Building an audience can be difficult but can be accomplished with effort and planning.
One of the first tips that any new entrepreneur is given is to build your audience. The problem is that your friends and family already know about what you are doing. They aren’t necessarily your audience, and there doesn’t seem to be a clear way to figure out how to get in front of your audience. It leaves you feeling a bit like you are adrift at sea without a compass, GPS, or even a map.
As an entrepreneur it shouldn’t be so hard to connect with your audience. I get it. One of the hardest things to do as an entrepreneur is building awareness about you and your business. The fact is that until that begins to happen, the rest of business building doesn’t really matter. Yes, you need your ideas, solid foundation and all of that BUT without an audience to share your idea with, it will just stay tucked away on your computer, in your journal, or on an unseen webpage.
Today we are going to talk about building that audience and I’ll give you some practical ideas for getting started and no, it is not just being consistent on social media, although that won’t hurt.
3 Networking Ideas
I’ll be the first person to tell you that building an audience is an emotion-filled journey. You see big industry names in the online space and they have audiences of thousands. I took a look today at Instagram and Amy Porterfield has 331,000 followers. Alex Hormozi as 737,000 followers. By the way, if you haven’t checked out his book, $100M Offers, you should. Dean Graziosi has 1 million followers.
You hear and see the numbers and think geez, I’ll never get there. Let me start by telling you that you don’t need those kinds of follower numbers to run a successful business. In fact, if you ask Amy Porterfield if she focuses on IG followers, she’ll tell you no. She is more concerned with engaging email subscribers and creating a relationship.
And that is what today is all about, building relationships through networking. Networking takes a lot of different forms, but the underlying theme is to create genuine connections through conversations and stories.
The single most frequent conversation I have with entrepreneurs who are just getting started is around planning to create an audience. Sometimes the first instinct is to turn to ads on social media or just to keep posting using all of the trending topics, hashtags, and music files.
While these things can work, there is a process that you need to follow to make sure that you are building a relationship and not just yelling from the top of the mountain to buy my service!
Today I want to share some real, down to earth ways to get going with networking so that your business can grow and scale to the degree you’d like. The last thing I want for you is to feel limited by your business.
Are you ready?
Now, first up, let me say that each idea I share with you today is something that I am currently doing, have done, or have on my plan for 2023 to incorporate into my audience building processes and systems. These will require you to step outside your comfort zone, especially if you are an introvert, which I will talk more about in a little while. In fact, if you find everything I’m sharing today to be completely comfortable I want you to ask yourself how you can push it further and step outside your comfort zone. It is outside that comfort zone that the real growth and magic happens when building a business and in life. Are you ready?
Idea number 1: Attend local networking events or events where your target audience will be
For example, if you have a sewing course that you’d like to sell, attend the social events at your local Jo-Ann Fabric store, offer to do a workshop at the local fabric store in your town, and attend open houses that are designed for people who sew.
If you help business owners develop speaking skills, attend the local Chamber of Commerce luncheons and get to know the local business owners. You can go to career fairs and meet local staffing agencies, you might even go to high school open houses.
When you meet people in person you have the opportunity to read their body language, meet more people all at once, and create local connections who might become clients or referral partners. At the very least you might meet someone you can meet for coffee and brainstorm together about your business ideas and next steps.
If you are thinking that getting out to local networking events is draining and you are an introvert, I couldn’t agree more. In person networking takes some boundaries if you are introverted. Because I want you to be able to get out there and network without it laying you low for a week recovering from the stimulation, I have a free PDF with tips for managing networking so that you can thrive not just survive the process. You can grab it at www.coachinghive.com/networkingtips.
Idea number 2: Guest on podcast episodes
This one eluded me for a long time. I kept thinking, that sounds nice, but how am I supposed to find podcasts, approach the host, and ask to be on their show? It felt strange, overwhelming, and more than a little confusing. Have you ever felt like that?
Yea! Here is how I overcame that particular challenge and stepped outside my comfort zone. I use the service PodMatch. This is a reasonably priced service that matches you with podcast hosts who are looking for guests, fit your audience, and your area of expertise. You then reach out if you’d like to appear on their podcast and introduce yourself. The beauty of this process is that the founder, Alex Sanfilippo, teaches you what to say in this introduction. The other beauty is that the hosts are there looking for guests. You are not bothering them, you are making their life easier by reaching out! If you have a podcast and need guests, this is also a terrific service for you.
In fact, I use both features of PodMatch because both will increase my reach and audience. I’ll put a link in the show notes for you to check out PodMatch. https://www.joinpodmatch.com/coachinghive.
Idea number 3: Join an online group of entrepreneurs that allows you to network
If you decide that life circumstances don’t allow you to attend local networking events or even hop onto podcasts as a guest, look for an online networking group. Being able to connect with fellow entrepreneurs is key. As you share about your business, your fellow entrepreneurs will know who to refer people to when someone asks them for a recommendation. Let’s face it, we much prefer to have a personal recommendation than to sift through Google search results and hope for the best.
This is one of the things I love the best about the new Entrepreneur Membership that is launching in late March. Members will have the opportunity to network with one another, brainstorm, and even mastermind together. This kind of interaction creates connections, relationships, and opportunities that you can’t get when you are just sitting at your desk posting reliably to social media or running ads and hoping for the best.
This brings me to our action item for the week. I want you to choose one way to network in the next month. Get it on your calendar.
You can find a local networking opportunity, a podcast to guest on, or a group to join. The key is to get to know more people who are either your ideal client OR know and interact with your ideal client.
What will you choose?
And again, if the thought of networking makes you a little nervous or tired be sure to grab my free PDF guide at www.coachinghive.com/networkingtips.
Before we wrap up this episode, I want to let you know that on Thursday, I will be sharing an extra special conversation that I had with Sean Tyler Foley on the topic of networking and what you can share as you begin to meet new people.
You won’t want to miss this deep dive conversation. A few Coaching Hive Elite members have already had a sneak peak and they found it eye-opening, powerful, and it provided insights into their own hesitation to network.
I hope you’ll join Tyler and me for our Thursday conversation.
As you scroll down to check out the links I’ve shared throughout this podcast be sure to leave a review on your way. This helps me to know which topics you find most helpful so that I can offer more like that AND it helps more people to discover the podcast. I appreciate comments and reviews and I appreciate that you take time each week to listen in as we share the entrepreneur journey.
I’ll see you back here on Thursday for another episode of the Entrepreneur Mindset Podcast, where a focus on mentoring and community and implementation removes the overwhelm of building your successful and profitable business and adds in a dose of momentum.
Until next time, have a healthy, safe, and happy week.