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Marketing to Introverts: Seven Marketing Pitches That Leave Introverts Cold

by Marcia Yudkin

According to Dr. Marti Olsen Laney, introverts make up roughly 25% of the population. Yet when you look at high-IQ people and high earners, the percentage is far higher. So if you hope to capture the attention and patronage of introverts, it's vital to downplay or avoid marketing tactics that don't influence them to buy - or send them running in the opposite direction.

Unlike extroverts, who thrive on social interaction, introverts recharge their batteries by being alone. They tend to be more private, quiet and to-the-point than extroverts.

Here are seven types of marketing pitches that are common in Internet marketing - and elsewhere - that leave introverts cold.

1. Earnings brags. Screen shots of earnings as they appear in a shopping cart program or merchant account report are pervasive in Internet marketing promotions. Some proponents of this tactic claim that this is the only way to prove that the seller is as successful as he says.

Introverts aren't swayed by such "proof," however, because someone who shows exactly how much money they made is utterly unlike them. To the introvert, what such a person made doesn't indicate how much they themselves might make. The introvert is far more likely to take an interest in customer testimonials from people who sound like themselves.

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2. Name dropping. Introverts make decisions on substance, not on who knows who, so referring constantly to big-name people as your friends doesn't influence them at all. Likewise, some speakers boast that they "shared the stage with so-and-so," but to an introvert that is no credential - not even a weak one.

Trotting out the names of famous clients and sharing things they said is considerably worse, because it gets introverts thinking that you do not respect confidences.

3. Numbers served or sold. A bio in a direct mail piece I received yesterday starts off: "Dr. XXX currently owns and operates a clinic in YYY with over 20,000 patients."

To an introvert, this fails to impress at all. Who wants to be one of 20,000? Introverts dislike being part of a herd, following the crowd or being treated as a number. If this bio said instead that Dr. XXX deliberately keeps his practice small, so he can give each patient personal attention, and that there's a waiting list of several months to see him, that would make him far more interesting to the introvert.

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4. Saying large is small. "We're limiting this seminar to just 150 people, so act fast," said one promotion I heard recently, but to an introvert that statement is totally absurd. A room containing 150 people is a crowd, not by any stretch of the introvert's imagination an intimate event. To the introvert, any group larger than about 12 is no longer small. It's fine to run large events. Just don't call them small!

5. Pressure to decide fast. Introverts have certainly been known to make impulse buys, but since they pride themselves on thinking things through, they resent and reject pressure to make up their mind before they're ready. Introverts generally want a lot of information before pressing the "buy" button, and if you use a countdown clock saying there's only XX minutes or hours until the offer goes away forever, they're gone instantly, never to return.

6. Talking head videos. Since introverts usually love to read and can read quickly, they feel tortured when a web site conveys crucial information in a video that could have been conveyed in text. They don't hate the video medium in itself, only when it seems to be used out of laziness or self-aggrandizement rather than to show something that couldn't be as easily communicated any other way.

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7. Too much personal information. Introverts prefer you to get to the point. Therefore, when you go on and on and on about your spouse, kids, pets, vacation or new yacht they tune out. If you want introverts as clients, beware of revealing facts that may reflect badly on you, even if you believe you've cast them in a positive light. For example, you may think discussing having gone bankrupt makes your current success more impressive. The introvert may not be able to get past your confessing this failure so blithely, since this is something they'd never abide others knowing about themselves. For introverts, either minimize the personal revelations or segregate them in a section of a newsletter or web site they can skip.

My own clients tend to be about 75 percent introverts, and this probably has to do with how easily introverts can identify that I'm someone like them whose success they can model. Take a look at the personality profile of your own customer base and how you market, and you may well find some eye-opening patterns.

You may certainly decide to continue to turn off introverts, but do make that a conscious choice rather than a side effect of simply following popular marketing tactics.

Your marketing mentor,

Marcia Yudkin

P.S. If you're an introvert and could use intensive feedback and guidance on your branding, web site, marketing strategy or a publication project, come work with me one-on-one next spring on Maui. Your retreat is structured so you have ample time to relax on the beach and tour the island, too - and most likely, your whole trip is tax deductible.  Maui private marketing retreat. 

And be sure to download the free Marketing for Introverts Manifesto!

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