How to Market Your Business When You Hate Selling Yourself
You hate marketing.
Or at least you think you do.
The thought of blowing your own horn gives you chills. You think of “good marketers” as people who are manipulative or slick.
You just want to do a good job for people. You want to be honest, reliable, skillful… and you wish your work could just speak for itself.
Is any of this accurate? Can you relate to these feelings?
A lot of small business owners can, especially business owners in the home services industry. Everybody knows marketing is important, but deep down, most business owners have a hidden belief that “selling themselves” means putting image above quality or putting themselves above others.
Marketing is customer service, if you do it well.
Let me show you how.
Most people think of marketing and selling as self-promotion. They imagine having to brag about accomplishments and make claims that they’re the best at every aspect of the job, whether it’s true or not.
Simply put, marketing is seen as an effort to get rich by boasting.
Many business owners think marketing is 100% centered on the self.
Marketing is an act of service centered on making someone else’s life better.
Let me ask you this:
Do you provide a valuable service? Will the customer’s choice to work with you solve their problem? Can you give them a great deal or the kind of attention they won’t get anywhere else? Do you genuinely care about them?
If the answer to any of those questions is yes, you can start thinking about marketing as an act of service. People benefit from knowing that you exist and how you can help them.
Do you also benefit? For sure! Are you marketing because your business needs to in order to survive? Oh, without a doubt.
But by marketing, you make it easier for buyers to find the solutions they need.
You’re not manipulating anyone into giving you their money.
Make the Customer the Hero
Here’s really great news for the business owners who hate tooting their own horn:
Great marketing isn’t about how great you are. It’s about how great the buyer can be because you’re behind them.
In all forms of advertising, you want to position the customer as the main character. They’re the active one, the one who’s making a choice and saving the day for their families or themselves.
Your job is not to shine—it’s to help them shine.
The guy driving the truck in the commercial is the badass splashing through the mud. The truck is just the tool he uses to fulfill his bold and adventurous spirit.
The mom in the Pizza Rolls commercial is the one who proves she understands her kids.
In jewelry commercials, it’s the man who gets the kiss, not the diamond.
You see what I’m saying? Yes, your marketing should reflect your best assets. But the point isn’t to say, “Look how great we are!” It’s to say, “Look how great you’ll be when you have us in your corner.”
This is a big one. A lot of business owners who shy away from marketing are under the impression that you have to be clever in your marketing. Or you have to be cool or flashy or… well… full of it.
All the while, the most effective marketing tactic is to be who you are.
That doesn’t mean you skip out on social media marketing because you’re “not a tech guy.” You still need to seize the opportunities available to you.
It does mean that you don’t have to put on a show. If you’re funny, be funny. If you’re compassionate, be compassionate.
If you’re in home renovation and you’re most proud of your ability to give people their dream homes, don’t worry if the competition is getting rich while advertising how fast or experienced they are. That’s their thing. You stand out by emphasizing your unique skills and priorities.
Find the intersection of what’s important to you and what’s important to your client. That’s where the money is.
Consider Marketing a Path to Better Customer Service
A carefully devised marketing strategy will make you better at customer service. How?
Well, a truly strategic approach involves methods for analyzing outcomes and optimizing your approach. In other words, you’re watching the numbers.
You know that the same ad is getting great traction on Facebook but not on Instagram. You see it when a specific blog post starts driving a lot of organic traffic to your website. You learn which messages resonate with which buyers…
…which means you understand your customers that much better.
Through the process of marketing, a lot of business owners discover that their target client really doesn’t care what equipment they use. Or they learn that empathy is more valuable than experience. Or they learn that “locally owned and operated” is a major check in the plus column.
Understanding these things doesn’t just help you market better; it helps you serve better. It helps you be the person you most want to be on the job.
Here’s the truth:
If you’re someone who would rather shine a spotlight on someone else, you are exactly the kind of person who should be running a business. The most successful business owners are the ones who know how to put others first..
…on the job site, in their staff meetings, and yes, in marketing and sales, too.
Focus on taking care of others and you’ll be golden.
Further Resources on This Topic
Blog Post: The Power of Customer-Obsessed Marketing
Blog Post: Marketing Message Strategy: How to Be Likable, Memorable, and Trustworthy
Book: Marketing to Humans: A Customer-Obsessed Strategy to Drive Connection and Sales