3 Ways to Promote Your Work and Keep Your Dignity

3 Ways to Promote Your Work and Keep Your Dignity

How do you promote your work?

You already know that digital marketing is tricky.

Sometimes it’s simple (when you work hard and stay focused). Other times it feels like a swarm of beeping, dinging chaos. So many notifications, so little time.

Shiny object syndrome is a bitch.

When marketing is simple, it’s challenging (long, hard work on one BIG thing). When it’s complex, it actually looks easy. And most beginners chase the easy stuff. They find themselves lost in the distracting, fractured world of digital marketing.

It’s a numbers game (said no Zen master ever)

Easy online marketing advice comes in listicle form. It’s free. It goes something like this:

Leverage social media. Sign up for a dozen accounts. Make as many superficial online connections as possible. Use automation. Grow a following as fast as you can. Create a mailing list. Build an audience. Shoot for critical mass. Spam your list with targeted messages. Develop a personal brand. Become a thought leader; an “influencer.” Curate, share and add value. Drive traffic. Create a lead magnet. Host webinars. Get impressions. Sell, sell, sell!

Impressions lead to awareness. Awareness leads to engagement. Engagement leads to conversion.

So how are those conversions coming along?

How to prevent overnight success

The path from impression to conversion is demanding. It just looks easy because it has a low-barrier to entry. Anyone can join a social network. And anyone can draw funnel graphics.

But sadly, very few self-promoters learn to leverage any platform.

You mostly find a messy, complex stew of low-end competition (without many winners). It’s a desperate fight for attention at the bottom. It’s a fight on many fronts.

Leveraging a low-barrier platform is harder than it looks. It eats hours and takes a long time. For unestablished brands, it’s a bad strategy.

Curious how such a bad strategy is so appealing. That’s the influence of free and easy. But digital marketing isn’t free. It costs time. It isn’t easy. It’s complex and difficult to master.

You have to learn the frequency, quality, and style of real-time social communications. You know that doesn’t happen overnight.

“Be genuine. Be remarkable. Be worth connecting with.” — Seth Godin

The three secret ingredients to marketability

You want simple? Be marketable and show up in the right market. Shouting is optional.

Most of my new clients are word-of-mouth referrals. Others hire me after seeing my design work online. These two sources dwarf all other marketing tactics I’ve tried. So my marketing strategy is simple:

  1. Do good work
  2. Ask for referrals
  3. Post high-quality, social proof online

Don’t let the simplicity fool you. Customer service is challenging. Referrals don’t come easy. Design trends are moving targets and designers turn into dinosaurs in a hurry.

Being marketable is tough. For me, it starts with the work itself—well before I attempt to find new clients. It starts with marketability. It’s a long-term effort of promoting the work with the work itself.

How to promote yourself the easy way

You might be asking yourself if an uphill battle is really worth it. And that’s a fair question. Let me put it like this: There’s a psychological difference between pushing your wares and showcasing a marketable product or service.

When you give the extra effort, you feel better about self-promotion. You feel better about yourself in general. And when you feel good, it’s a whole lot easier to sell and promote.

So go the easy route. Put in the hard work and effort to become marketable. Then head on over to the right market and get loud.

The rest takes care of itself. You might even become remarkable in the process.

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