Relying On Other Services To Grow Your Audience
I recently had an epiphany about some of the mistakes people make trying to grow their business online, and feel the need to share this with anybody out there that might be at high risk of doing the same.
If you’re a website owner and are trying to build your business, you must be cognizant of the fact that OWNING your audience is paramount to safeguarding (and growing) your business!
What do I mean about owning your audience? Keep reading…
Don’t Build Your Enterprise On A Deck Of Cards
If you’re a website owner, chances are you’re overwhelmed with the numerous ways to market and grow your site.
Where does one begin?
It’s awfully tempting to spend gobs of time and money investing in social media, search engine optimization (SEO), etc. in hopes that these services will drive traffic (and keep the traffic coming!) to your site.
Who wouldn’t want a ton of traffic flowing in from many different sources? After all, you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket, right?
It seems that every day there’s a new platform or service promising a great return on investment for your marketing efforts.
It’s so easy to get overwhelmed, but it doesn’t need to be this way. Keep reading…
Social Media Pitfalls
I like social media. Really, I do. I just think that people are going about it the wrong way.
If you’re a website owner, chances are that you probably have multiple social media accounts, and like anybody else, are trying to increase the audience for each platform.
I mean, don’t most respectable business have a social media presence nowadays?
In fact, there’s a good chance that in the header or footer of your site, you’re encouraging people to follow you on Twitter/Facebook. That’s fine to an extent, however, when using social media for business purposes, wouldn’t it make more sense to encourage people to visit your website from Social Media as opposed to the other way around?
Why are you driving your visitors to a different platform? Why not encourage them to keep coming back to your site instead of Facebook?
Let me explain…
The way that people go about growing an audience with social media usually goes something like this:
- Find people (or experts) that might be interested in your service/product
- Follow/like/retweet them in hopes that they’ll follow you back
- At this point you have a bunch of followers. Congratulations!
- Start posting like crazy on social media to gain more visibility
Okay, so now you have hundreds (or thousands) of social media contacts.
Do you read all of their tweets on a daily basis? Do you think that people who also have thousands of followers are reading the material that everyone posts? I doubt it…
What happens if you ever get banned from Facebook or Twitter?
Your audience that you worked so hard to build is effectively gone!
OK, enough social media bashing for a second. Like I mentioned up above, I do like social media, and wish I had gone about my marketing efforts using it differently as well. I feel that Social media can be good for establishing relationships with people who might not otherwise know about your site, but once you do so, why not encourage them to subscribe to your blog?
The Search Engine Optimization “Rabbit Hole”
Now, far be it for me to criticize people for trying to optimize their site for better search engine rankings. In fact, I do SEO consulting on the side and read up on it a lot, so I can appreciate the concerns people have with how their site ranks within Google, Bing, and the other major search engines. Searching is an EXTREMELY important aspect of marketing, so I get it.
In fact, I encourage people to have a SEO friendly site.
The problem is when people invest too much time into SEO. Take it from me, Google is not very transparent about the specifics of their algorithms, and for good reason. If people knew the ins-and-outs of how to game their system, the quality of Google’s results would diminish.
Where am I going with all of this?
What if Google suddenly implements an algorithm change that affects your rankings, and suddenly your traffic declines? Even if you try to dig yourself out of this hole, it could take months before you start to recover. So, definitely have a SEO-friendly site, but don’t take away too much time from building (and owning) your audience.
So How Do You ‘Own’ Your Audience?
You own your audience when you can reach out to them without relying on other platforms.
My recommended way of owning your audience is through focusing your efforts on your website (or blog), and building a following by having people opt in to your mailing list. Yes, good old fashioned email marketing is still alive and well, and still yields one of the best returns on investment even with the rise of social media.
Think about it…
When people sign up to be on your mailing list, chances are good that they’re doing so because they’re genuinely interested in your product or service. This is, of course, assuming there’s no giveaway incentive for signing up.
According to ExactTarget, 91% of consumers check their email at least once a day!
You see, when you’ve built up your email list, nobody can take it away from you! It’s yours to keep.
Backup Your Email List
If you’re relying on an email server service (which I fully recommend doing), I would recommend that you get in the habit of manually downloading your email list on a regular basis to be safe. Again, you want to be able to have FULL CONTROL of your audience, so ensure that you have that list accessible even if your email service provider has a hiccup with their service.
Email Service Providers
There are many great providers out there. I’m partial to MailChimp, but Aweber is another great service. Regardless of who you go with, make sure to follow the CAN-SPAM act to avoid spam complaints and potential penalties.