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If you build it, they will come, right? Maybe. But this isn’t the movies. It’s real life business, which means you need to do more than just build it. You need to generate awareness, make noise, jump up and down, write your name in the sky!

Well, maybe not exactly that, but you do need to build a targeted audience. And before you start to build your audience, you first need to identify them. If you don’t know who your ideal customers are, how can you plan to attract them?

Think about three simple questions about your customers:

  • What are their needs and challenges?
  • What questions can you help them answer?
  • How can your products and services solve their biggest problems?

Answering these questions early on is critical to your long-term success. If you skip this step, you could end up marketing to the wrong people, which will quickly drain your budget with little to no return.

Here are five key things to keep in mind when building an audience for your business:

  1. Be realistic: The first thing you need to do is set realistic expectations. Building an audience can take time. The size of your audience, and how quickly you can build it, will depend on many factors, such as your industry, marketing resources, and products and services.
  2. Start with the obvious: Begin with people you know. Yep, recruit your family, friends and business partners and colleagues. Ask them to follow your social media channels, sign up for your newsletter, and make noise about your company online. Why? Because you most certainly have something in common with these people (especially those you work with), which means their audience has something in common with them, and so on and so on.
  3. Give people a reason to follow: Everyone wants to know, “What’s in it for me?” A sad-but-true nature of humanity. Most will not visit your website, become a fan or read your blog unless you give them a reason to do so. How? Generate useful, helpful, entertaining content that speaks to your audience and their interests. Offer rewards, giveaways and other “free stuff.”
  4. Get Social: Social Media is a powerhouse in today’s digital space, and it’s all about engagement. When used properly, it can prove to be a highly effective tool to find customers across many different platforms. Interact with your audience regularly, network with other professionals in your industry, and join online conversations. This is how you’ll get attention, meet new people and keep your audience growing.
  5. Commit: Building an audience for your business is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Many businesses fail because they give up to soon. They didn’t feel that instant gratification, they didn’t achieve that overnight success you read so much about online nowadays. Nothing worthwhile is easy. Set your goals, create a long-term plan and stay the course. You’ll see, hard work and persistence does pay off!

Do you have experience building a target audience for your business? We want to hear from you! Please share some of your tips for success in the comments below.

By Felipe Rinaldi

Felipe is an entrepreneur, graphic designer and web developer. Born in Brazil, moved to Canada in 2007, where he now helps Toronto based marketing companies with their development projects.

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