The reality is that no matter how good you are at writing, if you don’t have an audience ready and willing to buy your books, your writing career is dead in the water.
The truth is that you don’t need a huge audience to make a good living from writing and selling your books (although it never hurts). What matters is that you have an audience that loves what you write and lives in constant anticipation for your next release.
If you can crack the marketing code and connecting with these types of individuals you are well on your way to a significant and loyal fan base that supports and grows your writing career for years to come.
7 Steps to Building a Loyal Audience
If you’re just starting out in the world of self-publishing, or your current audience growth strategy is delivering lackluster results there are some small changes you can make to your system over time that deliver big results when you apply them properly and consistently.
- Start Well Before You Write Your First Sentence
The key to developing a robust audience for your book is starting long before you even write it.
That may sound completely backwards, but many self-published authors have discovered that what they had in mind as an offer for their target market turned out to be the wrong direction to go in completely.
By baiting your hook and throwing it out there before committing to completing an entire manuscript, you can hone in on what your audience actually wants to read and deliver that to them without wasting your time.
- Decide on Clear and Measurable Goals
If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you ever expect to get there? What exactly are you trying to achieve with your audience building methods?
It’s important to figure this out so that you can develop a strategy that works, maximizing your core strengths while minimizing your weaknesses.
Want to get 100 new signups for your mailing list each week? Looking to get accepted for two guest blog posts a month?
Establish the small goals that will get you closer to your ultimate goal and you have the beginnings of your blueprint for success.
- Commit to Working Your Plan Consistently
Once you’ve established your goals and come up with your strategy for achieving them, you have to keep on working at it in order for it to succeed.
This means creating a to-do list of the things that must happen in order to get you closer to your goals.
This could mean writing a new blog post each week, or guest blogging once a month. It could also mean going on a blog tour or setting aside half an hour each day to comment on a popular blog in your niche.
What matters is that whatever you choose to focus on, you commit to doing it consistently until you see results.
- Put Your Audience’s Needs Ahead of Your Own
Along with beginning your marketing long before you write the first word of your book, another important aspect of developing a loyal audience is always putting their needs in front of your own.
Yes, you want to sell your books and earn a living, however, the only thing your audience members are concerned about is what’s in it for them.
If you can really understand what that means and make their deepest desires yours as well, you are well on your way to the kind of success you want.
- Tailor Your Marketing Messages to Suit Your Audience
It’s important to remember that when it comes to marketing there’s no one size fits all methodology.
This means it’s important to make your marketing message appropriate for the audience you’re targeting at any specific point in time.
Instead of being tempted to broad brush your message, take the time to figure out which medium would be best to get your key point across.
- Track Your Results Carefully
After you’ve been implementing your marketing strategies on a regular and ongoing basis, it’s important to track the response you’ve gotten to what you are doing.
How else can you figure out whether what you’re doing is working or not?
Ways to track your results should include measurable benchmarks such as comments left on forums and blogs, the number of email list signups you get during a specific period, along with the number of book sales you achieve and their origin.
- Rinse and Repeat What Works
Success leaves clues.
Look for positive patterns in your results and once you figure out what works well for you and produces the audience building mettle that you need to achieve your long-term goals, keep doing more of the same, while simultaneously dropping strategies that don’t deliver results.
Specific Strategies for Building Your Audience Over Time
Along with moving step-by-step through the broader audience development process outlined above there are lots of very specific activities you can do that work collectively to grow your audience larger than you ever thought possible.
Whether it’s on your own platform or guest blogging on someone else’s, posting new and relevant information on a consistent basis is one of the best ways to attract and grow a loyal audience over time.
Create an Email List
Once you’ve started spreading the word about your brand and your books, you need a place to funnel your newly acquired leads so that you can continue to provide them with awesome information and build relationships over time.
This is where your email list comes in.
Start it early and keep it growing because it is perhaps your strongest long-term asset in your quest for developing a loyal audience.
Piggy Back on Other Peoples Audiences
Not a big fan of the slow and steady audience building philosophy? A simple way to increase your audience numbers quickly involves “hacking” other people’s audiences.
It’s a time-tested strategy that works exceptionally well.
Find an already established group of people who want the same kind of information you provide and inevitably some of them will follow you if you can provide them with helpful content.
Think blog tours, guest blogging opportunities and answering questions on other people’s forums and Facebook pages.
Promote with Social Media
Another strategy for connecting with more of your ideal readers involves leveraging the power of social media to share and promote your brand.
Strive to share things that strike a chord with your audience, you’ll be rewarded with likes, shares and more interest generated among a wider group of potential readers as they pass the word along about you and your offers.
Take Your Marketing Offline
Feel like going off the beaten track? Take your marketing and promotion efforts offline.
In a time when so many people are hyper-focused on online marketing, it’s easy to forget about all the opportunities that exist offline.
Give library talks, write for trade publications and newspapers, become a guest on a radio or television show. That way, you don’t leave any potentially untapped audience undiscovered.
Make no bones about it, building a loyal group of readers is a painstaking and time-consuming process. But if you think about it, the time is going to pass by anyway, so get started early and set yourself up for ultimate success with your self-publishing business.
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