Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the founders of 37signals/Basecamp wrote in their book “Rework”: “All companies have customers. Lucky companies have fans. But the most fortunate companies have audiences. An audience can be your secret weapon.”
Most startups spend a lot of money to reach people every time they want to say or launch something. But smart entrepreneurs know better, instead of going out to reach people, you want people to come to you.
Imagine having a blog with 100 thousand monthly readers, a newsletter, a podcast, a YouTube channel… Now, imagine how much it would cost you to reach those hundred thousand people running ads! Well, you get the idea, when you build an audience, you don’t have to buy their attention, they give it to you.
Now let’s dive into the many ways you can build an audience for your business:
Social media helps you build an audience :
No matter what stage your company is in, you’ll want to start or continue to grow your social media audience. The more people you can reach on social media, the better your launch, and your ongoing sales will be.
Facebook is the biggest social network in the world with over 2.9 billion monthly active users. You can create and grow a Facebook page, like Nas daily did before launching his startup Nas academy which raised 11 million dollars lately in their series A, or/and you can create a Facebook group, like Pip Pip Yalah did, they built a 300000 members Facebook group that helped them launch a successful ride-sharing startup.
You can start by creating a Facebook page and then a group, invite people to like your page, produce quality content, avoid being overly promotional, give yourself a boost with a little bit of advertising, and most importantly treat your audience like a community.
Instagram is a photo-sharing social networking app owned by Facebook, it has more than 1 billion monthly active users according to Statista, and it’s one of the best places where you can grow an audience. If you’re wondering how you can build an audience on Instagram, we recently wrote an article about building a successful Instagram strategy.
No one can deny that Twitter is a great platform where you can build a great audience. According to HubSpot, the average Twitter user follows five businesses, and 80% of all Twitter users have mentioned a brand in a Tweet.
So, start by creating a profile that stands out, identify your audience, research your competition and best practices, add value with your content, engage with your audience, measure results, and finally keep improving and optimizing your strategy.
LinkedIn is the biggest social networking platform for business professionals. And probably the best place where you can build your personal brand as an entrepreneur especially if you’re building a B2B startup. The key to build a great brand on LinkedIn is to publish quality content. If you have years of experience in a certain field you can teach and educate others, if not, don’t worry you can share the process of learning and testing things and still inspire others.
Lemlist published a 67-page guide where they explained how they get more than 3 million views monthly and how it helped them generate more than 1 million dollars in ARR.
With more than 2.1 billion users, and almost 5 billion videos watched every single day, YouTube is one of the best platforms you can use to build your audience, increase brand awareness, and generate leads. You can publish pretty much anything you want from explainer videos and interviews to vlogs, events…
Slidebean did an amazing job building a YouTube channel with more than 300 thousand subscribers. They share amazing stories about startups as well as educational videos for startup founders.
And for those of you who want to experiment, you can try Tik Tok or Snapchat especially if you’re targeting a young audience. Pinterest can be an interesting choice too, it has more than 450 million active users.
Blogging is also a key to build an audience:
The concept of blogging has become one of the most valuable tools that startups can use to attract potential customers and engage with their current ones.
Blogging boosts your SEO and helps you attract organic traffic. It also helps you understand your audience and more importantly. It helps you build brand reputation and authority in your field, if you’re reading this article, that means you’ve witnessed and fallen victim to our blogging efforts.
Here’s a small guide:
- First identify your target audience.
- Set goals for your blog.
- Set your blog using CMS, we recommend WordPress because it’s excellent for SEO.
- Plan content and strategy
- Start writing and publishing.
- Promote your blog
- Track metrics and optimize
- Finally, use your blog as an acquisition and retention tool.
A Newsletter is a direct and low-cost way to market to your current and prospective customers. Also it’s an excellent channel designed to drive sales, acquire new customers, nurture existing ones, and increase engagement with your brand.
Be thoughtful and consistent and always give value to your readers by sharing good content. A good way to start is to send recaps of the content you’ve published such as blog posts or videos.
A newsletter is an investment in your relationship with your audience. Whether your business is established or just starting up.
A lot of people treat email marketing and Newsletter marketing the same. But there is a big difference. Email marketing messages are irregular and usually don’t follow a set schedule. While a newsletter is a structured, regularly scheduled emails that can be sent out either daily, weekly, or even monthly.
The first thing for you to do now is to build an email list that you can market to, how!? Glad you asked:
There are many effective ways through which an email list can be built:
– Using pop-up forms
– Organizing giveaways
– Running contests
– Organizing events/webinars
– Using your blog
– Leveraging your partnerships with other companies, influencers, affiliates…
– Asking your current subscribers to refer their friends in exchange for rewards or
There are a few challenges that come along with maximizing the email list growth. Like using the above-mentioned strategies correctly, abiding by all the legal requirements, respecting the preferences of the subscribers… But if done right, email marketing can be the best channel to use for building an audience for your startup.
More people are listening to podcasts than ever before, and just like blogging became something every company needs to do, podcasting is following the same trend.
Podcasting is a technology that has found acceptance in the present-day global digital market. From storytelling to interviews, there are podcasts for everything. If used correctly, podcasting can give your business a major boost. By connecting with an audience interested in hearing about your business, catching up on industry news, or getting helpful advice.
Launching a podcast is cheap, and the competition is still low compared to other channels (1 million podcasts vs 31 million YouTube channels in 2020).
So now that you know the importance of starting a podcast, go ahead and launch one. If it’s going to be about startups or marketing, send us an email, we will be your first fans. As you build a solid audience, you can start to use your podcast to cross-promote other things in your company. Try keeping this to a minimum. The majority of your podcast should be focused on helping your listeners and providing value.
These are all great strategies for building an audience and establishing your startup as a thought leader. Start with one (We recommend email marketing, it generates 40$ for every 1$ spent making it one of the most effective options available). And keep on expanding by trying fresh methods consistently based on the data you gather about your audience.
Want to suggest other ways to build an audience for a startup, leave a comment below.