February 11, 2022

Owned Audience: How to Build an Audience for your Business

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Building relationships is an essential part of marketing your business. Many business owners leverage tools like social media to gain a following, share their experiences, and generate warm leads for their products or services.

But, even though tools like social media are great for expanding a company’s reach and meeting new people, most users don’t realize that all their followers could disappear in a moment.

Social media followers are just one example of a rented or borrowed audience. With a borrowed audience, businesses use a platform to communicate with their followers. However, if that platform disables your account or experiences downtime, users instantly lose contact with their followers.

Since platforms evolve and change all the time, a borrowed audience is always at risk, so it’s essential for business owners to rely less on borrowed audiences and more on their owned audience.

Here’s everything you need to know about understanding and building your company’s audience, including our top five tactics to build an owned audience.

Owned Audiences and Why Businesses Should Build Them

An owned audience is a customer population contained on platforms your company maintains complete control over. Owned media often includes a company’s website, blog, internal e-learning platforms or communities, and email lists.

Business owners “own” the data generated and collected from the sources they control; they can analyze that customer data, extract it into a separate file to store elsewhere, and import it into different platforms. Contrarily, businesses can’t extract audience data from borrowed sources like social media sites, e-commerce websites like Amazon, or many other external platforms.

In an increasingly pay-to-play business environment, owning your audience offers huge advantages. Creating relationships with your audience is easier when they engage with your company through your owned media channels. Plus, without censorship or limitations, you can hone your messaging and create customized content with a built-in feedback loop and insights from analytics.

Ultimately, this secures your audience against platform changes out of your control and helps you perfect your message, giving you a better bang for your buck on future paid advertising and content marketing campaigns. 

When you own your audience, you can move that data across different platforms, too. If a platform suddenly shuts down or suspends your account, you still have a way to communicate with your customers. However, an owned audience comes with its own responsibilities — namely, companies must securely store customer data once they have it. Otherwise, they may risk a data breach and compromise customer data, which leads to fines and diminished customer trust.

Top 5 Tactics to Build an Owned Audience

Building an owned audience is a great way to connect with your customers in a new way and future-proof your business. But, growing your owned audience often takes longer than expanding your reach on a borrowed platform.

With patience and a strong strategy, you can create an audience that you can depend on. Here are five powerful tactics to help you expand your audience beyond social media and develop an owned audience.

1. Provide value to gain customer data

One of the easiest ways to start an owned audience is to invite your existing audience on social media platforms to join you elsewhere. However, that’s often easier said than done. Most businesses know how to create valuable content that attracts followers on social media, but to entice your audience to a new platform, they need to see you provide different kinds of value.

For example, you can offer a discount for joining your email list, create unique content on your website’s blog, or invite your audience to a virtual or in-person event in exchange for an email address. Use social media to promote these opportunities and get people excited about engaging with your brand beyond their current platform. 

2. Crosslist products on your website

Even if you get steady product sales on Amazon, you’re missing out on an opportunity to grow your owned audience if you aren’t listing your products on your own site, too. Listing products on your website can help you ‌build customer loyalty and learn more about your customers with analytics and demographic data.

You may even make more sales by cross-listing your products on your website. More data allows you to remarket to customers with email campaigns and paid advertising, creating a higher lifetime value per customer. Plus, on your own site, it’s easy to build order volume by upselling and cross-selling products. 

3. Host your own videos and resources on your website

Many e-learning platforms limit what information you can export about your students. Plus, video sharing platforms like YouTube offer limited information about your viewers, making it harder to promote your business. While these tools are great for disseminating information, they aren’t the best way to grow your business.

Instead, build a community and learning platform on your website’s server to maintain better control over your audience. By self-hosting your content, you can continue to provide value to your customers, offer a better user experience, and market relevant products or services to them.

4. Segment your audience

Even if you own your audience now, you won’t for long if your content causes them to unsubscribe. Managing your owned audience is an important component of growing and expanding your business, and one way to effectively manage your owned audience is through segmentation.

Segmenting your audience and providing specific value to different subsets allows you to serve different types of customers most effectively with the most relevant content and offers. In fact, segmented campaigns can increase revenue by up to 760%

5. Develop a content strategy

To maintain your owned audience’s interest and engagement, you need to continue providing value. Developing a content strategy can help you offer consistent value that supports their goals and keeps your brand top of mind.

Creating engaging, sharable content doesn’t happen overnight. As you learn more about your audience, you can create a stronger content strategy to entertain them, answer their questions, and help them learn more about your product or services. 

Build Better Relationships and Grow Your Business with an Owned Audience

Relying exclusively on borrowed audiences is a common mistake business owners make. But, as organic reach continues to decline, many companies are eager to find another way to build their audiences.

Creating an owned audience is the only way to maintain consistent control over your customer’s data. With an owned audience, you can grow your business and build relationships with your most engaged customers on your own terms. By learning more about your engaged customers, you can continue to expand your reach and resonate with even more customers.

Now’s the time to start growing your owned audience. Use these helpful tactics to convert your dedicated followers into a valuable owned audience you can support for years to come.