In my experience, marketing a small business presents a few special challenges for introverts. For one, many of the marketing strategies we’re taught revolve around being social–and for good reason! Creating authentic connections with people is arguably the best thing you can do to grow your business. But what if you’re not good at being social? Are introverts doomed to fail as business owners?
Quite the contrary. In fact, introverts are more than capable of creating impactful, profitable, and lasting businesses and legacies. Just look at Elon Musk or J.K. Rowling. We simply have to learn how to play to our strengths and tune out all the marketing noise that doesn’t align with our personality.
Why we need to talk about marketing for introverts
When I was younger, I saw my introversion as a weakness. In school, my talkative classmates were rewarded for speaking up in class, whereas I was penalized for being quiet. This ultimately taught me that introversion wasn’t valued in our society. I didn’t see how I could possibly succeed in a typical work environment. So I decided to start my own business. I could work alone and do things my own way–or so I thought.
Starting a business comes with an avalanche of challenges; the biggest ones for me were marketing and sales. How was I supposed to build a brand and market my design services when I was afraid of being seen and heard? It took me almost three years to find the answers.
I know for a fact that other creative business owners have stories that are similar to mine. I also know that there are many talented creatives out there who would love to start their own business, but feel hindered by their introversion.
In this post, my goal is to dispel the myth that introverts can’t be successful entrepreneurs and business owners. In addition, I’ll share a few proven marketing strategies that are suited for introverts. And if you’re not introverted, I invite you to stick around anyway because these strategies can truly work for anyone.
How introverts can excel at marketing
I don’t find it at all useful (or accurate) to compare introverts vs. extroverts. You’ll never hear me say that introverts or extroverts are better than the other at anything. The truth is, there’s so much more to our personality; our introversion doesn’t define us.
However, I do believe that introverts tend to have a few unique strengths that can really help us excel at marketing and sales. This belief stems from a combination of my own experience, actual research (I have to put my neuroscience degree to use somehow), and from conversations with other introverts.
Here are a few reasons why introverts can be excellent at sales and marketing:
Introverts are good listeners
The ability to listen to others is totally underrated. And introverts are typically not the type to interrupt others or tune them out. When it comes to sales in particular, listening is one of the most valuable skills you can have.
Contrary to popular belief, being a good salesperson isn’t just about being able to talk up a product. In fact, talking too much can come off as pushy or sleazy. A better way to sell a service or product is to listen to what the customer actually needs, or thinks they need, and then position your offer as the solution to their unique problem.
If you’re a good listener, use this skill to your advantage any time you’re interacting with leads and customers. And if you’re not, start practicing. Write down the exact words and phrases people use when describing their problems and use them in your messaging and sales pitch. People will notice that you actually listened to them, and they’ll appreciate you for it.
Introverts are intuitive
Introversion and intuition go hand-in-hand. This has to do with introverts being good listeners and having a heightened sense of awareness of their surroundings. When you’re quiet, you can pick up on a surprising number of cues that you’d likely miss otherwise. However, that’s not to say that all introverts are naturally intuitive or that you can’t be intuitive if you’re not introverted.
I personally believe that intuition is a real-life superpower, to the extent that it’s one of my core brand values. I lean into my intuition pretty heavily whenever I need to make a decision in my business, like who to hire, which clients are a good fit, and even how to approach design projects.
There are many ways to use intuition to your advantage in your own business. You just have to practice leaning into it in order to find out how it can work for you. Meditation and journaling are both wonderful practices for developing your intuition.
Introverts are creative
Many of the world’s greatest artists, engineers, and innovators have been introverts. That’s not sufficient evidence to say that all introverts are inherently creative, but there does seem to be a correlation between introversion and creativity.
If I had to guess, I’d say that about 80% of the creative professionals I’ve met over the years are introverted. This is an estimate, so don’t quote me on it! I also recently posted a poll in my Instagram stories asking my viewers, most of whom are creatives, if they’re introverted or extroverted. 100% of the participants voted for introversion and a couple told me they were ambiverts.
Introverts are well suited for creative endeavors like illustration, design, photography, and writing because they’re forms of expression that don’t require group effort. In other words, we can do them alone, without distraction and interference. Introverts often need alone time in order to come up with their best ideas.
3 marketing strategies for introverts
Content marketing is arguably the most powerful strategy for building awareness of your brand, attracting potential customers, and establishing your industry expertise. Even better, it’s something you can do completely for free, which is why I recommend that all business owners find a way to do it. The only downside to content marketing is that it’s slow and steady work to get results. However, the benefits are well worth the effort.
There are three main types of content marketing: writing, speaking, and video. If you’re particularly ambitious, you can implement all three. However, it’s best to focus on just one type of content when you’re starting out. Once you master that type, you can start incorporating another.
Writing, namely blogging, is an excellent content marketing avenue for introverts. It allows them to put their creative and analytical skills to work without having to deal with the stress of speaking out loud or being seen on camera. In case you think blogging is a dead medium, think again: according to SEMrush, businesses that utilize blogging as a marketing strategy see 13 times the ROI of businesses that don’t.
Interested in learning more about blogging for your business? Click here to join the waitlist for my upcoming course, Blog, Money, Magic.
SEO, which stands for search engine optimization, is another highly effective marketing strategy that doesn’t require socializing with strangers, doing live videos, or any other introvert-averse activities. If you’re already blogging for your business, you need to incorporate SEO as well. It’ll help ensure that the content you’re working so hard on will actually reach your target audience.
I’ll share a personal statistic with you: Organic search currently accounts for about 72% of my website traffic. This is all thanks to SEO. What this means is that if I were to stop using social media, either because it got shut down or I just got tired of it (both are possible!), the impact on my business would be pretty marginal. Search engines aren’t going anywhere, and I’ll continue showing up there so long as my website exists.
Many people find SEO intimidating, but I promise it’s not as complicated as it sounds! There are really three parts to it:
- Technical SEO ensures that your website is crawlable for search engine bots
- On-page SEO involves researching and implementing targeted keywords
- Off-page SEO means building backlinks to your website from high-authority domains
Related post: 7 easy ways to improve SEO on your website
3. Micro networking
When most introverts hear the term “networking,” they shudder with dread. Who wants to leave the comfort of their home to awkwardly interact with a group of total strangers? When I was living in NYC, I attended and even helped organize a few in-person networking events. And although I was nervous as heck, I actually genuinely enjoyed all of them. Even introverts need to socialize now and then!
Although the events were fun and a great way to meet like-minded folks, I actually didn’t get much client work out of them. And so, the cost of time and energy to attend in-person events just didn’t seem worth it to me as a marketing strategy. However, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, making connections with other people is one of the best things you can do to grow your business. Enter: micro networking.
Micro networking is a term (that I totally made up) that refers to intentional and casual 1:1 interactions with peers. These peers could be other business owners in your industry (in my case, other brand and web designers), other types of business owners who work with the same target audience, or even ideal clients that you’d love to work with.
Introverts tend to thrive in small social settings, including one-on-one, compared to large gatherings where everyone has to compete for attention. The beauty of micro networking for introverts is that it’s a way to socialize and make genuine, valuable connections without venturing way out of their comfort zone. Some venturing is good and encouraged. Micro networking could look like a casual coffee shop meeting, or it could even be completely virtual. For instance, starting a conversation with someone in the DM’s without any intention of selling or pitching. I’ve made a few relationships with other creatives in this way that have led to fruitful referrals and collaborations.
Marketing support for introverts
Are you an introvert who struggles with marketing your business? If so, I hope this post inspired you to view your introversion as a strength, not a hindrance, as a business owner. Go ahead and try out one of the marketing strategies I shared, if you’re not already. These strategies were total gamechangers for me, and they could be for you as well!
If you’re looking for additional support, here are a few recommendations:
- Click here to get instant access to my free SEO masterclass. In this 45-minute training, you’ll learn how SEO works and receive actionable steps that you can start implementing right away to increase your traffic.
- If you haven’t already, grab yourself a copy of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.
- Book a 1:1 Power Hour with me to get personalized feedback, support, and recommendations on anything you’re feeling stuck on in your business, marketing included. Reach out if you have questions!
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