Top 5 Personality Flaws For Web Marketers

By Andy Crestodina

We all have issues.

Fortunately, we can turn our personality flaws into assets as web marketers. Online marketing today encompasses a slew of technologies and activities, some of which are perfect matches for our various personal idiosyncrasies.

Here’s a quick list of “issues” and how they can be turned to your advantage if you do web marketing…

  1. Obsessive/Compulsive – Twitter
  2. Narcissistic “Know-it-All” – Email/Article Marketing
  3. Insomnia – SEO
  4. Social Anxiety – Usability Analyst
  5. Antisocial – Spammer

1. Obsessive/Compulsive


Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by repetitive behaviors or by a combination of such thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions). The symptoms may include repetitive actions and nervous habits. “OCD” is often used to describe someone who is absorbed in an activity or otherwise fixated on something.

Do you love performing trivial actions repeatedly?  Great!  Twitter is the web marketing channel for you.

You’re obsessed with an endless quest for progress, so Twitter’s perfect: It provides a “score” – as in, number of followers.  Oh, look! You added another one! That little psychological reward is irresistible, isn’t it?  You’re also eager to increase your Klout score.  And who knows what that next connection brings?  Just one… more… tweet…

The rigid limits of Twitter don’t bother you.  You’re a bit inflexible anyway. And when you know the rules (such as character limits and Twitter syntax), you work within them better than most.

You may be afraid to throw things away, and that’s fine!  In Twitter, you’ll never need to click delete.

It doesn’t hurt if you have a have a touch of ADHD.  Right now you’re thinking of ways to summarize this article in 140 characters…

2. Narcissistic “Know-it-All”

Email and Article Marketing

Narcissism is the personality trait of egotism, denoting vanity, conceit or simple selfishness.  In social interaction, it sometimes denotes elitism. Narcissists tend to demand admiration from others and can be quite arrogant.

You’re the expert… Shouldn’t you tell the rest of us how it’s done?

Conversations can be irritating because others want to talk. These folks force you to wait before you can finish imparting your vast cache of wisdom.  So why don’t these people pipe down and absorb all the genius you have to offer?

With writing, this problem goes away. Write as much as you want, as often as you want without people interrupting you.

You’re actually well-suited to do an important job that many people don’t like: creating content.  Content is critical for web marketing, especially the content you write, since it covers the key topics and it’s so well written.  You need to show people the right way to do things.  Even if you’re never fully appreciated, it’s up to you to shine a light in their darkness.

Reveal the truth and click send.

Note: Narcissists are also right at home in social media, since everyone wants to know what they’re thinking.  They can post things quickly, showing people how smart they really are.

3. Insomniac

Search Engine Optimization

Insomnia is characterized by persistent difficulty falling asleep and/or difficulty staying asleep. Insomnia is typically followed by functional impairment while awake.

Can’t sleep?  Why not get up and check your analytics. Look at your link popularity.  Tweak some page content…and you’re sucked in. I’ve spent many late nights optimizing and time flies.

Search engine marketing is time-consuming work that requires little social interaction. So it’s great to do off-hours.  You usually don’t need help from others and you don’t get interrupted.

It’s never over.  You’re never done.  You can never have enough back links – Must submit to…one…more…site!  You can never rank for enough keyphrases – Shouldn’t you be targeting some eight-word phrases?

It’s uncertain.  You’re never completely sure which actions have the most impact so it’s best to pour some coffee and work for another hour. Or two.

And even if you rank well, there is always more to learn.  There’s always another SEO tool to test, an SEO blog to read, and SEO technique to try, another SEO keyphrase to add to a page (this sentence has four).

All things being equal, an insomniac will outrank the well-rested.

4. Social Anxiety

Usability Analyst

Social Anxiety is a state characterized by uneasiness, apprehension, worry or fear of negative public scrutiny or of public embarrassment or humiliation.  This anxiety is emotional state in which one is ready to cope with upcoming negative events.

You’ve always been concerned about making a good first impression. You’re acutely aware of how others view you. You have a deep-seated drive to please others.  But this works in your favor if your job is making websites easier to use. This sensitivity is your strength as a usability expert.  You care.  A lot.

Yes, as a usability analyst, you will have to interact with people.  You’ll sometimes perform focus group testing.  But you’re extreme concern for the group’s happiness will help you improve the site.

Remember, you can’t please all of the people all of the time.  Be sensitive to your visitors, but watch your results.  Avoid usability changes that make the site easier for a few, but more confusing or difficult for the rest.

5. Antisocial Personality Disorder


Antisocial Personality Disorder is defined as a pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others.  People whom you think of as “complete jerks” may have antisocial personality disorder.

Seriously, who cares what people think?  You’ve got to look after yourself and that might mean stepping on a few toes and stepping into a few million inboxes.

Irritating?  Why not irritate tens of thousands of people at a crack, if it means you get a response from a few.

Illegal?  No problem!  You’re only breaking the rules if you get caught.

Complaints?  Just promise you’ll never do it again and keep going.  They don’t understand the importance of your work.  Someone out there needs a pill and if you don’t help that poor soul, someone in Nigeria will.

Bottom Line

We all have our issues.  One trick to web marketing is this: Know thyself.   If you know your strengths and weaknesses, you can focus your time on activity that works well with your personality.  Turn your personal problems into online success!

Source: Descriptions of disorders are from Wikipedia, edited by the author.
Note: This article is in no way intended to demean the seriousness of personality disorders.

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