Finding a way to connect to and engage with your audience is one of the most important things you can do to grow your business. With so much competition out there, customers are far less loyal than they used to be. They can easily be drawn to another company, but only if you give them a reason to walk away.
By building a relationship with your customers, instilling trust and listening to their concerns, you can put a face to your business, making people feel more attached to your brand and less likely to stray to a competitor. Also, an engaged, loyal audience makes your business more valuable, something that may come in handy if you ever decide to sell your business.
However, getting to this point is not easy. It requires a well-thought-out marketing strategy, as well as time and dedication. And it requires a great business blog. Here’s how to make it happen.
Determine Your Audience
A critical component to the success of any marketing strategy is knowing exactly who you are dealing with. While you may be going after a large audience, to get a better idea as to who really makes up your audience, consider being far more specific.
For example, one particularly helpful exercise for understanding your audience is to create a fictitious audience member, detailing the way they live their life. This exercise is known as the Ideal Customer
Determining Your Ideal Customer
The goal is to be as specific as possible. Let’s see an example with your fictitious audience member, Victoria. Here’s how we could describe her:
Victoria runs a business of about 15 employees, half of which work remotely. She lives in the city and enjoys a busy but flexible lifestyle. She’s interested in finding a good work-life balance and also in growing her company even further.
This description gives you an idea as to what content would resonate with Victoria. For example, anything having to do with saving time or growing her business is really going to resonate. You could write titles such as:
- How Small Businesses Can Win Big by Automating Key Processes
- 3 Ways Small Companies Grow Using Automation
- 5 Types of Automation That Will Free up Tons of Time for You and Your employees
There are two aspects of consistency you need to pay attention to when building your blog following: timing and content.
Regarding timing, it is important to remember there is no perfect time to post. There are countless resources out there telling you it’s best to post after 5 p.m., while others will say the most successful strategy is to post first thing in the morning. But the reason there are so many different opinions is that it is different for every blog and audience.
However, consistency is still important. If you are going to produce weekly posts, stick to weekly posts. Or perhaps you need to post every day. Sometimes, it works best to send out a monthly newsletter. When considering engagement, quality is more important than quantity. Pay attention to what your audience likes and dislikes, and then stick to it. If you get sporadic with your posting, you risk looking unprofessional or disorganized in the eyes of your audience.
Test and Retest
Yet despite this, there are some trends you may want to consider. For example,
- LinkedIn engagement tends to be higher in the middle of the week, and either early in the morning or during the middle of the day.
- The most popular time to tweet is between noon and 1 p.m.
- Facebook engagement tends to be higher Thursday through Sunday
Again, these are not hard-and-fast rules, but rather trends. The best thing you can do is to try out different things. Do some A/B testing and see when your audience is more likely to engage. Then stick with this strategy while continuing to check for new ways to hook readers.
The second aspect of consistency deals with your content. You want your audience to consider you a valuable resource on a given topic or range of topics. It’s important to not cast too wide of a net. The saying “Jack of all trades, master of none” is true here.
Rely on your market research and stick to what you know. This will help people get a more accurate understanding of who you are, which will increase the chances they’ll connect and engage with your blog and brand.
This is really one of the most important things you can do when it comes to building an engaged audience. People want to feel like they matter to you and your business.
You can use your blog to do this in a variety of ways. The most obvious is to include engaging calls to action (CTAs) at the end of your posts. Ask audience members relevant questions, encouraging them to share their experiences in the comments section. Then, when people do leave behind comments, respond to them.
Sometimes you can even recruit new guest posters or generate new ideas from these conversations, indicating to your audience you value what they have to say.
Here are some examples of questions you might ask to encourage engagement:
- What haven’t we discussed that, in your experience, is relevant? This question is particularly useful because it asks people to draw on their experiences while also thinking critically about what they have just read.
- How else would _____ be relevant to your business? Again, you’re asking readers to go one step further with what they have read.
- Do you have any other questions that we didn’t answer? This can stimulate discussion, as you and other readers can chime in to help the reader.
Building a loyal and engaged following for your blog can have a tremendous impact on your business. It can help with your branding efforts, and it will help establish you as a trusted authority. If you keep in mind these points about how to grow engagement, you’ll soon have a business blog that connects you with your audience, while boosting sales and helping your company grow.
What tips and tricks have you learned along the way for increasing audience engagement? What advice might you offer to other bloggers so they can grow a loyal audience? Leave a comment below to get the conversation started.
Posted By Author Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist
Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.