When it comes to business and especially marketing, introverts get a bum rap. Often misinterpreted as shy, cold, or averse to relationships, these introspective professionals have to work harder to cultivate the kind of connections that seem to come so easily to the outgoing extrovert.
Introverts are neither shy nor aloof. They’re listeners and observers who take a more contemplative approach to their work. They talk less and listen more. They prefer more intimate gatherings to large events. They turn inward for respite.
For the privacy-loving introvert, the very thought of self-promotion can be downright daunting. Luckily, it’s possible to market yourself in many different ways. You no longer need to be on center stage to get your message across.
Here are some great ways to shine your light without sacrificing who you are.
Join online forums with values and missions that align with your own. You’re likely to meet plenty of like-minded individuals with whom you can converse from behind the comfort of your screen.
Facebook groups are the ideal place to mass market yourself in a subtle yet powerful way. Start by choosing a group that you feel you’d be able to contribute to, and request to join. While you’re there, be an active participant. Answer questions, make thoughtful comments, and, most importantly, provide value in all that you say.
You don’t need to overtly sell yourself in order to get your message across. By positioning yourself as a qualified and thoughtful expert, you make yourself a respected front-of-mind choice for members who might eventually require your products or services.
What’s so influential about this sort of virtual, communal setting is that there’s no such thing as a one-on-one interaction. While you may be outwardly targeting your comment or insights at one individual, know that many other members are reading and absorbing what you’re saying as well. Use that to your advantage.
Inbound marketingMany great thinkers and writers are introverts who love to churn out quality content. Inbound marketing efforts, including blogging, ebook creation, email marketing, podcasts, and video, are fantastic ways to get yourself and your work out there unassumingly, but effectively.
Introverts often prefer their social media in small doses. It’s possible to have a persistent, regular presence on social media, even without showing up very often. Social media scheduling tools have given us the gift of more engagement, in less time. Just choose a tool and schedule posts to be shared consistently across all your social media accounts.
Note that while scheduling your content significantly reduces the need for your direct time and attention, you should still show up “in person” at least weekly to keep things real. Scheduled posts are, by their very nature, automated. Live engagement should be sprinkled in so you’re keeping current with events and responding to comments, lest you lose that personal touch.
Partner with extroverted people
Running a business of your own is no small task. With all the responsibilities, there are plenty of people out there looking to connect and collaborate.
Joint venture webinars are a great way to do this. The extrovert shines on camera while the introverted partner is behind the scenes facilitating. This shared effort allows you to play to your individual strengths, split costs, and get in front each other’s audience.
Speak at eventsBeing the center of attention as a speaker may seem like an introvert’s worst nightmare, but it actually works surprisingly well. Because orating is essentially a one-way conversation, it’s a far more efficient way to reach many people at once than a full-fledged group discussion.
Some of the most famous introverts in history were amazing public speakers. Eleanor Roosevelt is among them.
An introvert myself, I‘ve spoken at several events around the country and have always found that if I prepare myself well and practice what I’m going to say beforehand, everything goes smoothly. Afterward, I answer a few questions and leave mentally unscathed.
If you’re an introvert who is new to speaking engagements, I’d recommend placing a limit on the amount of time you’ll spend mingling after the event. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the brain picking that inevitably follows a good talk. Get your message across to your audience during your time at the podium, and commit to answering a handful of public questions. If the audience members want to learn more, they can contact you after the event. You may even get some new clients out of it.
Large-scare networking events have long been a favorite marketing arena for extroverts who derive their fulfillment from being around others in group settings. This is not the case for the typical introvert who gains their strength through solitude. But you can still benefit from these types of events by setting some manageable goals for yourself.
Rather than going to an event with the goal of handing out dozens of your business cards, set your sights on making three new, quality connections. Instead of trying to shake as many hands as possible, work to engage a handful of qualified prospective contacts. As opposed to trying to make small talk with tons of people, focus on engaging in at least one truly meaningful conversation.
While smaller in stature, these targets have the capacity to make a significant impact. They also allow you to step outside your comfort zone, which will instill you with a sense of pride and accomplishment.
As our fellow introvert, Mrs. Roosevelt, said, “We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it as not as dreadful as it appears, discovering that we have the strength to stare it down.”
Marketing isn’t about who shouts the loudest; it’s about getting in front of the right people in a way that best suits your unique persona. For the introvert, that means making connections, building an engaged following, and doing so quietly, on your terms. In an increasingly loud world, there’s a space for that. And there’s space for you.
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