In today’s episode, I want to talk about three ways to build and grow an audience online.
If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you’ll know that I’m a big believer that there is more than one way to build a business and this is especially true when it comes to marketing.
With so many marketing platforms and strategies available to us, what works for someone else isn’t necessarily going to work for you. That’s because we are all unique. Our businesses are unique, our personalities are unique and our audiences are unique.
Having many marketing options is great but it can also be overwhelming. Working out which platforms to use and how to use them when you’re not a marketer yourself, can be confusing.
But don’t worry… I’m here to help eliminate the overwhelm and remove the confusion. My mission is to bring you clarity, confidence, and consistency.
Listen to this episode
There are three ways that you can grow your audience online.
The first is to BUILD it – This method uses content marketing to build the know, like and trust factor with your audience.
The second is to BORROW it – This means that you get yourself in front of other people’s audiences in order to build yours.
The third is to BUY – Now I don’t mean buying followers on Instagram because that is a BIG NO, NO. What I mean is by utilising paid advertising to build your audience.
1. Build Your Audience
Building an audience happens through you publishing your own content. It’s also known as organic marketing or content marketing and it means that you create and publish content that builds the know, like and trust factor with your audience over time. Building an audience through your own content is the slow and steady way to do it but it will pay off in the long run.
Let’s look at some different ways that you can build an audience through your own content
- Social media
By far the most popular option is through social media. Most people tend to have a love/hate relationship with social media but we have to admit that we are lucky to have this opportunity to market ourselves at no cost other than our own time. There are many social media platforms available to us but in the online space and with my audience in particular, it’s usually through Instagram or Facebook.
Another way to build your audience is through blogging. I’ve been blogging since the very start of my business and whilst I haven’t necessarily always been consistent with it (oops!), it has been the best thing for my business. The beauty of blogging is that unlike Instagram where your content doesn’t necessarily stand the test of time, the blog posts that I’ve written two years ago, are still bringing me traffic and in turn email subscribers, leads, clients and sales to my business.
Similar to blogging, podcasting is another great way to build your audience. Now with this only being episode number five, I’m new to the podcasting world and that’s because I started out with blogging and then when I felt ready, moved into podcasting so as not to overload my plate. I also repurpose these podcast episodes into blog posts which is a win, win!
The biggest pro with content or organic marketing is that it doesn’t have to cost anything. You can set up an Instagram profile and/or Facebook page for free and start putting out content. This is extremely valuable when you’re a new business owner with less money than time.
Another great benefit of content marketing, especially when blogging or podcasting is that your content can work for you long after you have created and published it. What I mean by this is that providing you have optimised your content with key terms, your content will be found long after it’s been put out into the world.
The con of content marketing is that it can be time consuming. This isn’t usually a problem at the beginning when you are new to business as you often have more free time whilst you are building your client base. However, as your business grows and you start to get busier, finding the time to create content can be tricky. This is often when you start looking to hire it out and build your team.
2. Borrow An Audience
The second way to build and grow an audience online is to borrow someone else’s audience.
Usually you will still need to have some form of an audience yourself so building an audience through your content marketing is recommended before you start utilising other peoples audiences.
Some examples of how you can borrow audiences are:
- Guest podcasting
Appearing as a guest on other podcasts (even if you don’t have your own) is a great way to increase your visibility.
- Joint competitions
Running a competition on social media for example with other businesses that complement your own business can be a good way to grow your audience. If you do this, ensure that your audiences are similar and that you have similar follower numbers for fairness.
- Guest masterclasses
Going into other peoples Facebook groups or appearing as a guest in their courses and programs is a great way to showcase your expertise and bring new people into your audience.
- Joint venture webinars
Joint venture webinars with other businesses that complement your own can be a really powerful way to build and grow your audience.
The benefits of borrowing other people’s audiences is that it’s a great way to develop relationships and to bring warm people into your own audience. When someone features you on their podcast or has you as a guest in their program, it shows their audience that they already trust you. This means that you skip the cold audience stage.
By ensuring that you are getting in front of the right audiences, you have the chance to grow your own audience very quickly especially if the other person has a large and loyal following.
It takes time to build relationships and whilst this definitely isn’t a bad thing, you’ll need to factor that into your planning. Co-ordinating schedules and timezones can also be tricky.
Another con is that as I mentioned just before, it’s likely that you won’t be able to use this method frequently if you don’t already have some form of content marketing and your own audience in place first.
3. Buy Your Audience
The third way to build and grow your audience online is to buy your audience. By this I don’t mean buying Instagram followers or email addresses because that’s a HUGE NO. Please definitely don’t do that.
What I mean by buying an audience is to pay for advertising. There are many ways that you can pay for advertising such as:
- Facebook and Instagram Ads
Facebook and Instagram ads are probably the most popular form of advertising with online businesses such as ourselves.
- Pinterest Ads
Similar to Facebook and Instagram, you can also use Pinterest advertising to build and grow your audience.
- Google Ads
Another form of advertising is on Google. Whilst you’re working on your SEO and wanting to rank for key terms, you can pay to appear on page one of Google.
- Influencer Marketing
Depending on your business, you can also utilise influencer marketing to grow your audience.
A huge advantage to buying your audience and paying for advertising is that you can use really specific targeting based on your ideal client profile to reach a large audience quickly.
A disadvantage to paid advertising is that it costs money which is something not many businesses have at the beginning. You’ll also want to ensure that you have your own content strategy in place as these will often be cold audiences that you will need to work on warming up before they convert. Another con to paid advertising is that if you’ve not tested your offer first, you could be paying for advertising not knowing if it’s going to work for you.
So there you have it. Three ways to build and grow an audience online.
My recommendation when you are starting out is to build your audience through your own content marketing strategy.
I suggest utilising one platform at the beginning so that you can focus your time and energy in one place without spreading yourself too thin. Once you feel that you are at a place with your marketing where you can expand into other platforms, you can then bring in the other strategies that I have mentioned in this episode.