Your audience keeps your brand relevant.
You may already know this, but without them your brand is as good as dead. This is why audience development is vital to any business. It focuses on a key element of your business – your customer base.
It also helps you to remain aware of their needs and to maintain a lifelong connection with them so that they keep coming back.
What does "audience development" mean?
Think how you feel when someone gives you a very expensive gift …
Now imagine someone doing everything possible to get you a box of your favorite brand of chocolate and a bottle of your favorite wine? You will feel special and loved.
The same goes for your audience – they feel special and important when they see content that is tailored for them. Or when you send them a quick email and wish them a happy birthday.
It's the little things that you do consistently that help you build your audience and lead to increased sales, as well as increasing your customer base and repeat customers.
This is what audience development is all about: building and maintaining a lot of loyal people and customers around your brand who are constantly engaging with you and always looking for more.
It's about getting to know your customer base in order to understand what kind of content they like to see. This allows you to anticipate their needs and create content and campaigns that resonate with them.
It is more effective than aggressive and pointless marketing. Because the more you connect with your audience, the better at creating content that is carefully tailored to the audience. Research even shows that 63% of consumers prefer personalized content.
Your audience development plan in 4 steps:
As a business owner, you must prioritize audience development. However, this is not an easy task, especially if you are a new business owner with no experience with it.
How do you build an audience of enthusiastic fans? This is how it works with strategic content marketing.
Because content marketing focuses on creating and sharing valuable content to attract your target audience.
And in this blog post you will learn how to build your audience from scratch using a 4-step strategy:
Step 1. Create a Compelling Brand Story
Your brand story is simply the story of the values, ideas and experiences that shape your brand.
For example, the brand history of HEY.com is absolutely brilliant – a perfect example of a convincing brand history.
The company was founded after co-founders Jason and David wanted to change and improve the use of email. So they built HEY.com.
Your brand history on their homepage (as shown in the screenshot above) is a written representation of what they really care about, why they exist, and what sets them apart from their competitors – and so should yours. A compelling brand story is the foundation for creating relevant content to attract your audience without trying too hard.
How do you build a convincing brand story?
Write from your heart and tell your audience why your brand is unique and why they should choose you. It could even be a personal story detailing the reason you started your business.
Make sure your brand voice matches and conform to your brand story.
Come up with a tagline that describes the purpose of your brand, but keep it simple and concise. Story Sprints, a company that helps companies clear their story, perfectly describes what their slogan "Your story, told clearly" is about. It's a catchy tagline that tells you what they're doing at first sight.
Step 2. Select your target audience development channels.
To build your audience, choose content marketing channels to connect with your customer base.
There are several channels you can use for effective audience development.
You can create a blog on your website and interact with your audience there. You can also use social media outreach platforms like Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.
Finally, you can create an e-mail list and address your customer base by e-mail.
And research by Databox shows that 44% of marketers say email and social media marketing have effectively reached their target audience.
But remember to actively use 1-3 channels first so that you are not overwhelmed.
Ideally, there are two key channels that need to be part of your audience education strategy:
Social Media Interactions Email Marketing
Let's take them one after the other:
Key Channel A: Social Media Interactions – While Focusing on Your Audience's Needs
You can use social media to make your brand more accessible to your audience. So keep the following two points in mind when developing a social media strategy:
Where your audience hangs out You can't be a photographer, or have a Pinterest or Instagram account, or a business consultant without a LinkedIn account to connect with prospects.
Every social media platform works differently. So, carefully study each social media platform – its purpose, demographics, engagement and interaction, its main functions, and how active your audience is on each platform – before choosing the best one for your business.
This infographic from Accion shows the features of various social media platforms to help you choose the best one for your business:
Key channel B: Email marketing with a personal touch
Email marketing is a digital marketing strategy that allows you to connect with your audience through email.
When creating e-mail campaigns and newsletters, keep the following in mind:
Don't overwhelm your email subscribers with too many emails. Connect with them on a personal level. Don't waste words in your emails. Go straight to the point. Use short clips, GIFs, and pictures to spice up your newsletter
Step 3. Create meaningful, hyper-relevant content
After you've selected your favorite channels that you want to build an audience on, all you need to do is prioritize sharing of relevant content.
Relevant content will always reach your audience.
So make sure you are creating content that is relevant (useful) to them, not just creating content to fill your page or ticking a checklist in your marketing strategy.
If your content inspires your audience to take action that will improve their lives, they will keep coming back. Additionally, relevant content offers something to share with their followers and connections that will attract new customers.
Tools for creating content
To create content that will delight your audience, there are several tools you can use to aid your design, research, writing, and editing process.
Here is a list of some great tools (based on what they do) that you can use to create well-structured, accurate, and visually pleasing content:
Creation of hyper-relevant content
The only way to create content that will resonate with your audience is to first conduct an audience research and develop topics that will attract them. Then come up with an attractive headline that is optimized for search engines.
Your content should be well-researched, accurate, thought-provoking, and informative for your audience.
Mom and Dad Money is a great example of a company that creates content to attract its audience. You're a financial services company that helps new parents make financial decisions that will keep them financially secure.
The company has a great blog that has great financial advice for parents on all walks of life from health insurance and investing to budgeting and saving for college.
This content attracts its audience because they learn from these blog posts and apply them in real life. Check out how much traffic your website had this month:
And while 17,000 visitors might not look like much to you, it's a pretty good number for a niche website whose content is specifically targeted at an audience.
Step 4. Promote content that will reach your audience.
With the amount of content created every day, you need to promote your content so your audience will actually see it.
By promoting your content, you can make the most of it. Instead of creating multiple pieces of content each day, you can focus on developing good content and then reusing it through advertising.
Remember to use the best promotional tactic for the audience development channel you choose. Here are different ways you can promote your content to reach your target audience:
I. Hold online competitions
Holding online contests where customers can win freebies is another way to get people to talk about your brand and grow your audience.
An example of a brand that does this is The Souled Store.
You made a giveaway with some of your products on Instagram. To enter, users had to like the picture, follow their Instagram page, and tag their friends who remind them of Iron Man.
This is a free content promotion tactic for them as they had a lot of engagement for this post with over 5000 likes and over 600 comments.
II. Network in social media
You can comment on posts and network with potential customers through your preferred target group development channels.
When you connect with your target audience, they'll get noticed and drive traffic to your page and website. No wonder 73% of marketers believe in the power of social media.
You can also use paid advertising channels. Each social platform has options for sponsored ads, sponsored posts, and targeted or customized ads.
III. Offer freebies to existing customers when they refer your business to others.
When you give loyal customers freebies for referrals, they are much more motivated to tell others about you because they know there's something in it for them.
For example, Scribe Writing, a book publisher, offers its published authors $ 2,000 to refer other authors to. You will receive the cash money when the new writer signs up to be published with you.
IV. Google and Facebook ads
Facebook and Google have great advertising campaigns for your business to take advantage of.
There are a variety of Facebook ads, but creating a custom audience and targeting similar audiences is best for audience development.
You can upload your email list to Facebook and target them or target audiences who have the same interests or the same age range as your customer base.
Erika Volk, a fitness expert, created a Facebook ad for her free email course. Her goal was to build her email list. Clicking the ad took you to a landing page where you could register for the email course. The results have been amazing – they have 1,892 email subscribers and 11,850 visitors in one month.
V. Create lead magnets to build your email list
If you're promoting content and getting your target audience's attention, you need to offer them lead magnets to build your list.
You can create lead magnets like webinars, e-books, toolkits, YouTube videos, and more to help attract new customers to your email list.
A lead magnet is an incentive or value proposition that you offer potential customers in exchange for their email addresses. This is a win-win as it gives your potential customer value as you build your customer base.
For example, MuleSoft – a Salesforce company – offers potential customers an e-book to improve their apps. That way, they can get more potential customers on their email list.
Now that you know all about audience development, you can start building your own clique.
A brand community helps you build your business. So take care and keep in touch with them. A large customer base means more profit for you and regular customers who stay true to your brand and refer you to their network.
Remember, you can only be reminded if you keep reaching forward.