Self-promotion can be difficult for many entrepreneurs who just want to get their products and services out in the marketplace and start doing business. Success or failure, however, may not depend solely on the quality of the product or service in question but on the number of people who actually know about it.
Marjorie Brody, CEO of Brody Communications Ltd., an international business communications firm in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, offers some pointers on what entrepreneurs should and shouldn't do when it comes to marketing themselves:
- DO network. One way to create visibility is by doing presentations or joining associations for industries related to what you're doing.
- DO design quality marketing materials. Your letterhead, brochures, business cards and Web site reflect you and your business. Make sure your marketing materials reflect the quality of what you're offering.
- DO establish yourself as an authority. Give speeches about your particular industry, write about trends, and try to publicize your own name and product as much as possible. (See "Fast Pitch," page 95, for more on public speaking.)
- DON'T promise more than you can deliver.
- DON'T sell inadequate merchandise that doesn't live up to expectations.
- DON'T promote in a way that's seen as "braggadocious." It's one thing to promote in a way that's benefit-driven for the buyer, but just talking about yourself is boring to other people.
Above all, Brody stresses flexibility as the key to marketing yourself. She says, "[You] want to stay as cutting-edge [and diverse] as possible."