What if I told you that every product or service we’ve ever created here at EOFire was a direct result of Fire Nation, our audience, telling us they wanted it?
Every product or service we’ve ever created here at EOFire was a direct result of Fire Nation, our audience, telling us they wanted it.
There – I said it! …and it’s 100% true.
Well, wait a second…
If every product or service we’ve ever created was a direct result of our audience telling us they wanted it, then for you to apply this to your business, you’d have to have an audience, right?
Soooo, if you need an audience in order to have them tell you what they want, then isn’t THAT the first step?
And, what if you already have an audience, but they aren’t telling you what they want?… How do you figure out what you should create?
Yep – there are a lot of factors to be considered here.
- You don’t have an audience yet;
- Your audience is telling you different things; or
- Your audience isn’t telling you anything at all.
You don’t have an audience yet
So really, it’s not that you don’t have an audience yet, it’s just that you haven’t found them and/or connected with them yet.
Your audience is telling you different things
It’s not all that uncommon to have your audience be telling you different things.
Of course everyone has their own set of struggles and roadblocks, but in listening to your audience as a whole – whether it be on social media, via email, in the comments section of your blog, or in the online communities you’re a part of – there should be recurring themes you’re noticing.
What are those recurring themes?
Your audience isn’t telling you anything
If your audience isn’t telling you anything, then that’s a problem.
How can you listen if there isn’t anything to listen to?
No matter which situation you find yourself in, this post is for you.
How to increase engagement with your audience
Below, I’ve laid out a 5 step process that will help you increase engagement with your audience in order to better serve them.
Once you’ve increased engagement and you know how you can best serve your audience, you’ll have the opportunity to start creating products and services they actually want and need.
1. Give them a reason (invite engagement)
Give your audience a reason to engage with you – literally invite them to the conversation.
Whether it’s through a direct call to action (something like “I’d love to hear from you – reach out to me at Kate@EOFire.com and let me know: what’s your favorite business book?“), or through an implied invite to engage (something like “I hope this content was helpful for you because I really love sharing everything I know about systems“), giving people an invite, or a reason to engage, is what will make your listeners comfortable enough to actually do it.
If you take a step back and think about it – put yourself in your audience’s shoes – there might be a lot of content that’s super valuable to you that you consume online, but have you ever randomly stopped to just reach out to the person who created it and engage with them?
Typically we don’t think to do this; but if we’re invited to a conversation, then we’re a lot more likely to join it.
2. Be yourself (be approachable)
It’s pretty easy to spot someone who isn’t genuine, or who’s simply trying to be someone who they’re not.
Just be yourself, and your people will resonate with you.
It’s when people feel as though they’ve gotten to know, like and trust you that they’ll feel comfortable reaching out to you to ask questions, share struggles and give their appreciation for what you’re sharing.
It can be intimidating when you follow someone online, and you’re not really sure whether or not it’d “be ok” to reach out to them. Always remember to be yourself, and hopefully that coincides with being approachable so your audience is comfortable reaching out to you.
3. Establish yourself (make it easy)
Whether it be on your website, on social media, through guest appearances, or even on your podcast, establish yourself as an authority so your audience has a reason to want to come to you for help.
Once you’ve created an online presence for yourself, your audience will have a much easier time finding you and reaching out to you. Conversely, if it’s difficult for someone to reach out to you – say they go to Twitter and can’t find you, check on your website but can’t find a contact form, or listen to your podcast and you don’t even say your name – then they’re not going to go searching or spending their own precious time trying to figure out how to engage with you.
Establish yourself and make it easy for your audience to contact you.
4. Talk back (don’t end the conversation)
Engagement is just that: a 2-way conversation.
If you’re going to throw out a call to action or a question and ask for a response, then make sure you’re allowing yourself time to follow up with those who are reaching out.
If you never talk back to your audience when they reach out, then they’re not going to continue reaching out, so never be the one to end the conversation.
And if your audience is reaching out but you’re not feeling like you can clearly determine whether or not they’re sharing specific pain points with you or not, then ask more questions. Reply with something like “Is there another resource or topic that I haven’t shared yet that would be helpful for you?“
5. Be consistent (gain trust)
Consistency is the best and most effective way to gain trust with your audience.
When your audience trusts you, they’ll be more likely to reach out to you and share their biggest struggles.
Whether you being consistent means continuing to publish posts on your blog, episodes on your podcast, articles on someone else’s site, images on social media, continue doing whatever it is that’s helping you attract and grow your audience.
How you’ll know
Now that you have the 5 step process for how to increase engagement with your audience, how will you know when you’ve “heard” something worth pursuing?
Typically, the #1 indicator that something you’re hearing from your audience is worth pursuing is if it’s something you’re hearing from several different people – not just 1 person. You always want to be keeping your eyes (and ears) open for recurring themes.
Real examples from EOFire
Here’s a few examples of how we’ve taken engagement with our audience to the next level and actually creating a product or service to better serve them.
We heard: “John, you launched your own podcast without having any prior knowledge on the topic – how did you do it?”
We created: Podcast Launch
Fire Nation Elite
We heard: “I’m feeling alone on my journey, and I wish I had someplace to go in order to engage with like-minded people; I want to be a part of a community that provides ongoing support.”
We created: Fire Nation Elite
We heard: “I’m struggling with organizing my business and knowing when is the right time to do x, y, and z. I could really use some direction – help from someone who has already been through all this and who can save me time by sharing their experience.”
We created: one-on-one coaching
Every example above is a little bit different in terms of what the creation entails, so whether you’re thinking about potentially writing a book, creating an online community or info product, or you’re a consultant or coach looking to bring on new clients, there’s definitely several options for solutions you can create once you know what your audience wants and needs.
So wether you’re just starting out or you’ve been running your business for years, engaging with your audience is incredibly important, because it’s through that engagement you’ll learn what it is you can create to better serve them.