One of the biggest challenges small businesses face online, is to quickly grow their audience so they can build their brand, grow an email marketing list, and start making sales. There are several ways to accomplish this. Let’s look at some of the main ones.
You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s worth repeating. When deciding what business to start, choose a niche or topic that isn’t too broad or too narrow. You need enough people to sustain your business by buying from you regularly.
Do your research to verify that the customers you are targeting in that niche buy books, magazines, and a regular supply of items to help them get the most out of their job or hobby. If they are a dog owner, for example, they will regularly buy food, treats, leashes and so on. If they are a golfer, they will buy balls, clothes, clubs, trips to various courses, and so on.
Take the time to learn about the “pain points” (problems) people commonly have in relation to your niche. Try to come up with content that addresses these issues. In this way, you will be able to develop an audience who feel that you really understand and care about them. They will then be willing to visit your site regularly – and even better, tell others about it.
In order to discover their pain points, you need to find out where your audience spend their time and what they talk about. Look for discussion boards, chat rooms, groups, Facebook groups and so on. Read what they say and make notes for content and for product ideas. Gradually start to interact with them in a helpful way, not pushy or spammy. They will start to view you as someone who cares and is not just out to make a fast buck.
You should have an interesting, detailed social media profile at each of the main networks you know your audience uses. They should reflect the values of the company, and show clearly why you are worth paying attention to.
Post a variety of content at the top sites that is in line with what each platform wants.
For example, at Facebook, they are encouraging memes and video, but strong images and interesting original content, polls and contests can liven things up too. LinkedIn is more of a business-to-business type of network, so useful articles and PowerPoint presentations can help build your audience. Pinterest and Instagram are driven by images. YouTube is the number one video-sharing site in the world; you need to create how-to type content as well as marketing content that your target audience will love.
Your content is a context for building your audience, and for getting subscribers and sales. Set a goal for each piece of content:
Then include a call to action (CTA) that will help you meet that goal. Here are a few examples:
People are crunched for time. Make sure your respect theirs. Offer quality content; it may be free on your site or blog, but it should always help and hopefully impress them in some way. Similarly, if you give away a free special report in order to get people onto your email marketing list, and then send them emails, be sure these items offer real value and are not just fluff. In this way, you will build a brand and a level of expertise worth paying attention to.