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How to Build an Audience

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A question many business owners ask themselves is: “How can I grow my online audience?” Audience-building for your online business includes the process of developing awareness of your brand in order to help you to sell more of your products or services. 

So, what should you do to develop your audience? In this article, we’ll explore solutions to that question: from locating your target audience, to engaging them with high-quality content and calls to action.

Locating your target audience

The logical place to begin is to identify who your target audience is and how to find them. To start building your audience strategy, think about what it is you’re trying to understand about your target customer. That way, you can be intentional about your audience research. 

You may be looking to learn your target audience’s:

  • Purchase intention: how likely they are to buy your products or services, so you can tailor your marketing tactics accordingly

  • Interests: what their hobbies and other interests are, so you can serve them relevant content

  • Subculture: the cultural grouping with which they identify, so you can understand that group’s habits, attitudes, communication styles, and other traits that will help you shape your content and brand voice 

If your business is already active, you’ll probably have some existing customers you can tap into for reliable target audience data. By adding forms to your site that directly request customer data, and by researching your website analytics, you can learn your customers’ demographic profiles, shopping habits, and how they engage with brands. You can even link to surveys via email campaigns to ask customers for in-depth information.

You should also consider conducting a wider market analysis to gauge how audiences are interacting with other brands. Look to your most successful competitors to see what they’re doing to engage audiences—and check out your least successful competitors to see what they’re doing that alienates audiences. Reading relevant trade publications and following industry influencers on social media can also help you find out what your target audience demands from brands and how brands are adapting to deliver what people want.

Read more about how to find your target audience. 

Expanding your current network

Your existing network of friends, followers, customers, and clients offers great insight into how to find more people like them who’ll be interested in your brand. But how do you reach beyond that network when you want to expand your audience and attract new customers?

In 2021, an estimated 2.1 billion people across the globe shopped online, which is more than a quarter of the world’s population. So, making sure that your brand reaches and entices those shoppers includes having a strong online presence in the form of:

  • A website that’s functional, easy to navigate, and optimized for mobile browsing.

  • A comprehensive social media strategy—billions of people globally use social media, so you cannot afford to ignore it.

You should also focus on maximizing your website’s visibility on search engines. This is what’s known as search engine optimization (SEO). It’s the process of ensuring that your website is listed high up on search engine results pages (SERPs) when your target audiences search for certain keywords online.

Optimize for search engines by making sure your website meets the technical demands of search engines. Squarespace websites include built-in SEO features. Also, use your target audience’s common search terms throughout your website copy and meta descriptions. These keywords can be identified with an analytics tool like Squarespace analytics. It will also help your SEO if you spend some time generating hyperlinks to your site. You can do that by encouraging people to review, discuss, and share your content on their own websites.

Read more about expanding your network. 

Squarespace built-in website marketing options

Producing high-quality, SEO-friendly content 

In order to attain on-page SEO value, it’s important that your website is regularly updated with quality content. This tells search engines that your site is a valuable audience resource, so you will be ranked higher for relevant audience searches. The result is that your website will become visible to a larger audience that is likely to feel an affinity with your brand.

High-quality content is judged on the following factors:

  • Frequency: Publishing new content regularly tells search engines that you’re an active brand and a source of up-to-date information.

  • Originality: Content created by you is judged as valuable, whereas content copied from other websites is judged as poor quality, unless you reference your source.

  • Relevance: Keyword-rich content that matches the search terms your target audience uses tells search engines that you have the answers your audience is looking for.

  • Credibility: Make sure your pages have a lot of internal links to related content on your site, as well as external links to back up any claims, which tells search engines that you’re a subject matter expert.

Check all these boxes when creating your videos, blog posts, product descriptions, meta descriptions, image tags, and other on-page content. If your content checks all the boxes, it will be judged as high-quality and help you to become more visible to your target audience on search engines.

Sharing content on your social media accounts won’t have a direct impact on your SEO ranking. However, it will indirectly influence your SEO by developing awareness of—and engagement with—your brand. To make the most of this opportunity, you can employ tools like Squarespace Unfold and Squarespace Video Studio to help carry your brand identity into your social media.

Read more about creating quality content.

Driving traffic from your social media

The first step toward turning your social media followers into active customers is to guide that audience to your website, so they can explore all your blog has to offer. To do this, you’ll need to create a content strategy and roll it out across the calendar year, ensuring that your blog stays fresh and relevant.

Start by organizing content clusters that you intend to publish on your website’s blog and promote on social media. At the heart of a content cluster are pillar pages or hub pages, which are keyword-rich articles that represent the main subject you want to talk about (e.g., “Italian food”). Related to that subject will be keyword-rich “spoke” pages, which dive deeper into aspects of each hub page’s subject matter (e.g., “pizzas,” “pasta dishes,” and “rice dishes”). Spoke pages can also become hub pages. For instance, your “pasta dishes” page might become the hub of spoke pages that cover “spaghetti recipes,” “farfalle recipes,” and “orzo recipes.” 

Developing content clusters equips you with topics to use as the basis of your website content. When you have enough material to publish over a significant length of time, you should develop a content calendar. This approach will help you to plan your website’s content production process, from creation to publication, as well as schedule relevant social media content that drives back to your site. All of these steps will have a significant positive impact on your SEO.

A content calendar is generally laid out in the form of a spreadsheet, but there are other tools you can use to help plan your publishing, such as Unfold’s Instagram Feed Planner and blog post scheduling, which offer simple, automated solutions.

When it comes to publishing website content on your social media channels, use formats that entice your followers to click through to your website, such as:

  • Competitions and giveaways

  • Links to downloadable materials (e.g., white papers, audio files, product specs)

  • Product promotions that drive traffic to landing pages on your website

  • Content excerpts that demand your followers click through to your website to access the full experience

If you’re a Squarespace user, you could also choose to use tools like Unfold Bio Sites, which enable you to share all of the links on your social media bio in the form of a branded, single-page site.

One of the most important steps toward driving traffic to your website from social media is to make sure you’re posting content at the right time. Analytics tools can help you to understand when certain audience segments will be active on social media, so you can plan your publishing schedule accordingly.

Read more about turning followers into clients. 

Engaging your audience

Enticing your target audience to visit your site is a great achievement. However, once they’re there, it’s vital that you keep them engaged and coming back for more. 

An engaged audience demonstrates the following behaviors:

  • They spend at least a couple of minutes on each page. This is what’s known as page dwell time.

  • They share your content with their own social media followers.

  • They pay multiple visits to the same pages.

  • They don’t visit just one page of your site before clicking away—they visit a number of different pages in a single session. This is known as a low bounce rate.

To encourage these behaviors on your website, make use of certain tools and techniques to elicit positive actions, including: 

  • Landing pages to incentivize click-through or data capture

  • Calls-to-action (CTAs) and clickable buttons to enable easier navigation

  • Internal links to encourage deeper investigation into your other pages

  • Varied content formats to target different audience preferences

In order to get your target audience to repeatedly visit your website, it helps to try a variety of tactics, such as using: 

  • Promotional pop-ups to collect email subscribers, so you can send email and newsletter updates to them. 

  • A tool like Squarespace email notifications to send automated email responses when, for example, a customer places an order with you. Automated responses can reassure customers of your credibility and develop their loyalty. 

  • Waiting lists for upcoming products and services, which could inspire your customers to check in on progress regularly, increasing their engagement with your website and brand.

Find out more about website leads.  

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    A Guide to Creating High-Quality Content

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