I know growing your audience is something a lot of creative businesses struggle with. As a creative who’s fascinated with marketing, I’ve done lots of experimenting, over the past 10 years, with growing an audience for my own business.
One simple strategy has brought me results, time and time again. In the beginning, I wasn’t really aware it was a strategy! Since then, I’ve honed it and would love to share it with you.
First things first…
Growing your audience = growing your business
When you grow your audience, you grow your customer/client base.
Your audience includes your existing customers and clients but, it also includes all the people who are interested in you and what you’re doing but haven’t yet taken that extra step.
A growing audience is a sign of growing relationships. As these relationships flourish – as people get to know, like and trust you – they spread the word and bring more people on board with them.
As these relationships get deeper, you get to understand more and more of your audience’s needs and are thus able to respond to them even better.
This all translates into new opportunities and further income streams.
A simple strategy for growing your audience
So how do you grow your audience?
By having an ongoing conversation and building a community.
Think about how you grow relationships in your personal life:
- You discover common ground
- That sparks conversation
- You start spending time together
- Trust grows and you become more and more vulnerable with each other
- You support each other’s well-being and growth
It’s the same with your audience!
You grow relationships through your communication, through your content.
Content can be delivered in a myriad of ways: podcasts, videos, blogs, email newsletters, social media etc. And as powerful as online content delivery is, don’t forget that we also deliver content in the real-world – through phone calls, meetings, workshops, events, our spaces etc.
You know me: I’m all about frameworks. I devised one for myself, to give my audience-building activities some structure and it’s brought me – and others – great results!
It’s simple and effective and I simply refer to it as: themes.
Think of themes as the different chapters/aspects/layers/angles of your story and the way you serve your audience.
5 ways themes can help in growing your audience
Having appropriate themes for your business helps you grow your audience – and your business – in a variety of ways. Here are 5 important ones:
1.Finding your ideal customers/clients
When you have clear themes that speak to your tribe, it gives you direction on where to go to find them.
Where else is talk about these themes taking place for your people? Find out and participate in the conversation.
2. Attracting your ideal customers/clients
Your themes help your tribe recognise that you’re the one for them. Take advantage of all opportunities to help your ideal customer/client find you. It’s such a simple thing that’s so easy for us to neglect – and miss out on potential business.
Make sure you have your themes clearly signposted. This can be done on your website, in your social media bios, via the hashtags you use and in how you talk about what you do.
3.Creating content that serves
Your themes guide your content creation. They give you structure so content creation stops becoming something you try to do when you can, and starts to become an integral part of your business because it actually drives results.
How? Themes help you create content your audience wants. Content that has a clear benefit for your audience, as well as a clear goal for your business.
4.Informing new products and services
If themes drive your content and your content is an appetiser for what you can offer with your products and services, then it follows that your themes can guide the creation of those very products and services.
What’s more, the content you share for free is a good way to go about product/service development. What topics are people engaging with most? What’s inspiring the most conversation? Where is the strongest need presenting itself?
A word of caution though: if you’re an ideas person like I am, you may end up with more than you can possibly turn into reality!
It’s easy to get overwhelmed and end up procrastinating, not implementing any at all. Or to get distracted, pursuing ones that won’t have the most impact towards your goals.
I’ve created a handy tool to help bring some objectivity when it comes to deciding which ideas and opportunities to pursue. You can access it for free here.
5. Building community
Not only do themes help you find like-minded communities to join and participate in, as mentioned in point 1 but, they can inform the creation of your own community!
My themes around Africa, creativity and wellness inspired me to start the Afri-love Women community which, has been running since 2017.
At the time, I started it mainly because I wanted that kind of space for myself. It’s been such an asset for my creative business too, because many of the members fit my ideal audience profile.
How themes have helped me grow my business
Apart from the Afri-love Women example above, themes have helped my business tremendously, just this year. While I’ve had the same few themes for quite a while now, something about the pandemic got me reflecting, reviewing and getting even more specific about them.
For example: business/entrepreneurship has been one of my themes for 10 years (see how it’s played out)! But in the past few months I decided to turn that into creative business.
Having this added level of focus has helped me grow my Instagram following by around 650 followers in 2 months; informed winning lead magnets; inspired a new product, the Free to Create membership (the precursor to SHINE); and has brought several amazing members on board.
First things first: growing the right audience
Hopefully you’re now excited about the potential of themes in your business. Perhaps you’re already exploring which ones will make sense for you.
However, before you can effectively use themes to grow your audience, you need to be clear about why you’re doing what you’re doing and who you’re serving, so that you grow the right audience.
The audience that is going to resonate with everything you share because it’s serving them so well. The audience that will think nothing of forking out your fees because they trust you and the value you bring to them.
This is part of the foundational work you’ll do in Free to Create – my online membership and community for creatives who want to thrive.
(Side note: I asked my founding members why they joined and one of them simply answered: “trust.”
See what I mean?)
In the membership, I share how to come up with – and regularly review – your themes, as well as systems for really working them to grow your audience. You’ll learn how to serve them with content they can’t get enough of and products/services they’re more than happy to pay for!
You’ll receive templates, group coaching, feedback and accountability, to put these freeing, enjoyable and money-making systems in place!
Free to Create enrollment is only open twice a year.
It’s time to take your creativity to the next level and grow a business you love.