How to Build an Audience for your Business
That’s what building an audience is all about.
The size of your audience depends on the business you’re going to be in, what you’re selling, and who you’re selling it to.
With your specific path in mind, you figure out how to build an audience for your business that will grant you financial freedom as well as bring you fulfillment in what you do. And if you don’t know what kind of business you’re going to start, take a look at these ideas. If any of them sound more up your alley than others, you might have some insight into what kind of business is right for you. Because the way you reach your audience is going to determine how you spend your energy.
Build an Audience Organically
The first way to learn how to build an audience for your business is to do it organically. This takes time and is still not a complete guarantee. But it takes little to no money. And if you believe in what you’re doing and are selling to consumers, then leading with primarily organic may be the way to go.
Quick note. Consumer = regular person. Business = an organization. Your business is either going to be B2C or B2B. You can always adjust down the road and do both. But for the first few years you want to focus on one.
Organic is good for reaching a consumer audience. It can be useful for B2B as well, and although organic reach is lower for businesses, the ROI for each viewer / reader you get is much higher. The main methods of learning how to build an audience for your business organically are:
- Social media
- Word of mouth
Blogging can have a huge ROI for your business. It takes time and lots of consistency. Most blogs don’t make it because they aren’t consistent and don’t deliver enough value over time. It may sound weird to say blogging is ruthless. It’s not hard to do. However, you must be willing to put a massive amount of time into before you ever see a return on your efforts. You’re going to need to write everyday for at least 2 years to build an organic audience for your business through blogging.
And the good news is that less people are blogging nowadays. While video is increasing, more content creators are going to YouTube to make videos and content at a much faster rate.
Blogging has the advantage in that there’s going to be less competition yet still a demand. And the thing about blogging is that you have your audience directly on your website. You can get way more views per video on YouTune then you can get per blog post. But when a reader is on your blog post they’re already on your website. You have a dramatically higher chance of converting a reader who’s already on your website. Videos are still great, but require the watchers to click through to your website in order to buy or contact you.
YouTube is becoming the main source of seeking answers on the internet. Which means learning how to build an audience for your business can be accomplished through growing a successful YouTube channel.
Some YouTubers spend hours editing and perfecting their videos. Others have big channels with little to almost no editing besides adding in an intro.
If you don’t require a lot of editing and can keep viewers captivated by providing real value, then it can much more efficient that blogging. A good blog might take you a few hours. So can a good YouTube video. Or it can take you 20 minutes. The choice comes down to how good you can be on the fly. There are tons of YouTubers who don’t edit out their “ums” and “uhs” and still do amazing.
And while YouTube is more competitive than blogging in today’s age, there’s also more people watching videos. I still argue there’s a huge market for readers and that won’t ever completely go away. But it’s clear that figuring out how to build an audience for your business can be done organically through YouTube.
Like blogging, it takes most people a few years of consistency in order to get anywhere. And while your conversation rates will be much lower than blogging, you’ll be able to generate way more views per video.
Your audience will also be able to see you and feel more connected to you. This provides value in a way that text on a blog just can’t always get across.
While youTube is technically social media, what I’m talking about is Instagram and Facebook. These are both great platforms for growing your business and reaching your audience. I’d focus on Instagram with a younger audience and especially if you’re doing just organic, as Facebook has low organic reach.
It takes time to build an Instagram as well, but the amount of effort compared to a blog or YouTube channel is minimal. I wouldn’t say it’s enough to replace one of these for most businesses. Instead, I’d focus on either a blog or YouTube channel as your main and then have Instagram as a supporting organic growth channel.
Word of mouth
Word of mouth is where people talk about your business. By having a blog, YouTube channels, and Instagram, you allow your audience to share your content with their peers. You can also encourage your audience to interact and use the power of word of mouth to recommend you to their friends.
People trust their friends. Small local stores used to get by on word of mouth alone. In today’s day and age it’s not really a stand alone way to learn how to grow an audience for your business. Rather it’s something your audience and customers/clients can do themselves and should be encouraged by you to also do.
- Ads on Facebook, Instagram, and google
- Influencer marketing
There’s tons of way to pay to build an audience. And while it may not be as respected as a purely organic model, there’s no shame in paying to build an audience if you have the money.
It can take a while to get ads right. I run a marketing agency and can tell you that you’re not always going to get it right the first time. You also need to be able to measure the ROI to make sure you know what you need to do in order to have the ads you run be worth the cost. Because advertising is addicting and it can add up rather quickly.
Google ads still around and doing well. If you do SEO research for your blogs you can also target some of the low competition long-tail keywords for your google ads at a low cost.
But Facebook and Instagram ads are the new cool guys on the block. You can boost a post on Instagram or do a Facebook ad that reaches Facebook and Instagram. Facebook owning Instagram means that you can advertise on both platforms and compare the results.
A/B test every part of your ad. The creative (images/videos, text, CTA buttons), your audience, and how much money you put in. Your first ad isn’t usually going to be a winner. And if it is, there’s always more you can do to optimize and get more nag for your buck.
Advertising is a great way to know how to build an audience for your business within a few months. It takes longer to build a truly large and loyal following. But you can definitely build an audience within a short time spend if you have the money.
Influencer marketing is when you pay an account, usually on Instagram, to shout out your product. This is a great way to leverage the power of other brands. The key to doing this is to get a few influencers that have a strong presence in your niche to shoutout your business a few times.
This also costs money, but is a great way to begin to build a real audience.
Define your audience
In order to learn how to build an audience for your business, you need to define your audience.
What does your typical buyer look like? Are they an individual person or a business? How much are they going to spend? What’s important to them? What would provide the most value to them?
You need to think about these questions before you commit to an audience building strategy.
If you’re selling B2B marketing services to corporate clients then your ideal member of your audience is going to be a CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) at a company. If you’re selling web design services to mom + pop shops then your ideal member of your audience is going to be a small business owner, founder, CEO, etc.
Let’s say you’re going to the consumer route. Your ideal audience member might be a man 18-30, a woman 30-45, men 50-70, and so on. It can be larger or smaller depending on your business.
Determine where they are
Once you define your audience it’s time to determine where they are on the internet.
How do they like to consume content? Where do they hang out?
Figure out the best source or two to target them with. Put 80% of your energy into the areas that are going to have the biggest positive impact on building your audience.
For example, if your audience is going to be 18-35 year old men in the US/UK, then YouTube, blogging, or Instagram will work well. Paid can work, but you’ll want to lead with organic.
If your audience is older men and women ages 45-60, then you’re going to have better luck with Facebook ads. Paid is going to be the most beneficial since Facebook ads are great but organic reach is terrible. Some blogging may be good for the organic side as well.
How big does my audience need to be?
You always want a growing audience. There’s no perfect answer. But eventually you want it to the point where you have enough inbound to grow and grow and grow.
B2C businesses are going to need to figure out how to build an audience for your business that’s much larger than what B2B businesses will need.
B2C, selling to consumers, requires more volume because the average consumer will spend a lot less money than the average business. This can vary by what you do. For example, if you sell expensive services to rich people – like doing custom work on porsche‘s – then you won’t need as nearly much of an audience as someone selling an ebook or course.
B2B require less, but higher quality. If you don’t have much money when starting your business then you won’t be able to advertise right away. Instead you need to get a few paying clients through cold emails + cold calls. And then once you’re paying your own bills you can re-invest profits into ads. That way you can build your audience and cut back on the hard prospecting. You still need to be prospecting in B2B, but your advertising can take care of that for you if you really nail it down.
Organic vs Paid
You need to decide what’s best for you and then proceed.
For most of you it’s going to be a combination at some point, but you’re going to lead with one or the other.
In general, organic is better for consumer and paid is better for business. Paid can work for consumer, for example if you do facebook ads for a Shopify store, but it takes a lot more money with a higher chance of failing. The ROI can be big though, however I advise you to only go this route once you already have money.
Organic Reach recommendation for B2C
Using YouTube, blogging, and Instagram is the way to go for organic reach. I’d pick YouTube or blogging as a main, and then use the second one as back up. For example, if you do YouTube videos, you can do a blog format of your more popular ones as well and then embed the video. You can post on Instagram and tell people to check out your video + read your blog.
Paid Reach recommendation for B2B
For advertising to build your audience, I’d recommend Facebook ads. If your audience has a large demographic under 35, I’d also advertise on Instagram. If it’s primarily older B2B business owners / executives then I’d stick largely with Facebook ads.
Blending both together
In the real world, while you focus on one, you can also blend both together. For example, let’s say your ideal audience member is a business owner over 40. Well then Facebook ads are going to be your main focus area. But you can still do blog posts and YouTube videos to engage with your audience.
A blog that brings in a few thousand views a month wouldn’t be enough for a B2C business as the main audience builder. But for a B2B business, that could definitely be enough. B2B will sell a lot less product/service, but at a much higher cost.
And if you’re having success in the consumer world then there’s nothing wrong with wanting to invest some of your profits into advertising to build your business. Learning how to build an audience for your business is all about picking a main focus channel to get good at and then branch out and expand the way you reach people.
Offer value like it’s your religion
Continue to offer value like it’s your religion. Pimps and CEO’s know this. You need to start thinking like one if you’re going to be a successful entrepreneur. You don’t need to be lying to people or trick out hoes like a pimp. But you need to figure out what your audience likes and provide them to them organically or through advertising.
Whether you’re blogging, doing YouTube, social media or ads, you need to be delivering relevant content consistently. It takes time to build an audience. With the exception of paying for ads, you won’t see the monetary benefits for at least a year if not 2 or 3 years. You’ll still need to prospect with emails and calling if you have a service base business. However, your efforts will pay off if you stick to it. Learning how to build an audience for your business will help you to automate your lead generation, make it easy to bring in revenue, reach more people, and change more lives.