I make a lot of mistakes marketing myself, I know we all do. It's human. We oversell ourselves!
Imagine if I was talking to my doctor, I was just about ready to sign the papers for my annual butt o scope. Then he started saying. "I went to Harvard and was in the top 10...I have performed this butt o scope procedure over 5000 times...I have letters of recommendation to show you right here (shows me a stack of letters)...I'm fully insured...Would you like to see a sample of what I do?"
This would be strange, I would take my butt to another butt o scope doctor.
I have been so guilty of this over the years. When faxing was the norm, I had this little packet I would send. It kept getting larger and larger. Lists of corporate clients, testimonials, newspaper articles, show description. I'm embarrassed of it now.
Your information should be concise. Think of brochure for a Cadillac. It's a nice 3 fold brochure with hardly any writing. And that's a fifty thousand dollar car!
My buddy Jay Alexander, a great magician nails me on this one all the time. I so appreciate his being a wall on this topic, I am grateful fifty times over for his teaching on this matter. When I'm working on a business card or mailing an email to customers or sending a confirmation letter, he looks it over and gives me the keep it simple critique.
On my web site, my tendency is to say, "I've got pages of thank you testimonials, let's put them all on, like a slide show" I got nailed on this by my web designer who kept asking "what do you want people to do when they visit your web site?"
The answer is of course book me. What I want is for the customer to call. Honestly, I don't have great return on blind email inquiries but I do very well when I can speak to people. I imagine this is probably true of everyone. An email is anonymous, so it's likely a person simply shopping for a price. A phone call is a more committed customer, they want to know what they are buying. When I can talk, they hear I'm friendly, chipper and address all their issues I book most inquiries.
That question "what do you want people to do?" Is really fundamental. I want people to remember my name. I want people to keep my card or pass it to a friend. So, my name must be big (I've seen cards where i couldn't figure out where the name was). My phone number and email and web site very clear. The design is fun, so it says "Clown" if the design is good, you can skip all those words, the same with your web site. Business cards and web sites are visual. Think of the Cadillac brochure, pictures of the sleek design, the leather interior, they don't need to say anything, it screams Cadillac.
Jay has pounded this into my thick head. What are you saying with your picture? He'll ask me. I want people to see, I'm fun, friendly and their children and guests will have a great time. I have a simple picture on my card, I think conveys this. On my web site I have a picture with two little girls that were hugging me while we posed for a photo, this is one of those pictures "worth a thousand words".
I know that's a good picture because, I've seen it used many many times on posters announcing me. People drag that particular photo off my site and put it on their own posters. So, I can tell what works very clearly.
No matter where you are in your marketing or career; Ask that question David (my web designer) asked me. What do you want people to do? Ask the question Jay asks me. What do you want this business card to say? What do you want this picture to say?
A big thanks to Jay Alexander and David Gallagher for helping me make a lot more money!