How to Grow Your Audience
Audiences from then till now.
Back 100 years or so ago there were very few audiences. Mostly, they were made up of the total number of people who read each particular newspaper. Obviously, there were exceptions, but for the most part, this was true. If you wanted to reach an audience you had to purchase an advertisement in one of these publications. This was the only way to reach people at any sort of scale.
As the years have gone on, we have seen how this has changed, more and more media has risen that has allowed for smaller and smaller segments of the population have been divided into different segments. Now it’s possible to target just people interested in Golfing by purchasing ad time on the Golf channel or in Golf magazine. These two particular media have grown and developed an audience that is highly targetable.
It’s time for you to do what so many others before you have done, grow your own audience. With the internet audience building has become democratized, anyone can do it. Growing your audience is like growing anything else, it needs the right environment, the proper nutrients and just the right amount and type of care.
How to grow your audience even from scratch.
Your audience the total sum of people who are connected to your media. If you own a TV station your audience is the total number of people who watch your shows. The question is how do you do you grow your own audience, and for many of you, how do you grow your own audience from scratch.
I’ve helped many companies, bloggers and personalities start their own audience and there are few things that I’ve learned along the way. Almost no one reading this article will choose to start their own print publication or TV network in order to grow your audience. So, what exactly are we talking about? What is our audience? For most internet based marketing your audience is the cumulative number of people who regularly connect to you through your chosen media (Email, Facebook, SnapChat, etc.).
Mostly, I suggest that we use our email list as the largest and most notable indicator of the size of our audience. But this isn’t always true, for example, if you are a Youtube celebrity, your main audience indicators are your video views and subscriber counts. So, you need to decide who your audience is, who are you trying to target, and it needs to be a smaller group of people. Yes, that’s right, a small target audience.
Start with a small audience in mind.
Recently, I had an interaction with someone who started off by targeting small accounting firms (1-5 people) in and around a major metro area. It was a very small target, but eventually, he was able to expand it nationwide to small accounting firms, then to small businesses and entrepreneurs. It can be done, you just need to figure out who it is you are targeting.
Get good at marketing to a few so your few can grow big! Grow small.
Research where your audience hangs out online
Now it’s time to do some reconnaissance. Try and found out where your target audience hangs out online. This could take a little time, but I would suggest looking for Facebook or LinkedIn Groups, Reddit boards or popular websites surrounding this field. Subscribe the major newsletters in your industry, join their groups, follow popular YouTube channels. Really, truly try to understand who you are targeting.
You can take this a step further and write down common phrases or words that are used. Remember you are trying to understand how your target audience thinks and acts. Look for people who are successfully marketing to this group of people what are they doing and what are they saying?
Grow your audience out of their own problems.
Now its time to engage your potential audience in these groups you’ve found. This is the most important step to grow your audience. Start asking questions, see if you can find out some similar problems. Problems that many of these people have in common. This can be difficult, you don’t want to show your hand to quickly. So, you have to start developing relationships with people. Start understanding who they are so that when you ask about problems they know that you genuinely care. Imagine two friends walking down the road together and talking about their problems – this is what this relationship should look like.
Once you have an idea of what some of the common problems are, try to figure out what is the biggest problem or pain point. You really want to get to the heart of all the issues these people have. You want to make sure you understand how and why you would be the most beneficial relationship in this business.
Create a free product that fixes the biggest problem
After you’ve completed your research, it’s time to get creative. You need to figure out how to fix the problem whatever it might be, an eBook, a Chrome extension, or something else, and then you need to give it away for free. That’s right, for free. You need to put in on your website and give it away in exchange for an email address. I’ve seen this step recently combined with a second step of sharing your free product to social media and that is fine just know that fewer people will progress through two steps than through just one.
You want to amass a large number of email addresses, so you have to be careful how you distribute this many Facebook groups, for example, do not let you publish things like this in groups. You’ll have to create and execute a plan for people to get your product. I like to find smaller sized Facebook groups (5000 – 10000 members) and befriend the administrators. This way when I ask if I can promote something I’m more likely to get a yes.
Launch and test
It’s finally time to launch your new product, I would look for ways in which to test your launch. For instance, post about your free product in a small Facebook group before launching it into others so that way you can work out any problems.
If you’ve done this correctly, you can expect that your target audience will come to your website and sign up for your email list in exchange for your free product.
I’ve done this countless times and have had great success. The times where I didn’t have success can easily be attributed to a lack research ahead of time about the problem.
Rinse and Repeat
Following these steps over and over again can lead to larger lists. There are other ways to grow your list, but I would suggest following these steps to grow it initially, then once you’ve done well and grown with your small audience and tested and sold a few products or services then look to expand your base audience a little with a wider-ranging free product.
This process works and works well. Take a look at some of the largest blogging personalities on the internet they are doing something similar. You can do it for your industry and make it work!
What things have you seen offered for free in exchange for an email address?
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash