Growing Your Business (C'ching)

Your Six Special Self-Marketing Tools

by Darcy Eikenberg

Article Resource: in Self Help / Coaching   (submitted 2010-01-05)

"Reinvention is the new black," said my friend Melissa. The fact that we were having this thought-provoking chat real-time over Facebook provides more evidence that we are certainly living in a time when everything's being reinvented--even conversations between friends.

Many of us are reinventing ourselves, too, trying to keep up with a changing world. As we change, it becomes even more important to let people know who we are and what we do--and why they should care! And telling those stories about ourselves is the heart of self-marketing.

From what I hear from my clients and colleagues, most of you loathe the idea of marketing yourselves. Hey--get over it! You are too amazing to not tell the world about it! That's why I'm offering a few simple, straight-forward self-marketing tools to get you started. Have fun with them!

Whether you already have a great job (and need to make sure others see the wisdom of keeping you around), or whether you're out-of-work and seeking new opportunities, it's time to take more action to market yourself.

Many of us avoid marketing at all costs because we think it's arrogant, complicated or time-consuming--or all of the above. Think again. Here's a list of tools you can use to promote yourself and your amazing qualities. As a special bonus, they're extremely easy, inexpensive, and fast!

1. The Hand-Written Thank You Note. In our world of email, voicemail, and Twittering in 140 characters or less, the classic beauty of the hand-written thank you note makes you stand out more than ever before.

Who doesn't love to see a personal letter among the stack of bills, junk mail and catalogs? Or, in your office environment, a hand-written note sent interoffice mail is a fun surprise, and promotes you as a person who notices and appreciates others.

You don't need fancy paper or personalized stationary--a simple drugstore set of notecards can work just fine. You also don't need to be a Byron or Keats, either---writing two or three lines can be more than enough.

Sure, thanking someone in person or in email is better than nothing. But if you want to make an impression, write the note.

2. A Detailed Email Signature. Let's say you send 25 or more emails a day (yup, that's a slow day for some of you.) That's 25 opportunities to get your personal information in front of others. It's prime marketing real estate.

Make the most of your email by creating a "signature" that automatically populates at the end of every email you send. No matter whether you use Gmail, Yahoo, or your corporate Notes or Outlook system, you can create a signature that includes your phone number(s) and other information that make it easier for people to know more about you. Many people are adding a link to their LinkedIn profile page or a personal web site on their signature, too.

Living in a corporate world and not sure what's appropriate? Here's a tip--test an email signature that describes what you do for your customers or clients. Say what you want to say, and if anyone in your organization cares, they'll say so! Hey, it's email--you can change it quickly!

3. Your Online Identity. Are you visible in cyberspace? Even if you're not a techie, it's time to get on board with social media. It's not just for kiddies anymore--in fact, users over the age of 40 are the fastest growing population for online networks.

If you're only going to show up in one place online, LinkedIn remains the professional's choice. It's free, and you can have a profile online in minutes. Plus, the beauty of your LinkedIn profile is that you control it--so say what you want to say! You can also join groups, answer questions in discussions, and post presentations and other comments about what you're doing.

New to LinkedIn? You can learn more here. Plus, you can link to me today!

4. Your Dynamite Introduction. Have you ever listened to what comes out of your mouth when you first meet someone? Is it "I'm a financial manager at Joe Blow Bank" or is it "I help people solve their money problems." Which person would you want to meet?

Take a minute to think about how you introduce yourself. Are you putting yourself in the best light possible? Are you translating your job/talents/skills into simple words that someone far outside your industry could understand?

How do you know when you have a dynamite introduction? When the response you get is "Wow--tell me more!"

5. Keeping Your Commitments. Want to stand out from the pack? Do what you say you will! To some, this seems like a "duh." But in our age of non-accountability, it's amazing who many people drop the ball, leaking excuses all the way like:

* "I didn't think is was that important."

* "I ran out of time."

* "I got pulled into a fire drill--you understand."

To be honest, no, I don't understand, and you shouldn't either. Making and keeping commitments is a hallmark of operating like a grown-up. Keeping even the smallest of commitments markets you as a person worthy of bigger opportunities.

If you truly can't keep the commitment, say so. Even this simple communication closes the expectation gap, and can leave a positive impression of you as someone who is honest and straightforward.

6. A Friendly Smile. Don't underestimate what a positive attitude can convey about you to others--and nothing says "positive" more effectively than a smile.

Do you smile enough? Most of us think we smile a lot more than we do, especially if we're concerned about appearing "serious" or "professional."

If you think you might be grimacing a bit too much, ask someone you trust how often they see you smile. You may be surprised at what they see. Research shows that smiling not only improves other's perceptions of you, but also makes you feel better, too. And who doesn't need to feel good these days?

Keep marketing yourself--the world needs to know how special you are!

About the Author

Darcy Eikenberg


Darcy Eikenberg is an accomplished coach, consultant and business leader with experience motivating individual and team behavior to achieve business results. Her focus is coaching and mentoring aspiring individuals and professionals/teams needing guidance and support. Before founding Coach Darcy LLC, Darcy was Principal, Internal Coach and Senior Communication Consultant at Hewitt Associates. Darcy is VP Marketing for the Georgia Coach Association and a graduate of Northwestern University.

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