This is part 2 of the series I started on creating a money-making career online.
You can read the first part of the series here : How I Built A Money-Making Career Online Through Self Education
In today’s post, I want to talk about the ONE thing that will ensure that your online business will never, ever sink : building and cultivating an audience.
I remember when I first started online there were a lot of courses on using Google ads and then more recently Facebook ads to build up your audience.
While, I truly believe that both techniques can work well, if you have not taken the time to build a truly loyal fanbase and you have not mastered the art of ads, you can throw your money at ads all day long and you will see very little success.
Enter building an audience the old school way.
Most relationships start with first meeting a person.
After that first interaction, a phone call or maybe a well-timed bumping into might ensue (you know what I am talking about).
That could lead to another interaction and another, until a deeper friendship ensues.
Before you know it, you are walking down that aisle and saying “I do”.
It is likely however, that if the person you just said “I do” to proposed marriage the first day they met you, it would have been a HUGE turn-off.
Same with this online space.
If you are going to have to endear yourself to people, get them to trust you and eventually trust you enough to buy from you, you are going to have to do the hard work of building those relationships from the very start and nurturing them.
Today’s post and the 5 points that ensue, cover that.
How To Build A Blog Audience From Scratch – 5 tips
Start the conversation with strategic content
By now, you have heard that “content is king”.
However, strategic content is an even better king.
What is strategic content ?
Strategic content is the type of content that draws the exact people you would like to help to your business.
This means that if you want to attract sub-urban moms who would love to get fit while busily raising 3 kids, you are not going to create content that appeals to 25-year old males who work in Silicon Valley.
This is an extreme example but if you get this right from the get-go, half the battle is already won.
#1 – Pick the right audience
Until I began to create strategic content that would allow me to be seen as a someone who is well-versed in social media and could help others start a social media management business , very few people paid attention to me.
The moment I created my course Become a Profitable Social Media Manager, I had hundreds of people signing up for my e-mail list each month.
More people began engaging me and asking me questions via e-mail and subsequently more people began to trust my expertise.
So the first thing I want you to think about is : who are the people I am trying to attract ? Who is my ideal tribe ?
There are a lot of exercises that tell you to pick the name of a person , give them attributes like a name, a job, a marital status and most importantly, what their pressing pain is and how you can help them.
#2 – Study people who are already doing something similar
I am currently reading Jeff Goins’ Real Artists Don’t Starve and one of the powerful points he makes in his book is that every master artist worth their salt, was once an apprentice receiving insight and guidance from someone else.
Eventually, they become masters themselves and distinguished themselves by creating iconic pieces – however the fact remains that they learned the basics from another master before them.
Blogging for profit is no different.
Once you have decided who the audience is you want to help/attract/do business with, the next step is to find people who already have the kind of audience you are trying to build.
The fact that someone is already doing what you would like to do is always a good sign – now it is time to put your own signature on the niche because there is in fact enough room for every single one of us to succeed.
How do you find people with blogs similar to yours ?
I suggest using a tool like Buzzsumo.
Type in a search term and Buzzsumo will pull up the most popular blog posts written on that search term.
Don’t be jealous at these people’s successes.
Instead, click through to their website and study what they have done.
Note the topics they have written on.
Note the blog posts with a lot of comments.
What are people saying in those comments ?
Are these questions you can answer on your blog ?
Click through to their social media – what is the conversation like over there ? Are some questions popping up there too ?
Take some notes on the language the people asking questions are using.
If you are able to research the top 5-10 blog in your space (this works for vlogs too by the way !) and find common unanswered or partially-answered questions you have got a head start on content creation and can begin to create some fantastic piece.
#3 – Other research tools that will help your content creation
- Facebook groups (but please don’t be the creepy person always doing “market research”)
- Niche Forums (type “Topic” + Forums in Google)
- Questions in your comments sections or posed to you via e-mail
Related Post : Now that you have created content, it is time to get people to read it, right ? Here are 12 ways I use social media to drive traffic (and hence business) back to my bog.
Invite your readers to connect
Now you are romancing your audience with educative, inspiring or entertaining content.
The next step is to invite them to connect with you.
It is always so sad when I go to a blog and I have to search and search to even find social media buttons !
Place your social media buttons in visible places friends !
Beyond social media however, you need to be building your e-mail list.
This is going to be by far your most important asset as a blogger.
All the amazing entrepreneurs you love and adore have been able to build massive blogging empires online because of the power of an e-mail list. It is still one of the most effective ways to connect with and build a strong relationship with your audience.
Here’s a quick rundown to get your e-mail marketing started:
- Create an attractive incentive to give away to people in exchange for their e-mails – make it such that it provides a quick win for the subscriber. My opt-in on becoming a social media manager has done extremely well and so has this one providing a simple checklist for growing your YouTube channel.
- Make sure to create forms and place them in different areas of your blog so a reader encounters the form at least once while on your blog. I use a pop-up, I have a form in my side-bar and I typically include a link to a landing page providing an appropriate freebie at the top of my blog posts. All 3 of these are pretty hard to miss and have significantly increased my chances of getting subscribers.
- For my e-mail management I use ActiveCampaign (I started out with Mailchimp and still highly recommend it !) and for landing pages, I use Thrive Landing Pages.
Date your subscribers
Now that you have gotten the e-mail of people who could buy from you in the future, it is time to start chatting with them at least once a week.
I have even heard people like Russel Brunson suggest to e-mail your list daily.
Whichever you choose to do, the point is to cultivate an on-going relationship with readers on your e-mail list even when you don’t have anything to sell them.
Content you can send your e-mail list :
- Free video training/webinars
- Invite them to your live streams
- Inform them about a new post you just put up
- Have an affiliate product , you are loving ? Promote it to them but in such a sweet way that they won’t mind buying from you
- Comment on a recent event/occurrence in your niche and your take on it
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to communicating with your audience.
When you write e-mails, invite your subscribers to e-mail back with answers – every time I add a call to action at the end of my e-mails, I get amazing responses back and this gives me further insight into what is going on with my subscribers and how best I can help them.
Become a trusted voice
If you are creating content, engaging via e-mail and talking back to subscribers, they WILL fall in love with you.
This is not hearsay – this is Gee-say.
Before long, when before your subscribers buys something, they will in fact ask for your opinion and will in fact listen to your advice !
And when you offer them something for sale, they will in fact buy from you.
The last thing that will take you further in your journey to build a profitable online presence ?
This is why some bloggers and online influencers have conferences and meetups.
Ryan Deiss for instance organizes Traffic and Conversion Summit.
Some people create monthly online memberships – Michael Hyatt’s Platform University is an example.
And in the absence of the two above, a lot of people have now resorted to Facebook groups.
One of the best ways I know how to build community and truly show your people you are accessible and someone who wants to help them is to have a Facebook community (You can join mine here).
However, beyond your readers/subscribers connecting with you within the group, creating communities allow for interactions between individual members of your group – an even bigger win if you ask me because when that starts to happen, it means you are developing true fans and advocates who can vouch for you anywhere because of the great relationships you have helped them build with like-minded people.
How amazing is that ?
Building the online asset that is my blog-business is something I have not regretted.
Yes, it took around a year and a half to really find my feet but once I started using the 5 points I just shared with you to build an engaged audience, I look forward to having fun each day running my online business while meeting , connecting with and helping new people.
You can do the same too.
Let me know what you think in the comments !
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