Marketing has always felt kind of, oh I don’t know, slimy to me. I love marketing, don’t get me wrong. It just seems that there are so many sleazy sales people in this space that sometimes it makes me second-guess what I’m doing.

I can market for other people all day long, but when it comes to marketing my own products and services (even though I know they’re ahhh-mazing), I fall short. Exhibit A: I only charge $14.99 a month for my VA Rock Star Training – yet I’ve paid $50 a month for way less. It’s not that I think my product sucks, it’s just that I have a bleeding heart. I know what it’s like to not be able to afford things, so I want to make my services afford able to everyone.

Guess where that leaves me? Making a lot less money. And you know what? The people that sign up for a class at $14.99 don’t value it as much as the people that sign up for a class at $149.

I want to be completely transparent with y’all. Basically, even though I am a great marketer for other people, my personal business model stinks! So, I’m going to pass on some not-so-slimy tips that will help you grow your business if you put them into action. If you suck at marketing your own products and services, hire someone to help you out. I mean it!

How to Market Yourself

I was first inspired to write this post when I read Stephanie’s, so be sure to check hers out, too!

How to Market Yourself

Marketing is much like a courtship: it’s all about the follow-up! You don’t just go on a first date and then ask the person to make babies with you (or maybe that’s how you roll, no judgment here). You hang out with them, call them the next day, really get to know them before you go in for the kill.

Marketing is the same way. Don’t just walk up to someone and be like, “Hey I’m Sadie and I’m a Virtual Assistant and I work from home, oh and I also train virtual assistants. Do you want to be a virtual assistant?” I mean I totally could do that, but that would be what we call a marketing fail.

Offer an experience.

An example a friend gave me a few days ago when we were chatting about marketing: When you pay $5 for a cup of coffee at Starbuck’s, you’re not actually paying for coffee. You’re paying for – and buying into – the experience. You can buy Starbuck’s coffee at the grocery store for a fraction of the price. But do you? No. Because you love spending time in a space that you enjoy, like Starbuck’s.

This is so true! I pay $5 for a cup of coffee from a local coffee shop, because I love the people in there – and I love the experience. There’s always a nice chat to be had, and the atmosphere is super relaxing. So while I could make that same coffee at home, I just don’t want to. I want to enjoy the experience that coffee shop has to offer.

You can apply this to your business as well. Nobody wants to just buy your product. They want you to offer them an experience. Your mind has to be in the right spot – you have to be authentic – to figure out what type of experience you can offer to your potential customers.

Be emotional.

I don’t mean that you should cry, or tell your new client that you love them so much when I say “be emotional”. What I mean is emotion sells. Being informative but entertaining, creating ads around the thought of evoking emotion, those are things that guarantee success.

Look around: what types of ads make you think? What types of ads make you happy, sad, etc? What exactly are they doing to get your reaction? Keep those things in mind when crafting your advertising materials as well.

The market is saturated! I don’t care which market you’re in – someone else is out there, doing it better than you are… for now. The only thing you can provide to your clients that is 100% unique is YOU! So do just that. Design your own, original masterpiece. Don’t be a “me too” business owner. Don’t try to be someone or something that you’re not.

Research the crap out of the market.

When you think you’ve researched everything you could possibly research, research some more.

Yep, that’s right. Keep researching, bruh.

Every so often, you’ll need to evaluate your marketing tactics and see if you need to revisit or change any of them. Is your target market still a hot one? Is your idea specific enough? Vague ideas are a dime a dozen – specific ideas are money-makers.

If you’re not as successful as you’d like to be, at this point you should consider shifting your business a bit to meet the demands of the market you’re serving. Don’t change your entire business model (unless you want to), but really listen to your customers. What do they want or need that you’re not offering?

Speak and look the part.

Relating to your customer comes easy when you’re speaking and looking the part. If your target market includes tattoo artists and motorcyclists, you most likely aren’t going to show up in a suit and tie to chat with them about your product or services.

On the other hand, if your target market is a select group of Mormons, you’re not going to show up wearing a mini skirt.

The same goes with how you speak. I speak very freely, and don’t apologize for dropping a few curse words here and there. However, if my target market included conservative christians, I’d clean my mouth up – fast.

While many marketing “experts” will tell you that marketing is all about persuading and manipulating your potential clients, it’s not. Don’t be sneaky or sleazy when marketing your products and services. Be authentic, or you will fail.

Be real, be yourself, all while being what your customer wants and needs.

Commit.

Don’t half-ass your marketing! Commit to it, commit to your customers, and consistently deliver.

Homework Time: I want you to make a business marketing plan – right now. Stop everything you’re doing, and write.

Wait. You’re not doing that – you’re still reading. Why is that? It’s most likely because you thought something along the lines of, “Oh I wish I could do that, but (insert excuse here)”. Amiright?

Stop using the word “but”. Replace it with the word “and”. “I wish I could do that, and I will! The first step is to write an outline.”

BAM! There you have it. Next.

Put the work in.

Every day, you need to spend some time to improve your business. It doesn’t matter to me if you spend that time networking, being a mentor, or coming up with new advertising materials. You know what your business needs.

Make your business a priority if you expect it to pay you back. Practice makes perfect, but only if you’re practicing the right way.

Do it right.

The formula for success? It’s the right offer, for the right product, to the right person, at the right time.

You might think that you’re doing your clients a favor by charging less, but in reality it might be a better idea to raise your prices and add more value. It’s important to me that my pricing is always fair, but fair doesn’t mean cheap. Keep that in mind when deciding on pricing.

All of these parts should be in the right place, at the right time, in the right way. If you get stuck, reach out for help! There are many friends and mentors in this space that can help us all.

In closing…

So, that was pretty long. Take it in bite-sized chunks if you need to, but go back and take notes so you have at least the start of what will become a clear marketing plan. Talk with your target market using the medium they want to be spoken to with. If your clients like video, use video! Meet them where they are – don’t make them come to you.

Marketing can be overwhelming, and seem really sleazy if you aren’t used to selling your own products and services. As long as you are authentic and genuine, as long as you’re delivering an amazing product or service, you have nothing to worry about!

P.S. Check out my VA Rock Star Training program. If ya want… ya know, because it’s cool and amazing and … stuff.

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