7 Ways to Increase Engagement with Your Target Audience

You’ve built a decent e-mail list, a sizeable number of followers on your social media, and perhaps even a good number of subscribers to your website. These are the people who have, and who are going to buy your product, but in order to successfully convert subscribers to paying customers, you have to nurture and foster the relationships you have with them.

How to start engaging with your audience

  1. Know what they need. Your audience is always looking for solutions to their problems or new ways to do something better. Make sure to stay aware of the current trends of your industry in order to form hypotheses about what they might be looking for; test whether your idea has merit by creating a Facebook ad that links to a landing page; if it passes, congratulations, you have your next product ready to go.
  2. Have an attitude of service. What does it mean to have an attitude of service? It means to give more than you take; to give and ask for nothing in return; to provide useful or entertaining content. Take nerdygirlnotes.com for example. Whilst it’s not an expert site, it demonstrates an attitude of service very well. The site recaps of TV series’ episodes on a weekly basis. In addition to recaps it offers detailed character analysis, promotional photos and sneak peeks from upcoming episodes, extract from cast and crew’s interviews, and engages in discussions and debates with the readers. There are thousands of sites like providing great value to their audience. Take a leaf out of their book and make sure that you’re fully immersed into the subject and ask yourself, “What else would my audience want, besides what’s already out there?” Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and ask, “What would I find useful?”
  3. Have your audience’s best interests at heart. As well as staying aware of current trends, you need to look ahead and tailor your content to what is likely going to be the next big thing within your industry. Is there a hot topic that you can advise them on? Is there a little-known tip or advice that can help your audience avoid making a costly or serious mistake? Share mistakes you’ve made and help your fans avoid similar pain.
  4. Consistency. If you’re trying to build a following, consistency is essential. Professional sites/channels don’t say, “Oh sorry, there’s no program this week as we’ve been really busy”. Consistency is a mark of professionalism (as well as helping your Google ranking). It doesn’t matter if you only produce something every 2-3 days or weekly – the important thing is that you stick to your content schedule. Unreliable, erratic posting of content can lose you readers, goodwill and momentum. Your audience has come to expect blog content at regular intervals. If you’re unable to do a scheduled post for some reason, perhaps consider hiring a writer or reducing your posting frequency.
  5. Interact. Staying aware and staying consistent puts you halfway there with your audience, but the other 50% is listening to them and interacting with them as often as possible. If the audience sees that you’re responding to them, they’ll trust you more and provide you with more visibility. Customer interaction and responses to their queries are very important, but communication with prospective clients is even more so. For example, you could host Q&A sessions on Facebook or Twitter – make sure to notify your followers in advance via social media or e-mails. Live webinars can also be very helpful to both you and the audience – in fact, they’re even better because people would be able to literally see the person behind the website.
  6. One of the worst mistakes you can make. We see this time and again and it’s shocking. Visitors leave insightful comments, positive feedback or asks for clarification about a point made in a post and they get no response from the site/author. Don’t be like this. You’re trying to build an audience. If someone takes the trouble to comment constructively on your site, the least you can do is acknowledge that. It’s just manners, if nothing else. Bestselling author Jeff Goins is great at interacting with his audience; others are terrible. When you’re a huge name, it can become impractical to respond (but we recommend you hire someone to help you stay on top of it); when you’re just starting out, there’s no excuse.
  7. Be interested in what your followers are doing. Follow your followers on Twitter if they’re doing good, interesting work. Then comment and encourage them as appropriate. Your fans will love you for it and it doesn’t take much. When you’ve made it, an encouraging word to someone struggling to succeed; a helping hand; a shout-out to your audience promoting the person’s work will make all the difference to someone. Look out for these golden opportunities to interact with your audience.

Takeaway points

  1. Always look for ways to help your audience. Offer high-value content to help them solve problems or improve.
  2. Research into your audience – where they are and what they want.
  3. Be consistent.
  4. Just be a decent human being. Help others, talk, share, interact, encourage, acknowledge.

Action steps

  1. Mark up a calendar to schedule your posts for the next month or three. This is your content schedule. It will tell you what to produce and when.
  2. Plan a webinar Q&A session to help  your audience with a pressing problem. A Q&A webinar is a great starting point if you have not done a webinar before. It’s low-pressure – you’re just answering questions you have no doubt answered many times before. It lets you demonstrate your expertise, grow your list and perhaps even sell a product at the end of it.
  3. Create a poll on your website asking visitors what problems they are struggling with. This is a great way to discover how you can help your audience and what products to create in the future. If the problems they identify have a simple fix, offer them free in exchange for them joining your list; if the solution is more involved, create a product which you can sell. The great news is, you know there’s a ready-made market who is eager to buy.

Photo credit: Young via Flickr.com / CC BY-NC 2.0

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