Marketing serves a great many purposes for your brand and to help you grow your business. From common goals like increasing brand awareness and website traffic to more specific goals like generating x number of leads or earning however many more followers on Twitter. Marketing should support any number of initiatives tied to overall business goals and when done right, can be a real game-changer for business success.
Content marketing, specifically, is a strategic marketing approach that is uniquely focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience – and, ultimately, drive profitable action (Content Marketing Institute). Well, within that definition is one of the most important elements of all marketing: audience. Audience is the single greatest asset of any and all marketing programs because without an audience all the best marketing in the world is rendered useless.
For this reason, there is one very critical thing your marketing program better be doing. And if your marketing program isn’t helping you do this one thing, then kiss your money goodbye, because it’s unlikely you’ll see a return on your investment anytime soon.
What on earth am I talking about?! What is that 1 thing your marketing MUST do?!
It Needs to Build Your Audience
The absolute number one thing your marketing program needs to do is build your audience. Think about it. When you have direct access to your audience, you have their ear – the potential for their valuable attention. You can communicate with them directly, personalize their experience with you and ensure that they are more likely to take the actions you desire that lead them closer to becoming a client or eventually amplifying your messages to their networks!
There are two specific areas to focus your audience-building efforts:
Building an organic list of ideal clients is probably the single smartest thing you could ever do for your business. The digital landscape is constantly evolving and adapting to the demands of the consumer. It’s realistic to believe that Google will find ways to make it easier and faster to access the information we search for, which may or may not benefit businesses. It’s also realistic to anticipate that many of the social platforms we are using today will host more content rather than redirecting away from their platform to access it. I am no wizard and I can’t see into the future, but what I can see is that audience attention is the crown jewel and it’s a race for who can keep it. Just check out this article in Fast Company from a year ago The Other Shoe Drops: Facebook May Soon Host News Sites’ Content Inside Facebook.
Having a healthy email subscriber list of your own is a huge asset to your company and will ensure that you can continue to communicate with your ideal clients directly. Email proves again and again to be one of the most effective ways to engage with your audience and boasts the best response rates (MailChimp). With your email subscribers, you can share new content and offers, communicate company updates, and deepen your relationship with your subscribers with exclusive information – not to mention the invaluable ability to ask them for their feedback… on anything!
The other area your marketing program should be focused on is building your audience on social networks. For many of the same reasons as email marketing, your online social communities help you to get eyeballs on your content and engage with your audience. What social communities do particularly well helps to amplify your content beyond your audience… to your audience’s network and so on and so forth. Your online communities empower your brand to reach beyond your first-degree connections to potentially touch more ideal clients in the process and lead them back to your website.
This all assumes that you are crafting content your audience finds valuable and worthy of sharing! Remember: people share things that make them look good – so keep that little tidbit in mind.
Having a large, quality online community of followers is invaluable to your brand. People will follow you because they like your brand and find some value from being connected with you. You are building trust with your ideal clients today and future clients of tomorrow. Reinforce a positive perception of your brand by who is associating with you. As you know, relationships are powerful, and building strong online relationships of fans, followers and advocates will only help you and your business.
In all the many marketing activities you’re getting into these days, be certain to have a marketing program that supports your ability to grow your audience. Having quality subscribers, fans, followers, and advocates will absolutely supercharge any other marketing initiative and help you grow. Therefore, if you are going to invest in marketing, make sure your marketing efforts are delivering the type of return that actually counts.