Note: Listen to this post instead using the audio player below, and consider subscribing on your favorite podcast player!
It doesn’t take a large following to make a large amount of money.
There are people with 200 loyal readers doing better than those receiving 200,000 visitors / month.
Heck, we recently learned about an Instagram star with 2.6 million followers that couldn’t sell even 36 t-shirts. Not even one unit per 72,000 followers.
What gives? What’s the difference between the person with 200 followers that makes a full-time living, and the Instagram “influencer” that couldn’t sell even one shirt per 72,000 followers?
It’s simple – it comes down to truly understanding your audience, and using that to build a real, meaningful connection with them.
There are people with less than 1,000 followers making full-time incomes online. As you can see, it’s not about audience size – it’s about the relationship you have with them.
In this article, let’s go over how you can build a better connection with your following, foster further engagement, and of course – make more money from your existing audience!
1. Get Personable – Interact One-On-One
This one is perhaps the most obvious, but it’s also one of the most important.
Nothing builds connection better than actually interacting with someone one-on-one. Focusing all of your attention just on them, at least for a moment.
This means that you should be doing things such as…
- Leave communication channels open – enable comments on your pages.
- Encourage communication – ask your audience for their opinions or insights.
- Actually respond to comments posted on your website and social pages.
- Let people know that they can contact you. Answer emails promptly.
- When somebody does something for you, acknowledge them and the action. They’ll appreciate the fact that you noticed!
Connection has to go both ways. You’re never going to achieve your goal if you have the audacity to think that people should only listen to what you have to say, while showing no willingness to hear what they have to say back.
It just doesn’t work.
Quit telling yourself that you don’t have time to interact with your followers one-to-one, or that you’re too good to do so. This kind of egotistical thinking will end up having the opposite effect – pushing people away, and causing them to wonder why they should bother with you when there are millions of other good people to follow on the internet.
One meaningful interaction could be all that’s needed to turn a freebie seeker into a paying customer.
And unless you’re already making a ridiculous amount of money, you certainly have time to interact one-on-one with someone.
2. Utilize Audio And Video
I’m willing to bet that the entrepreneurs you know best, the marketers and public figures you feel like you know the best, aren’t just writers.
The written word is a powerful tool, and should be part of every marketer’s arsenal. However, it simply can’t compete with audio, or especially video when it comes to building connection in the vast majority of cases.
There’s something different about actually being able to see and hear a person, as if they were in front of you. You get to really come to understand their style, their mannerisms, their delivery. It stands out much more in your mind, and becomes much more memorable as a result.
The big players are all utilizing video more and more – and that’s what consumers want.
I’m a huge advocate for blogging, and would never tell you to stop doing so. I would just encourage you to spend more time creating audio and video content heading into the future. In the long-term, it will pay off more for you.
After all, this is why I’ve been including an audio recording of each post I publish here. Those that choose to listen rather than read consume more of the article on average – allowing me to really deliver my full message.
Sometimes our most important pieces of information are in the details, which are skimmed over on a normal blog post. Audio and video content can’t be skimmed over quite as easily.
3. Collect Data To Tailor Your Content
If you’re not tailoring your content, you have a problem.
You’re wasting your audience’s time, and they’re not going to forgive you for it. Even if they don’t mean to, they’re going to unconsciously filter you out when their brain decides that you’re not relevant to their interests and needs.
In my email marketing course, I talk heavily about segmentation, and how to segment your lists for greater targeting. This is the act of breaking up your list into smaller chunks, so you can send out content that is not only more relevant, but promote more targeted offers to groups of people that are likely to want to take action.
An example at the most basic level would be separating out buyers from non-buyers. Why annoy your audience promoting a product they’ve already bought?
Many marketers handle their messaging poorly – sending the same thing out to every single person regardless of their relationship to you. In some areas, this is inevitable. You can’t write a unique blog post for every person that visits your site, of course.
However, in many other areas, personalization not only is possible, but should be expected.
This is why email is still the most powerful marketing channel, and works better for converting interested prospects into buyers. Social media doesn’t come close, because it can’t.
With a powerful email marketing system, you can collect more data about a specific subscriber than you’d know what to do with.
- Their demographic information.
- Their interests.
- What products they’ve purchased.
- What past messages resonated with them.
- What pages they’ve visited on your site.
- What time of day they’re most likely to check their email.
- What psychological triggers they respond best to.
And so much more.
Not only that, but you can set up systems that send out messages automatically based on extremely specific combinations of this data. Then use all of this to improve your system over time.
Email is hands-down the most powerful way to build connection and trust on autopilot, and while it should never be the only thing you focus on, email is the one thing worth mastering.
Get it right, and you’d be surprised what percentage of your audience ends up doing business with you time and time again.
Don’t go another day without an email marketing system that works for you. Enroll in my email marketing course and you can have your autoresponder building connections for you by the time you go to bed tonight.
Once you’ve built that initial connection with someone, I’m not sure quality is always better than quantity.
After all, you love your family and friends even though they’re not perfect.
You don’t need to have the best content every single time. Quality content will certainly get people to pay attention to you, but once you’ve got their attention and somebody likes you, they’re not going to hold you to that same standard. They have already decided that you’re worth paying attention to.
It’s better to produce something good and have it seen every day, then to create something great and have it seen only once a week.
The world is too busy, too cluttered with promotion to succeed if you’re rarely getting in front of your target customer.
Once somebody has discovered you, it’s your job to make sure they don’t forget who you are and what you stand for.
After all, repetition is a key part of branding. The word branding itself means to “mark in a way that cannot be removed or forgotten.”
That is exactly what you need to do in the visitor’s mind. Brand yourself. Your ideas. Your principals. Your core values.
The only way to do this is to get in front of the visitor over and over again. They should not be able to think about your industry without your company coming into their mind – whether they want it to or not.
This is why, despite how powerful email marketing can be, you still need to have a social strategy in place. You still need to do content marketing. You need to be active in your industry’s communities.
If you don’t show up, you will not be missed. You’ll just be forgotten.
5. Get Personal – But Only When The Time Is Right
Letting your audience see a deeper side of you can really help draw them in, and help them feel a connection to you or your company that goes far beyond just business.
That being said, there is a time and place to do so. You would not like it if somebody came up to you and spilled out their entire life story in their first interaction. That would just be weird, unprofessional, and a waste of time. People do not care about those details yet.
People are inherently self-centered the majority of the time, and care about their own lives – not yours. Getting personal can be extremely powerful, but it needs to be something that either…
- Adds value in some way.
- Is sought out by the audience member themselves.
Typically, #1 comes before #2.
It’s easy to share a bit more about who you are by tying it into a lesson. A perfect example of this would be using your own story to demonstrate a point that you are trying to get across.
Then, develop some separate platform where you can really shine through.
In my case, this is typically Instagram stories. I may show what’s going on in some of my other companies, share random thoughts on something notable that’s happened, or just ask a question and discuss my opinions.
A vlog or personal podcast can also be a great way to do this. All three of these choices help with the frequency issue mentioned previously.
When people know, like, and trust you, they buy from you. When they really feel connected with you, they become super fans – not just purchasers of your product, but those that spread your messages, adopt your values, and help you expand your brand.
Building a deeper connection with your following isn’t particularly challenging, but it does require a strategy.
You must find the balance between growing your audience, and nurturing the members who you already have. A large audience means nothing if nobody actually engages with you, or cares about what you have to say.
I hope that this article has given you some new ideas on how you can connect with your following on a deeper level. I promise that if you make this a priority, it will pay off dividends for years to come.
I’d love to hear more about the specific strategies you’re using to connect with your audience, because I’d like to get better at this as well. Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or reach out!
To your success,
– James McAllister
Review the main points of this article in the SlideShare below. Feel free to embed this on your site, use it in your organization, and share it with others! All I ask is that you give credit! (Download links are available from SlideShare’s website, which you can access by clicking the LinkedIn icon)