Reelin’ In The Years
It’s been about eight years since I started my first book. Back then, I created a website called notaboutu.com. That’s where I started building an audience and promoted my first book. Then I used it to promote my second, third, and fourth books. Currently, I’m working on my fifth book. Since I had a little extra time over the holiday weekend, I gave the website a closer look and said, “I think it’s time for a revamp.” After all, there’s no better time to do it than now, when things are lighter than usual.
There was no need to start over. I took the content that was in there, put in a new theme, and started to revamp the messaging. What I realized was, that over time I was missing what my audience was looking for. Even though it had the content that was necessary to promote each book, things have changed.
Today, I want to talk about why building an audience is a moving target and what you can do about it.
Why Your Message Matters
Although the website served me well for years, it was not easy to navigate and it was not a cohesive system. It got stale. I had to look at it through a fresh set of eyes. What was different back then from today? Really not a whole lot in the sense of what the books had to say, but the way that people are buying and consuming things has changed. The amount, style, and platforms for information out there have changed. The way that people are promoting things has changed. So let’s look at the why.
The “why”, first and foremost is that we have a very short attention span out there. People are not consuming as much material as they used to. If they like certain content, they may spend the time to do it. But when it comes to sales messages, it needs to be shorter, to the point, and get them to take action. Way back yonder, you really had to explain things. You had to give them the details and provide them the things that they needed to make decisions. But now, people are thinking and moving quicker.
It’s About Convenience
Think about the way we used to shop. We used to go into malls or to stores, and now we’re just going online, clicking and getting our consumables and groceries delivered via Amazon or Walmart or a local restaurant. We live in a short attention span theater so people are not willing to do the same deep dive they used to.
It’s About Culture
Which brings me to the second point, and that’s the change in culture. Especially right now, people are locked down in their environments. People are working from home. So the expectations of what people are looking for has changed.
It’s About Our Home Base
The third thing that’s changed is our needs. Chances are you haven’t filled up your car for a long time, and after a couple of months you might finally have to do that. So interest in getting a new car is not as high as it would have been if you’re driving every single day. We are spending more time focusing on our home office or work environments. Can you see something in your business that has changed? What do you currently sell that is different than it was before? You have to look at that perception and that need.
It’s Not About You!
Let’s look at what we can do to build that audience even though the target is moving right in front of us.
The Avatar (Perfect Customer)
The first thing you have to do is know your avatar or your perfect customer. You really have to understand their problem, especially the way it is now. If you’ve looked at it before, chances are it has changed.
The second thing you have to look at is their job. If you’re selling B2B, what’s different about their business today that maybe wasn’t that way even three or four months ago, or a year ago? Chances are their business and ultimately their business problems have changed. How can you connect that with your messages?
The third piece is to keep it fresh. Make sure that what you’re talking about matches up with the experiences of what people are going through right now. That’s why I always suggest taking a look at your website every three years. If you repurpose content, it may need a new perspective (or a fresh coat of paint). We may have to start updating more often. You’ve got to look at it from their fresh new perspective.
Call Me By My Name
Dale Carnegie has always said, “The sweetest sound in somebody’s ears is their own name”, so make sure you are using it in your messages. You should try to personalize as many messages as possible. When you send out an email, are you using their first name in the subject or at the top? Are you finding ways to make sure that they are the focus of what it is that you’re saying?
You have to also dive into social media slightly deeper than maybe you had to before. When people reply to your post or like, comment, or share anything, are you following that and responding to them by name? Are you tagging people you’re talking about and making sure they’re getting notified? That means that you have to focus more on the personal attention from the content and make sure that you’re giving those people kudos so they keep coming back and pay attention to you.
One last point. Creating content and tagging tons of people in it to get more attention is not cool, and probably will get you blocked and unfriended. DON’T DO THAT!
I Hear And Feel For You
Next you need to show empathy. What I mean by empathy is, first and foremost, you have to show that you care. People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. You also have to let them know that you’ve been there, done that, and you can feel what they’re feeling. That empathy is so important in building a relationship with the content that you’re producing.
The next thing you have to show them is why you care. If your content talks way too much about you then you’re missing the point. You have to come at it from a different angle. You have to get them to feel like they are part of the club. They’re part of a culture, and that they are aligned with your content in a certain way. Show them that you’re providing information that you would use, and why they would want to be part of that club. You should be focusing on how to get them to understand their pain is normal, and that you understand where they’re at, and that you are here to help.
Let them know why they should listen. You do that by attaching a story to it. Give them some sense of the outcome, a happy ending but also something that makes sense. So, for example, if you’re selling food, it’s more than just filling their stomach. It’s filling a need, a taste, bringing back a memory from childhood. If you’re selling a widget, what does that widget do that makes them feel happier, safer, and more secure?
Each of your messages has to invite engagement. Its main goal should be to start a conversation. Lately, I’ve seen a lot of polls and a lot of surveys. People will become more engaged with you if you can “gamify” it – make it fun, make it engaging in a way where they want to participate.
By knowing your avatar, keeping them engaged by talking to them directly, by calling them by name, and showing empathy that you understand their position, you are increasing the chance that more people will be engaged with the content that you’re producing.
Take a look at your own website. Look at it from a new perspective from the end-users point of view. You have to get them to imagine that they’re in that story. Try to create content that gets your audience saying, “I can do this. This is important to me, and this is going to help me in my journey.”
So what could you be looking at that’s been sitting around for a while that needs a facelift? Get busy.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas or questions about building an audience. Have you had to overcome any of the presented concepts? What worked and what did not live up to your expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?