Have you heard that it's important to grow an audience online for your creative business?
As a creative business owner, growing your audience online can be daunting at first with so many different tools and strategies to choose from. That's why I created this Lessons Learned series!
I reached out to 15 creative business owners about growing their audience online and asked them a few questions.
These are the questions that I asked 15 creative business owners:
If you could go back in time to your first year in business, what would you tell yourself?" Read here: 15+ Creatives Reveal Lessons Learned as a Business Owner
What is one piece of advice that you would give someone who is struggling with growing their audience online? (**COMING SOON**)
This post is about lessons learned and I hope that you find these helpful! Here is the question I asked for this post:
What is the biggest lesson that you've learned about growing your audience online?
1. Patricia from Syt Biz
"Whenever trying something new to grow your audience, give it enough time to work. Otherwise, you might give up too soon and miss out on something that could really pay off."
2. Charis from Charis Dillon
"To be authentic. To have a clear goal.”
3. Stephanie from Career Makeover Academy
"To not be afraid of being yourself and making mistakes. There's no reason to act like you have all your sh*t together.”
4. Maigen from Maigen Thomas Enterprises, LLC// Build a Better Wedding Business // Wedding for $1000
"When I first started Wedding for $1000 it was the first time I had ever tried to build an audience. I knew that I had a ton of valuable information to share. I didn't know how I would get it out to the people who needed it. So I tried a little bit of this, a little bit of that and spread that out over a million ways to build my audience. It took a really, really long time. It sucked. I made a lot of terrible decisions because I was getting a lot of conflicting advice from too many sources. There was only one me. I tried to do it all, but it was crushing and overwhelming. My biggest lesson and one that I have continued to significantly improve on is to niche down. It's not just for your business idea - it's how you connect with your ideal audience. It feels scary not to try to do everything. But it's important to choose a focus and deliver value to the audience you're trying to build. Trying to be everything to everyone resulted in very few conversions for Wedding for $1000. Choosing to be extremely specific in what I offer and who I want to connect with has started my path to building a truly engaged audience. And you already know this, but an engaged audience is an audience that pays.”
5. Jo from Kalavati Happiness Cafe
"Show up consistently every day for your audience with a clear focus. It's a marathon, not a race.’
6. Colleen from Personal Paper Hugs
"It's a lot harder than you think. But if you stay true to yourself and keep trying, you can grow your followers and engagement organically."
7. Krista from Coded Creative
"The biggest lesson I've learned about growing an audience is that making a real connection with your people is everything. Whether it's in terms of live video or how personal and relatable you get in your content, making real connections makes a huge difference. It allows people to trust you, encourages them to spread the word, and helps you know more about what you can create for them.
For example, for the last year, I've had two segments for my email list. One of the people who were in my past audience and one of those in my current audience. Both segments received unique content each week, but I always included more room for personal connections in the newsletters I sent to my current audience. I let them get to know what was going on in my life and business, wasn't afraid to tell them when I made a mistake and did weekly live videos in a Facebook group that a lot of them were in. Over the last couple months, the difference that extra personal touch made had become extremely apparent. When launching a product to my current audience, I tripled the stretch goal I had set for the launch. On the other hand, when doing a well-planned and executed affiliate launch to the other segment, not a single sale was made. If that doesn't say something, I don't know what does! It can seem a little uncomfortable at first, but let your audience start learning a little more about you. Even if it's just a tiny step at a time.”
8. Molly from Darling Rage Creations
"The most important thing that I've learned about growing an audience, is that it's not about growing an "audience" at all, as much as it's about growing a tribe. It's about digging deep into yourself and finding those core values and things that make you who you truly are; bringing them to the surface and showing up to share with the world. The more you speak your truth, the more the right people will be attracted to you. As your tribe grows, so do the opportunities for connection.”
9. Amanda from Amanda Cross Blog
"I think the biggest lesson that I have learned is that if you build it, they may not come. Many people tell new bloggers that if they just wait it out, eventually they will gain the audience they seek. We all want to believe that if we continue to share great content, people will find us. It's simply not true, unfortunately. Instead, there are so many things that we could be doing instead of waiting. Investing money in courses, joining Facebook groups, taking the plunge into search engine optimization, and taking full advantage of Pinterest are all examples of things that you can do. Don't hesitate to build your audience thinking they will come to you, be proactive."
10. Erin from Erin Shebish
"The biggest lesson I've learned is that there are too many "cookie cutter" notions out there. People feel like they need to look/act/sound a certain way to grow their audience but the truth is that when you're true to yourself and who you are, you'll connect with the right audience and it will grow!"
11. Maggie from Maggie Giele Digital Strategy
"Stop looking at what everyone else is doing. Put your head down and do your own thing. Sometimes it works well and sometimes it doesn't, but you'll have more originality, experience and a more authentic relationship with your audience than if you're just doing what everyone else is.”
12. Julia from Julia Slike & Co.
"It takes TIME and MONEY.”
13. Jaimie from Jaimie Myers
"I think the biggest lesson I've learned is that not everyone is your audience. It can be hard to realize that you can't and shouldn't serve everybody, but when you really gear your content at a certain type of person, you are doing a real service to them and to your business.”
14. Elna from Profitable Creative
"That it can take time to find your audience. You can think about your audience and write posts for them, but then find out that you are attracting a different audience. So go with the flow and change when your blog changes.”
15. Lindsey from Hazel Haven
I wish that I would have kept better track of what was working and what wasn't. I tried to do ALL OF THE THINGS instead of focusing on what my audience wanted. Surveying my audience, doing live streams, starting my own facebook group, and tracking my business stats has really helped me connect with my audience on a deeper level.
Sometimes you have to just listen to your gut when it comes to growing your audience online!
Not sure if what you're doing is helping you grow your own audience online?
Download your FREE Growth Tracker by entering your information below!
Whew! So many great lessons above. I did see a common theme though, didn't you?
Put yourself out there. Be patient. Stay consistent. Make those connections. Tell your story. Take action.
I loved it when Krista said, " let your audience start learning a little more about you," and when Maggie said, "Stop looking at what everyone else is doing"
If you found this post helpful, please share it!
Now over to you, which lesson hit home for you? Have any ah-ha moments? Let me know in comments below!
Hey there, I'm Lindsey the online educator behind hazelhaven.com. I help creative business owners learn how to use the tools to grow their audience online. I'm an introverted extrovert who loves tech systems, dark chocolate and a strong cup of coffee. Be sure to join my free community by clicking here Creative Biz Haven.