The following is a guest contributed post from Kim Staflund, the founder and publisher at Polished Publishing Group (PPG).
What an amazing world we live in nowadays. You can quite easily promote yourself and your business without leaving your couch. This gives introverts a worldwide audience, no matter where you’re starting from. No need for forced interaction, small talk, or gregarious chatter. The Internet is the great equalizer. You don’t need to be the master networking champion of the office, or the center of the company cocktail party. If you’re an introvert and want to promote yourself or a product, all you need is an Internet connection and a plan.
Get a Storefront
Just as it is for businesses inside a traditional shopping mall, your online market is a fluid and ever-changing stream of old and new customers. When they’re ready to buy whatever it is you’re selling, you want them to recall you and your business ahead of all the others. In the world of advertising, sales, and marketing, this is known as creating top-of-mind awareness.
Some of the traditional ways that businesses create top-of-mind awareness are to place regular ads on television, radio, and billboards, or in print media outlets such as magazines and newspapers. Repetition is the key to success in any advertising campaign, and this can get pretty expensive. We’re talking hundreds, maybe even thousands, of dollars per month to run enough ads to achieve top-of-mind awareness with the general public, depending on how large a trading area you’re trying to reach. Luckily, there’s a more sensible, modern option: Get yourself a website. Don’t shirk at the cost or try to sidestep around it. Websites are the new storefronts, and it’s not as hard as you think.
- With enough comparative shopping, you can find someone to build your website at a reasonable cost—unless you’re savvy enough to build your own through a free or low-cost service like WordPress. If you’ve got something to sell, a website is worth the investment. To find the best company for you, dig around online (as an introvert, you’re probably good at that). Read testimonials. Ask for referrals.
- Make sure your website looks professional. It doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles, but it does need to look polished, even if the template is simple.
- Most sure the site is easy for you to maintain.
Get Blogging (But Do It Right)
Blogging and social media marketing combined is word-of-mouth advertising on steroids—which is great news for introverts. You can talk about yourself without talking about yourself.
Some of your keywords, like your business name, might have a fairly high search engine ranking, depending on the nature of your business. Blogging can help to improve that. The idea is to write several short, effective posts—think of them as 500-word essays that contain the phrases that your customers type into a search engine when they are looking for your particular product—and then share those articles with others via email and social media websites. The ultimate goal is for your articles to show up in the top five search results on page one of a search engine because this will dramatically improve the chances of being seen. Obviously, the more articles that are posted online, and the more often they’re shared by others on a regular basis, the better it will work.
What makes for an effective blog post? It needs to be useful to your reader, true to your business or product, and something that can go viral. Make your language clear, concise, and consistent.
Now that you’ve got your storefront and your blogging underway, you also have the benefit of free social media websites to super-charge both. We can talk about Twitter and Facebook, but if you’re in it for business and networking, LinkedIn is still a safe bet. Here’s a few tips on the smart way to get “linked in”:
- Build your audience gradually by posting relevant and informative blog entries twice a week to groups that are interested in your topic matter, and only occasionally as status updates directly from your profile page.
- Once you have connections and an audience, don’t push people too hard. Don’t, for example, send people unsolicited email requests to buy your products.
- Engage in conversations with those who post comments to your blog entries and status updates. Let your audience get to know you by replying to their posts and answering their questions. Again, this is gold for the introvert. You can have meaningful conversations in a controlled environment, all while wearing your pajamas.