I know from talking to many Course Creators, the #1 frustration for them is building their audience. They are not alone. This is a challenge for most entrepreneurs.
We don’t live in a build it and they will come world. The market is way too noisy. Before any Course Creator develops their online course program, they should focus first on building their audience.
Why? Your audience will help guide you in what is needed in your program. After all, you don’t want to spend time and money creating an online course that no one will buy! You can talk to your audience about their pain points and their biggest frustrations. Just remember…people can live with a headache, but they will pay top dollars to get rid of a migraine!
The good news is, it’s not important to have a large following; in fact, it can be better to have a small group of people who are insanely interested in what you have to offer.
Who is your audience? It’s not necessarily your followers on Instagram or Facebook fans, but rather it’s the group of people who are likely to BUY your online program.
What are some of the best ways to build your audience without a huge marketing budget?
- Your website: You need to have a primary lead magnet, which can be a simple pdf that gives your ideal customer a quick win and an email service provider to collect email addresses. You will also use your website as a platform for your content management strategy, whether that is blogging or hosting your show notes from your podcast. Your website copy should speak directly to your ideal customer and clearly indicate what you do and your unique value proposition. In other words, your website will showcase why your ideal customer should work with you over your competitor.
- Your private Facebook group: Your private Facebook group allows your ideal customer to get to know you better and helps build that “know, like and trust” factor. To find your ideal customer for your private Facebook group, you can run Facebook or Instagram ads targeting your audience (if you are on a small budget, I recommend that you start with just $5 per day), join a few Facebook groups or LinkedIn groups where your ideal customer hangs out and be extremely helpful and active in those groups, and invite your ideal customer to join your group via social media.
- Promote your free offering on social media: There are two ways you can approach this to build your audience. On social media, in your profile, provide links to either 1) your private Facebook group or 2) your lead magnet. At the end of the day, you want to build your email list and build the know, like and trust factor with your audience. You can do this in both your private Facebook group and through email marketing. I have provided my screen shot below from my Instagram account to show how I promote my private Facebook group in my profile.
- Guest blogging or guest podcasting: Not only does guest blogging help establish you as an expert in your field, it can lead to increased email subscribers, Facebook group members and even client bookings! Here’s an excellent article on how to discover opportunities for guest posts.
- Content management strategy: You want your ideal customer to find you through your content management strategy. But how do you develop a content management strategy?
Here are five key activities for your content management strategy:
- Determine your platform for your content: This can be through blogging, podcasting, or videos. My suggestion to start out with is to do whatever you feel the most comfortable. If you love to write, then blog. Do you have the gift of gab, then podcasting may be the best strategy for you. If you are great on video, then you may want to consider a combination of YouTube videos and blogging also known as a vlog.
- Tailor your content for your ideal customer and provide huge value: Once you start talking to your audience, you will find out exactly what they are struggling with and where they need help. These are the topics you should focus on when producing content.
- Produce your content on a consistent basis: In general, it is recommended that you produce content weekly at a minimum. However, keep in mind that you can also repurpose content. Let’s say that you are a blogger. But in addition to your blog post, you also do a weekly Facebook Live in your group. You can always repurpose that Facebook Live as a blog post with show notes in a future week.
- Distribute and promote your content. Share your content on all the social platforms that are applicable for your target market. For me, I share my new blog posts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook (my page and my group), Instagram and Pinterest. I get most of my traffic to my website from Pinterest. Because Pinterest functions like a search engine and my pins are shared through my Tailwind tribes (thank you tribe members!), Pinterest pins have a long shelf life and can go viral reaching a large audience.
- Use your content management strategy to grow your email list by creating opt-ins. An opt-in is a free giveaway that visitors can receive. You can place these on your blog posts or podcast show notes.
What’s the main benefit you get from building your audience before you create your online course?
You get to ASK your future customers what they need and where their pain points are so you can solve them with your online program. The value is priceless!
Need some assistance with your online course? Join our free private Facebook group specifically designed for Course Creators: Course Creator's Room
Do you have any additional tips in building your online audience (without a huge marketing budget)? Tell us in the comments below!