Tips for ‘client-attractive’ self-promotion

Have you ever come across the kind of marketing communications that make people sound arrogant? Where it is all “Me this and me that,” and “I have done this, that and the other?” Well, this kind of “marketing” can come across as obnoxious and is more likely to put people off than get them interested in you or what you have to offer.

Thomas J. Leonard in his book, “The Portable Coach,” said,

In order to market yourself successfully, you need confidence to know exactly what you do well and don’t do well, as opposed to arrogance, which is a way of covering up what you don’t do well.”

I have met several entrepreneurs over the years who appeared just a tad too enthusiastic to talk about their accomplishments. Now, I am all for self-promotion, as you will have gathered if you have been reading my blog posts and articles. However, there is a fine line between confident self-promotion and insecure arrogance. And if you want the kind of marketing communications that attract rather than repel, then you do not want to cross this fine line.

What is the difference between confident self-promotion and insecure arrogance, so that you can avoid the latter and come across in a positive, client attractive way? Well, here are a few things to bear in mind…

Confident self-promotion

  • Inspires and challenges your audience to take forward steps, whether this be connecting or working with you or following your recommendations
  • Is news about what you are doing and shows you enjoy it; therefore it is attractive and interesting!
  • Communicates a positive, enduring mission, message or theme, encouraging others to follow your journey
  • Sounds confident in an inspiring way!

Insecure arrogance

  • Bores your audience because it always seems like bragging. Or it discourages them from ever trying to take forward steps or do what you have done because it seems unattainable
  • Is news that comes across as showing off, name-dropping or ego massaging, therefore it is a turnoff!
  • May not communicate a mission or theme but rather seems like a desperate, scattergun attempt to just “be in the news!”
  • Sounds desperate in an insecure way!

Remember that confident people know exactly what they do well and base their business around this. They are comfortable knowing their weaknesses and leave these areas to others, either through delegating, outsourcing and automation or through just not including it in their business where possible. Insecure business owners on the other hand, shout loudly over their weaknesses to try and cover them up. And it shows in the way they promote their businesses. Think of newsletters and videos full of “Yippee!” and “Woo hoo!” And “I had lunch with Richard Branson and will be having tea with Oprah next!” Not that you should never say any of this! But it would be much more productive to keep the fireworks to an authentic minimum and spend more time informing, enlightening, encouraging and inspiring your audience. Fireworks fade while inspiration just keeps on motivating!

Examples of confident self-promotion

Scenario 1: You won an award!

Your self-promotion: You share your journey towards qualifying for the award, including the ups and downs and those who helped you along the way. You share tips for getting an award, to inspire your audience!

Scenario 2: You are on TV or in the local papers.

Your self-promotion: You write a blog post expanding on points you shared in your interview but did not have time to cover. You share what the day was like preparing for the interview and how you felt afterwards, throwing in an inspiring tip for those with a fear of being interviewed.

Examples of obnoxious self-promotion that could put people off

Scenario 1: You won an award!

Your self-promotion: You send out a Facebook update saying, “Yippee! I won the award for XYZ. Did you catch it on this evening’s news? I was the first woman to win this award, beating 99 other business owners. I also got to speak with the prime minister. Now, that’s not something you do every day! Look out world; this girl is going places!”

While this might not be obnoxious on its own, if this is the general tone of all your news, then it will soon start to bore your audience and they will tune out. Or opt out!

Scenario 2: You are invited to share your journey at a professional gathering with a view to inspiring the audience and you are allowed to weave in some self-promotion.

Your speech/self-promotion: “Since I started my business, I have won this award, that award and the other award. I am not known as (-Blingy-sounding Nickname-) for nothing! I was up against (-name a colleague-) who (-catalogue their faults-) but my hard work paid off and I gained recognition for it…”

And on and on you drone in narcissistic fashion! This may sound a little far-fetched but I have truly had to sit through speeches like this and you might have too! Certainly not inspiring and an experience I would not care to repeat!

Client-attractive self-promotion

In a nutshell, make your promotional communications fun to read, watch or listen to, inspiring, adding value and targeted to those who would appreciate them. Keep them regular, so that people expect your news and stay abreast with what you do. And do not be afraid to share your challenges too.

I once helped a client re-work a presentation to include not just her victories but her vulnerable points and how she overcame them. She was sceptical at first, thinking this might put her in a poor light. But she decided to give it a try. My client returned to report that she received the best feedback from a presentation yet, with people coming forward to thank her for sharing her vulnerability and to sign up as clients.

I believe that confidence and humility work well together! Sharing your challenges as well as your triumphs can make you sound like a real human being instead of an impersonal organization. And because your audience has down times too, they will be much more likely to resonate with you and want to come a little closer. And this is what you want, client-attractive self-promotion, not the kind that bores or scares people away!

What are your thoughts regarding confident self-promotion and insecure arrogance? Do you agree with me? Or do you have a different view? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below. We grow when we share!


Oma Edoja

Oma Edoja is an author, speaker and Women's Business Growth Mentor who is passionate about empowering women! She is the UK's go-to-gal for ambitious women entrepreneurs who want to get more clients, make more money and make a bigger impact on the people they serve. Oma is the author of "The Essential Get Clients Guide: 14 Reasons Women Business Owners Struggle to Get Clients and How to Avoid Them." She invites you to download your FREE copy here. Find out more from Oma's client testimonials here.

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