Growing Your Business Without an Audience

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Paulina Sáez

Let’s face it.

Growing your business by building an audience is a great idea. But it takes A LOT OF WORK.

Sure, having an audience has a lot of benefits, but it doesn’t happen overnight.

For example, I joined Twitter back in 2010, and only at the end of last year did I finally get 1,000 followers. That’s 12 years after I opened up my account.

Now, creating content for my blog, newsletter, and for X involves:

  • Brainstorming content ideas
  • Researching my audience
  • Doing SEO keyword research
  • Creating the actual content
  • Publishing it at the right time
  • Promoting it across various channels
  • Engaging with my audience

Phew! That’s a lot.

Is there another way to grow?

If you want quicker results (and you’re anxious like me), you’ll want to consider these alternatives to generate income while you slowly build your audience.

3 Strategies to Grow Your Business Without an Audience

  1. Collaborate with influencers
  2. Post in communities
  3. Adding your business to review sites

1. Collaborating with Influencers

Partnering with social media influencers or creators could bring you thousands of users in a short period. By showcasing your product or service to their audience, you can get that money flowing without having a following of your own.

For the team at Formula Bot, an Excel formula generator, everything changed when a TikTok user with over 4.5 million followers decided to feature their website. Within a month and a half after the video went viral, they had an impressive 350,000 users and generated $700 in subscriptions during their soft launch. You can read more about their story here.

Expert Sales Group generated $6M in sales for their online course. After a period of no growth, they ventured into influencer marketing. A few Facebook posts by a known influencer got them about 1,000 leads for their free course (with a % of them converting into paid customers later.)

Advantages:

  • Quick to set up, offering immediate access to a new audience.
  • Saves time by outsourcing content creation and distribution to creators.
  • Influencers have built-in trust with their audience, boosting your brand’s credibility.
  • You can repurpose the high-quality user-generated content.

Disadvantages:

  • Not always effective. It’s a trial-and-error process because you don’t know for sure what’s going to work and what’s not at first.
  • Time-consuming to find the right influencer.
  • Loss of control over messaging.
  • The wrong influencer or a bad review can damage your reputation.

2. Posting in Communities

Contributing to online communities like Reddit, Discord, or Facebook groups can be quite effective as well.

For example, the sales CRM Breakcold gained 267 beta users in just 4 hours by posting in specific Facebook Groups where they found community members interested in products like theirs. After sharing two posts in Martech and LTDs groups, they received hundreds of comments from people eager to join as beta users.

And ShipFast, a NextJs boilerplate, saw over 100,000 website visitors from a single Reddit post.

Advantages:

  • Targeted audiences make them a great place for finding early adopters.
  • Highly engaged users bring the potential for rapid content amplification and virality.
  • Closer customer relationships and a higher chance to build more sustainable connections.
  • Direct feedback can lead to better product offerings.

Disadvantages:

  • Poor execution can harm your reputation and could even lead to getting banned from the community.
  • It is time-consuming, especially at the beginning.
  • Competition from others promoting similar products might make it more difficult for you to stand out.
  • Finding the right community can be challenging.

3. Adding Your Business to Review Sites

Did you know that 99.9% of consumers read reviews when they buy something online? Review sites are websites made specially to allow customers to leave a review on the product or service you’re selling. Examples include ClutchTrustpilotG2, and Capterra.

Gymdesk, a gym management software, quickly ranked first in searches for “martial arts gym software” after just a couple of months of running ads on Capterra. So by running ads on a review site, they got people to leave ratings which then allowed their software to rank on the same website.

he social media agency Socialistics invested in Clutch listings to enhance their visibility and credibility, and they achieved great success as a result: “From day one I committed to investing time and money into it because, for us, they have top 3 search visibility for our #1 keyword so it made sense for us.”

Advantages:

  • Leverages the platform’s existing traffic.
  • Listings on reputable review websites can significantly enhance your website’s SEO, making it more accessible for potential clients to discover you through search engines like Google and Bing.
  • Good reviews enhance credibility and can be used as testimonials.

Disadvantages:

  • Some sites require payment for listings and features. For example, the folks at Martial Arts on Rails invest nearly $400 per month in Capterra. Socialitics spend a similar amount on Clutch, listing their services at around $500 per month.
  • Your business will be listed alongside many competitors, and it may lose visibility if it doesn’t rank among the top positions.
  • Limited control over presentation and the impact of negative reviews.

Which is the Best Strategy?

It depends on your business stage and type:

  • If you’re just starting, you could benefit from communities. In the beginning, you should prioritize learning from your audience. Since you probably won’t have many reviews, listing on review sites may not be very helpful.
  • For established B2C businesses, influencers can be a great option as they usually create content that is tailored to end consumers.
  • If you run a B2B business, the review sites method could be more effective. Consider encouraging your best clients to leave a review in exchange for something in return.

In growing UpGroves, I’ve been trying to be active in communities where my audience hangs out. However, finding the balance between sharing valuable content and not appearing spammy is tricky. I’m trying to promote my newsletter effectively by:

  • Participating with a helpful and generous attitude. Instead of just asking for help in communities, I focus on how to help the members.
  • Focusing on playing the long game. This means I aim for long-term success by helping others succeed, rather than just trying to win.
  • Being authentic and keep my posts and comments in a conversational tone. I try to avoid comments that make me sound like an expert or that seem like I’m giving professional advice.
  • Including a link to my blog in my profile. This way, if a person wants to find more about me they can find the link to my projects by clicking on my username.

Which strategy do you think could boost your business growth?


This Week’s Picks

  • Stories From The Trenches‘The Shadow Work Journal’ is the newest wellness trend to take over TikTok
    Did you know that a 24-year-old self-help author outsold Oprah? Keila Shaheen wrote ‘The Shadow Work Journal’ and she managed to sell over 500,000 copies of the workbook through TikTop Shop and Amazon this year, largely thanks to her videos showcasing the journal going viral. Her journal has spent several weeks on Amazon’s nonfiction bestseller list.
  • Bring Me The MoneySEO Trends You Can’t Ignore In 2024
    Ahrefs is the go-to website for learning about SEO. In this article, they discuss how to take advantage of three SEO trends for the upcoming year: the widespread use of AI for content generation, the utilization of programmatic SEO for content creation, and the reliance on AI for generative responses.
  • Audience & Content:  B2B Content Distribution: Comprehensive Guide
    In this article by Backlinko, a leading SEO tips website, Brian Dean shares 7 B2B content distribution strategies to attract thousands of business visitors to each piece of content you publish. My personal favorite tip is about achieving success in X by sending out data-driven tweets.
  • It’s All About You:  Amanda Goetz’ 2024 planning process
    “I approach my yearly planning the same way I approach building a marketing calendar as a CMO.” In this X post this 2x Founder and 3x CMO shares her 5-step planning exercise for next year.
  • Re-SourcesXnapper
    This screenshot app is perfect for creating visually appealing screenshots that are ready for sharing on social media. It’s well-designed, fast, and responsive.
  • Internet CandyIndie Hackers gearing up for 2024.​

I would love to hear your feedback! Leave a comment below.

Stay humble,

~Paulina

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Paulina is the creator and main writer at UpGroves. She spends her days analyzing how successful creators and entrepreneurs grow their businesses. She's a curious generalist that likes to spend her time going down on internet rabbit holes, reading, and walking in nature.

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