It may seem that “self-promotion” goes against the grain when our objective is becoming our prospect/customer’s Trusted Advisor. Seems like the antithesis of “making it about the customer” and more about “ringing our own bell.” But don’t forget HOW we become our customer’s Trusted Advisor:
- We build trust by being reliable
- We build trust by establishing credibility
- And, most of all, we build trust by consistently bringing our customer meaningful value
One extremely effective way to meet the above criteria is via a professional personal blog. (educational) This might take a bit of convincing if you happen to work for an organization that views blogging as something that belongs in the realm of “marketing” – but it will be well worth the effort it takes to go to bat for yourself. Your main argument? Your personal professional blog delivers a double whammy by marketing both yourself AND your company. It can take some time, but post regularly and it becomes more likely you’re going to start getting picked up when prospects conduct Google searches on topics they’re interested in that your writing about.
In marketing lingo this is called “Content Marketing.”
Once you’ve got the go ahead your next challenge is going to be what to write about. The answer is simple: write about what’s important to your customer. If you’ve been “doing the work” you already know the interests, issues, and challenges of your highly qualified prospects and most profitable clients. If you haven’t – get on it. Just the activity of putting this information together in and of itself will build your credibility and move you closer to becoming a Trusted Advisor.
Keep a calendar to perform a follow up “interview” with a goal of contacting prospects/customers every 30-60 days. (Note: this is in addition to implementation follow up after winning the sale.) Subscribing to news release services as well as industry forums and groups (think LinkedIn) also helps you to keep your finger on the pulse of what your clients are interested in reading about. And don’t limit subject matter by thinking it must directly relate to whatever products/services you are offering. Invite subject matter experts on all topics of interest of your targets to produce “guest posts” on your blog. This is a definite win-win: you bring great information to your prospects; the guest blogger receives exposure to your clients.
Posting a personal professional blog takes time – both time to write as well as time to start getting picked up by search engines. This is where self-promotion comes into play. Use that contact list to let your prospects and customers know what you’re doing. Ask them to let you know what it is they’d like you to research for them and what they want to learn more about. Use LinkedIn groups to inform and inspire post topics, use questions on LinkedIn to for the same purpose (and post a few answers while you’re there.) Every time you post to your blog, get a link up at your LinkedIn page and on other social media (yes, even Facebook – and don’t forget Twitter.)
There are libraries out there to help you get a leg up on blogging best practices as well as a zillion blogs on the subject written by experts in the field. Go ahead – blow your own horn, just make sure it is music your prospects want to hear. Make sure it is educational!