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Growing a Business

How to Build an Audience-Driven Brand



In the old way of doing things, companies would rely on traditional advertising to push products on an audience of passive consumers. 

These days, the lines are blurred and the communication channels are many. Focus groups aren’t convened in a lab somewhere; they’re giving you live feedback on every step of your journey in real time. In 1999’s visionary Cluetrain Manifesto, the authors offered an invitation and a warning:

Networked markets are beginning to self-organize faster than the companies that have traditionally served them. Thanks to the web, markets are becoming better informed, smarter, and more demanding of qualities missing from most business organizations.

—Cluetrain Manifesto

If you learn how to embrace this shift toward audience-driven brands and businesses, it can become a superpower that fuels your growth.

When your customers or subscriber are more than just passive consumers of your ads and your products, they become incredibly powerful potential supporters, evangelists, and advisors. 

Building your business is a lot easier when you’re doing it alongside the people you seek to serve!

Here’s what to expect in this article:

How do I get my audience involved?

1. Determine your higher purpose.

2. Build in public.

3. Ask for help.

What to keep an eye out for

1. Distraction

2. Overwhelm

3. Too many different directions to go

The Summit for Building an Audience-Driven Brand

How Do I Get My Audience Involved?

The beauty of being audience driven is that it is versatile and iterative. You can start practicing it before you even know what kind of project you want to create! 

The whole idea is to open up your efforts so others are involved as you go. Don’t know what to do next? Talk it out in a space where others can offer their guidance. Trying to pick between colors for your company tee shirt? Poll your people! 

This can be a radical shift in mindset for people who are used to only showing the shiniest, most polished side of their business. Indeed, exposing your unfinished and imperfect side of your work comes with some risk, but the benefits can far outweigh that risk. 

1. Determine your higher purpose.

You and your audience are united in a shared interest. The better understanding you have of what that shared interest is, the more common ground you can build upon as you go. 

Whatever products and services you offer address an unfulfilled need of some kind. The circumstances driving that need are often larger trends or societal inequities that you can genuinely engage in conversation about. This gives you a powerful foundation upon which to build a business that can adjust as times change. 

This also gives you a clear way of engaging authentically with your audience in a way that isn’t always just about getting them to buy your stuff. This helps you build trust, which helps you build your business.

Take, for example, Chris Herd. His company helps other companies manage their remote workforces. While he occasionally takes time to talk about what his company offers, much of his public correspondence is focused on his deep passion for supporting remote work:

Inevitably, people whose values align with his will find him and appreciate his contributions to the discussion. Some of those folks will become his customers. Even if he changes his business model or his offerings, he still has that standing in the community, because he has a higher purpose that he can always come back to!

2. Build in public.

The notion of “building in public” has become more popular in recent years, as people started getting the hang of using Twitter threads and other forms of media to invite people behind the scenes as they go. 

Ask yourself: how can I be sharing more of my work in progress? Can I capture a time lapse video of myself designing something new in real-time, or even live stream as I create something? When I’m stuck, can I ask the question out loud for others to respond to instead of just asking myself? When I have a win, how can I celebrate that in a way that’s visible to others? 

When people can see the work going on under the cover, they’re that much more excited to see—and tell their friends about—the finished product!

3. Ask for help. 

Once upon a time, I built a coworking space. I had no business building a coworking space—I was young, had no money, and had no experience in business, much less brick-and-mortar business. But I did have a deep passion for creating a space to bring together people who would otherwise be stuck alone at home, and that passion connected to the desires others around me had. 

So when I needed something done that I couldn’t do myself, I turned to my community. In the course of developing my space, I got legal help, design help, web development help, IT help, free hardware, and so much more. Each person was happy to support me because they cared about seeing my project succeed.

When you have a clear purpose that resonates with others, they want to help you make your shared vision a reality. The more you involve people in that process, the more they will feel emotionally invested in what you’re doing, which will just grow your base of support even more!

What to Keep an Eye Out For

The audience-driven route is a powerful one that I recommend to most anyone, but it comes with its own challenges and tradeoffs. Here are some pitfalls to look out for:

1. Distraction

Do you get too caught up telling the story instead of doing the work? Sometimes the process of sharing about what you’re doing and engaging with the people ends up eating into your time and impeding you from actually getting the work done. 

2. Overwhelm

So much correspondence! The more you put yourself out there, the more people will see you… and respond to you… and ask you questions… and want your attention. That, of course, is the point, but it also means you must be careful to manage your boundaries. If you find yourself starting to get inundated, take a step back and figure out how to reconfigure your communications so you can manage the flow.

3. Too many different directions to go

“Hey, you should do this!”—lots of people will have lots of ideas of how you should spend your precious time. Setting clear boundaries for handling new ideas will help. 

I’ve found it helps to set specific times, monthly or quarterly, to entertain new ideas. You can consider any new ideas from your backlog and determine what you will work on for the coming time period ahead. Any new ideas that come in can be added to your backlog until the next review day!

Building an audience-driven business helps you build an engaged, passionate following. It helps you build social capital, and helps you stay authentic. While it might feel a little funny to practice it at first, over time it becomes hard to think of building a business any other way.

This post was originally published on this site

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Growing a Business

2023’s Festive Formula: Small Business Success in the Extended Holiday Season

Navigate the unique landscape of the 2023 holiday shopping season with our expert guide. Discover how small businesses can capitalize on extended consumer spending, leveraging the latest trends in personalization, online marketing, and fast fulfillment. From creating an enchanting in-store experience to mastering the digital realm, learn how to harness consumer behavior shifts for a prosperous holiday period. Get ready to transform challenges into opportunities and make this festive season your most successful yet!



The holiday season is a pivotal time for small businesses globally. With 2023’s extended holiday shopping period and consumer trends towards affordability and unique experiences, small businesses have unique opportunities to thrive.

Understanding the Holiday Shopper

Modern consumers are trading down, seeking value while also desiring experiences and personal connections. They prefer businesses offering unique, personalized services, and community engagement. This shift opens up numerous opportunities for small enterprises.

Creating a Festive In-Store Experience

Physical stores can become holiday attractions. Creative decorations, themed events, and promotions, coupled with an omnichannel approach combining in-store and online experiences, can attract and retain customers.

Leveraging Online Platforms

A strong online presence is critical. Enhance your digital platforms with festive themes, promotions, and gift guides. Utilize AI and generative AI for personalized marketing and improve online interactions through advanced chatbots.

Harnessing the Power of Social Media

Social media offers a platform for inspiration and engagement. Utilize platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube to inspire and engage your audience. Collaborative promotions with other businesses can create unique experiences.

Personalization and Customer Service

Personalization is crucial. Use customer data to offer customized experiences and promotions. Exceptional customer service, both in-store and online, is vital to meet high consumer expectations.

Fast Fulfillment and Inventory Management

Consumers expect fast fulfillment options like same-day delivery and curbside pickup, especially among younger demographics. Efficient inventory management and transparent communication about product availability are essential.

Post-Holiday Strategies

Extend holiday strategies beyond December. Post-holiday sales, exchanges, and New Year promotions can drive ongoing traffic and sales. Use this period for collecting feedback and data analysis for future strategies.


The extended 2023 holiday season offers small businesses the chance to adapt and excel. By embracing consumer trends towards value, experiences, and fast fulfillment, and leveraging technology for personalization and efficiency, small businesses can enjoy a successful holiday season.

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Growing a Business

Unlock the Power of Email: 2023’s Ultimate Guide to Personalized Marketing Mastery



In the rapidly evolving digital landscape, email remains a cornerstone of business communication. Contrary to the whispers of naysayers, email is not an antiquated relic but a dynamic tool, continually adapting to the latest trends and technologies. In this article, we explore how small businesses can craft compelling email campaigns that resonate with today’s audience.

1. The Art of Personalization

Gone are the days of generic, one-size-fits-all email blasts. In 2023, personalization is not just a buzzword; it’s a necessity. Utilizing data analytics to segment your audience and tailor your messages can significantly increase engagement rates. Personalization goes beyond inserting a first name; it’s about crafting content that reflects the individual interests, buying behaviors, and preferences of your subscribers.

2. Mobile-First Email Design

With the majority of emails now opened on mobile devices, a mobile-first design approach is crucial. Emails should be visually appealing and easily readable on smaller screens, with responsive design and clear call-to-action (CTA) buttons. Additionally, loading times should be minimal, and images optimized for quick and efficient loading.

3. Interactive and Visual Content

Incorporating interactive elements like surveys, polls, or clickable sliders can boost engagement and provide valuable feedback. Visual content, such as infographics and videos, can increase open rates and make your emails more memorable. With the rise of platforms like TikTok and Instagram, incorporating short-form video content into your emails can be particularly effective.

4. Authenticity and Brand Storytelling

Consumers are increasingly drawn to brands that showcase authenticity and a compelling narrative. Use your email campaigns to tell your brand’s story, share your values, and build a deeper connection with your audience. This approach not only fosters loyalty but also differentiates your brand in a crowded market.

5. AI-Driven Email Optimization

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is reshaping email marketing. From predictive analytics that forecast the best time to send emails to AI-powered copywriting tools that help create compelling subject lines, integrating AI can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your campaigns.

6. Privacy and Data Protection

With growing concerns about data privacy and the introduction of regulations like GDPR, ensuring the privacy and security of your subscribers’ data is more critical than ever. Be transparent about how you collect and use data, provide easy opt-out options, and maintain compliance with data protection laws.

7. Measuring Success and Adapting Strategies

Finally, the success of an email campaign is in its metrics. Open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and unsubscribe rates provide insights into what works and what doesn’t. Regularly reviewing these metrics and adapting your strategy accordingly is key to continual improvement.


Email marketing remains a vital tool for small businesses, offering a direct line of communication to your audience. By embracing personalization, optimizing for mobile, leveraging interactive and visual content, staying authentic, utilizing AI, respecting privacy, and adapting to feedback, your email campaigns can achieve greater relevance and impact in the ever-changing digital era.

This article aims to provide small businesses with up-to-date insights and actionable tips on creating effective and engaging email campaigns that align with current trends and consumer expectations.

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Revolutionizing Marketing: The Power of AI in the Digital Age



Embracing AI-Powered Marketing: Transforming Brands in the Digital Marketplace

In the crowded digital marketplace, standing out is challenging. Enter AI-powered marketing, a revolutionary upgrade transforming brands into digital powerhouses.

Hyper-Personalized Campaigns: Beyond Basic Personalization

Gone are the days of generic marketing. Today’s gold standard is AI-driven hyper-personalization. This approach uses customer data analysis to create deeply resonant, individualized marketing campaigns. With AI’s ability to segment audiences based on intricate criteria, including purchasing history and browsing behavior, your messages can hit the mark every time.

Enhanced Customer Journey Mapping

AI’s capabilities extend to mapping the entire customer journey. By predicting needs and preferences at each stage, AI aids in crafting narratives that guide customers from discovery to purchase, integrating your brand into their personal stories.

SEO Wizardry: Mastering Search Engine Dynamics

With ever-changing algorithms, SEO is a complex puzzle. AI serves as a sophisticated navigator, deciphering these changes through machine learning. It aids in keyword optimization, understanding search intent, and aligning content with search trends.

Predictive SEO

AI tools offer predictive SEO, anticipating search engine and user behavior changes. This proactive stance ensures your brand’s prominent visibility in search results, capturing the right audience at the right time.

Social Media Mastery: Crafting a Digital Narrative

AI transforms social media strategies from uncertain to precise. By analyzing vast social data, AI provides insights into resonating content.

Content Optimization

AI analyzes performance data to recommend effective content types. This data-driven approach refines your social media content strategy.

Engagement Analysis

AI examines user interaction nuances, understanding engagement patterns. It helps tailor interactions for maximum impact, including adjusting posting schedules and messaging for increased relevance.

Conclusion: Navigating the AI-Driven Marketing Landscape

AI-powered marketing is essential for thriving in the digital age, offering precision and personalization beyond traditional methods. For small businesses, it’s a chance to leverage AI for impactful, data-driven strategies.

As we embrace the AI revolution, the future of marketing is not just bright but intelligently radiant. With AI as your digital ally, your brand is equipped for a successful journey, making every marketing effort and customer interaction count.

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