Almost everyone needs to shamelessly promote online at some point. Whether it’s for personal gain or business, here are 7 great tips.
BY KEVIN DAUM
I was just at Sunday brunch with someone I consider to be one of the best at online promotion. At 28 years old, this amazing entrepreneur has built a profitable $30 million+ business from ground up, without the help of venture capital, advertising agencies, SEO firms, or PR firms.
Michele Romanow, Founder and CEO of Buytopia, has quickly expanded this daily deal business on her own ability to self-promote in effective and efficient ways. Her 2,000,000+ Canadian subscribers are loyal and growing.
Michele was gracious enough to share her best tips for online promotion. She also helped adapt them so you can promote your personal brand. Follow her advice and promote away.
1. Keep Your Branding Simple and Consistent
Most people try to explain too much or sell too much from the outset. Michele focused on a simple message and a simple approach for both her merchants and her customers. Once she dialed in the branding, she stuck with it and promoted it consistently across all channels.
For Personal Promotion: Don’t try to be all things to all people. Figure out who you want to be–in a way that fits with your desired future–and put that clearly and succinctly out into the universe … a lot!
2. Drive Online Traffic With Offline Promotion
Michele couldn’t afford to spend a ton of money in the early days, so she looked to less expensive, more traditional advertising sources like print or radio instead of online resources. Then she came up with aggressive promotions, such as limited time offers with big savings, to drive immediate traffic to the website.
For Personal Promotion: Find creative ways to get your message out. If you have a small following, send personal snail mail, which has a high open rate. Then you can get the people you know coming to see what you have to offer online. Make sure you give personal value in every communication, even if it’s just knowledge or entertainment.
3. Tell Your Own Best Stories
It’s necessary to have others talking about you, but you need to make sure they’re saying the right things in the right way. Tell your compelling stories often and passionately so they’re memorable and transferable. Michele warns against leaving your story to mercenary people who are only in it for the money.
For Personal Promotion: Spend some time crafting your personal story to make it entertaining. Then let your profile, blog and posts reinforce the highlights. Don’t be boring or self-indulgent.
4. Leverage Other Influencers
Even though Michele is a great storyteller, she couldn’t tell everyone herself. So she made a point early on of recruiting and sustaining brand ambassadors to expand her reach. She targeted people who were already active online and made them an official Inner Circle of Buytopia users. The Inner Circle members get priority access to new products, special exclusive deals and other perks encouraging them to spread the word.
For Personal Promotion: Most of us know some people of influence. Spend extra effort making sure they know what you’re doing and show them appreciation with dinners, wine, gifts, etc. Make sure you ask for help in expanding your network. Ask if you can network together through LinkedIn contacts.
5. Email, Email, Email
Listen up, folks! Here it is from Michele, one of the best millennial marketers on the planet: “Hands down, email is the best way to communicate with people. Far better than any social media approach we have tried.” Michele believes social media can help, but their direct email approach consistently gets better response than any other promotion.
For Personal Promotion: Use Facebook and Twitter to keep interest among your followers, but if you really want them to engage, send them a well-thought-out email. Not too many, or you’ll seem like a spammer.
6. Constantly Test, Track and Improve
How do you know if you are making any progress if you don’t keep track of your numbers and compare them against targets? So many tools are available today to measure every click, open and conversion. There are no longer any excuses.
For Personal Promotion: For those of you who are posting and blogging, traffic matters. If you aren’t seeing open rates and shares, then start doing something different. Why be the proverbial tree in the forest?
7. Don’t Ignore Those Who Love You
So many companies focus so much on attracting new followers that they neglect the people who are already ardent supporters. Michele makes a point of spending more resources on her existing customer base than new customer development. She elicits constant feedback, giving them a strong voice in shaping their relationship with Buytopia. It’s paid off: her existing base helps her to expand through word-of-mouth raving.
For Personal Promotion: Pay attention to those who already support you. Cultivate them with attention and loyalty. Solicit input and let them dictate their boundaries for engagement–such as contact and time–so they look forward to hearing from you every time.
Kevin Daum is a 1st line contributor and writer for Inc. magazine. This originally appeared in the May 7th online edition.