What You are Marketing is Yourself
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us today and change your life," proclaimed the
hot pink flyer on the bulletin board. It was signed
"Sunrise Hypnotherapy" with a phone number
and a blind email address. No practitioner's name
appeared anywhere on the flyer.
Posted near it were numerous other leaflets, advertising
everything from life coaching to bookkeeping. Fully
two-thirds of the flyers I spotted were similarly
anonymous. Some displayed a business name; others
simply described the service, e.g. "acupuncture." But the names of the people offering many of these
services were curiously absent.
I had to wonder if these nameless flyers ever produced
a single phone call. It seems to me that if you are
going to trust someone to change your life, you would
like to know a little about them first.
Surfing the web, I discovered the same baffling omission
on the web sites of numerous independent professionals.
Entrepreneurs targeting the corporate market seemed
to be just as likely to conceal their identity as
those oriented toward consumers. Management consultants,
executive coaches, and seminar leaders alike were
promoting their one-person businesses by mentioning
only their company names, and referring to themselves
in the plural as "we" and "us."
If I were searching for a professional to help my
company solve a problem, I would be pretty skeptical
of an individual who identified him or herself only
as "Exegesis Management Group." If I'm going
to consider hiring a consultant, coach, or trainer,
a good starting place would be knowing the professional's
Where are the people behind these offerings? Why have
they decided to cloak their identities and promote
an anonymous business instead of their talented, experienced
selves? What misguided or outdated advice are they
following that makes them believe this is an effective
way to market their professional services?
Marketing a service business is not the same as marketing
a product. Potential buyers of your service don't
have the same opportunity to touch, taste, or test
drive what you offer as they do when buying a tomato
or a car. To spend hundreds or thousands of dollars
on a service they can't sample in advance, your prospects
must be able to trust you. And to build their trust,
they must get to know you.
Examine your web site, brochure, or flyer with a critical
eye. Does your name appear prominently on the first
page? Is there a bio of you in an obvious location
that describes your credentials and experience? What
about a photo? If visitors or readers want to get
to know you better before contacting you personally,
do you offer them options like a newsletter, articles
to read, or your speaking schedule?
If your firm has more than one principal who provides
services, identify them all. If the business is really
just you, but you bring in subcontractors as needed,
that anonymous "we" in your marketing copy
isn't fooling anyone. Feature yourself as the company
founder and describe your expertise. Identify some
of your subcontractors by name and give their backgrounds,
so customers can see who they might be working with.
Perhaps you have unconsciously been copying the marketing
style used by large consulting firms, seminar companies,
and national service providers in industries like
financial services or health care. These well-known
companies rely on building their brand to attract
new customers by promoting the organization as a whole
instead of the individuals within it. But these firms
spend millions of dollars and take years to build
those reputations. You don't have that kind of money
or time to spare.
The strongest asset you have in marketing your business
is actually yourself. Providing visible evidence of
your experience, credentials, and capabilities is
what will ultimately convince skeptical buyers that
you are the right person for the job. Allowing them
to get to know you will build their trust. You deserve
to be the star of your own promotional materials.
So stop hiding behind an anonymous marketing image
and let your customers know how talented you really
C.J. Hayden is the author of Get
Clients NOW! Thousands of business owners and salespeople
have used her simple sales and marketing system to
double or triple their income. Get a free copy of "Five Secrets to Finding All the Clients You'll
Ever Need" at http://www.getclientsnow.com
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