The world is full of amazing small businesses offering exceptional products and services that use great expertise to solve the problems of their ideal customer. But many of them are getting a little lost in a very noisy world, simply because the business owners are introverts. And when I say introverts, I don’t mean they are shy or retiring, just that forcing themselves to promote their business in a loud and highly visible way isn’t comfortable. Whenever they engage in the noisy marketing tactics, it doesn’t fit with their values. It just isn’t “them” and they have to stop and regroup. As a consequence, their marketing activities can be less than consistent and not as successful as they could be. So how are introverts to overcome this constant challenge and market themselves comfortably and consistently?
Defining your customer and talking to your audience
Before you engage in any marketing activity you should be clear about who your ideal customer is. Who do you help with your service? What sort of people or businesses are they, where are they and why are they buying from you? If you have done this initial work and you are really clear about the audience for your business you can focus your energies on those people. It seems obvious, but sometimes we can end up trying to do too much, not doing any of it well, and leaving our energy levels depleted. Being really intentional and strategic will ensure that your efforts are focussed on showing up for the right people.
So for example, if your audience is women running their own business, just go to networking meetings for women and steer clear of the Chamber of Commerce or mixed breakfast networking groups. If you market to mums, show up in the Facebook groups for mums and leave LinkedIn alone. Don’t get distracted by other bright and shiny places and platforms that don’t serve you, and that leave you tired and frustrated.
Where should introverts use professional help?
Sometimes you may need to ask for help to get your ideas moving. Design and photography are two great examples where investing in expertise can really help you get your message out.
Personal brand photography is a great tool for introverts. This sounds counter intuitive but if putting your face on your business makes you cringe, then you absolutely need a professional to help you look as good as you can. A suite of great brand shots and a collection of well-designed social media graphics and your whole brand looks polished and confident.
Push yourself out of your comfort zone occasionally
It’s easy to say “I don’t want to do Facebook Live because I’m an introvert” or “I’m not good at networking because I’m an introvert.” But is this really true or are you just telling yourself this story because it’s a little scary?
There is no earthly reason why introverts shouldn’t do Facebook Live. I recently coached a client to do them for the first time and she has seen some great results. I helped her prepare, working out where she was going to do the Live and what she was going to say, and then she locked the door so she could be sure she wasn’t going to be interrupted! Similarly networking is a great tactic for introverts – we are great at making meaningful connections. Good planning in advance so you make a handful of the right connections, and building in some “non people” time afterwards are both helpful approaches. So don’t make excuses, do the right preparation and practice, and (like so many other aspects of your business) you will find any marketing tactic becomes easier.
Putting others in the spotlight
Sometimes the challenging aspect of marketing is the need to shine a light on yourself. But if you turn the tables and think about your customers and the expertise that they need from you, you don’t ever need to shout about yourself!
This is one of my favourite marketing approaches for introverts. Great tactics include posting quality content from other people that explains an aspect of your service, showing up regularly on social media and answering people’s questions and creating helpful downloads that package your expertise in a way that answer your potential customers’ questions or problems.
Some of my favourite examples include the coffee shop that posted a shout out to their neighbours in a Facebook post – and achieved record levels of engagement. Or the Opticians who wrote a series of blogs about good eye health, how to achieve it and how to spot early problems early and drove more traffic to their website. Or the consultant who rarely posts her own material but religiously supports other businesses on social media with supportive and insightful comments and has developed a reputation for expertise.
Introverts can have fun with their marketing, once they have found strategies that work for them. So stop shouting and start working with your natural strengths to achieve more success in your business.
For more tips, advice, planning tools and reading recommendations see Successful Personal Branding: A toolkit for introverts, on sale at the launch price of £35.