I modestly propose several tactics that you might use to build a subtle, yet effective, self-promotion strategy that will deliver not only name recognition and hits on your web site, but also paying clients and enthusiastic referral sources.
- Set up a website that describes your services in language that clicks with your clients. Demonstrate your understanding of what clients need when hiring for your category of services by highlighting the solutions you offer and problems that will be solved or avoided through your expertise.
- Include website features at your discretion. If a ‘call to action’ that clients value can be devised, then use it. If you are a public speaker and can pinpoint what clients typically want to see and hear when a hiring decision about speaking or teaching is made, then add a video of you meeting those expectations. If you’ve written ‘white papers’ that address topics known to be of interest to clients, then add them. If you want to add your public appearances calendar to demonstrate that you are in demand by reputable organizations, by all means add and keep it updated.
- Establish a LinkedIn profile and use it as your adjunct web site. Complete your profile and periodically add updates to showcase special achievements, good business books you’ve read and professional events you will attend. Join a group or two and stay up to date with what is happening in communities that impact or interest you, whether alumni or professional.
- Start thoughtful discussions in your groups and add comments to others’ discussions to build a reputation as a good resource. Visibility in your groups may lead to online relationships that can yield off line results like referrals or maybe even a client.
- Set up a subgroup in Huddle Workspace for more specific in-group discussions. When it seems appropriate, reply privately to a discussion and invite that person for coffee if the geography is convenient and it seems like a face to face could be mutually beneficial.
- Join or visit networking organizations affiliated with your profession, where you can meet industry peers and stay current with industry trends, challenges and business growth opportunities. Join/visit additional organizations where you can meet prospective clients, referral sources and perhaps find speaking opportunities to showcase your expertise.
- Prepare a short narrative about a recent achievement: an interesting project, a marquee client, how you solved a vexing problem that stymied others, how you brought something to the next level. Write down your story and practice and perfect the language, so you will have instant recall and be able to trot it out when necessary.
- Do some public speaking and establish yourself as an expert in your field. There are numerous (alas, often unpaid) speaking opportunities at business associations, professional groups, colleges, adult learning centers and nonprofit organizations. Figure out a topic or two that you can authoritatively address and put yourself on a couple of calendars. Referral sources/potential clients may be in the audience.
- Volunteer for a cause that has meaning to you. This can present a golden opportunity to meet movers and shakers, potential clients/referral sources, demonstrate leadership and expand your skill set into areas that enhance you professionally. You might chair a committee or even propose a high profile event (I’m in the midst of both) and benefit not only the organization but also spice your CV.
- Become a mentor to someone who will receive a much needed career boost when you share your knowledge, insights and relationships. Not only will you receive great satisfaction from guiding someone along the path of professional growth and success, you will also gain an ally and will learn from the person you mentor. You’ll benefit from the perspectives of another, perhaps younger, person who can broaden your sights and could also reveal new business avenues for you. Important benefits accrue to mentors, including expansion of one’s professional network and renewal of managerial and coaching skills.
- Maintain your personal life. Stay in touch: send Christmas cards, remember birthdays and congratulate friends’ accomplishments. Go to your school reunions. Go to the flower show or go hear your favorite blues singer. Go away for the weekend or a week. Learn to dance the samba or resurrect some long neglected talent like playing the xylophone. Have things to talk about besides business!
Thanks for reading,