Building an audience for your business delivers a pipeline of free leads
Why an audience is important to your cabinetmaking business.
Your audiences are all around you.
They can be very cost-effective, you can scale your audience more easily than almost any other part of your business and your audience can be very responsive to your nurturing and relationship building, but they are also constantly evolving.
If you don’t have a plan to target an audience and build and engage an audience, then you’re falling behind.
Your audience is arguably one of the most important assets in your business. It doesn’t matter how cutting-edge your technology is, how great your latest widget is or how innovative your service.
When you don’t have an audience to sell to you really don’t have a business. Your audience has an important monetary value to you and your business.
In fact if you lost your business tomorrow but you still had your audience and email list you would have an asset that can’t be taken away from you and you could start again.
What is the value of your audience to your business
In the book Audience by Jeffery K. Rohrs. He lays out ways to measure your audience value.
Here are some measurements for you to consider:
- Lifetime customer value (LCV)
- Campaign conversion value (CCV)
- Net equivalent value (NEV)
- Direct comparative value (DCV)
- Comparative incentive value (CIV)
Lifetime customer value (LCV)
LCV is probably one of the most important measurements and is a measure of the present value of the future stream of cash flow that your business could expect to generate from a customer.
It would be stated as:
LCV = (average value of a sale) x (number of repeat transactions) x (average length of customer retention)
Therefore given the price points of cabinetmaking products a customer could spend various amounts with you over a period of time with your business.
For example $20000 on a new or upgraded kitchen, $3000 on a laundry upgrade, and $4000 on a media and entertainment wall unit and they do business with you for three years their LCV is $27000 or $9000 per year.
Crunching some numbers
You could also remove the top 10% most valuable projects and the bottom 10% least valuable projects and divide the middle 80% by the number of projects that it represents.
This will give you a Dollar average per project and a valuation to understand the value per client or project.
Yes! these numbers could be a lot bigger, but I’m sure you get the idea.
Once you know your LCV, you can determine what you would be willing to spend on customer acquisition.
For example you may spend the amount needed to get 20 leads knowing that at least 2 leads will convert into sales. Then you rinse and repeat.
Therefore if it costs you $25 to acquire a lead, you’ll spend $500 to convert 2 sales of $9000 each on average. $18000 in total sales for a Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) of 3600%
Otherwise you may choose to spend more knowing that you can upsell your customers over and above the calculated LCV.
The hidden gem in this scenario is that of the 18 leads that did not buy, you can be sure that they are somewhere along the customer journey to making a purchase.
If you have an automatic process in place to keep connecting with them you could land a few more sales from that group and boost your ROAS per cycle through the roof.
Campaign conversion value (CCV)
With this method you offer a specific promotional discount to one of your audiences to determine their value.
- For one week you promote or email a specific offer to your specific audience, or.
- Customers receive a coupon for redemption within a specific week.
You need to then track those redemptions and total purchase amounts.
Then add up the total purchases during that promotional week, subtract promotional expenses and compare the final figure with your average non-promotional week.
To be successful you need to be able to track:
1. Which channel drove the purchase
2. The offer was redeemed by customer
3. The total transaction value
You can measure your campaign conversion value for any length of time, as long as you have a control period to compare it to.
This valuation method can help you understand if email subscribers lift sales more than Facebook fans or Twitter followers and even which segments of your email subscribers provide more value to your business.
Net equivalent value (NEV)
If you don’t know the actual value of your audience, then another way would be to determine how much it would cost to reach the same audience via paid advertising.
- Pick one of your audiences, such as people interested in kitchens.
- Work out your CPM (cost per thousand impressions), CPC (cost per click), CPA (cost per acquisition) or other type of billing cost.
- Then multiply that ad cost number by the audience activity. For example multiply your CPC by the number of clicks your audience generates.
Using Facebook as an example Rohrs explains:
- If you have 10 000 Facebook fans
- And your average organic or free reach is 16%
- Your average post reaches 1600 fans
- If Facebook charges a cost per thousand impressions (CPM) of $10 for a sponsored post
- Your net equivalent value (NEV) is $16 for every 1000 fans reached
This can help you understand the value that your audience can deliver to you instead of having to pay for it.
Direct Comparative Value (DCV)
You can use direct comparative value (DCV) to extrapolate the value of one audience channel from the cost to message another.
This method was originally developed by Jay Baer to value Facebook impressions based on cost per email opens.
The argument is that a Facebook post impression is similar to an email open, since Facebook fans and email subscribers have both opted to join your companies messaging.
To calculate the direct comparative value:
- Multiply the total number of email subscribers by your open rate.
- Calculate the cost to produce and send a single email to your subscriber list.
- Multiply # 2 by #1 to get the cost per email opened.
- Multiply your result of #3 by your total Facebook post views from the past month.
Using Baer’s methodology:
- If you for example have a $0.05 cost per email opened
- And had 10,000 post impressions in the past month
- The direct comparative value (DCV) you are generating on Facebook would be $500 ($0.05 x 10,000).
It's not a precise measurement. However it does give you a justifiable comparison based on cost you already know, which is the cost to have an email opened by a subscriber.
Comparative incentive value (CIV)
This valuation is helpful in niches where competitors provide incentives to consumers to subscribe, like or follow. Such as fast food or retail.
Therefore, not particularly applicable but I mention it because competitors in your space no doubt do offer incentives.
To calculate your (CIV):
- Research what incentives your competitors provide to consumers to become subscribers, fans or followers, or in your case get people to call or email you.
- Take each incentive’s retail value and divide it by half (or whatever number is appropriate for your industry) to get an out-of-pocket cost for each incentive.
- Add up the out-of-pocket incentive costs and then divide by the number of competitors offering them.
- You have your (CIV).
The comparative incentive value gives you a way to understand your audience’s potential value and show you what type of incentives could help you acquire new joiners.
It can also give you the initial value of email subscribers joining your list and therefore the value of incentive you may consider using to acquire more subscribers.These valuation methods can help you understand the financial value that is hiding in plain sight within your audience and appreciate the long term importance that your audience has for your company.
If you want to know the answer to the word map, check it out at the bottom of the post.
How to build your audience
Do you have a definitive selling proposition
You might say “but I have a unique selling proposition”. That’s great, and is it really working for you.
Entrepreneur.com defines a (USP) as : The factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition.
In today’s highly commoditized selling environment trying to convince a customer that your product or service has some slight point of difference just isn’t going to get the job done. That point of difference can be obliterated with the click of a mouse.
You'll need to go deeper and create a definitive selling proposition. A definitive selling proposition helps set your business, product or service apart from your competition by pitching your business and its products and services directly to the perceived needs of your customers in a way that cuts through all the noise.
It’s not just about a solution to a customer’s pain point.
As Perry Marshall describes it. A definitive sales proposition (DSP) is the USP for the age of lethal offers.
It consists of among other elements:
- A multi dimensional USP.
- It is a USP with a “magic ingredient” that adds a defence ability component to your USP that cannot be constructed using fill in the blank USP templates.
- It makes your product fundamentally more alluring.
- It sharpens your message to a point of specificity and simplicity that pierces through the noise.
- A DSP the ONLY thing your customer will rave about.
When you truly understand what your business stands for, why it exists. Then you can set about turning it into a fortress that can easily withstand the attacks from competitors.
Develop your own authentic voice
When you understand why your business exists, what it’s purpose is and therefore your purpose for swiping your access card at your office door, opening the factory roller shutter door or opening your shop’s front door each and every morning. In other words your BIG WHY.
Then you will be able to communicate with an energy, and in a voice that is truly yours.
Communicating with your audience and your customers in your own authentic voice means you will:
- Set yourself apart from the rest of your competition who are all doing what the competition is doing because that’s what the competition is doing.
- You build a know, like and trust relationship with your audience and existing customers, and because they like you and the trust you they will be willing to do business with you again and again.
- By being authentic and building trust, your ability to influence and persuade your audience will increase and so will the ROI you put into developing your authentic voice.
People are in a desperate search for quality, authentic businesses, brands, and information that they can trust and do business with. Yours needs to be one of them.
Start publishing classic content instead of clichéd content
Whatever the nature of your business, there will be specific terms and technical jargon that needs to be communicated but can also risk being overused and it can be taken for granted that your audience is interested in only technical information and that they already understand the concepts.
When it comes to the content you create for your website. Remember this. You are not the hero.It’s not about your company synergy, how great your product is, how many employees and how many locations or that your available 24/7.
While those features are of great benefit in helping you deliver your products and services. It pays to remember.
The audience is the hero. If they don’t believe in your message, you will lose them.
Features of cliched, content include
- Focusing exclusively on the business, its products and services, how great it is and why they the customer should be doing business with you.
- Overuse of technical jargon. Most people who find themselves on your website or social media platforms have already bought into the need to be looking for you or someone like you. Most of the time they simply need to know if you’re able to help them and can they trust you.
- Content that is very shallow and a repetition of the same themes found on your competitors websites. It is not distinctive and doesn’t connect well with your definitive selling proposition.
- It lacks an authentic voice.
- It’s vague and lacks depth.
Classic content on the other hand focuses on...
- The conversation going on inside your audiences head and therefore speaks to the natural emotions around receiving rewards or avoiding punishments. It’s not always about hammering on a pain point.
- Being distinctive by creating a structure that allows elements of the content to stand out. For example writing an article that is structured along the lines of text-text-quality graphic- text, allows the graphic element to be distinctive and act as a memorable cue.
- Includes story telling that allows readers to connect to the topic and draws them in further.
- Creates self generated content such that the reader gets involved and extracts something meaningful from the information being shared and doesn’t consume your content passively.
- Having an angle that surprises the reader and possibly takes them in a new direction. This also adds to the distinctiveness of the content, making it that bit more memorable.
When it comes to your website and content visual appeal, get some professional design advice. People form an opinion about visual appeal within 50 milliseconds of seeing your content.
Before you hire a graphic design freelancer, you might want to check out these two websites Before&After.com and Ideabook.com for design information and inspiration so that you’ve got some idea of what you’re looking for and what brief to give your designer.
When you don't know what to write
If writing is not one of your strong skill sets or you don’t have enough time to produce written content then consider getting the help of a freelance writer.
Since search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing are huge indexing machines.
They love finding keywords and then filing your content so that the next time someone in your audience searches for something related to your business, product or industry they can within mere milliseconds deliver your content to their screen.
It therefore pays to produce the best quality content you can. Good quality content can also be evergreen and continue to bring you traffic well into the future.
Be generous with your expertise
We sometimes take it for granted that the knowledge and skills we have, that flow so easily out of us in the day-to-day execution of our work is easily understood by others.
Yet that knowledge and those skills provide the information gap that somebody else is trying to fill to solve a problem or to execute a job or project.
You are the subject matter expert that they seek, if you’re communicating with them through your content in a way that resonates with them, you’re in business.
By being generous with your knowledge you’re making your audience the hero as well as building that vital know, like and trust relationship.
Focus on building real relationships
Without your audience, without your customers you don’t have a business.
When it comes to the Internet you need to be transparent when interacting with your audience. If you can help them with a solution to the problem then say so, if you can’t help them then say so.
It is always better to under promise and over deliver. When you have a really happy customer because you delivered more than they were expecting, it feels good.
You might even go so far as to refer them to a competitor of yours who can help them. As counter-intuitive as it may seem you’ve made yourself distinctive in their minds, you’ve put them at the center of providing the solution and not made it about yourself.
I’m sure you’ve experienced those moments where somebody went the extra mile to help you, and the next time you needed help with something similar you went back to that business and actually ended up buying from them.
Highlight the results you deliver
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you read reviews and testimonials to determine if a business is a good business?
- How many reviews do you read before you trust a business, product or service?
- Do positive reviews and testimonials make you trust a business more?
- Do you trust online reviews as much as you would a personal recommendation?
Well here are answers to the above questions.
84% of consumers read reviews of local businesses
Consumers will read an average of 10 online reviews before they feel able to trust a local business.
40% of consumers regard reviews written in the previous two weeks of being relevant.
91% of 18 to 34-year-old consumers would trust online reviews as much as they would personal recommendations.
Furthermore 57% of consumers would only use a business if it had four or more stars and 89% of consumers read a business’s responses to its reviews.
One of the biggest challenges small businesses face is scepticism by consumers. Every day they have dozens’ maybe even hundreds of offers pitched at them to the point of feeling harassed.
The best approach that we have is to build a know, like and trust relationship with our customers and clients, and that means showing the results we can achieve for them.
After all when a visitor lands on your website the question at the top of the mind is “what’s in it for me” so your website needs to position you and your business as an authority in your niche and that you have a solution to their problem.
Develop strong email marketing
The email inbox is one of the most competitive arenas out there. Forget Google, Facebook, YouTube or cheap imports
Email inboxes are far more competitive than that.
Why you may ask?
Email inboxes are enormously valuable. One email subscriber on your list can be worth 5 to 50 times more than a Facebook fan, YouTube subscriber or the virtual foot traffic coming in from Google.
Some of the benefits of having a strong email marketing system include:
- You know you have a warm to hot audience that will be receptive to offers you may send them.
- You already have a know, like and trust relationship because subscribers have taken the time and effort to opt in to your messaging.
- Email is a cornerstone system to building an audience for your business.
- Your email list is an audience that is owned by you and therefore offers consistency. Audiences on social media or a display ad channel are either borrowed or have to be bought over and over. These channels change often and can massively affect the distribution of your content.
Building a strong backend auto responder email system for your business assists with distribution of your content, nurturing cold leads into warm and finally hot prospects, on-boarding of clients, testing various offers and more.
Your email list is actually a very valuable financial asset in your business and can have a direct impact on the valuation and sell-ability of your business.
Jumpstarting your audience
There are 2 main strategies you can apply to jumpstart your audience growth.
Strategy #1 Writing a guest post.
When you write a post as a guest on someone else’s blog be sure to keep the focus on the subject highlighted in the headline and choose a topic that you would write about on your own blog.
Guest posting is a way of audience hacking because you are being given access to another blog’s audience.
Submitting a guest post helps you:
- Get exposure and therefore traffic to your website.
- Builds backlinks to your website which helps with SEO and.
- Positions yourself as an authority and thought leader in your industry
Two ways in which you can find guest posts are
- Relevant websites with content that is focused on your niche which would then have an audience interested in what you have to say.
- Using your relevant keyword do a google search:
- Your keyword ”guest post”
- Your keyword “guest post by”
- Your keyword “guest post guidelines”
- Your keyword “accepting guest posts”
- Your keyword “submit a guest post”
Searches like these should get you to posts written by others or to a blog’s guest post submission page or guidelines page.
It's important that you produce a top quality piece of writing along with well designed graphics and images, double check any facts you present. It is worth taking the time to find the original source of your information and attribute it to that webpage.
You then need to make sure you have attractive, enticing lead magnets to provide another reason for people to sign up to your list. Do some research and pitch an angle that is different to what your competition is doing.
Strategy #2 Use paid advertising.
For this strategy to really add value to your audience building efforts it is worth knowing exactly what the conversion rates of your conversion objectives are.
Typically in the context of building an audience a small business’ conversion objectives would be to build a list by getting:
- Visitors to sign up directly to a news letter optin or,
- Visitors sign up for a lead magnet offer and provide their name and email to gain access.
When you can see what your conversion rates look like you can decide on whether it is worth going the paid advertising route to speed up and scale your audience building.
Grow your audience 5 /10/15% per month.
It can feel stressful and intimidating to hear or read stories where people have grown their followers, fans very quickly and to very big number.
It's important to remember that a fan or follower is not a subscriber. They are not part of your owned audience.
Even a small subscriber list can have a huge impact on your business. Depending on the nature of your business how much of an impact would an extra 50, 100, 500 truly engaged customers make to the bottom line of your business.
For most small businesses it would have a massive impact.
Despite all the hype, growing your audience is going to be more of a marathon, not a sprint. It requires consistent application and testing of your marketing system to draw fans and followers that can become subscribers that you can build a relationship with and can therefore regularly pitch your offers to.
The chart below shows how your audience can grow at different rates from a base of 250 subscribers.
As you can see you could conservatively achieve approximately 6500 subscribers within a 24 month period.
With consistent content and social media marketing you will gain increasing scale with followers and fans which can have a multipier effect beyond just the compound growth of your subscriber list. It is worth remembering that you have multi-billion dollar algorithms working in your favour as platforms like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Youtube work hard in turn to present their audiences with quality content.
Finding content ideas.
If you want help with steps you can take to generate ideas for your content marketing, check out this resource:
Create a content schedule using a spread sheet and view the schedule and the subject matter topics as a continuum of content along a path and not throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.
This is where content frameworks can help you out.
Are techniques that help you:
Create content that is positioned to get more traffic to your website by being highly focused and relevant to your niche.
This means your website as well as the specific subject matter you publish across the internet can be viewed as having authority and therefore even more relevance and expertise than other content which results in more traffic being sent to your website.
This resource will help you understand some of the different types of content frameworks.
Nurture your audience.
In this instance we’re talking about email. There is a lot of talk about social media influencers, chat bots, clever copywriting and the latest, greatest software that will do it all for you.
However. One of the oldest online messaging channels out there is still producing fantastic results and it puts you in complete control of your message and your audience, and that’s email.
The ways in which email can help you are:
- Segment your market to understand your customer needs: when a customer arrives on a list you immediately know what niche they are interested in and can develop specific offers for them related to that niche.
- Integrate the automation process of email with other channels: make certain types of emails such as promotions and newsletters easily shareable, if you use quality images in the content, make them pinable on Pinterest and every time you publish a new blog post then notify your subscribers via email.
- Use email to complete your customers experience of your business: email can be used at the top and bottom of your sales funnel process, by promoting offers at the top and then thanking them or sending the transaction details email at the bottom of the funnel and re-targeting them with additional offers which takes them back to the top of a new funnel.
Other ways to nurture your audience
- Paying attention to their feedback
- Providing a top quality user experience
- Surveying your readers
- Monitoring your customers comments
In all three situations you could be dealing with both positive and negative feedback.
As hard as it may be, look for the golden nugget that may be hiding in especially the negative feedback. There could be ideas to improve systems, on boarding of customers and even product improvement or new product ideas.
Keep in mind, as pointed out earlier over 80% of your audience is looking at the reviews and comments left by customers and making their buying decisions on what they read.
It is worth responding to these as quickly and positively as possible because even if you have an unfavorable comment or review, responding in a positive and professional way will go a long way to neutralizing such points of view.
Readers become buyers
Now that you have a growing warm audience.
People that have opted in to your newsletter or lead magnet offer or chosen to follow you through your social media channels which means that you have a growing hot audience.
You can present offers and promotions to this audience which in turn takes them back to the top of a sales funnel and you get the opportunity to do business with them again.
This requires that you develop evergreen offers with conversion campaigns that take people from unaware of the problem they may have, to becoming aware of your solution with an intent to take action.
Which is supported by a layering of awareness and re-targeting to reach people at different stages in their buying cycle.And you need a system in place to regularly communicate and stay in touch with your audience and customers.
Building an audience for your business takes time and consistent effort. As your audience grows you also have an asset that has financial value and in today’s business environment that can actually improve the value and sell-ability of your business.
To build your audience you need to have the strong foundation of a definitive selling proposition around which all your marketing can pivot. It is your north star.
You also want to focus on building real relationships with your customers. It is always better to have a smaller number of truly interested and engaged customers than a huge list of mediocre followers and subscribers.
Do you have an asset in your audience and what strategies are you using to grow it?