an image that’s worth more than gold, and grow a business that will bring you gold in many different shapes and sizes.
Promote and prosper!
Raleigh Pinskey is a speaker and consultant on Viz-Ability Marketing. She is the author of ‘101 Ways To Promote Yourself,’ ‘You Can Hype
Anything,’ and many audio series on self-promotion. See the entire catalog here: http://promoteyourself.com