Marketing Strategy Blog

How To Grow Your Audience Big-Time

Grow Your Audience

Every brand has a voice. The question is – who are you talking to? ExactTarget’s recently published Audience Growth Survey reveals insights from a diverse group of digital B2B and B2C marketers responsible for email, social, mobile and executive oversight. In this blog post, we summarize ExactTarget’s findings to help you craft an audience growth strategy that will elicit an engaged response from your subscribers, fans and followers!

Whether you’re communicating with many or few, it’s important to focus on the effectiveness of your communications. Effectiveness can mean different things to different marketers and is ultimately tied to your core business objectives. So ask yourself: “Which tactics fit my strategy and big-picture company objectives?” According to The Audience Growth Survey, these are marketers’ top objectives by tactic:

Email: Sell a product or serviceSocial Media: Drive brand awarenessMobile: Sell a product or service

Keeping their business objectives in mind, survey respondents then rated the effectiveness of each channel – email, social media, and mobile marketing. Their responses indicate that quality is a strong metric with social media, where marketers are seeking to drive brand awareness among a community of engaged fans and followers. Mobile marketers are naturally more focused on ROI to help drive their sales goals. And email marketers are equally interested in the quality of their subscribers and in the ROI generated by their audience interactions, as both measurements are critical to their sales objectives.

Most Important Measurement to Gauge Effectiveness

You see, ‘audience growth’ does not necessarily imply list growth – if it did then quantity would be a larger focus. Instead, think of ‘audience growth’ as ‘audience development.’ What are you doing to nurture your audience and build a team of loyal customers and brand advocates?

Email Subscribers

Are you one of the 74% of email marketers who provides a general email sign-up form on your website? Not a bad move; the survey shows this subscriber growth tactic is 42% effective.

But you could be doing MUCH MORE to boost the quality of your audience. What about requiring email registration in order to access content promoted via your social media channels? This tactic is used by fewer marketers (39%), but is 59% effective. You could also require an email upon registering for your mobile app, or acquire a customer’s email to deliver a receipt. These tactics are used by even fewer marketers (13%), and are 55% effective. In all three examples, you are connecting with audience members who are already choosing to engage with your brand. Whether browsing your social feed, downloading your mobile app, or purchasing your product/service, these are the people that any marketer dreams of connecting with! It begs the question: Why bother collecting email addresses from a generic form when you could instead target an audience that is well on its way to helping you meet your business objectives?

Social Media Fans & Followers

It’s tempting to value quantity over quality on social media. If you’re like most marketers, every new follower puts a smile on your face, and each “like” or retweet seems to validate your social media marketing efforts. However, quality fans and followers are less easy to come by, and effective social media marketing involves much more than sitting back and counting ‘shares.’

Differentiate yourself from the 76% of Facebook marketers and 65% of Twitter marketers who include a Facebook/Twitter button on their website or blog. Yes, it’s effective enough (46% effective on Facebook; 43% effective on Twitter), but there are other subscriber growth tactics that can help you uncover the quality audience you’re searching for! Try publicly answering customer service questions on Facebook (69% effective) and Twitter (60% effective). You’re offering tangible value in exchange for social interaction, and can be confident that you’re growing a responsive, engaged audience.

Mobile App Users

Mobile App marketing is still evolving. Basically, if you’re in the game you’re off to a good start. Leading tactics among 65% of mobile marketers seeking to grow a user base and maximize ROI include promoting an app via their website (55% effective) and through email marketing (59% effective). Other less common subscriber growth tactics include advertising on social media channels or demoing your app at live events – both 50% effective. But it’s still early for mobile, and we can expect more tactics to emerge as this channel matures. Who knows – maybe your company will be the one to uncover the next most effective growth tactic!


All statistics in this blog post were sourced from The Audience Growth Survey, produced by ExactTarget, October 2013.