There’s no magic formula to building an audience – but there is a formula.
Building an audience is simply about being incredibly consistent with our marketing tactics. On most days, we won’t see much action. No new followers, no responses to our newsletter – not even the Internet trolls will take the time to engage us - and that’s perfectly OK!
But, if we use the tools we’re about to learn, and use them consistently, we will almost certainly grow our audience (unless our marketing message is just truly awful – in which case we have a whole lotta work to do!)
It’s only natural that the biggest learning curve will occur during our earliest efforts. That’s why we’re going to start by testing our messaging with those who are much more forgiving: our immediate social circle.
We live in an age of nanosecond attention spans. It’s going to require being incredibly diligent for our messages to sink it. We’re going to make the process super repeatable.
Content creation is only one half of the marketing equation. The other 50% of our time will be dedicated to encouraging others to spread the word.
Spoiler alert: we’re probably not going to have a crazy amount of success right out of the gates. Our initial marketing efforts will be all about trial and error so we can learn from what doesn’t work and focus on what does.
Marketing is like an exercise plan. It sounds easy in theory, but in practice there’s a reason we don’t all look like fitness models and there’s a reason we’re all not rocking huge brands – this stuff is hard! Don’t worry though, we’ve got a plan to get you somewhere between totally shredded and less pear-shaped.
In the early days, we’re going to start with folks we know. We’ll include email addresses from our contact lists, our existing social networks and any other source that we can get our hands on. That may be dozens of people in some cases. Yes, Grandma is probably going to get a newsletter whether she wants it or not.
The first few messages we send will by definition be the worst messages we will ever send, because we know the least about our audience. So, we want to make sure those messages are going to a more forgiving audience. Grandma loves us no matter what, right?
Beyond that, we also want to start with people who are more likely to share our message based on our relationship, and sharing our message is how we build word of mouth and growth, so this audience will be important to start. When we’ve exhausted this group, we’ll have other mechanisms to expand it further so we should feel comfortable starting here.
The key to building an early audience is about lots of repetition. Every time we send a newsletter, tweet a message or run a paid ad – even if no one clicks – we’re beginning a cycle of repetition with our audience. We don’t all click the first ad we see, respond the moment we see a commercial or drop everything when we get a marketing email. We need multiple repetitions of a message before we respond.
We’ll dig into how to setup a recurring schedule for each of our marketing tactics so that we’re building a repeating message that will grow over time. It’s important that we realize, though, that our audience will take time to warm up to us. If they hear our message once, they probably won’t think much of it. A second time, they may start to think “Hey, I think I heard this somewhere before” and by the third time they start to think “Hey, I might want to pay attention to this!”
Our repetition is what wins in the long run, so let’s commit to staying dedicated to our message.