Is Shameless Self Promotion Really That Bad?

Posted on April 19, 2019 by 9 Comments

Is Shameless Self Promotion Really That Bad?
Blog / Marketing / Is Shameless Self Promotion Really That Bad?

Being humble is always a good thing, or so we’re told. However, when you’re trying to launch or grow a business, you need to put humility aside and do a bit of ‘shameless’ self-promotion. In fact, the success of your project depends on it.

It’s important to understand though, not all self-promotion is shameless. In most cases, it all has to do with your approach. In this article, we’ll discuss the difference between both types of self-promotion, why you need it, and how to go about it right.

Let’s get started!

What’s the Difference Between Shameless and Healthy Self-Promotion?

What we call ‘shameless’ self-promotion basically refers to the degree to which you take it. Let’s say, for example, you’re up for a performance evaluation. Naturally, you’ll want to do a bit of self-promotion to highlight how you’re an asset and why you should be given more money or responsibilities.

Now, imagine instead of a little bit of talking yourself up, you start making up aspects to impress your superiors or disparage your coworkers. This is an example of shameless self-promotion. It may work in some cases. However, a lot of people can see right through it and people generally don’t like those who toot their own horn constantly.

Sometimes, though, you’ll be the perfect person for the job. In those cases, tooting your own horn is just fine as long as you keep it in moderation and know when to change the subject.

Why Does Your Business Need Self-Promotion?

Consider for a moment just how many new businesses you’ve seen on your daily commute. If you live in a big city, it can seem practically limitless. Furthermore, if you hadn’t seen them, you may have never heard about them from any other source.

In a nutshell, this is why self-promotion is essential for businesses. When you launch a new enterprise, you need to get the word out fast. The better you are at it, the higher your chances of getting your business to become viable. That’s no small feat either because about 50% of all businesses fail during their first five years.

Self-promotion comes in many flavors. You can market your business online using ads, work on your local Search Engine Optimization (SEO), get influencers talking about it, and more. Those are all what we’d consider healthy self-promotion initiatives. Pestering friends and family to pass out flyers, on the other hand, is probably just going to make them not want to spend time with you.

5 Shameless Self-Promotion Techniques You Should Avoid

We’ve already given you a couple of examples of what we consider shameless self-promotion. However, shamelessness can be a very deep well, so get some popcorn ready and let’s talk about other approaches you should avoid.

1. Asking Friends and Family to Patronize Your Business

This is one of the most common pitfalls that small business owners fall into. When you launch a new project and you’re excited about it, the first thing you want to do is tell friends and family. This, in turn, can create an obligation to patronize your business – although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The shameless part comes when you constantly bug those close to you to spend money on or spread the word about your business. You’ve probably seen this before on social media, where people get their contacts to retweet or share information about their projects.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wanting friends or family to support your new enterprises. However, it’s important to understand they’re under no obligation to do so, and if they don’t you shouldn’t pester them about it.

2. Making Every Conversation About Your Projects

It’s obviously okay to promote your business. However, doing so all day long to every single person you run into is not so good. It’s a very quick way to lose people’s attention and respect.

As you may expect, starting a new business is a full-time job. In a lot of cases, it’ll be all you think of for a while. When you get into that mindset, it’s easy to believe everyone’s just as invested in the project as you are, so you never shut up about it.

Even if you don’t realize you’re doing it though, it’s still a bit shameless – particularly if you’re trying to get money from people. Our advice is simple – don’t try to turn every conversation into a business pitch unless you want to stop getting invited to places.

3. Spamming Your Contacts Via Email and Social Media

These days, you don’t need to leave the house or put on pants to network, which is a godsend. You can get in touch with influencers right from your couch, negotiate with them to get the word out about your business and drive more attention towards it.

This is a great way to use social media to garner interest. The shameless approach, on the other hand, would be to spam all of your social network profiles with posts about your business asking people to share them.

The same goes for email – if the end user starts getting too many messages from the same websites promoting their products and services, we’re probably going to trash them. On the other hand, if you only send the occasional email with great offers and avoid sounding too salesy, it’s more likely to be read.

How Can You Approach Self-Promotion in a Positive Way

At this stage, you may be a bit scared of self-promotion in general due to how easy it is to fall into the ‘shameless’ category. However, we can sum up what makes self-promotion shameless in three quick points:

  1. How often you do it.
  2. The intensity with which you approach it.
  3. Who you’re promoting yourself to.

Healthy self-promotion is all about knowing where to focus your efforts and knowing where to draw the line. When it comes to your business, for example, you may want to focus less on friends and family. Instead, you could consider using social media to connect with users with enough clout to spread awareness faster.

Online ads are also a great way to self-promote your business. These days, you can be incredibly picky about the audiences you target, which means you can focus on the exact users who would be interested in your products or services.

Finally, you need to keep in mind that although self-promotion is important, it’s not the only aspect of running a successful business. You also need to make sure you’re offering products or services people want and giving them an excellent experience. In the long run, those two things can be better than any amount of self-promotion when it comes to growing a business.


We all engage in self-promotion to some extent. The difference is, some of us can be a bit more shameless about it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing within limits though, especially when you’re trying to get a business off the ground.

For example, pestering your friends and family constantly to support your business gets old pretty fast. On the other hand, using social media to garner attention is completely fine, as is cold-calling to find new business and playing up your strengths.

Do you engage in shameless self-promotion to grow your website? Share your tricks with us in the comments section below!

Article thumbnail image by Visual Generation /


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  1. I believe in self-promotion.
    The whole idea is to let people know what you do, what you make, as an artist.
    The reality that an artist needs representation in order to excel shouldn’t stop artists from blowing their own horns.
    Just be sure to play something people want to hear.

    • We completely agree, Barry! Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  2. 30+ years in sales and marketing. Self promotion is critical.

    • Thanks for the ‘rubber stamp’, Britt. 🙂

  3. Being humble doesn’t work in this wild business environment. Self-promotion works, usually.

    • Indeed it does!

  4. What a great topic you touched! I really believe that where need self promotion we must do it because people judge on the bases of what we achieved or rich 😉 It’s IMO.

    • Of course! Thanks, Vikas. 🙂

  5. Thanks for the article, self promotion has been something that induces a trauma response for me thus in the 7 years of trying to make my business viable it has been really difficult. As my trauma makes me feel like an attention seeker this is really helpful to stay grounded.

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