Building an engaged online community should NOW be a core responsibility for business development.
The battle for new business is online which makes community development indispensable for marketing your agency. Knowing how to build an online community has become an important skill-set.
How to Build an Online Community of Prospects
1. Create a Niche
Since I started my consultancy in 2007, I’ve advocated creating a niche blog for agency new business. I’ve helped launch over 450 personal blogs for agency principals. The benefits of niche marketing are that it allows small to midsize agencies to differentiate themselves, quickly gain a positioning of expertise, and resonate more deeply with a distinct set of prospects. It also helps the smaller agencies land some big accounts.
Since 2015 everyone has jumped aboard the content marketing bandwagon. But most of the content being written is generic. It gets lost in the deluge of content being created. Especially when it’s not being written for a specific audience. It has very little appeal.
If you really want your content to provide new business opportunities, you must pick a niche and be the expert within that niche. This helps to cultivate an audience that is attracted to your writing and becomes the foundation for building your online community.
Prospects are searching for expertise. The essential element of developing a positioning of expertise is to write.
2. Really Get to Know Your Target Audience
My approach allows you to quickly define your target audience, engage, and get to know them. How?
By Creating Content
I can intimately attest to how difficult a consistent writing program can be. But, the reason that I’m such an advocate is the many benefits content marketing provides. It makes new business more focused and much easier than the interruptive type tactics of the past, such as cold calling.
One of the primary benefits of content marketing is that it can provide an organized system to personally get to know your prospects. But you must be willing to provide the time and resources to do it.
By Creating Value
Here’s a crucial tip for building your online community of prospects: Stop trying to sell your agency. It’s not about touting your credentials, capabilities, and case studies. You will never build an audience without value.
Value is simply being of service.
You identify the needs of your potential clients and then create and share information that is relevant to their challenges. You must be willing to share your expertise freely.
You won’t be valued if you are constantly touting your agency’s capabilities, accomplishments, and awards. It’s not about you or your agency, you must stay focused on the challenges and needs of your audience.
Spend more time thinking about them than about yourself.
3. Be Personal
Your skills and experience in social media have become even more important. As the agency owner, you’re are the spokesperson-in-chief. You need to provide prospects with a direct connection as your agency’s brand leader.
- Traditional corporate communication is beginning to give way to social communication.
- The time has arrived where communicating through social media is expected.
- Social media provides an efficient and effective way to be accessible.
- Social media helps your agency appear more human and creates a strong emotional connection with those you are trying to reach.
From the beginning of launching my consultancy, I’ve found success by understanding two fundamental truths:
Social media is all about PEOPLE connecting with other PEOPLE.
PEOPLE want to work with other PEOPLE that they know, trust, and like.
As agencies grow, the more faceless they become. If you really want to generate new business through social media – get personal. It’s the secret sauce that most agency owners have neglected.
People don’t hire agencies, they hire people. The person behind the agency. It’s important to find ways to show your personal side.
Remember, prospects buy a solution to a problem and they buy YOU.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or you’d like an overview of my program. I’d be glad to also include a copy of my guide, Seven Steps for Fueling New Business Through Social Media.
Additional articles that may be of interest: