Succeeding in your online business comes down to more than just knowledge and a brilliant website. Your business can’t grow without bringing a community into the mix, without growing a following, a client base, an audience.
Thankfully, you’ll be pleased to hear that audience growth is actually pretty straightforward. It’s all about setting a strong foundation of trust, and creating a relationship with your audience members. Just as you would with a friend, or even a partner, it’s about serving their needs, exceeding their expectations, and giving them a reason to stick around.
So, how can you build trust, and develop a relationship with people who you may never meet?
Here are my 5 simple steps to growing a strong audience, that you can implement today, to start exceeding their expectations:
Tip 1 - Make a difference, for free.
Impact your audience at the very start of their journey and you will reap the rewards.
Don’t worry, I'm not going to say, “go and cut your prices and give it all away for free!” I am, however, going to suggest you give value freely and ask nothing in return. This does not have to be at expense to your time, or bottom line. For example, if you have a resource that doesn't cost you anything, but has the potential to make a big difference to an audience member... gift it to them! What a great way to start the conversation. It’s as easy as, “hey, I understand if you can’t afford my X Y and Z right now, but I wanted to take a moment to gift you this free resource - it has the potential to help you achieve ‘X’!”
I promise you, people will be saying to themselves, “wow, if this is what I get at this stage of the relationship, imagine what it's like if I am a member of their paid program.”
Take joy in people sharing in your wisdom, beyond the financial reward.
Tip 2 - Understand your audience
You know your audience. These four words have the potential to make or break your online journey. If you don’t currently feel like you know your audience, this is the BEST (and only) place to start. In order to effectively grow and nurture an audience, you need to be able to leave them thinking, “how did they know that this is what keeps me up at night!?” or perhaps, “YES, finally I feel understood, I must know more.”
This journey of understanding should never stop. Ask yourself, “what are my audience's frustrations, fears and aspirations? What do they dream about whilst snipping their morning coffee?”
If this is a totally new concept to you, do not worry, click here to start your journey of understanding.
Tip 3 - Listen more than you talk
This is again very aligned to understanding your audience. If you are busy throwing out content, creating courses but not being rewarded with audience engagement, stop, take a breath, and tune into your audience. Check you are producing what they need. Ask questions, ideally 1:1 if you are starting out, and listen (preferably record the answers.) This information is the foundation of the relationships you seek to build. Make your course creation journey a conversation.
Tip 4 - Be consistent
You’ve probably heard of the phrase “know, like & trust,” and that having an audience who knows, likes and trusts you, is a critical part of growing an online business. One of the cornerstones of developing an audience-relationship like this is to show up consistently. Soon, your audience will realise that you’re not going anywhere and the value you provide is here for the long run. But remember, starting and growing an online business is a marathon, not a sprint. You might as well enjoy the journey: talk about something that you are confident you will still be drawn to share down the road.
Tip 5 - Do not overpromise and under deliver
This is all too easy a trap to fall into. Through best intentions, we can overpromise our audience members, and find we are unable to deliver on that promise. If you are nodding along to this then you need to be mindful of what you are committing to. Either, step up and honour what you promise, or consider reining yourself in so you are being realistic on what you can deliver on.
Sneaky surprise tip… Surprise your audience!
A gift, an unexpected bonus...show that you value them. For example, I recently felt the need to recognise one of my wonderful clients. So I recorded an unexpected video testimonial, packed full of kind words and showing gratitude, snipped and chopped it and fired it over to him.
If you think about it, all of these top tips can come under one umbrella - Be audience centred.
Hold your audience at the heart of your online journey. Once you show them that you genuinely care and are passionate about what you do and how it can help them, growing strong relationships with them will come naturally
Remember - It’s got to work for you too. But when you put the emphasis on the audience, it will serve you dividends, and I get a feeling that lifestyle freedom will be on the horizon for you!