P. T. Barnum once said, “Without promotion something terrible happens. Nothing.”
Barnum was probably called an “attention junkie” repeatedly throughout his life for his outrageous stunts and hoaxes for promotional purposes. But you know what? He probably wore that label like a badge of honor.
Of course he had to be an attention junkie. He was trying to make some money.
But he was also insanely focused on delivering exceptional value to his customers. He even crusaded against schemers and charlatans that swindled people out of money.
So self-promotion isn’t evil. Just another way to generate business. And it can be fun. Especially if you take an unorthodox slant, as you’ll see from the following list.
1. View blog comments as a network tool.
Maki at Dosh Dosh had this to say: “See blog comments as a way to network with the author, so that you’ll be able to obtain a particular benefit in the future. Think long-term: not just incoming traffic today but exposure down the road. Don’t just focus on getting an immediate return (visitors via your link drop) but use comments to develop relationships of ongoing value.”
2. Ask and answer questions on LinkedIn.
Using the Answers feature at LinkedIn brings your name and profile around to people you’re not exposed to directly. This means more opportunities for someone to recognize your authority in some field, and to reach out and contact you for something further. It means sharing the fruits of your networking with others, and potentially connecting 3rd parties to each other for something bigger. This comes in handy when it becomes obvious that you’re also a good connector. [hat tip]
3. Advertise on MateOne.
I got this one from marketing black sheep Ben Mack. He listed his business profile in this saucy dating community, emailed his house list the link and hauled in a load of attention as the thing spread around the country. Now, whether he got any business from it or not is another question. Just depends on how good he’s at closing.
4. Create or sponsor a community event.
It doesn’t make sense for you to sponsor a rowing event…unless of course you are a rower. Same goes for a young adult’s chess tournament, a scuba clinic or a simple Mother’s Day breakfast.
5. Teach a class outside of real estate.
When you jump out side of your comfort box and rub shoulders with other people–and do it passionately–you are bound to make some good, lasting friends. One easy way to do that is to share your knowledge on a topic that does not deal with real estate. It could be a class on gardening or dealing with grief. Maybe it’s self-defense or guitar lessons. This is also a great way to take a break from the rigors of hard work and enjoy one of your hobbies while nurturing possible business contacts.
6. Write a book.
Sound too hard? Scott Berkun says, “There is no license required. No test to take. Writing, as opposed to publishing, requires almost no financial or physical resources. A pen, a paper and effort are all that has been required for hundreds of years.” He goes on to say If Voltaire and Marquis de Sade could write in prison, then you can do it in suburbia, at lunch at work, or after your kids go to sleep. Here’s some practical advice to get off the ground.
7. Do mission work.
It’s says something exceptional about you when you volunteer your time to help someone less fortunate than you. It’s easy to get picked up by the news. And it’s bound to dim the accusation that real estate agents–at least you–are no better than lawyers and used-car salespeople.
8. Approach strangers.
I struggle with this. You might not. But most people I know think people who do approach strangers and talk to them like they’ve known them for years a little crazy. Of course, these are the people who don’t know a stranger. Who, every where you go, knows just about everybody. And probably have no problem finding leads, business and clients.
9. Volunteer for a political campaign.
Whether local, state or national, volunteering your time for a political campaign will get you inside circles otherwise closed to you. It could be as easy as sticking a sign in your yard or stuffing envelopes. I’d suggest you volunteer to walk the streets and knock on doors and introduce yourself as a real estate agent who is helping to nominate a political candidate. Very low key way to start conversations because you’ll probably have a checklist of issues to talk about or a script.
10. Join a book club.
Sure, no one looks down on a trashy novel at the beach, but when your in a book club it’s time to dust off that thinking cap and tackle some seriously awesome reads. And make some really good, like-minded friends while your at it. From globe-trotting fiction to gray graphic novels to political nonfiction and British mysteries, scour your city for the best book clubs around and get reading.