Three effective marketing strategies for introverts

Introverts can make brilliantly successful entrepreneurs, but there’s one thing most struggle with – marketing. Read on to learn three effective marketing strategies that work for introverts.

There’s been a lot of talk recently about introverts. Former corporate lawyer and negotiations consultant Susan Cain even gave a popular TED talk on the power of introverts (if you haven’t already seen it, we highly recommend it!).

We also ran an article a few months ago about why introverts make great entrepreneurs. But one stumbling block most aspiring introvert business owners come up against time and time again is marketing.

Jon Kelly is a digital marketing and SEO expert (and fellow introvert) for 1st On The List, a digital marketing agency near Vancouver, Canada. He explains why many introverts find marketing so tough and shares three strategies to help you succeed at it.

Introverts naturally make great entrepreneurs

There’s no doubt that introverts make great entrepreneurs. Working from home suits us, we get to do things our own way and we can be great networkers who tend to excel at pushing ourselves. This has been proved by Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Steve Wozniak and Mark Zuckerburg, all of whom identify as introverted.

And really, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t excel at business. As Beth Buelow from Introvert Entrepreneur notes, introversion is an energetic characteristic, not a personality one.

Being introverted isn’t about being shy or not liking people. It’s just about how your energy levels respond to interaction. And luckily a large part of running your own business involves getting on with doing things on your own – no interaction required.

Most business advice is aimed at extroverts

So if introverts theoretically make great entrepreneurs, why is it that so many of us find it so hard to grow our businesses in practice?

We live in a world where extroversion is assumed to be the norm. This may explain why so much of the business advice out there is built on a foundation of extroversion – advice that often assumes that we all want to grow our businesses as large as possible, and as quickly as possible. That we all want a 5-figure list, a 6-figure income, and as many clients as we can physically cram into our days. 

But that kind of approach rarely works for introverts. We tend to imagine the energy requirements of running that kind of business, and wilt just thinking about them. Or we try our hardest to make the extroverted techniques we learn work – and end up feeling inauthentic at best, and drained at worst.

And nowhere, perhaps, is that more true than it is in marketing.

Many introverts find marketing hard

Many introverts struggle with marketing. And the reasons they give for this often come down to one (or both) of two things:

  1. They don’t know how to market in a way that feels authentic and true for them.
  2. They know what to do, but it whenever they do it, they end up exhausted.

If either of these situations sound familiar, it’s important to realise that there are many, many ways to market your offerings.  Regardless of what the marketing gurus tell you, you don’t have to use all of them – or indeed ANY specific one – in your business.

Three effective marketing strategies for introverts

The trick is usually figuring out which strategies work best for you. Here are three that tend to work well for introverts.

1) Use low-interaction marketing techniques

While introverts are all unique individuals with different strengths and preferences, there’s one thing that unites us.  It’s the defining characteristic of introversion – that we ‘spend’ energy on interacting, and recharge when we’re alone.

It makes sense then that the marketing techniques that work best for introverts are often the ones that require the least real-time interaction.

High-interaction techniques include in-person networking events, exhibitor stands, tweetchats, and group Q&A webinars. Although we introverts are absolutely capable of doing all of these things – and doing them well – they’ll generally chew through a LOT of our energy reserves.

Examples of low-interaction methods that often work better for introverts include:

  • Email (either solo emails or newsletters).
  • SEO (offsite, like link building, outreach and content marketing).
  • Podcasting.
  • Blogging and guest posting.
  • Social media (at least, if you put boundaries around it).
  • Creating short videos.

So if you find your usual marketing channels and techniques tiring, maybe it’s time to consider a new, introvert-friendly approach?

2) Play to your natural strengths

For most introverts (and everyone else, really), it takes far less energy to work with your natural strengths and preferences, than to fight your weaknesses.

Many introverts – not all, but many – have a natural affinity for writing. If that’s true for you, why not focus on the marketing techniques that rely on this skill? Such as blogging, email and social media.

Other introvert-typical skills include researching, problem-solving, and building deep, genuine relationships on a one-to-one level. If any of those are true for you, take a moment to think about how you might bring them into your marketing.

For example, if you’re great at researching, could you hold a survey competition to find out what your perfect people want? If problem-solving is your forte and you quite enjoy creating videos, could you invite people to email you with questions or problems, and produce a short video answering each one? (I know at least one coach who does this brilliantly!)

3) Proactively manage your energy

Sometimes, introvert-friendly marketing is less about specific techniques, and more about how you budget your energy.

Here’s why. I believe that we introverts can do anything we want to do. That said, some things will cost us more energy than they’d cost an extrovert. The question we need to ask ourselves is whether that thing is worth spending the energy on.

There’s no one right answer for this. You’re the only person who can decide what’s important to you. And when energy is limited, I’m a big fan of picking your battles.

So if you want to consciously choose to spend the energy elsewhere, that’s absolutely your choice.  If you want expand your comfort zone by trying something energy-intensive, that’s great too! Just realise you’ll have to spend extra energy to do it, and then make sure that energy’s available, by:

  • Letting go of a few other activities and tasks.
  • Doing something that you know recharges you before and after.

The key isn’t to avoid spending your energy altogether – it’s to figure out what’s most important and ‘budget’ accordingly.

Jon Kelly is a 20-year digital marketing expert, and proud introvert, who helps fellow introverts (and extroverts!) grow their businesses online.