It’s not hard to find content on why growing your audience is important and the impact it can have on your overall business growth (we all know what growing an audience can do for our business).
Gaining traction? Sure – a lot of sites talk about why gaining traction is good (we all know traction and momentum are positive things when it comes to growing our audience).
What is hard to find: WHAT you should do, and HOW to actually do it!
This content is different.
This post is going to focus on the WHAT and the HOW, (and of course, in order to introduce you to these “ways”, I’ll be talking about the WHY, too).
Below are the specific steps you can take and the specific resources you can use in order to gain traction and grow your audience.
6 Ways to gain traction and grow your audience
Before we dive in, I want to make one thing clear: will all 6 ways I’m about to talk about work for everyone?
The key is not to do ALL of these ways as quickly as possible, and then tomorrow wonder why your audience hasn’t started to grow yet. The key is to get started with at least 1 of these ways TODAY, because gaining traction and growing your audience takes time.
So instead of reading this and then spending a week trying to figure out whether 1, 4, or 6 will work best for you, use what you already know about your business to decide which ONE of the following might work for you.
Implement it, and if it works, keep doing it; if it doesn’t, evaluate for lessons learned and move on to another way that can help you grow your audience.
Alright, let’s do this!
1. Create an email opt in and welcome email sequence
This is something every business should do – bottom line.
All that stuff I just said about all of these ways not working for everyone?… this is the 1 exception.
If you set up an email opt in and you’re not getting any subscribers, then that doesn’t mean creating an opt in isn’t something you should do – it’s because something about your set up needs to be tweaked.
For starters, let’s review how this works:
- Your website is where you’ll place your email opt in box;
- Your mail provider is where you’ll create the opt in form to attach it to; and
- You’ll also create your welcome email sequence for those who subscribe inside your mail provider.
If you haven’t launched your entire website yet, then that’s ok – all you need is a landing page.
Having a landing page with an opt in that briefly describes why someone should be interested in what you’re working on, and that offers an opportunity for them to give you their email address so they can learn more leading up to your launch, is a great way to start.
If you’ve already launched your website, then you should have an opt in giveaway that your visitors can download in exchange for their email address on your home page. The giveaway might be a guide, a template, a checklist or something else of value that you know your audience wants and needs.
Scenario #1: You haven’t launched yet
If you haven’t launched yet, then here are the very first steps you can take:
- Create a landing page like I show in the video above so you can start collecting emails from your potential audience members. My favorite resource for this? LeadPages. (This is our affiliate link)
- Once you’ve created your landing page, choose at least 2 social media platforms to post about your upcoming launch to drive people to that landing page.
Scenario #2: You’ve already launched
If you’ve already launched, then here are the first steps you can take:
- Make sure that your opt in giveaway is on your home page and is directly related to your audience’s #1 struggle / pain point.
- If you don’t have an opt in giveaway yet, make it your goal to create that today ;)
Also, in either of these scenarios, you should have a welcome email sequence that follows the opt in and that will keep your audience interested and engaged.
Check out the video above to see how I start created a welcome sequence in Infusionsoft.
Your welcome sequence typically consists of about 5 emails that are sent a few days apart from each other. These emails take your subscriber on a journey where you introduce your business and what they can expect from you moving forward.
Remember: provide value in everything that you do – your opt in giveaway, your follow up sequence and the emails you send on an ongoing basis will have to be valuable to your subscriber in order for them to stay subscribed.
2. Start guest posting
Guest posting is an underutilized tactic that can help you grow your audience fast.
Why does it work so well?
Because when you guest post, you’re reaching a brand new, targeted audience who is likely being exposed to you for the first time. But finding the right sites to guest post on is probably one of the biggest barriers to people actually doing it.
Oh yeah… and you have to actually write a post.
Here’s how it works:
- Start off by doing some research: what sites in your industry or niche target the same type of audience member as you do?
- Out of those you’ve found, which ones do you think could provide a win/win/win: for the site’s audience, for the owner of the site, and for you?
- Once you have your list, follow these steps on how to reach out and request to guest post.
Here’s me doing some research on blogs we might reach out to in order to guest post:
Step 1: Make a list of 10 bloggers in your niche you’d like to guest post for; and
They’re hopefully going to accept.
Once they do, write the best post you’ve ever written before.
Side note: Every guest post I’ve ever written has been one that I WISH I could publish on our own site ;) … because I’ve put THAT MUCH time and effort into it.
Guest posting is an amazing opportunity! You’re not only going to get a backlink to your site from an already-established one, but you’re also going to be exposed to a brand new audience.
We’ve written guest posts for sites like Social Media Examiner, Location180, CopyBlogger, ConversionXL, ThinkTraffic (now Fizzle), Under30CEO and more, and we can track thousands of site visits AND thousands of email subscribers back to these specific sources.
Add value to a whole new audience via your guest post, gain automatic credibility and exposure form being featured on someone else’s site, AND get the opportunity to build a solid relationship with an already-established leader in your industry: win, win, and win!
3. Launch a Podcast
There are multiple ways that podcasting can help you grow your audience, most notably, your potential reach with podcasting is worldwide AND you have the backing of iTunes to help.
When you publish a podcast in iTunes, you’re being exposed to over 45 million people who search the iTunes store every single month for relevant, on-demand content.
Also, your ability to connect on a very intimate level with your listeners helps build a relationship unlike any relationship you could build through writing alone.
You will gain followers who know, like and trust you from listening to your voice on a consistent basis, and having your own “mic time” allows you to drive people to your site for all of the valuable resources you have there waiting for them.
We have 15 video tutorials waiting for you in Free Podcast Course!
Step 1: If you’re not sure whether or not podcasting is right for your business, then take about 30 minutes to ask yourself some tough questions:
- Is your avatar interested in audio content?
- Will a podcast help you reach your current business goals?
- What would your podcast focus on, and how will you make it unique?
If you ARE sure that podcasting is for you, but you just don’t know where to start, then your first step is to join us in Free Podcast Course, a 15-day email and video series that walks you through how to create, launch, grow and monetize your own podcast!
Want something a little more face-time like?
You can also join us on our next free, Live Podcast Workshop, where we talk about the best ways to create and launch your podcast, the top 5 ways to grow and monetize your podcast, and provide you with 2 super hacks for launching with a bang!
Does that mean a podcast is right for YOU? …only you can decide whether or not you want to dedicate your time, resources and bandwidth to launching a podcast.
Because of the length of this post, I split the podcast episode into 2 parts. Here is Part 2!
4. Be consistent on social media
Social media is a very special medium in that it gives you a network of people to connect with that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach.
Have you ever stopped to think about the common functions that all social networks have? Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest… Each one gives you the ability to “share” content with your network.
Just stop for a minute and imagine visually what this means.
Say that one individual who has just launched their business creates a piece of content. They post about it on their Facebook profile, on their Facebook fan page, they schedule five Tweets to go out about it, they “+” it, and they Pin it.
Within two hours, five of their Facebook friends and followers have “Liked” it, two have “shared” it, three have hit “Retweet”, one has “+1’d” it, and because they created a really, really killer image to represent the content, four people have “Re-pinned” it.
So you’re probably thinking, “Okay, so 5 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 4 = 15… Only 15??”
No, no, no… 15 people have now taken that one person’s content and have in one way or another shared it with their own network.
Say the one person who originally shared the content has a total of 500 “followers” across all of their platforms, but the other 15 people who shared it also have their own set of followers – to the tune of a combined 7,500!
That’s not all…
You also have the ability to share content straight from someone’s website, so it doesn’t have to start with that one person sharing their content on social media at all – it can start when that one person posts their content on their website.
As long as you have a social sharing plugin active on your site, anyone who visits your posts can share the content across any social network with the simple click of a button.
If you don’t have a social sharing plugin active on your site yet, we love Easy Social Share Buttons!
Step 1: Choose just one social media platform where you know your audience is hanging out, and make it a point to focus on building out your profile, following / liking / friending others in your industry or niche, and engaging on this platform.
Share your content regularly – not 1 time per week, but 1 time per day. Also, find other’s content you can share that you know will be relevant and useful for your followers.
Make sure you tag the creator of the content you’re sharing so they know you’re doing it.
Step 2: Then, find 1 community on that platform (maybe it’s a private Facebook group, or a LinkedIn community), and make sure this community is filled with your avatars. You can just use the search box on the platform itself, or Google search for “my niche + platform + community”.
Once you’ve found your ONE social media platform and your ONE community, set aside 15 minutes every single morning to be an active and engaged member in that community.
Answer questions, share your knowledge and expertise by providing tips, and get to know the members in that community.
Step 3: Then, after you’ve integrated yourself in this community (after maybe a couple of weeks), take a piece of content that you’ve created recently that’s relevant and will be helpful to the community you’re a part of and share it!
Side note: check the group guidelines and make sure that sharing your content isn’t against the group guidelines. If it is, it’s best to stick to providing 100% value and building relationships with the members in that group you know you can serve. The opportunity will come when someone asks for help with something that you can provide the solution to.
5. Start creating video content
One of the fastest growing mediums for bringing your content to the world is via video.
There are probably several reasons for this, but one of the reasons I believe it’s hot is because of the connection it allows you to create with your viewers.
Podcasting is very intimate – you’re literally in the ears of your listener. Video is similar, but takes it even one step further: you’re literally face-to-face!
Your viewer can actually see you, which creates an instant connection and speeds up the process of them getting to know, like and trust you.
Another great thing about video content is that it allows you to reach a whole new audience who may not love to read or listen to just audio, but who LOVE to watch videos.
It doesn’t matter whether or not you have something to “show” them – why not show them YOU?
And we can’t forget the impact of utilizing a platform like YouTube. Imagine the reach and exposure YouTube can give you! Finally, creating videos doesn’t have to be this long, drawn out process that requires a ton of equipment and a lot of money.
Like podcasting, you can get away with making videos sitting right in front of your computer, or even just using your mobile device!
Here’s a video that I created for Amy Schmittauer when she requested that I participate in her 500th episode.
All she wanted was my take on “what a Savvy Sexy Social brand means to me” – I did it in about 2 minutes using just my iPhone!
Step 1: Create your first video and introduce yourself and your business to the world!
Step 2: Then, post it on your very own YouTube channel :)
All you have to do is pull out your trusty mobile device, or if you’d prefer using your computer, then you can check out ScreenFlow (mac) or Camtasia (mac or PC) – both will allow you to record yourself on video and then export as an mp4. (If you’re going to use your computer, then I would recommend the Logitech HD Pro Webcam – it clips to the top of your comp screen and produces super crisp video.)
If you want to dive into some super smart strategy behind creating videos for your business, then I recommend checking out this episode from Caleb Wojcik on How to Vlog on YouTube (ft. Amy Schmittauer).
If anyone knows how to create great videos with just your smiling face and your mobile device, and then actually grow a following doing it, it’s Amy (plus, Caleb is the video king, so there’s that).
In fact, Caleb’s entire site is focused on DIY Video – creating quality videos from your own home or office is possible, and he’ll teach you exactly how to do it.
Getting your content and knowledge out to people across different mediums, like video, brings with it a big opportunity to reach more people, which in turn gives you a big opportunity to grow your audience.
If you have no idea what you would even create videos about, here are a few ideas:
- Teaser videos for your existing content (Hey! Check out my latest blog post / episode that shares the 4 things every entrepreneur must do before starting. It’ll save you a ton of time AND money, and it’s right over at mywebsite dot com slash things.)
- Teach a lesson (What’s the #1 struggle your audience has? Create a video that provide a strategy for how they can start tackling that struggle today.)
- Share a resource (Doesn’t have to be long – have a resource you think can benefit your audience? Share it on video and tell your audience why you love it and how it can help them!)
- Give inspiration and motivation (Everyone loves inspiration and motivation – why not provide it to your audience via a daily video they can look forward to when they log in to their computer every morning? You know your audience best – give them what they want!)
6. Host live Webinars
Have you tried YouTube Live for your business yet?
It’s an awesome way to host live webinars for your audience without having to spend one cent. Plus, it will automatically invite your Google+ circles (if you want it to), and it will stream your video to YouTube once you have your accounts connected.
What do you have to lose?
Hosting webinars can help you gain traction and grow your audience in many ways, but I’ll focus on just 1 here so we don’t overwhelm ourselves:
Webinars give you a direct connection to a targeted audience who has opted in to get the information you’re going to share.
And that means…
- You grow your email list (and therefore your audience)
- You establish yourself as an expert on the topic you’re presenting on
- You get to provide targeted content to a targeted audience
- It’s free, so everyone wins
- You can start building a relationship with your audience via webinars
- Present great content, and you’ve likely just gained loyal followers who will come back to you for more
Here’s how Webinars work:
- Choose a topic you want to share (or just go with an AMA “ask me anything” or live Q&A for your audience)
- Put together a presentation – either slides, visuals or just you on camera!
- Set a date & time for your webinar
- Create an opt in page for your webinar
- Create an email sequence with reminders and a follow up for you webinar
- Present your webinar!
Jump on a YouTube Live with a business partner, with people in your mastermind group, or just by yourself to get used to being in front of the camera (you can just invite yourself when you start the Live, that way no one else will get notified).
You can practice by giving a mini presentation on something you teach in your business, or run through a list of FAQ’s.
Using YouTube Live as our presentation tool, we’ve welcomed over 2,700 members into our Podcasting community, Podcasters’ Paradise, and have grossed over $2.5 million in sales, all thanks to the power of live Webinars.
We recommend Amy Porterfield’s Digital Course Academy for your all-inclusive webinar training!
Practice, patience, and persistence
I love these 3 P’s; I feel like each of them is something every entrepreneur needs to be able to do every single day:
- Practice: Be willing to try something new, and even if it doesn’t work, get back up and do it (or something else) again;
- Patience: Start something without the expectation of immediate results;
- Persistence: Continue doing things on a consistent basis knowing that if you believe they’ll work and are always looking for ways to continuously improve, that you will see results.
Like almost every part of building your business, growing your audience is a marathon, not a sprint.
Once you’re able to gain traction, your growth will keep on coming thanks to the power of your already existing audience. Enter: critical mass – when your audience grows big enough that they start talking about you and reaching new people isn’t 100% up to you!