The economy is tough right now. There are a lot of people out of work. If you have been searching for a new job, have been discouraged, and are looking to do some consulting or start a new business then you need to create a self marketing plan. This applies to existing businesses as well.
How do you promote yourself? How do you get the word out that you are in business. Here are a few tips to help you beyond the idea that you need business cards, stationary, a website, professionally branded email, etc.
It is important to create a self-marketing plan. Just like when you started your small business, you need to determine your target audience will be. You will need to identify your unique attributes and unique selling points and look for effective ways to promote yourself by delivering a powerful proposition. Below are a few tips on how to effectively market yourself to potential prospects:
- Do something – Take some action. If you are looking to markiet regionally or nationally, post a summarized resume of your experiences on general and niche sites that are targeted to your industry or location. Consider using sites like elance.com or guru.com to spread the word and bring in potential clients.
- Let People Know You Are Looking – Reach out to new and former contacts to inform them you are in business. Send the summarized resume to them, or other collateral material you have created. The more people who know you are looking for business, the better chance of finding a client opportunity.
- Go the Extra Mile – Create an online profile that incorporates your resume and other relevant career-related information to distinguish yourself from other organizations. LinkedIn.com is a perfect venue for this, and Google profiles is also another one. Promote these profiles in your email signatures and in all your collateral material.
- Create a Unique Brand Identity – Identify your strengths and capabilities that distinguish you from other consultants or organizations, and then effectively communicate these attributes to potential prospects in verbal and written correspondence. Reinforce your unique selling proposition throughout your prospecting to convey the value you will bring to each organization. It’s OK to customize your message based upon your audience.
- Attend Networking Events – Join industry associations, Meetup.com, and any other networking groups that are relevant to your niche and build invaluable connections that will become your trusted network going forward. These networking events allow you to interact with professionals who may have a need for your services, or know of someone who has a need for your services through their own network of contacts. Networking is a powerful marketing tool. Use it to your advantage. People want to help, and don’t forget to reciprocate when the time comes.
- Protect Your Reputation – Review any social sites that you have subscribed to (facebook.com, MySpace.com, Mebo, LinkedIn.com, etc.), in order to be sure that you are presenting yourself in a positive manner. Potential clients will review these sites and you will want to make a good impression. So, its important to protect your online reputation.
These are just a few tips for you to employ. They are a few tips that we (including me) all forget about from time to time, but will help you build a strong brand for yourself and your small business.