Asking someone to promote your business can be about as comfortable as that time you were standing at the front door talking to the man from the gas company and your little one came up behind you and pulled your pants down, leaving you standing in your blue underwear (no, it didn’t happen to me, but to one of my clients!). There’s something about ASKING for a plug that feels disingenuous with a side of needy. Often, people would be over the moon to share about your business, they just don’t think about it, or they aren’t sure what they could do to help. When you ask people for what you want, it may be surprising how often you get it. Want to learn how to enlist the help of friends, family, clients, and other business owners, to become the talk of the town? Here are some tips!
Just because you ASK someone to help promote your business (write a testimonial, distribute marketing materials, shout you out on social media, hook you up with some referrals, etc.) doesn’t mean that their efforts are not genuine! Their praises aren’t any less real than someone who wrote a testimonial on their own after working with you. Chances are when it comes to people you know, no matter how much they love your products or services it just didn’t occur to them to promote your business. Life is busy! Even though your business is your top priority, it’s probably not on the top of their lists.
Check out this email I got from an excellent client after I asked her to write up a quick review.
Here’s how to ask for what you want, without feeling like you’ve been caught with your pants down:
Think About Your Audience
This does not apply to testimonials because anyone can sing your praises and tell everyone about their experience with you!
When it comes to asking people to help you promote your business by actively shouting you out, becoming a sponsor, publishing a guest post, or anything else that means the person would be plugging your business on THEIR platforms and not yours, think about who their audience is!
If you’re selling flower crowns for women and children, hitting up the local motorcycle club for men 60 and over is not likely to get you far. Instead, look for local photographers, wedding planners, boutique owners, and other florists.
When you think about reaching out to friends and family, consider their circles as well. You want to get in front of your ideal clients, with the most minimal effort; focusing on people who have a lot of people you’d love to work with in their life is a better bet than someone you don’t think knows many people that would want or need your services or products. That being said, the more individuals who know about your business, the better, so make sure EVERYONE knows what you do, even if you’re not approaching them individually!).
Have a Plan
You know how people say “let me know if I can do anything to help you!” and you usually reply “you’re so kind, thanks!”? Every time a conversation like that happens, and you don’t say “you know, that’s so sweet of you! If you could share my FB page with your friends list that would be SO wonderful!”, you’re missing the boat.
Come up with a few go to (easy) things people can do to help your business. Next time someone says to let them know what they can do, give them a particular task!
Additionally, have a plan before you approach anyone about helping spread the word. Want to guest post for a local business owner? Do some research on their business. Think it through before reaching out to them! First, come up with a few topics you could write about. Then let them know why you think their audience would love to hear what you have to say! Be specific about how your post benefits their business.
Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box a little bit! When I had my photography business, I teamed up with a sales team for a newly constructed neighborhood that a lot of young families were buying in. I had high-end marketing cards made up, and created a welcome home kit that would be given to each new family. I booked a lot of new clients through that partnership! Think about businesses that would complement your business, and are attracting the same clientele you’re looking for, and come up with creative ways to help them provide killer service!
Keep it Simple
The easier you make your requests, the more likely you are to get the results you want!
If you want friends and family to post to Facebook about a killer promotion you’re running, put together an email, telling them exactly what you’d love for them to do, and giving them sample statuses they can easily copy and paste. Or, if you’d like them to share a post from your page, insert a screenshot of the exact post you want to be shared, along with a link to Facebook.
If you want to collaborate with another business owner, come up with a great pitch, but don’t make it complicated! When you confuse people, you lose them, and a long-winded email isn’t necessarily going to win them over with thoroughness. Be friendly, but to the point, about what you’re hoping to do, and how working together would be mutually beneficial. Then, setup a time to meet (in person or via video chat if you’re not close!) so you can talk details and formally meet!
While You’re at it, Ask for Business!
My guy manages Pinstripes, an upscale bowling, bocce ball, bistro, and event venue. Once in a while, he and a few colleagues will head out to the nearby upscale shopping mall and pass out free appetizer cards, to drum up new local business.
Sometimes, boldly asking for business makes an enormous impact on your sales!
Have something awesome to offer people? Don’t be afraid to let someone know you’d love to work with them!
In my Hustle Meets Heart community, one member Tweeted Blake Lively to let her know she’d love to be her maternity photographer! You never know unless you ask, right?
Honestly, the biggest tip for asking people to promote your business is to just force yourself to do it. Start with some people you’re comfortable with so that it doesn’t feel so intimidating! Commit to asking two people to promote your business in the next few days, and make a plan! If it feels terrifying, apply the fake it till ya make it trick! ACT comfortable, until you realize how easy it is!
How easy is it for you to ask someone to promote your business? Do you clam up? Does it feel natural to tell someone what you need, and give them something specific to do?
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