The term “audience development” is basically a friendly way of saying “advertising.” Essentially you’re taking steps to draw an audience. Your audience is what is going to make you money in most cases so it’s a valuable thing to develop.
There are a lot of different ways to do this, most of them cost money and if they don’t they cost time. If you’re a small business owner, time = money so one way or another you’re going to end up paying here. It’s not necessarily a bad thing though… the trade off is worth it in the end. Once you have a thriving digital presence that’s bringing you real world business you’ll be thanking yourself for the investment.
Organic Search Engine Optimization
The first and best way to get real traffic is through optimizing your site for keyword searches. Today it’s basically making sure that your site is 100% technically sound and producing regular content. This is one of the reasons I’m writing this blog right now. Simply put, regularly writing or creating video about what you do is the best way to gain organic search ranking. Google is looking for fresh content relevant to the keywords people are searching by.
In an industry like digital marketing things are continually evolving and changing. So content is really the best way to show the search engine that we are aware of the changes in our industry. It’s a simple idea but one that is lost on a lot of people. Relevance – this is what Google thrives on and to dominate in organic search you need to have relevance. So a video that was made yesterday about best practices for Pay Per Click is going to take precedent over something that was produced 10 years ago… in most cases. There are exceptions here, especially when the content is poor, has holes in it or there is a massive amount of “social proof” for other content. That is users have shown an affinity to a particular piece of information that makes it still more relevant than your newer piece of information. Hopefully that makes sense.
A big ranking factor is making sure your site is aligned with best practices. This was hinted at earlier but to explain in more detail, Google has good reasoning behind a lot of their rules and regulations. The goal is to have a search engine that succeeds at their mission:
PROVIDE THE USER WITH THE BEST AND MOST RELEVANT SEARCH RESULTS QUICKLY AND EFFICIENTLY
Simply stated, that’s the goal of Google and if you play by their rules they will elevate your website naturally.
A great example of this type of practice is the character limit on title tags and meta descriptions. These limitations are not simply arbitrary. They are designed to assure that when a user gets a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) it is clean and easy to navigate with accurate descriptions of each link displayed. As more and more people search, Google’s algorithms begin to note the links that get the most clicks and elevate those organically based on this and many other factors.
Finding and Using Keywords
This is a simple process that we hammer on quite a bit if you read our blogs but it’s an important one. The first thing you should do is ask yourself: “If I was looking for my website what would I type in?” – the answer to this question contains the words you will optimize your website and future content around.
This is probably the single most important aspect of how you word and layout your website. It’s also very simple and often neglected so by taking it seriously you instantly put yourself ahead of a lot of your competition. It’s also not something you should generalize with as people can find you in a variety of situations. For example, if you sell auto parts you would want to optimize your homepage around the keyword “auto parts” but a typical user may find you while searching for an oil filter for a 1978 Chevy Nova. For this reason like it or not the bigger and more vast your website is the better chances you have of netting organic search traffic.
When you think about where people go online these days a large portion of the hot spots are social media
networks. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. All of these can produce traffic for a business due to the discovery engines that drive them. We have written page upon page about social media marketing so I won’t go into a ton of detail here but just mention that it’s extremely important to have a social presence if you are serious about growing your audience.
Pay Per Click Advertising
There are a lot of different advertising methods you can use to get traffic to your site but Google AdWords Pay Per Click is probably the most efficient and best quality source of purchased traffic. The reason being is that search has real intent behind it. You can buy traffic from Facebook to run to your auto parts store but when I go to Facebook I don’t go there looking to buy auto parts. So advertising in an environment like Facebook is going to be less effective for sales but a good avenue for branding. Google AdWords on the other hand allows you to buy into keyword searches that have real intent. If you’re bidding on the keyword “Buy Auto Parts” in Google it’s a safe bet that most of those searches are actually people looking to buy auto parts. Other than maybe Amazon, there aren’t a ton of places you can buy that kind of traffic. Pay Per Click is the best way to get visible instantly if you have a budget to spend.