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How to Build a Phenomenal Audience

Thursday, Apr 16th, 2015.

When it comes to your audience, it’s important to do more than just know who they are. In fact, developing an audience can be a far more in-depth and worthwhile process than you might think.

Traditionally, marketers really only had the option of “renting” audiences—paying to have ads used on TV, radio, and print. With the advent of the internet, though, it’s so much easier to find what’s called a “proprietary” audience—a group of customers, followers, and social influencers who can make or break your company, particularly its reputation online. Rather than just blasting everyone with your latest news, social media allows you to focus your message to specific people who can spread the word about how great your business really is.

But with great power comes great responsibility.

According to Jeffrey Rohrs of the Salesforce Marketing Insights Team, “No audience is owned. We are stewards of that permission, and we have to honor what those different audiences want from us. Otherwise, they are free to leave at any time.” When someone follows your business on social media or signs up for your newsletter, your responsibility is to provide quality, useful content. Spend all your time pushing a product, and you’ll lose your audience—and that means losing potential customers. Become a name your followers associate with solid advice and information, and you’re the one they’ll turn to when they’re ready to buy.

Consider the case of Netflix, the hugely popular online streaming/DVD rental company. In 2011, Netflix announced that they were going to split their services into Netflix (DVDs) and Qwikster (online streaming), requiring customers to pay twice as much for both services. The audience reaction was swift and painful: they lost 800,000 of their 21 million subscribers. That’s only a 4-5% loss, but it meant their stock plummeted from $300 to $60 per share.

Your relationship with your audience can translate into sales—or lack thereof. Building that relationship is vital. So how do you do it?

  • Target a specific audience. Look at age, gender, income, and interests. Where and how can you meet your potential customers halfway?
  • Know where your most active followers are—Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest? Your blog comments? Monitor and engage regularly.
  • Differentiate from your competitors. What sort of voice do you want your brand to have? What information and services can you provide that sets you apart?
  • Prepare a cross-channel strategy. Make sure the right hand on Google+ knows what the left hand on YouTube is doing. Make your voice cohesive across paid, owned, and earned media.

Before they become customers, many people are followers, looking to your business for quality content that can better their lives. By knowing who you’re targeting and how best to engage them, you’ll be able to curate a specific, dedicated, longterm audience.

Not sure how to build and maintain your audience? Agile Impact can help!