Promotion – How To Feel Comfortable with Self Promotion

A few days ago I posted a piece discussing how some small business owners and many entrepreneurs treat their website like a Field of Dreams.  Put it up and they will come.

The message in that post is that once the website is created, one really does need to actively promote the website in order to generate traffic and to grow their online or their brick and mortar business through online efforts.  It is just a fact of life.

Stinky Cheese ManThe art of promotion isn’t THAT difficult.  With a little practice, in fact, it can become very easy.

Perhaps the biggest initial hurdle to overcome is the awkwardness one feels about “self” promotion.

For some, self-promotion comes easy.  For many others, not so much.  It feels weird.  Or like one client told me “cheesy”.  As she wrinkled her nose, I assumed she meant bad smelling cheese.

Before delving into the the specifics of promotion, it may be best to first address one’s mindset as promotion is like everything else in business.  If you’re not in the right frame of mind, you’re not going to be successful.  And you don’t want to smell like bad cheese.  Right?

So what is the right mindset for promotion? For me, it involves five key beliefs that a small business owner has to accept.


In all circumstances, but particularly in the area of promotion, you always want to be truthful and above board with your prospects.  You gain nothing by stretching the truth, by practicing switch and bait techniques or by pretending your products are something they are not.

Dishonesty makes for some very bad cheese.


The right promotional mindset is ALL about being informative and sharing that information with others.  You promote your business through your website or in person by providing the most important pieces of information one needs to decide if they want to do business with you.  That’s it.

What are those pieces of information?  They are:

  • What you do
  • For whom
  • Typical results

You can be as clever, funny, dry or as direct as you want to be about communicating the above information.  As long as your message is truthful and communicates value, you should feel totally comfortable and not at all like a piece of smelly cheese.


The right promotional mindset requires you to step-up.  Wall flower status will not cut it.  I’m not saying you need to go all Tom Cruise on Ophra or Charlie Sheen-like to get attention.

Instead, I’m saying you need to calmly, confidently and professionally know that for your business to succeed, you need to be its best spokesperson.  You need to step-up and communicate to others what your business is all about and how what you offer will be beneficial to them.

Yes, you’ll feel a little awkward at first.  But with practice, telling people what you do, for whom and what results can be expected, will begin to feel very natural to you.


You need to recognize that the promotion of your business is one of your core responsibilities in running a business.  You may need outside counsel and help in the implementation.  But at the end of the day, it is your responsibility.  So accept it.  Make the necessary time for it and, whatever you do, don’t avoid it.

You too deserve success

If you’re willing to put in the effort and to take on the risk of being a small business owner, then you deserve the success you produce.  Your business – be it an online business or brick and mortar – is not of lesser value than another.  It is of equal value.  It may be different.  It may not be as big or as profitable.  Yet, it has the same opportunities for success as any other business.  You just have to take the steps to capitalize on these opportunities.

If you can wrap your mind around these five attributes before beginning promotional efforts for your website and/or your small business, I believe you’ll see much more success.

I hope these mindset tips are helpful for you to get over the hurdle of self-promotion.  I’ll be discussing some promotion specifics in future posts.

Can you think of any additional tips that will help one get into the right mindset?  If so, please share them in the comments section below.


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Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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