Stop Chasing The Audience Conversion Pipedream
Just because someone in your audience is not a current customer now, there is nothing stopping them becoming a customer in the future.
Lets just recap a definition of audience that I have highlighted in recent posts (and also dedicated to a full 15 minute show of The Marketing Homebrew). An audience represents a group of people who share your belief and opinion and are prepared to listen and come back to you on a consistent basis. An example is a person who provides their email details on your website to receive ongoing content (until they unsubscribe).
More Isn’t The Answer
Too many businesses are still concentrating on throwing everything into the top of a marketing funnel with a belief of the shortest possible route to conversion.
More landing pages, more sponsored posts, more white papers, more videos, more emails are not the answer, they all contribute to more mess. This is not a considered approach when an audience isn’t considered.
Accessibility to publishing and sending content creates an expectation that someone is going to bite, won’t they? Someone out there is going to react, quicker than they did five years ago to the messages we send, aren’t they? There are now more mobile devices than people on this planet, so if we throw out as much as we can, someone will catch, open, think ‘wow’ and then search around your website for the subscribe to our FREE newsletter prompt. That will never happen for our businesses.
Stop Thinking You Have To Convert Everyone
It is wrong to think that we can build an audience and then convert everyone who comes over to our space to a customer.
We can’t spend our time trying to win everyone over. I can remember spending far too long trying to convince a removal company to move away from the overt product messages they were using and start to look at how useful they can be to their customers. I look back now and see that I wasted far too much time trying to convert a business into a way of thinking that was steeped in a 20th century mindset for 30 years (and wasn’t prepared to budge).
On the other side of the coin, I began a conversation with another business, Charles Higgins Partnership, who joined the You Are The Media email community and whilst they weren’t in a position to commit, they received the ongoing weekly emails.
It took 18 months for them to move from conversation, to subscriber to customer. They are now a business where we have a great relationship.
Just because someone does not convert to a customer in the short term, does not mean they don’t have anything to offer your business in the long term.
The Content Marketing Egg Timer Approach
The important thing for us to realise is that we cannot adopt a content marketing approach and then treat it like an egg timer. You send someone a piece of information; play the waiting game and then pounce. Just because you have created something doesn’t mean it should result in an immediate effect.
We need to spend our energies on curating an audience and encourage them to come back to the space that they have chosen to consume, week in week out. This is nothing to do with relentless content creation with our eyes closed but working at standing for something and others believing it too.
This has to be about patience and buckling in for the long haul. This is not about the afternoon content equivalent of watching one police film such as Lethal Weapon but sitting through all seven Police Academies. Strap yourself in, this is going to be challenging.
When we acknowledge that not everyone in our audience will buy from us (I’m not talking Twitter followers here, I am talking of an audience that have made a commitment via email), there may be triggers that make that step from consuming to committing.
For instance, last weeks Content Revolution Workshop (which I am running again next month) included people who I had began a conversation with in the past two years, had subscribed and in the past month made a commitment to be part of the event. I hope they come back for the September Audience Workshop. What I am trying to highlight is that patience is the biggest contributor, as long as you are continually present and create a role to serve others with opinion, experience and experiences.
You Are A Bus Driver
Let me bring out the analogy to the table.
Imagine that your business is a bus and you are the bus driver:
- Some people will get on at the start of the journey and depart at the final destination
- Some people will always get on mid way of the journey
- Some people will jump on occasionally, but use their own vehicles most days
- A few will jump on at the very last minute and you have stopped so they can get on board
We can’t treat everyone in our audience to come on board at the very beginning of the journey, as long as the final destination is the place they want to go to. It is our responsibility as businesses to take them there.
We know the route, we know the key places on our journey that become congested and bottlenecked, but we know what it takes to take our audience to the final stop.
This is what we need to do to become more comfortable (and committed to) as businesses. It’s not thinking that every prospect has to be converted the minute something is distributed and consumed, but acknowledge that it takes time. The important thing is that someone else believes in your approach, rather than you wasting time and energy trying to convert those who will never see your point of view.
We can’t rush to the next piece of content, the next Slideshare presentation, and the next video. The time and effort it takes to create, deserves time to be consumed, primarily by those who can contribute and more importantly, be captivated and entertained.
Lets Round Up
Time is one asset that we will never get back, so lets spend it on those who believe, have an interest, become absorbed and we can keep the momentum.
Today shouldn’t be about a popularity contest and converting everyone to jump on board your bus. If someone has made a commitment to consume your point of view and the associated work you produce (from email to podcast) that’s a great place to be. If others haven’t yet decided to move to customer, if you understand that this isn’t about a defined timescale but a persistent approach then value can be created in the long term.
Image at the top of the article courtesy of Peter Mulligan
If you would like to come to my Content Revolution: Audience workshop, it is taking place on Wednesday 23rd September at Shelley Theatre, Bournemouth. It’s from 9.30am to 1pm.
This is what you will learn:
– ways to build your audience
– move your mindset beyond the ‘sign up for our FREE newsletter’ mentality
– why you need to embrace a subscription based approach
– how can you keep the momentum (and why you will lose it)
– create yourself as a role to advise, educate and entertain
– you can’t spend all your time trying to convince everyone
– finding your niche
– why having an audience doesn’t mean that everyone has to be a customer
Interested? Book now