biz ladiesLife & Business

Biz Ladies: How to Get Big Names to Know Your Name

by Stephanie

Illustration by David Saracino

Today’s Biz Ladies post comes from regular contributor Katrina Padron. Katrina is the president and founder of Padron Social Marketing, an agency that helps you get clarity on social media marketing for your business. Today, Katrina shares some useful advice on how to get others to know and recognize your business through her own experience founding the philanthropic project A Giving Chance, a cause that helps women and children in extreme poverty. Thanks, Katrina, for sharing your personal experience with us! — Stephanie

Read the full post after the jump . . .

One thing I’ve found tough about starting a business is that nobody knows your name. I’ve wished so much that a big name would endorse me and my business, but I just didn’t think I had those connections.

But things are radically different now. With the internet and social media, also known as the “Connection Machine,” the boundaries and gatekeepers are gone.

Recently, I launched a major philanthropic project called A Giving Chance. A Giving Chance gives a winner a Dream Team Business Makeover, and the funds raised from the drawing help rescue moms and babies in need. (The full scoop about that is here: http://www.agivingchance.com.)

My challenge was that I needed to get the Dream Team to agree, and I had my sights set high. People like Jonathan Fields, Shama Kabani and Laura Roeder agreed to get on board with the project. Seth Godin even agreed to offer his ebooks to anyone who entered the contest.

Now, I’ve admired these people for a long time; some of them inspired me to start my own business, but I only knew a few of them personally.

Here’s the simple formula I followed to get 18 big yes’s and 18 big prizes for my project (by the way, these prizes include a brand new website, social media campaigns, PR strategy and more!!).

1. Make a big list of your “A” team in the categories you need to fill.

2. Make a big list of your “B” team in the categories you need to fill.

3. Research each person/company and find some commonalities: Do you live in the same city? Did you go to the same school? Did you speak at the same event? Did you read their latest book? In general, you’re looking for a tie; something that connects you and warms up the initial email.

4. Craft your pitch. Open by explaining your connection to them and what you admire about their work. Be very specific in telling them what you are trying to do, outlining EXACTLY what you are asking of them. The key is to make it super easy to say yes!

5. Follow up. Sometimes a “no” response means “no,” but other times, a “no” response means that they are really busy.

6. As people come on board with your project, start adding those big names to your pitch letter. It will be easier for people to say yes!

There were times when I wondered, “What’s the point? Is doing good good business?”

I’m still in the midst of the project, but I can say these three things about the benefits of infusing philanthropy into your business:

1. It opens doors. People like Seth Godin, Jonathan Fields and Copyblogger know my name. They open my emails. I’m on their radar.

2. It gives me something to talk about. I’m ten months into building a social media training company (http://www.padronsocialmarketing.com), and sometimes I feel like it’s all I talk about. Having a philanthropic project gives me something else to talk about to people I’m getting to know.

3. It makes me relatable. I share my story about crying on a hospital floor watching my baby girl take what I thought was her last breath. It shows people my human side (the side where I’m a wife and a mom — super-relatable).

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  • Great story.

    There is nothing new under the sun, let us be clear. This one can be filed under give and ye shall receive.

    Wishing you the very best of luck in your new venture.

  • I’ve tried being relatable and explaining that often I’ve followed someones blog or product for years and I seem to get fobbed off a lot with “I like you’r product, I’ll definitely consider it for future round-ups” or something similar. That’s at best.
    I’ve sent samples of work out for an opinion (not endorsement or featuring but just a slice of someones mind about my products to give me some direction), big fat nothing in return.
    I don’t mind if people don’t have time to reply properly beyond an “I’m sorry, I’m so busy right now” email or aren’t at all interested. I’d even like to hear why they dislike what I am doing (if that is the case) but I’m getting jaded and tired by the silence (and white lies) and its making me lose respect for people whose endeavors I have followed for years which is perhaps the saddest part.

  • Thanks Katrina. I’ve often thought of infusing my business with philanthropy and have done it informally in the past but your post has given me the motivation to incorporate it into my 2013 planning goals in a bigger way.

    As you’ve said it gives you something else to talk about and yes it may get you in front of the big names but I guess it will also give you exposure from another angle or group of people who may not have considered your services/products before. As well as helping others and all the good karma that comes with that!

  • @Jess – Thank you! So happy to hear it was inspiring!

    @Karen – SO very true…all about re-frame and re-package, but certainly tried and true :)

    @Nicole – Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster ride! My suggestion to you would be to try to figure out how you can give them (big names) something without asking for anything in return. One easy thing to give is a testimonial. I gave a testimonial for 3 of my mentors and was featured on all of their sites! That was massive exposure and I didn’t even ask, I just gave.

    @Orissa – You got it! It comes highly recommended from me :)

    @Sarah + @Yours.ie – Thank you! Glad you enjoyed and found it helpful!


  • This is a very timely article for me right now. I am glad to read it. It helps me think about some things I am doing right this very minute, some things I have been doing in the recent past and some things I need to do soon.

    I think there’s something else here, too. What you are talking about is a process. It takes a long time and/or a good deal of luck to get where people are even ready to hear what you are talking about sometimes. There are a lot of little steps leading up success that seem like nothing or seem like failures, but are actually moving you forward without you knowing you are moving forward.

    So don’t give up.