Audience Development Strategy: Going Beyond Acquisition

Audience development isn’t just about building your current audience; it’s about keeping your subscribers happy

Do you ever find professional inspiration in unusual locations; places that have absolutely no connection to the industry you are in?

I recently read an article about a Theatre Company and their process for customer relationship management:

When they book a ticket [an advance ticket] we contact them to say thank you and tell them about our gallery, shop, bar and restaurant facilities … and then after the show, we send them a questionnaire about their first impressions of the visit … later, we contact them about other relevant shows that are coming up.”

The effort was impressive, but the execution is, if I may, a bit selfish. It’s all a bit me, me, me and offers little value and gratitude for the customer. Instead, it offers more way for the customer to spend money, gather data and sell more tickets. It might look helpful, but it’s just marketing.

Audience development isn’t just marketing. It’s not about you, it’s about your blog readers and email subscribers. It’s every word you write with the desire to help your readers and email subscribers.

An audience development strategy that satisfies and builds loyalty

There are four main principles of the Mequoda Method: Attract, Convert, Engage and Monetize.

Engagement is one of the most important steps in the process of audience development because if you fail at keeping subscribers on your email list, or fans on your Twitter page, then you will never monetize them. If they don’t like what you’re publishing, they will unsubscribe and unlike and they’ll never hear about that great new book you’re publishing or event you’re putting on. They’ll be gone. Maybe forever.

So if you’re reaching for new ways to engage your audience and keep subscribers happy, keep reading:

1. Publish great content. What’s great content? It’s content you’d want to read, or what you’d find helpful. It’s content written with purpose and intent.

2. Try new things, and switch it up regularly. Step outside yourself. When you’ve been writing and publishing emails for the same company, in the same market for years, you may be accustomed to specific ways of doing things. Look for inspiration in different places. If there’s a company whose email newsletter or promotions you subscribe to, and have been a subscribing member for years, consider why you’ve been engaged with that company for as long as you have. Is it just the products they produce, or is there a customer service aspect you appreciate? Are you afraid of missing out on great content? What is it they do or say that makes you feel that way?

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3. Listen to what your subscribers say. In audience development, never underestimate the importance of listening. Take into account what your existing audience says to you in person or online. Create a survey and ask them what they want to read more about. Understanding the needs and expectations of audience members, and catering to those needs, helps develop long-lasting relationships.

Audience development metrics to watch

Audience development is centered on knowing how your target audience thinks, behaves, and interacts. Some subscribers will offer this information to you directly. In other cases, you have to inquire. Asking questions helps you in audience development endeavors. Your social and email metrics tells you a story too:

  • Is your unsubscribe rate increasing or decreasing?
  • Is your click-through rate increasing or decreasing?
  • Is your open rate increasing or decreasing?
  • Is your engagement rate in social media increasing or decreasing?
  • Is traffic from social media increasing or decreasing?

Take a different approach to audience development by using information, gratitude, and value. And as always, great content. It’s good for your reputation, it’s good for Google, and it’s good for your loyal audience.

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