My email list will ALWAYS be the pinnacle of my online business.
Nothing can beat it in my eyes & it will always remain the #1 way to generate sales...
With that said, this doesn't mean there aren't other ways you can generate sales!
Just recently, I've been making money via my audiences on Social Media (in particular Facebook - & not from Paid Advertising).
Creating off the cuff videos, writing fun, entertaining posts on my profile & within my fan page & group, has seen me make sales without being one bit salesy!
I think social media is starting to become a great place to make sales, even though people do not go on them with the intention of buying anything.
I've found you can easily do a video or status update about a great product you've bought & this can quickly generate sales for you!
As humans, when we buy something totally awesome, we want to share it with other people & let them know how great it is too.
This is why Social Media is so great, because it's super easy to spread the word.
Without even knowing it, you can sell that product or service to people, because if you "excite" the post enough, people will want to find out more.
Here's 5 Essential Ingredients Needed To Build An Audience!
It's human nature...
So let's get into the grit of why I feel audience building is critical & the 5 ingredients needed to build your audience...
Ingredient #1 - Social Media!
Social Media doesn't seem to be going anywhere & if anything, there's just more platforms being added into the mix all the time! (SnapChat, Periscope, Vine - the list goes on...).
With more & more people hanging out on multiple social media platforms every day, it's becoming a super awesome place to add your content!
If you want to reach more people, you need to be getting on the platforms that suit you & your business,
Whether it's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest - there's a platform out there for you to get your message and valuable content out in to the world!
Now I'm not saying put all your eggs in one basket & just solely focus on social media, because having your own website or blog is important too!
(remember, you own your own blog or website if you use something like WordPress. You don't own the social media platforms, so if they get taken down or are unavailable, you could lose everything if it's the sole hub of your business - not to mention it costing you all your traffic & sales!
Building an audience on these platforms (my personal favourite is Facebook & is where I have my main audience on social media) really is awesome.
You can engage with people, really get to know them & build a solid relationship.
This is all really great for when the time comes where you want to sell something.
The best part is, if you do it in a fun "social" way - it won't even feel like you're selling!
Using these two areas within Facebook has allowed me to build a following and audience in which I can deliver great content & sell products & services!
The best thing is - social's not a hard sell & it's open 24/7 for business!
The best way to do this, is to pick a platform you enjoy hanging out on & master using this to build an audience.
Once you've mastered one, you can then branch out onto other one's & grow audiences there.
This just eliminates overwhelm in trying to master all of them, as I feel it's best to grasp one & be successful with it first, before moving on.
Ingredient #2 - Find The Right People!
Finding the right people is essential & you want to make sure you're finding an audience you care about!
If you're going to be putting out content for the foreseeable future - it needs to be on something you are interested in & for people you are going to care enough about to create really amazing content for them!
After all, the name of the game is to get them to care enough about you that they'll stay loyal to you for years to come.
For me, I feel this all comes down to "targeting"...
You need to target people who are going to be interested in what you have to say.
This is why it's super important to remember that you can't try & cater to everybody.
It won't work!
If you create content for everybody, then it's for nobody. I heard this saying somewhere & can't remember where it's from, but it's always stuck with me...
Bashing out content for any old Tom, Dick & Harry isn't good enough!
You have to create content with a specific audience in mind.
You have to laser target specific audiences of people, so that you can aim to get your content seen by as many of those people as possible.
Example: You need to see what your target audience looks like:
- Are they male or female?
- What age are they?
- Are they parents?
- Are they employed or self employed?
- When do they like to surf social media sites?
The above is just an example of knowing who your target audience is!
You have to research your target audience thoroughly, because you need to know who they are, to give them what they want!
By clearly researching your audiences, you will find it so much easier to target them & make them a part of your audience.
When you know who they are & what they want - you can create content that reflects this.
Don't you think that people are far more likely to consume your content, if it's something they're going to like & have shown an interest in?
Of course - and the way you do this is by researching your target audience properly.
If you find out that they are female, who are in a professional occupation & like to surf Facebook during the hours of 8-11pm (yes you can find this sort of information out via Facebook's Audience Insight tool) - learn more about Audience Insights here! then this is when you would post engaging & enticing content to reach those people at the best time for them.
In doing this, you have a much better chance of getting that audience together who could remain with you for years to come!
What a fantastic thought!
Ingredient #3 - Have A Clear Focus!
It's very easy when you're first starting out to become easily distracted when building your online business.
So many of us think it's a great idea to start an online business, without having any clue as to what we're doing & where we want it to go.
In order for any business to grow, it has to have a clear focus to move forward.
There's so many directions & routes you can take, it can be extremely hard to know which one to go with & which one to stick to.
Getting clear & realising how important focus is, will keep you on track & away from the path of failure.
Right, let's get started on putting this "focus" stuff into action!
We all know that trying to do too many things in one go, ultimately leads to disaster.
This is no different when it comes to your online business.
Devoting time to multiple tasks at the same time, such as trying to master several social media platforms & trying to learn several ad strategies, just ends up with one thing happening - NOTHING GETTING DONE!
Yep - you heard me right!
Having our fingers in too many pies means we end up getting jack s**t done.
This is why it's important to focus on ONE THING AT A TIME...
This works in both daily task setting, but also for your business as a whole.
When starting out, if you can focus on one or two things within your business, you're much more likely to attract an audience, alongside making sure your business doesn't fail.
This is why I focus on just a couple of topics I really, really love!
I can share my journey & knowledge with my audience within those focused areas & not get pulled away into crazy directions, trying to cover all things Internet Marketing.
The subject is just too broad to cover something well - at least it is when you're first starting out.
Sticking to a small, niched down area & focusing on a couple of core areas will help you stand out.
When people are searching on the internet, they are trying to find one specific thing & probably want to go in quite a lot of depth on that one subject.
Don't you think if they come across your blog, which is fully focused on what they're looking for - they're going to come back & visit again...
If you have a blog focused on one or two things against a blog that covers a whole array of topics, you'll be in a better position.
It can feel extremely overwhelming to a visitor & possibly even frustrating if they can't find what they're looking for, amongst a jumble of content on a ton of topics.
As well as focusing on one topic, you should also just focus on one social media platform, which I did mention in the social media ingredient above.
Putting all your time & effort into focusing on one that you can master is way more beneficial than trying to spread yourself thin on several.
If you love Facebook and find it easier to build an audience there, focus on mastering Facebook & Facebook Advertising etc.
If you love creating videos to get your content across, then maybe focusing on building an audience through a YouTube channel, alongside YouTube Ads would fit you better!
I would suggest you do these things to get clear on what your focus is!
- Think about what your overall plan is for your business. What is YOUR Unique Selling Point (USP). Where do you fit into the niche & market you're entering into & how can you be different & stand out from the crowd.
- What are you going to be selling & what kinds of campaigns can you create to sell these products the best? Where will it be best to focus your attention, to get your content, products & services in front of the most eyeballs? This is where picking a platform & sticking with it to make it work comes into play.
- How are you going to deal with the daily, weekly, monthly tasks? Make sure you plan to do ONLY what you know you can achieve everyday. Setting yourself up with unrealistic goals & targets will just result in overwhelm & failure. (trust me - I've been there & done this myself...). Always do what's really urgent first & prioritize the rest. Scaling down by importance will really help & anything non urgent, can be left to another day. It will become urgent at some point, so don't panic! It will come to the top of the pile soon lol!
Ingredient #4 - Be Ethical, Have Integrity & Keep Your Reputation...
So this one will take slightly less time to talk about, compared to the other "ingredients" in the mix.
There are many marketers out there who aren't being very ethical in what they do.
Spamming people's inbox all the time & selling shady, douche-bag products that promise the world, when all they deliver is - NOTHING!!!
Not everyone is like this & to be fair, there are a lot of ethical marketers around. So please don't be put off by this being said.
What I'm saying is, when you have a business, online or offline - being ethical is what matters most.
Genuinely helping people, taking care of them & doing all you can for them is what will make your audience grow & stay faithful - so to speak!
You can't go around mistreating people, because it will come back & bite you on the ass...
I am a person who has integrity when it comes to my online business...
I never sell ANYTHING that I haven't purchased & used myself & I never sell a ton of different products or services in a short space of time.
For me, I want to give as much value as possible. That's what it's about for me!
It's about helping other's achieve their goals & getting them to where they need to be.
I care so much about my audience & my subscribers, that I really do give a lot away & seeing as I've only been doing this just over a year (at the time of this post) I am growing slower than a lot of other businesses I see around me because of this!
But you know what - that's absolutely fine.
I'm not doing anything I don't want to do! I'm not selling any old crap, just to earn a quick buck & I'm doing things MY way lol!
You guys & gals mean far too much for me to just send you a whole heap of promotions day in, day out.
Who needs that... not me.
I hate it myself, so why would I do it to other's.
I can go to bed at night knowing for a fact that I'm not just trying to make money. I'm trying to build a business, a sustainable business for years to come.
I hope this helps & has given you something to think about when it comes to how you want to run your business, as everyone wants to make money, including me!
It is a business after all...
But - there are ways to do it RIGHT & that's ethically & with integrity!
Ingredient #5 - Set Yourself Apart & Stand Out From The Crowd!
Setting yourself apart from everyone else & being unique in the way you deliver your content, is what will make you stand out from the crowd!
Have a passion... You need to be passionate about what you're doing.
This is really important.
If you're not passionate about what you're doing, you won't be able to stick it out.
Going into a niche & market which is profitable is absolutely a MUST, however, there's no point going into a niche that you have no interest in, especially if you're going to be regularly updating a blog or website with content.
No matter how much money you can make, you just won't be able to continue with it in the long term, if you ain't diggin' it...
You won't be able to sustain it long term, as you will bore easily of doing the work that's required (a lot of hard work is required in this biz by the way).
You will find if you're really passionate about what you're talking about, then you'll be able to talk easier about the topics you discuss.
Everything will flow nicer & it will be easier for you to sell your products & services, therefore making more sales anyway!
Have you ever tried to sell something you have no interest in or desire for.
I haven't personally, but I know people who have & they've said it sucked & isn't fun & this business can be so much fun! - trust me!
Always engage with your audience!
Ask them for feedback. Ask them questions and always communicate with them regularly, whether that be through email, via social media or in person.
Another thing which a lot of people may shy away from is just being themselves!
You won't stand out if you just go along with what everyone else is saying & doing.
If you don't agree with something, then don't agree with it. There are ways you can voice & share your opinions, without being rude about it!
Be creative & think of ways you can deliver your content which will resonate with your audience.
Think "outside of the box"...
Finally in this "ingredient" section, I'll say a couple of final things.
Always deliver what you say you will.
Always act on any feedback you get given - even the negative stuff!
And always believe in yourself as people will like you & what you have to say - just not EVERYONE.
But that's okay - we don't want everyone to like us & what we do - just the people that matter & want to hear what we have to say!
Bonus Ingredient: Always Pick Quality over Quantity!
My final thoughts on building an audience come in the form of "Quality" over "Quantity"
I really feel this is uber important for you to know!
Throwing out half hashed content ain't gonna cut it!
There's no point having 10,000 blog posts, or articles out there, if every single one of them is a load of shite! (pardon my french!)
Always dedicate the time to create something worthwhile that will:
- Help someone in some way
- Give them the solution to something
- Make them go "wow" - thank you so much for this
- Gets them sharing it with their friends & family
High quality content is an absolute no brainer...
Time & effort should always be put in to everything you put out!
So there you have it.
What I consider the 5 essential ingredients to building an audience
You really can do this & have an audience yourself.
An audience of people who love what you have to say!
They'll be waiting for what you have next with eager anticipation, as long as you bake your brand with these 5 ingredients!
On that note, this post has been long enough
Over & out & speak to you in the next one...
Have a great day
I always say to people I have the two best jobs in the world. Being a stay at home mum to my two young boys alongside working as an Internet Marketer. I have a huge passion for all things related to list building, audience building & email marketing, so you'll find a lot of content on my blog around these topics!