What to do when you feel too quiet in a loud market. Marketing tips for introverts.

Full disclosure. I am an introvert to the power of max. I am uncomfortable in crowded places, I find it hard to follow multiple conversations at once at a dinner party, I crave solitude and quiet and can’t stand loudness for the sake of it. When I moved to Cornwall (hours away from the hustle and bustle of London) I felt my soul physically expand, like it had more space to breath.

And yet, when people talk to me about the beauty of Cornwall, with the caveat of ‘at least you can go to x, y or z to get more of a buzz’, I find myself nodding and agreeing, while on the inside thinking: are you CRAZY, why would I want to seek out noise and ‘buzz’ when the whole point of living here is that I can finally hear myself think.

An extrovert world

The thing is, the world today is so geared towards extroverts, that even those of us who fully admit to being an introvert, find ourselves automatically conforming and nodding our heads at the notion that everyone should come alive with more stimulation, not less. Open plan offices are now the norm around the world, decisions are being made in group brainstorming sessions, and it's universally accepted that you have to be loud, confident and well-spoken to become a leader or be taken seriously. Even us self-confessed introverts kind of buy into this myth, and let it make us feel bad about ourselves.

Here’s the thing. Despite the modern world being slanted that way, being an extrovert is NOT the norm, nor the only acceptable or successful way to be. It’s estimated that half of the population on this planet are introverts, and my heart really goes out to you if you are one, and currently sitting in an open plan office with a tight chest from all the over-stimulation around you, or are trying to make your, possibly ground-breaking, ideas heard in a meeting with extroverts who don’t even notice you’re there.

Don’t get me wrong here, I am not saying one is better than the other, not at all, I am just addressing the clear bias in our society towards celebrating the qualities of extroverts and making it pretty darn hard for introverts to feel like they are able to contribute.

And you have SO much to contribute, I just know it. You just need to be able to embrace who you are, and try to work towards moulding your environment into one that allows you the space and calm you need. Lucky for us, we do have one not so secret weapon at our disposal these days, and that is the internet. Because we are connected to all the corners of the world, it’s possible for you to find your voice and a market for your particular skill set with the help of the internet. The modern trend of working for ourselves suits us so well, because we actually like spending time on our own working on our ideas, unlike extroverts, who need constant stimulation to feel at their best.

Marketing as an introvert

However, when you are self-employed and produce something you’re proud of, whether a product or a service, you will eventually run into a bit of a problem. You will have to actually market what you do. And that, my friends, is something you probably know does not come naturally to an introvert. Feeling quiet in what can be a super loud market can feel like an impossible mountain to climb, but I’m here to give you some ideas for how to climb it, one step at a time.

1 Scheduling

Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to get information out on a new thing you offer, but when it came to hitting publish on that blog post, or sending that tweet, the pressure to get the tone right was just too much? Try to avoid those ‘live’ situations, which add more stress, by scheduling all your promotional content. Write your blog posts well in advance and schedule them to go out later on. Use a service such as Buffer to schedule your promotional tweets, so you don’t have to go through the palpitations every time you send one out. Having this stuff done in advance and scheduled for when you’re not even necessarily noticing it go out, helps a LOT with getting important promotional stuff out there without it feeling too horrible.

2 Focus on the right people

So, while writing this post there is this uncomfortable feeling at the back of my mind about possibly offending any extroverts out there (I totally love you, too, extroverts, this post is just not for you), but in order to give value to you, my introverted reader, I have to focus just on you. There will always be some people who will not like or need what you’re offering. Focus on the ones who do. If it drains your energy to fend off questions or criticism from those who do not get you, just don’t. It’s ok to leave some emails unanswered or to not engage in conversations with critics who do not get what you’re doing. Always address, and learn from, criticism from your target audience, but I’m giving you a permission to ignore those who wouldn’t want what you’re offering in any case.

3 Lead with a story

Whether that story is your own story, or whether it’s the transformational story of your clients, marketing will feel a lot more authentic to you when you present it as a real life example. Practice telling your own story, and become aware of the parts of it that will help your potential clients see why you have something special to offer, why you understand their problems and how your story might help you to solve them. Get into the habit of asking for testimonials, and let your clients do your marketing for you, their story can be one of the most powerful marketing messages your services could have.

4 Find your medium

It’s easy to feel like you should be everywhere. There are so many social media platforms, and other marketing outlets, that it can sometimes feel like you need to be 10 times louder in order to keep up with all of them. Well, look, you don’t have to. Find the medium that’s comfortable for you. Whether that’s writing (newsletters, blog posts), whether it’s through images (Instagram, Pinterest), whether it’s through conversation (Twitter, Facebook), or even (yes, even!) public speaking or video content.

My preferred medium for promotion is by far writing, followed by imagery, but I do also occasionally enjoy the immediacy of speaking. You might be thinking, but hold on, that’s not introverted! Well, on the surface, the idea of it may not be. But being an introvert doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy communicating with people, or challenging myself to do things that feel scary, if it means I get something in return, like a meaningful exchange or a chance to show that it can be done. But because speaking expels so much of my energy, I can’t keep up the kind of momentum for it to be truly effective (i.e. scoping at least daily), so something like Periscope is not my main medium for sure, but more of a complementary one. And that’s just fine.

5 Do the work

Introverts very rarely get to enjoy those flash in the pan successes that a very loud extrovert might stumble upon (and even those are rarely actually accidental). Chances are you won’t become an overnight YouTube sensation, or gain a huge Instagram following due to your strong self-portrait game. What you can do, is to put the work in. Work on those ideas, refine them, and start producing content that will eventually make you an expert. If you want to be seen as the go-to expert on bobby pin art, blog about bobby pin art daily for a year and chances are by the end of it when people search for bobby pin art experts, your site will be the one that comes up top. (I’m sorry, I don’t know what bobby pin art would even be, and why it popped into my head, but feel free to run with that one if you want!)

When you do the work (and it’s good), and consistently tell people about it, they will eventually do the promoting for you.

6 Network

Yup, I said network. What I didn’t say is attend big networking events and try to remember names of an overwhelming sea of people, while desperately trying to pull things to say from your overheating mind, when you really just want to run back home and sit in silence for a couple of hours. Rather, get to know people who do things that genuinely interest you. Reach out to people who’s work excites you, and connect with them one on one. Don’t contact them to tell them about the amazing things you are doing, or to ask for free advice, but rather show interest in what they are doing and offer your help if you have something to offer that might help them get ahead. The best form of networking is connecting with the people who you feel an affinity with, and forming genuine relationships.

And if you do go to an event, make it your goal to get to know just one person per event. Just the one.

I hope these tips may have helped jog some ideas for you on how you could better your marketing efforts. Just remember, consistency is the key for us quieter ones, who are less likely to make big loud splashes.

Author: Marianne Taylor

Her Lovely Heart founder Marianne Taylor is a photographer, an educator, and a lover of colour & light. Her work has been published in blogs and magazines the world over and her personal photography has been part of an exhibition at Tate Britain. To work with Marianne, see the mentoring services she offers. Or, if you like the photography on HLH, you might want to check out her Product & Lifestyle photography services to see whether you could work together to help your brand grow. She is also slightly obsessed with her two cats, Astrid & Sofia, and loves Instagram.

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17 thoughts on “What to do when you feel too quiet in a loud market?

  1. Excellent tips, Marianne! It’s like you were in my head. I like that you mentioned storytelling because that’s one tactic I’ve incorporated into my marketing. It’s easier and feels more natural. Like you mentioned, I also focus on networking and building connections with specific people– learning what they’re about, telling them that I like their work, and connecting on similarities. There are so many ways to do things successfully; it’s just a matter of knowing your personality and finding what works for you. Great post.

    Posted on October 10, 2015 at 3:27 pm
    1. Thank you so much! You are so right, there is no one formula that fits all, but there’s definitely the right way for each individual. x

      Posted on October 11, 2015 at 5:04 pm
  2. Love this post. Thank you so much for your honesty on this topic; I can completely relate to every word. As an introvert, I tried for years to stuff myself into a mold that didn’t suit me, because I assumed that a successful marketer had to be loud and more outgoing than I’m naturally inclined to be. I ended up feeling completely depleted, physically and emotionally. I’m finally starting to embrace myself for who I am, and I’ve adapted a working style that better suits me and allows my strengths to shine. Plus, I’m a whole lot happier. It’s a continual process, but reading this is a good reminder that I’m on the right track. Thanks again for sharing. x

    Posted on November 24, 2015 at 12:34 am
    1. Thanks so much for sharing, Amanda. It’s so easy to just ‘accept’ that the world is geared towards extroverts and try to force yourself to keep up, rather than accepting your own approach. It might feel slower or quieter, but it is so much more impactful and most of all honest to who you are. x

      Posted on November 24, 2015 at 12:52 am
  3. Dear Marianne,
    I got to your post through Pinterest, thinking it’s about market as in flea market.
    I’m so glad I made this happy mistake, because your post has really addressed the thing I’m struggling so badly with: marketing.
    Your points make SO much sense..it’s like that “of course, I should have thought of that” moments.
    I’m for sure re-Pinning so that others will also come and read and find this really AWESOME advice.
    Thank you so much.
    Best wishes from sunny South Africa!

    Posted on December 1, 2015 at 5:19 am
    1. Hi Cecilia,

      That’s funny about the flea market, never even occurred to me that the title could be misconstrued like that. :D Even so, I’m so glad this post helped you though!

      Posted on December 2, 2015 at 11:10 pm
  4. LOVE this! I’ve written a few things on my site about navigating entrepreneurship as an introvert, and I always love seeing other bloggers tackle the topic. Being an introvert can be so frustrating, but the things you mentioned to help are spot on!

    Posted on January 26, 2016 at 5:49 pm
  5. This resonates so much! Thank you Marianne. x

    Posted on February 1, 2016 at 5:03 pm
    1. That’s wonderful to hear! x

      Posted on February 1, 2016 at 5:28 pm
  6. I am certain this blog post resonates with many fellow introverts. Reading it this evening, it underscored some of the frustration I was having the past few days, whereby trying to figure everything out at once rather than giving myself the space to let ideas simmer for my blog + what action steps to take next. Placing too much pressure on ourselves to “measure up,” rather than accepting the way we learn + taking the time to absorb resources we have readily before us, doesn’t serve us well. The best thing for me is to let an idea/goal/action steps marinate a bit + before long things become clearer. Terrific post! I will be sharing!

    Posted on March 8, 2016 at 5:12 am
    1. So happy to hear this resonated! x

      Posted on March 8, 2016 at 10:46 am
  7. Marianne, this is one of the best business advice posts I’ve ever read! Most out there list 101 things to improve your business and, frankly, I find them overwhelming. Your post about marketing your business is genuine and achievable, so thank you, for writing such a great piece about this! Ela x

    Posted on April 9, 2016 at 1:06 pm
  8. Love this! From one introvert to another, I hear you. There’s nothing better for me than a quiet movie night at home with my dog – even more so during the holidays. And people wonder why I don’t want to go out. It’s too peopley out there! :-) I look forward to reading more on your blog.

    Posted on June 15, 2016 at 5:23 pm
  9. Absolutely great post.
    Very inspiring and went right to the point.
    No wonder you have that sparkle in the eye…

    Posted on July 12, 2016 at 5:07 pm
  10. Your blog is so sweet, uplifting and encouraging. I LOVE IT!!!! Thanks for standing up for all us introverts out there! This was a very great and helpful post… with your practical tips, all of a sudden goals are starting to seem attainable! Thank you!

    Theoccupiedoptimist.com

    Posted on January 4, 2017 at 3:06 am
  11. Super tips Marianne. Came across this old post of yours and so much of it resonates with me. I’m an introvert to the power of max too :) It can feel intimidating and tiring to get myself visible in a world of extroverts. And so much of the expert marketing advice out are geared towards extroverts too and the thought of implementing them fills me with dread. Luckily I’ve learned that I don’t have to do anything that doesn’t feel right. I’ve found my own groove and am able to connect with people who get me. It’s great that I can be just me!

    Posted on March 22, 2017 at 11:30 am