Tooting Your Own Horn Without Sounding Off-Key

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hornOne part of success is being proactive about exploring new opportunities, forging new relationships and positioning yourself in a positive light. You are your biggest champion, especially if you work for yourself. If you are not advocating for yourself, you can’t expect anyone else to do it for you.

There is, however, a thin line between promoting yourself effectively and overdoing it. And overdoing it — focusing on self-centered promotion, ignoring the benefit of others, exaggerating your merits — can have disastrous effects.

Here are a few ways to subtly toot your own horn for successful self-promotion.

Client Testimonials

You do great work and your clients are thrilled. You can make it easier for potential clients to see what you have to offer by compiling and offering testimonials to potential clients, either through your website or on an individual basis.

Client testimonials don’t have to be formal letters of recommendation. You can collect and ask for permission to use casual compliments as they come in from clients. You can record audio or video testimonials, and even prepare a standard testimonial form for clients to complete at the end of a project to make it easier for them to provide feedback.

Provide a Guarantee

One way to show your confidence in your ability and work ethic is to provide some sort of guarantee or warranty for your services. If you are a developer, for example, you may consider providing a limited time support package as part of the client’s fees to handle any bugs or other troubleshooting issues.

To take this a step further, you can also provide a money-back guarantee for your services. You will want to ensure you clarify the terms of the guarantee to avoid any potential conflicts later on.

Maintain a Complete Website and Portfolio

Your website and portfolio are among the best promotional tools you can maintain for your business. Make the facts of your past successes accessible and easy to absorb for prospective clients. Include examples of past work, project case studies, and testimonials. You can also include client references, detailed information about your work process, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Help Others without Expectations

Another way to establish your worth as a service provider is by being willing to share your expertise and help others without expecting a reciprocal act in return. This can mean offering help to colleagues with challenges they are dealing with, promoting others through social media (i.e. retweeing on Twitter, sharing links on Facebook and providing recommendations on LinkedIn), and sharing tips, articles and other items of value for free.

Encourage Word of Mouth

We all know the power of word of mouth advertising. Do your clients tell their own colleagues about the work you do and regularly make referrals? Don’t be shy about asking your clients to recommend you to others. You may even want to offer an incentive for referrals to encourage recommendations. And always say thank you to the introducer for any connections made.

How do you toot your horn? How do you avoid doing too much too often?

Image credit: Janus Engelbrecht

Alyssa GregoryAlyssa Gregory
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Alyssa Gregory is a digital and content marketer, small business consultant, and the founder of the Small Business Bonfire — a social, educational and collaborative community for entrepreneurs.

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