Building an audience

Building an audience should be the first step for any serious online business.
The objective here is to create an audience that is not only large but also highly targeted and highly engaged.
That means that you shouldn’t be interested in just creating the longest possible list of people reading your site, but should instead focus on creating a list of people who are fascinated by everything you say, who hang off of your every word and who are eager to get more of your content in any way possible.
Creating an audience like that means building an audience that will grow in a self-sustaining and self-perpetuating manner. It means building an audience of people who will actually want to buy from you. And it means building an audience that will stay with you for a long time.
And without wanting to sound hyperbolic, it is absolutely true that huge, engaged audiences like this represent the single differentiating factor that sets the most successful brands in the world apart online.

Think about it. What are the biggest sites and brands in your niche online right now? Which are the competitors that you wish you could be?
For a fitness site, it might be something like or For an online marketing site, it might be ShoeMoney, MOZ, SmartPassiveIncome or Search Engine Land. For a site about self-improvement, it might be Tim Ferriss, or perhaps the Bulletproof Executive.
So, what is it that sets these sites apart? Why are they more successful than your brand?
Simple: they have vastly larger audiences than you do. These sites have hundreds of thousands of followers. People who would consider themselves genuine fans. People who will visit their site every single day and who will trust what they have to say.
If a small niche site posts news about a new product, then it won’t have the platform to reach out to with. Perhaps 100 people might see that product over the course of a month and seeing as your average conversion rate for a sales page is about 1% at the generous end you’re talking a single sale.
You could get more people to see your site, sure. You could set up an ad campaign and get lots of people to click on it to bring them to your site.

But then they would likely just leave. Why? Because they’re not your audience. You have exposure now but you still don’t have an audience.
I always like to paint a picture here of a watch salesman. Imagine that someone comes up to you in the street, opens their coat and then offers you to buy a $1,000 watch. Would you? No! Because you don’t trust that person. You know nothing about them. You’ve never seen them before. Even if the watch is stunning, great value and exactly what you’re looking for.
But now imagine that you have done lots of business with a local jeweller and you now know and trust them well. You’re on their mailing list and you know the person who owns the shop and recognizes the brand. You’re passing in the street and then you see the same watch in the window. Now there’s a chance you might buy. Because you’re already a customer. And it’s the same thing with a website that has an audience.
Another example I like to use is asking someone on a date. Imagine going up to a random woman or man in the street and asking for their number. How’s that likely to go down? They probably won’t give it to you and you’ll be lucky not to get slapped!
But if you spend the time chatting with them and building rapport, then you are much more likely to be successful.

This is the difference between a platform and an audience in blogging or internet marketing. This is why you absolutely need to put the time in to not only be able to reach out to a huge number of people but also to be able to count them as a genuine audience: as fans or as followers.

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