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Trying to increase your audience size? This is why your strategy might be wrong

It’s 9am, and you have just walked into a packed conference room with 1000 people sitting in chairs, waiting to listen to the speaker: you. It sounded like such a great opportunity when you heard about it. You’ve just launched your brand new product that you have spent the last six months lovingly perfecting, and now you have a chance to tell the world about it.

So you take a deep breath, a sip of water, and begin your carefully crafted talk. But the audience in front of you aren’t listening. In fact, they are talking in whispered murmurs to each other. They aren’t even looking at you. No-one is taking any notice of what you have to say. They don’t care. They are just random members of the public, and they don’t really have any interest in the product you are trying to sell.

Let’s rewind. Now you’ve been given the same opportunity. But this time, you are only talking to an audience of 20. These 20 people actually signed up to attend the talk because they saw an advert about your product. An audience of 20: doesn’t sound as exciting as 1000, right? Nevertheless, you go along to that conference room, and stand there as 20 faces stare back at you. This time, people are listening. Not only that, but people actually come up to you after the talk and ask you questions. They like what you have to say, and your product sounds really exciting to them. You even get a couple of sales.

So what was the difference between the first and the second talk? It was all about engagement. The first talk might have been to a bigger audience, but they had no interest in the product. They were just random members of the public. So what happens if an audience is carefully selected instead?  What if they really care about your product? What if they have already expressed some interest? You might have a smaller audience, but you have a highly engaged one.

When people first start an online business, they often obsess over numbers. They want hundreds of Facebook likes. They want thousands of Twitter followers. They want millions of visits to their site. It’s the dream, right? If you gain a big audience, then surely you will succeed in the online world.

But this just isn’t true. Audience engagement is far more important than sheer numbers. If you just focus on numbers, all you create is noise. And what happens when there’s lots of noise? Your message becomes lost.

So if you are just starting out, you really don’t have to feel inferior to those businesses you see online with thousands of fans. Concentrate on valuing your small following. Concentrate on your message. Concentrate on building a relationship you’re your audience. That is what will help your business to succeed.

So, confession time now. Have you ever suffered from audience size envy? Tell me in the comments section below.

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