Audience building is hard today. No longer are people signing up for everything and anything, we are far more discerning.
So where does that leave people who are just getting started and do not have an existing audience?
I think that in order to build an audience today you will need to be patient and do the work. This is not a blog post about shortcuts and hacks that will give you tens of thousands of followers and email subscribers with very little effort.
Audience or community?
So first things first have you thought about the difference between an audience and a community? They are quite different and the short version is an audience listens to you primarily and a community will talk among each other although you may be the host. For more information check out this blog by clicking here.
This blog will be concentrating on the basics of building an audience.
Why so hard?
Audience building today is harder than 7 or 8 years ago because we have all overloaded our lives, channels and inbox and therefore our attention is already at breaking point. There are so many more people and brands all fighting for our attention now and we cannot possibly pay attention to everything.
As a result people are less likely to engage and commit to your marketing messages unless they really offer something very different.
Being Different and unique is the key here. Whatever you niche or industry you are operating in you need to ask yourself why should someone listen to you and not your competitors. In face I will go a step further and ask why you and your competitors over anything else that is more interesting in that moment?
Check out Nerd Fitness here – these guys have carved out their niche and are serving a very particular type of audience. Not only is it unique and interesting but there is nothing else like it. They are not competing for attention against the traditional fitness gurus as they have selected their own audience or should I say their audience has picked them.
Start building relationships
The most successful audience builders build relationships first then customers. By providing value first and serving your audience you will build more than just transactions but long term advocates who become your best sales people.
Start by understanding their goals or problems that you believe you can help them achieve or solve. Then find ways to educate, inform, inspire, and serve them. As long as it is clear how you can help them and what that would look like and providing you have built trust and a clear sense of expertise there is no reason they will not buy from you when they are ready. But in the meantime you have a loyal audience member.
Make it easy
We do not have the time or patience to work stuff out so if you do not make it easy to connect with you on social media channels or join you email list then they wont.
You also have to give people a reason and outline what they can expect by joining you email list or following you on social media. If people are in any doubt they wont join.
Remember people are busy and any attention you do get needs to be treasured. Putting an email signup in place and stating “join my list” is not going to cut it. This is why so many people struggle to get email subscribers. Think about it for a minute, in most cases we do not want more email and we certainly do not want sales pitches emailed to us every day. You must manage those expectations and then deliver.
If you have not read my blog post about the very first email you send you can find it here. The short version is the first email you send can make or break the rest of the relationship. You need to over deliver on the first email to ensure the reader is wowed and from then they look forward to your emails because you massively over delivered.
How many times do you see websites where they clearly started off with the intention of producing content on a regular basis but very quickly they frequency drops lower and lower until they just stop. A dead blog is no good for business.
Showing up every day or week or month whatever your schedule is important. This tells your audience they you are in this for the long hall and you are serious about your commitment to teach. It may take months or even a year or more before you start seeing massive traction in your audience building efforts but so many give up way too soon. If you are committed and remain consistent with the great quality content your audience will grow and you need to treat each one like your best customer. It only takes one person to make all the difference and many times there is a tipping point that suddenly catapults your success very quickly and you could get labelled an overnight success despite the months and months of hard work nobody saw.
Do not forget your offline efforts either, networking events and trade shows are a great way to meet with people and transfer the conversation to an online one after. Always seek permission before adding people to your list and always include multiple options to un-subscribe.
Building an audience is hard work but does pave the way for success for those that are patient enough to do the work. Do not chase vanity metrics in social media followers and instead look to build a deeper relationship with those that are genuinely interested in your content.
Best of luck in you quest to build a loyal following and please let me know of any other advice that i can add to this blog post?