If you want to learn how to build an audience effectively, this guide is for you.
Cultivating an online audience is about more than just reaching as many people as possible with your content and ad campaigns.
The right audience-building strategy will help you connect with your target customers more deeply.
In an environment where digital marketing strategies are changing rapidly, gaining ownership over your ideal audience has never been more important.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of building an engaged and lucrative audience capable of elevating your brand and paving the way for growth.
What is an Audience?
Building an audience effectively starts with understanding what an “audience” actually is. Your audience isn’t just the people who encounter your business online.
An audience is a group of individuals who connect with your brand and find value in your content.
Your audience members will actively follow and engage with your company across various platforms, seeking out your content and interacting with your brand.
While you can extend your company’s reach with paid ads and SEO, if you’re not actively building relationships with consumers, you’re not growing an audience.
Benefits of Building an Online Audience
As the online world evolves and content creation accelerates, thanks to the introduction of AI content tools, it’s becoming much harder for companies to earn attention. However, the value of attention is also increasing.
Companies with the most engaged audiences are more likely to succeed, benefitting from greater brand awareness, consistent sales, and advocacy.
Building a dedicated audience makes growing your business much easier. With the right audience, you can quickly connect with the most relevant consumers, converting prospects faster and more effectively.
Your audience also offers you an insight into the needs and priorities of your customers so you can increase the lifetime value of every consumer you attract.
A strong audience can:
Strengthen engagement: While social media and SEO bring new eyes to your business, algorithms usually favor content that’s already being promoted and shared by other people.
Your audience helps to validate your brand with regular engagement, boosting the ROI of your marketing campaigns.
Increases loyalty: With insights into your target audience and information gathered from analytics, you can create more powerful content and marketing campaigns.
You’ll be able to convert more customers and create personalized strategies designed to increase loyalty, lifetime value, and advocacy.
Sustains your business: A loyal and engaged audience sustains your company through difficult times and changes in the marketplace. They tell you what they need, and if you respond correctly, you’ll continue to earn their support.
10 Top Strategies to Grow Your Online Audience
- Publish Content Consistently
- Publish Content That Resonates With Your Audience
- Share Your Story and Be Transparent
- Share Your Content on Different Platforms
- Give Incentives to Email List Subscribers
- Start a Podcast
- Partner With Other Creators
- Use Facebook Retargeting Ads
- Spy On Your Competitor’s Audience-Building Strategies
- Measure and Monitor Audience Size
1. Publish Content Consistently
High-quality content is the key to any audience growth strategy.
Consumers expect to be able to access useful content throughout their purchasing journey. They want to be able to research products and services, find solutions to pain points, and find advice that helps them achieve their unique goals.
This means creators need to publish content regularly to avoid losing the attention and interest of their consumers. However, it’s also important to ensure the content you create balances both quantity and quality.
At a time when companies can generate content at the click of a button with AI solutions, consumers are searching for more relevant, unique, and engaging pieces.
SEMRush found around 27% of marketers are now conducting in-depth intent analysis before producing new content.
Creating a content calendar can help you maintain a consistent schedule and a strong “share of voice” in your industry.
It can also help you to plan what kind of content you’re going to produce more effectively so you can ensure you’re producing pieces that deliver value, answer customer questions, and drive users through the sales funnel.
For instance, Neil Patel, a leading marketing expert, regularly publishes new content on his blog, covering trends and news in the industry. However, he also publishes new content on YouTube and even contributes to other podcasts.
Consider your target market and establish a reasonable publishing cadence you can commit to. It also helps to batch-create content in advance where possible, so you always have something new and interesting to share.
2. Publish Content That Resonates With Your Audience
As mentioned above, while frequency is important when creating content, it’s also essential to prioritize quality.
Consumers are increasingly searching for content that rapidly and efficiently addresses their questions and concerns.
If you can show your readers that you understand their priorities, goals, and pain points, they’re more likely to resonate with you.
While it’s becoming increasingly difficult to track consumer preferences in a world without third-party cookies, there are still various ways to learn about your audience.
- Conduct keyword research using tools like Ahrefs and Semrush to determine what kinds of phrases and words users search for.
- Speak to your sales and marketing teams about the questions they usually encounter when interacting with your consumers.
- Use CRM tools to gather and analyze consumer data.
- Use tools like Google Trends to see what’s trending in your industry.
- Research the conversations consumers are having on forums like Reddit to get ideas about your audience’s questions or problems.
3. Share Your Story and Be Transparent
As mentioned above, the rise of AI content generators has led to an influx of generic content produced by bots that curate information from around the web to create new pieces.
While this content can sound unique, it often fails to offer any genuine human insight.
Content creators must demonstrate their human side to stand out and engage their audience deeper. Sharing your unique story, from where your brand began to the challenges you’ve faced along the way, gives your content more depth and value.
Moreover, genuine, transparent insights help elevate your content from an SEO perspective. Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines encourage creators to produce content demonstrating experience, expertise, and authority to generate trust.
You can showcase your experience with your audience growth strategy by highlighting your achievements and accomplishments.
You can demonstrate expertise with behind-the-scenes insights, statistics, and reports. Giving customers a behind-the-scenes look at the human being behind the brand also boosts authority and trust.
For instance, Pat Flynn, the innovator behind Smart Passive Income, shares his story of building his business following the economic collapse of 2008. He doesn’t just claim to be an expert. He offers a transparent insight into the challenges he has faced over the years and how he has built his unique business.
4. Share Your Content on Different Platforms
When learning how to build an audience, it’s worth remembering consumers have more ways to access content than ever before.
People aren’t just reading blogs and articles. They’re experimenting with social media, videos, podcasts, and various other channels.
According to Google, around 40% of Gen Z customers use channels like TikTok and Instagram as search engines, looking for new companies and products.
Social media gives creators an excellent way to expand their reach and boost the ROI of their content production strategy. However, it also offers an excellent opportunity to engage with customers directly.
On social media channels, companies can host polls to learn more about their customer’s interests, respond directly to buyer comments to nurture relationships, and even gather social proof to elevate their brand.
For instance, Gary Vaynerchuk uses social media channels like Instagram to encourage community conversations about marketing topics and business growth. He uses his research, as well as insights from his followers, to create new, enhanced content.
To make the most of your omnichannel strategy, ensure you collect as many insights as possible from every campaign. Monitor your engagement metrics, from likes and comments to shares, to find out what’s really working for your business.
Remember to adapt your content for each channel you choose. For instance, a simple video posted on Facebook could be reformed into a series of short “Stories” on Instagram.
5. Give Incentives to Email List Subscribers
Loyal and engaged audiences aren’t created overnight. To unlock the most value from your audience over time, you must commit to nurturing each connection. An excellent way to do this is to create a robust list of email subscribers.
Collecting email addresses from your target audience drives many benefits.
First, it gives you ownership over your followers, ensuring you can continue to connect with them even when social media and search engine algorithms change.
Secondly, it provides a way to nurture your subscribers with relevant content constantly. The right email campaigns can transform one-time buyers into long-term brand advocates, increasing customer lifetime value and revenue.
However, consumers already receive hundreds of emails every day, and they’re unlikely to share their contact details with you unless they believe they’re getting something valuable in return. This is why it’s so important to incentivize subscriptions.
Using your research into your target audience and needs, create lead magnets for your email newsletter to encourage customers to act.
Offering access to free courses, guides, and eBooks allowed us (ReliableSoft) to increase our email list to more than 50,000 engaged subscribers.
6. Start a Podcast
While consumers are wired to respond to visual content in the modern world, many are looking for other ways to build deeper connections with creators and consume content. Podcasts have grown extremely popular in recent years for a few reasons.
More than 90 million Americans listen to podcasts every week through their smartphones, smart speakers, and computers. The main reason for this is that podcasts aren’t just entertaining; they’re easy to consume.
People can listen to podcasts on the move when they’re driving to work or exercising at the gym. This means they can access information without focusing on giving all of their attention to an article or video.
Creating a podcast of your own allows you to enhance your audience growth strategy by engaging customers frequently through a convenient channel. Plus, thanks to simple podcast hosting services and audio editing tools, creating a podcast is often extremely simple.
You can even repurpose some of your existing content, from blogs, eBooks, and webinars to videos, into insightful podcasts. Alternatively, you can host interviews that highlight your industry expertise and authority.
For instance, Tim Ferris produces a regular podcast where he interacts with experts throughout the business landscape.
7. Partner With Other Creators
In the competitive world of content production, it’s easy to assume every other creator is an enemy. However, partnering with other creators can help to both expand your reach and elevate your reputation in your industry.
If you’re struggling with figuring out how to reach a target audience, collaborations are an effective solution.
Other companies, influencers, and content creators are likely to target the same audience as you, though they may offer products and services that don’t directly compete with what you sell. These creators can provide companies with excellent growth opportunities.
There are various ways you can collaborate with other experts in your field. For instance, you could invite a thought leader in your industry to join you in a podcast or video for a powerful interview or a conversation about a trending topic.
For instance, Rachel Hollis connects with influencers from the digital landscape, asking them to share their stories via her podcast.
Alternatively, you can consider investing in a mutually beneficial promotional agreement with another creator. You might share some of their posts and quotes on social media and in your articles while they do the same for you.
8. Use Facebook Retargeting Ads
Today’s consumers are overwhelmed with content produced by companies attempting to earn their attention and loyalty. If you’re not constantly reminding customers of your business and the value it can offer, you may lose their interest.
Fortunately, there are various ways to re-engage your audience and keep your brand top of mind with consumers.
For instance, Facebook allows organizations to set up “retargeting ads” designed to serve useful content to consumers who have already interacted with their brand.
You can target specific customer groups with unique ads personalized to their interests.
This not only helps consumers to remember your organization, but it also engages them with highly relevant content.
9. Spy On Your Competitor’s Audience-Building Strategies
When learning how to build an audience for your online brand, it’s important to maintain a unique voice and identity. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore your competitors. Your competition can offer a useful insight into growth tactics that work in your industry.
Examining your direct and indirect competitors, their SEO and content strategies, their cadence for publishing content, and even their marketing channels offers useful guidance. You can use tools like SEMRush and SERanking for insights into how much traffic and engagement different competitor posts receive.
If you’re limited in terms of budget, you can use a spreadsheet to record information from your own proprietary research. Pay attention to the number of followers your competitors gain from social media campaigns.
Determine what kind of posts and content are frequently shared by members of your target audience. Examine your competitors’ unique strategies to elevate their audience growth strategy, such as working with partners or leveraging paid promotion techniques.
These insights will help you discover how to reach a target audience in your industry consistently and effectively.
10. Measure and Monitor Audience Size
Finally, building an audience takes time and dedication. You must be committed to constantly producing excellent content, engaging your followers, and strengthening relationships. The only way to optimize your growth is to collect the right insights.
Start by benchmarking crucial metrics related to audience growth, then monitor your progress every few months. You can look at:
- Number of email subscribers
- Number of social media followers per platform
- Audience engagement (likes, comments, shares, etc.)
- Average number of return visitors on your website (You can find this using the Retention report in Google Analytics 4)
- Traffic churn (the number of customers who don’t return to your site)
It’s also worth looking at which types of content you produce generate the best results. Focus on finding your highest-performing blogs, videos, and podcasts so you can replicate the same strategy going forward.
You can also look at the strength of your relationship with your consumers using other analytical tools. For instance, social monitoring tools can show you how many people are talking about your brand and what they think of your products or services.
Learning how to build an audience in today’s competitive online world can seem challenging.
It’s about more than simply reaching as many people as possible through different channels. You must also ensure you’re actively cultivating relationships with the right people.
A robust content calendar, a strong understanding of your target audience, competition, and marketplace, and a combination of marketing campaigns will help you to reach the right people and nurture your prospects into loyal brand advocates.