How to build an audience

One of the most common traps of business is small-minded networking. Marketing at its core is just getting in front of people, however, are you really getting in front of enough people?

Having an audience (whether you ‘own’ or ‘rent’ one) is the foundation of digital business. On the shop floor or on the phone, you are restricted to one person at a time. Not so much online.

However, there is another side to this, your audience will never convert as much as you may like, at a price that works for you. So, your audience needs to be big.

Let’s start with the basics.

What is an audience?

Your audience is the group of people who you think might be interested in what you have to say. It’s not a list of friends or people who work at the same company as you. Your audience is made up of people who are likely to buy what you’re selling. They may not know it yet, but they will soon enough!

What are the ways to build an audience online?

There are lots of ways to build your audience and it’s always changing as new platforms and technologies emerge. Broadly speaking, the most common ways are:

  • Networking with other businesses and suppliers to spread your message.
  • Advertising with an intelligent top of funnel strategy.
  • Content marketing through video or print.
  • Organic social media marketing, including commenting and adding contacts.

4 ways to start creating an audience for your business now

Let’s break this down further. Assume you have no audience but you do have a desirable and marketable product or service. What’s next? 

Let’s look at some specific actions where we can grow our audience that is common and profitable in 2021:

  • Brainstorm other local businesses that you could joint venture with to build an audience. They can spread your message and add their own credibility to yours. For example, if you are a website developer, a print shop may like to refer clients to you for expert website development, for a small fee. You pay per lead in this case.
  • Create a paid Facebook ad to your Facebook Group which ‘gates’ the user to your desirable, but free, product. The prospective customer will then need to join your group in order to find out more information and will be contacted by an admin of your group. This lead is remarketed to by the group algorithm and we have a Direct Message conversation happening.
  • Create SEO friendly content with a clear call to action so that the traffic you receive from the Google SERP can subscribe to your email marketing list. This prospect is then remarketed to through email and ads, if we have tag manager set up.
  • Be active on your organic social media. For example, join Facebook Groups where your audience may reside and start actively participating. Go to events, comment, create useful expert posts, and send a friend request to those who interact with you. Your expertise and value proposition will then be clear to those in the group and your friends.

Now we want to convert, but is it really possible in today’s saturated market?

Yes it is! It’s never been a better time to be running an online business. Yet you must embrace the following mindset: conversions only happen at a very low rate for most products and services. If you plan for such, you will be satisfied.

When first constructing your marketing, you must closely look at how well your offer matches with your audiences needs. Once you have cracked one sale, chances are you can generate another. So you can take your MVP (minimum viable product), improve it, and scale.

According to LeadPages, the average conversion rate for lead generation landing pages is around two percent.

However, keep in mind that is for a warm audience – an audience who already knows you and is buying what you are selling. So this rate is about as good as you can expect at first.

Remember, these figures are taken from established brands and almost always done with tip-top marketing and product-market fit.

What to expect? Let’s look at some numbers. 

Case 1

Cost from Cold to Warm

Let’s say you run a Google Ads campaign with five percent conversion to subscription and CPC $1 on average, then we have $20 per audience member. 

A fairly standard lead cost. Always aim for below $50 per lead.

And then the Cost from Warm to Hot:

Conversion rate from a warm to hot, a sale, from this point can be anything, but as long as the maths work out we are good. At 10% conversion, we want our lifetime product profit to be at least $200 to cover marketing costs. 

So we need to make hundreds of dollars per customer to stay in business!?

Although that would be ideal and we could then scale, keep in mind we also get other benefits in the medium to long term that will make this investment worth it. 

Once you have a customers email, a like on your page, or even as a friend, your future marketing to this audience becomes ridiculously cheap, lets say if we pay to automate it, $1 or $2 dollars in marketing spend per sale. 

This is the magic of building that warm audience and our conversion rates will improve, and our product/service will be shared.

Case 2

Cost from Cold to Hot, doing it the smart offer way.

You are offering a great offer on Google or Facebook Ads, an introduction product/service for $10 profit per sale, and the offer is selling hot. Great! 

However, let’s say your niche is Home and Garden. The average industry standard CPA (cost per acquisition) is $44.23. That means in actuality you lose $35 per item bought!

But to look at it another way, this is simply the cost of acquiring one audience member, one customer, who may then refer you to friends.

Once we plug in life time value and stellar relationship management, even cold to hot this can turn out to be a bargain.

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