On the window sill in my office I've got a sales letter I wrote a long time ago.
As marketing goes, it's kind of pathetic. It's a 4-page letter that I mailed out in a 9 x 12 clear plastic baggie.
On one side are two pictures. One is of a dorky looking guy with his finger up his nose, and one is of a suave 007-looking guy in a dinner jacket holding a pistol. The headline says, "Who will show up to work the first day, the secret agent you thought you hired, or the lazy nose-picker?" I was trying to market my services as a consultant that could help companies make better hires. Mailed out 600 of those at a cost of $.97 each. Got no results.
Except...For the learning process of getting the letter written, mail-merged, printed, stuffed into the baggies and mailed. And, two days after I mailed them, I went to a mastermind meeting where all the marketers in the group made incredible suggestions about how to improve it...So I also learned to get some help before I spent money to mail.
Tough lessons, but then everything I've learned as a marketer has come the hard way. But I am learning, and every week I get a little better. Some people are blessed with the ability to learn, apply and win immediately. I'm not. I usually have to bang my head a few times running into the walls before I learn enough of the lessons to get traction.
For me, it's the DOING that teaches me best. If you're a job seeker, you're probably facing the daunting task of learning to market yourself.
Many of my clients tell me this is the first time they've ever had to actually look for work. Well, let me set your mind at ease on a few points:
1. Very few people learn in a straight line...So if you're careening around and banging your head learning, that's OK. In fact, it may be the only way to succeed in the long run, so stick with it. Laugh at yourself a little. Enjoy. Even the 'failures' contain lessons.
2. You are probably sitting on a piece of marketing or an idea to get yourself out there, but not doing it because that little voice in your head is saying, "But what will people think?" Tell him to shut up and just do it. The kid on YouTube this year who sang his cover letter on a video couldn't carry a note in a bucket, but he's got a job now.
3. No one remembers. Not one of those companies I sent this horrible letter to called me to laugh at me over the phone. None of them remembered me when I sent a better letter out 3 weeks later. Eventually two of them bought from me...not a great return, but those sales paid for the marketing and taught me even more.
Over time I learned how to talk in a more natural voice and still say things that are compelling to my target audience, and not embarrass myself with silly ideas. And I've learned: when you know how to market yourself, you can regain control of your life.
How's your marketing?