The 5 W’s of Self Promotion: Who, What, Where, When and Why by Terri Levine

Terri LevineTo be in business you must make a profit. You must earn money. And you need other people for that. And how do you attract these people? Promotion! Promotion is another word for marketing and the only reason for marketing or promotion is to draw attention to something or someone. It doesn’t matter what type of business you are in, or whether you are a solopreneur or a large organization, promotion is part and parcel of successful business practices. You need to organize your own promotion and marketing because even though you will attract some attention from the organization you are attached to, it isn’t going to focus on your particular business opportunity. You have to do that and you are competing with all the other distributors. As a network marketer, you want to draw attention to your products and services and your business. You want to attract attention to encourage people to buy so you can make a profit. Of course, you can just buy the products yourself, but why deprive so many others of the opportunity? You won’t make a profit just buying from yourself. NULL You also need to promote your business to attract like-minded people, fellow entrepreneurs, who may like to get involved and join your downline.

Whether promoting yourself in print, online, or verbally, always focus on the benefits – people are interested in “what’s in it for them”.

For example, if you sell a widget that cleans in half the time using just water so it’s good also for the environment, you don’t tell people you sell cleaning widgets, you say how you help people cut their cleaning time and costs down and also help the environment. If people ask about what you do, introduce your network marketing business by saying “I help people who want to work from home or who want to establish their own business and who care about the environment.” This is an intriguing statement and those who are sincerely interested in having their own business and/or the environment will ask you for more details. Who do you want to promote yourself to? Well, contrary to what you might have been told, making a list and telling every man and his dog about your opportunity is not the best way to promote your business. Why? Because not everyone on your list will be your “target market”.

You only want to target people who will be interested in your products, services and business opportunity, otherwise you are wasting your time (and theirs).

So make a list by all means, but confine it to people who you honestly believe will be interested in your products, services and business opportunity. Speaking of your target market, where else will you find these people? What sort of person would be interested in what you are offering? Where would you find them? What papers and magazines are they likely to read? Would they be likely to belong to certain groups or organizations? Understand the demographics of the type of people who are likely to be interested and then make another list of the most likely places you can reach them. You do this so you don’t waste your time and money promoting yourself to people who are not your target market and would not be interested. To explain. If you sold fishing tackle, your target market are fishermen – professionals or hobbyists or both. Now some business men might be interested in fishing, of course, but you would be wasting your time advertising in Business Weekly, and definitely not in Woman’s Day. Your best bet would be in Fisherman’s Weekly or hobby magazines that promote angling products, etc. If your business sells health products, this is a wide market, so narrow it down. Would business men take much notice of health product advertising? Some would, but the majority wouldn’t be buying Business Weekly with that in mind. Your target market readers would more likely take note if they saw your advertising in a health and wellness magazine or website, and in Women’s magazines where the subject of health and wellness is covered. Create a folder where you can keep all your promotion information, all your adverts and direct mail pieces. You can refer to these again and reuse campaigns that proved successful. Keep a record of your promotional activities so you can track which ones work and when and where you used them. Cut out adverts from other companies that you like and think would work for you and keep them so you don’t forget. All these will provide great ideas for you to work with. Your greatest challenge, unless you are a copy writer, will be writing your promotion. But if you identify your target market so you know who you are writing for, and chose the medium you are writing for (paper, magazine, internet, flyer), then you just need to get your message across. What do you want your future customers to know? Highlight the benefits to them – people don’t want to know how long you’ve been in business, they just want to know what’s in it for them, so tell them. Explain what’s in it for them, why they should or would want to be involved, and then give a call to action to make them contact you. A call to action is a statement that gets the reader to take a certain action, in your case this is to call you. Give them an incentive. Maybe a special offer if they call you by such and such date. Make sure you indicate they should call now and give the number.

Use active voice, not passive voice. Grammar not your strong point? Here’s the difference. Active voice is: Serious Anglers prefer Our Lures. Passive voice is: Our lures are preferred by serious Anglers. Active voice is more powerful.

How you write for each medium you use for promotion will be different. Internet copy is different to that used for brochures, radio and magazine ads. A quick way for you to get it right is to do your research. Find similar businesses who enjoy successful marketing in the various medium and copy them. This brings me to the next point. Where can you promote yourself? Almost everywhere, depending on your target market. Some promotions will cost you money but there are also free options. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Local community newspapers. You can place small, cheap ads in your local community newspapers, and you should. You can also place ads in larger papers, but choose the right paper and the right day – do your research. Check the papers and see which days certain ads are run. You can also try doing a press release but as it is likely to read like a promotion you may find it is rejected by editors. If you can tie your business in with local news, such as a charity event you might sponsor, you will have a better chance of making it into print. If you can afford it, you can also place ads in magazines. Make sure your ads cover the 5 Ws: Who, What, When, Where and Why, and include a call to action.
  • Direct Mail. You might want to drop flyers in your local letter boxes and place flyers in shop windows or wherever your target market might see them, but realize this is expensive and a lot of direct mail ends in the bin. You might have to do a lot to see little reward. Is it worth it if it attracts new customers? Yes but if there are other cheaper ways of reaching the same people, it would be wiser to use those options.
  • Google pay-per-click advertising.
  • Free online commercial sites where you can post your ads for free. Sign up first for a free Gmail account and use that rather than your own email address otherwise you may be hit by spammers. At least with a Gmail account you can easily cancel it and get a new one when you need it.
  • Internet. You should have a website so you can include your URL in your promotional material and advertising, including your business cards. You can also place ads on other appropriate websites. Having your own web page to sell your services and products and promote your business opportunity means people looking for these will find you and come to you. This mean
    s no more trying to overcome people’s objections trying to “sell” your products or business opportunity.
  • Social Media. At the very least you should have Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and use them to promote your business, your website (so people can find you and your products and services online), and create a world of new contacts! Learn social media techniques and strategies unless you can afford to hire an expert to do it for you. You can also hire Virtual Assistants who do this sort of work to manage your social media.
  • YouTube. Do a series of videos to upload to YouTube in which you can market your business opportunity and your individual products/services.
  • Blogging. Start a regular blog, writing about your area of expertise relating to your business and your products and send the links to each new blog to your social media accounts. Each blog can educate the public on how to use your products and services and how to reach you for more information. Don’t overwhelm your readers. Focus on one product at a time and one benefit. That way you will always have plenty to write about.
  • Write articles and distribute them to online article sites. Write about topics related to your business, to create credibility and create more online presence opportunities for yourself and your business. You can write about how JooJoo beans have been scientifically studied and found to help 90% of migraine sufferers and explain how it works. (Note: I made up JooJoo Beans – this is just an example.)
  • Attend networking events in your area and make sure you have pamphlets and business cards to exchange with others. Always have business cards with you and have your “elevator speech” prepared. That’s your twenty five word or less description of what you do, so when someone asks you in an elevator or waiting for a bus, you can tell them before you lose them or their attention.

Remember, when you promote yourself verbally, don’t turn people off before they get a chance to hear more or ask questions. So for instance, instead of saying “I’m a distributor of JooJoo Beans” or “I sell JooJoo Beans”, say something like, “I help people who suffer from migraine headaches.” The other person may be interested and ask how you do that. Then you can tell them about the power of the JooJoo Beans, and when they ask how they can buy those JooJoo Beans, give them your card and tell them how to order. Always tell people how you help others, tell them the benefits of your products, services and business opportunity.

To be successful you should allow yourself plenty of time to plan your promotions. You need to research the various medium you want to explore for your marketing so you can choose the right papers, magazines, online sites, etc. and study the type of ads that are successful so you can adapt them to your needs.

Check which days are the most popular for promoting your type of business. Speak to the paper and ask them direct. Professional media have these statistics and can suggest the best days to promote. Then place your ads on those days. If you chose to attend networking events, be sure the venue, date and time is likely to attract your target market. If your target market is busy housewives with school age children, a late morning event may work well as they can attend while their children are at school. They may also attend an evening event. If you are not sure, ask the event organizers. Never be afraid to ask questions.

If you don’t promote your business, how will people know about you?

How will you attract new customers to buy your products or services? Without sales, how will you make any profits? And if you want to attract others to your business to join your downline, how will they know about you and your opportunity? If you don’t promote yourself and your business you will be the world’s best kept secret… and I don’t know how long you’ll remain in business! Because to be in business you must make a profit. You must earn money. And you need other people for that. And how do you attract these people? Promotion!

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