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Do you have customers or an audience?

Coldplay doesn’t have to convince people to buy tickets to see them in concert, they do what they’re good at, giving people listening pleasure. And they let those people – their audience – voluntarily come to them.

You probably spend loads of your budget each month running ads and sending emails trying to reach people, to interrupt people as they’re watching TV, reading a magazine or travelling on the underground.

This type of advertising relies on clever wording and catchy images to capture attention, and those viewing the ads may or may not turn into a customer. But this type of marketing doesn’t offer customers any inherent reason to engage.

Forget customers, you need an audience

An audience will not need convincing with ads, they will come to you. They will return to you periodically to find out what you’re up to. They’ll want to hear your message – rather than try to avoid it bombarding their day – because they are getting something of value.

These are the people you should be striving to attract to your business, those who will give you their attention willingly. You don’t have to twist their arm with special offers and incentives, they’ll want to find out what you offer and will seek out that information.

So, how do you create an audience?

It could be through blog posts, podcast recordings, white papers, downloadable guides, infographics, free books, Youtube videos – anything that benefits others. This is how you build an audience, and this audience will happily give your permission to market to them, if they are getting valuable content out of it too.

To build an audience you don’t have to sell, you need to give them something they’ll appreciate, something they don’t want to live without. Whether it’s good music or valuable information. So, do what you need to do to get that information out there.

You’ll know if you have an audience, because you won’t need to try to get their attention – they’ll already be listening to what you have to say.

Photo Credit: Party fans raised their hands, Anthony DELANOIX