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How to Gain Confidence in Your Marketing
By Jay Lipe

When I started my marketing firm in 1994, I decided to send out a press release to
the local media. Over the next two weeks, I wrote and rewrote this release until I
was sure it would get picked up in the local papers. By this stage, my inner voice
was chanting "This will work! This will work!"

On that fateful day, I drove to the post office and triumphantly mailed off 15 press
releases. Fully expecting a cavalcade of phone calls, I charged down to my office the
following morning. Nothing. In fact, for the next thirty days there was nothing.
Nada. Zip.

At this point I had a talk with myself. I said "Jay, you can either believe this was a
waste of time and nothing will come from it, or you can truly believe that something
good will happen…it is your choice". Being an eternal optimist, I chose the latter.

The very next day I was reading a business journal on the treadmill and noticed a
profile article on a local businessman. What caught my eye though was that the
writer's name, listed at the end of the article, was not one I had sent a packet to
earlier that month. It was a new name. So the following day, I sent off a packet to this
writer and, long story short, ended up being featured in the paper two weeks later.

Then, the president of a billion-dollar travel company saw that story and hired me to
develop a marketing plan for one division. Nine years later, that client was still my
biggest client. And to think, none of this would have ever happened if I had allowed
my self-confidence to fade.

The moral here is that you must believe to succeed. But are there other methods of
building confidence into your marketing? Sure, and here are just a few:
Who has been down this road?

I'm always a little surprised at the number of business owners who don't seek out
others' opinions. To me, these other people (I call them gray hairs) have already
been down the road you are approaching. They have boatloads of expertise and
inspiration that will help you gain confidence.

Before launching into a new campaign, whether it is developing a marketing plan,
building a website, or just redoing your store sign, ask yourself "Who do I know
that has done this before?" Then, seek them out. Chances are, their advice will be

Be a graduate student of your audience

One of my clients sells educational games to schools. When I asked him where he
drew confidence from, he answered "I am most confident when I know my target
audience inside and out. If I can paint a detailed picture, down to what they’re
feeling, or even what car they drive, that is when I am most confident."
So, commit to really knowing your target audience. Ask them questions like "What
do you look for in a service like mine?" After doing this with enough prospects, I
suspect you will no longer feel like you are selling something, but instead like you
are helping solve problems.

Success breeds confidence

It seems so obvious, but it bears repeating; the more you practice something, the
better you get. So, think of your marketing effort as one big laboratory. Some
marketing experiments will succeed, while others will fail. But from all of them, you
will gain valuable knowledge that improves your success rate. And as your success
rate jumps, so will your confidence.

'Fess up…

How many of you cooked the perfect casserole, your very first time? Were you an
instant Fred Astaire the first time you hit the boards? Who out there belted a home
run your first at-bat? Marketing, like anything else in life, takes practice. But diligent
practice, with the right attitude, will bring you the success and confidence you have
never dreamed of.

About the author Jay Lipe is the president of Emerge Marketing LLC, a firm that
helps growing companies focus their marketing. He is the author of the books The
Marketing Toolkit for Growing Businesses (Chammerson Press, 2002) and Stand Out
from the Crowd: Secrets to Crafting a Winning Company Identity (Kaplan
Publishing, Fall 2006). He is also a sought after speaker and seminar leader, and can
be reached through his Smart Marketing blog or his website
Emerge Marketing.
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