The Real Reason Your Audience Is Not Growing

Stephane Egger
May 2, 2020 · 5 min read
Woman alone in the audience in a movie theater
Photo by Karen Zhao on Unsplash

The Skinny

For a while now, your all-too-important following number has been looking pretty depressing, not growing as fast as you’d like, and it’s making you miserable.

After all, you did read every article there is on “how to grow an audience in 5 easy steps”.

You established a crisp content marketing strategy for you and your brand, and dedicated the past couple of months — if not more — to creating content based on some marketing guru’s seminars.

Finally, you’ve been publishing and promoting it in every imaginable way for a while now.

So what did you miss? Well, here’s what those articles and seminars didn’t tell you: your audience is not loyal.

You only need one number to figure it out: 30.

30%. That’s the percentage considered to be a decent Returning Visitor Rate (RVR) on the Internet (with 50% being considered really good no matter the industry you’re in).

Let that sink in for a while.

For the average website selling products and/or services — or even blogs — on the Internet, less than 1 out of 3 visitors will come back for more.

That’s because most people are just looking for a quick fix. Sometimes, people turn to blogs or brands’ websites for an answer to a specific problem. Sometimes, they’re just curious and want to learn more about a topic for a short period of time. Most times, they won’t even bother coming back.

Of course, the RVR is just like any other data. It doesn’t tell you everything you need to know. Also, considering your activity, you might not need such a loyal audience after all.

However, since we spend the majority of our time focusing on building engagement and loyalty, that number does stand pretty low, right?

Taking into account that, on top of that, our attention span is pretty much just as long as that of a squirrel monkey, you’ll see how complicated it gets to grow a faithful audience. One that’ll actually come back for more, subscribe, hit that like button, and get you that dough.

So, how can you improve loyalty numbers to grow your audience?

According to most marketers’ guides, the 3 tried-and-true tips are pretty well-known by now:

Now, while these tips most definitely are effective, frustration is in order if all you do is follow them without getting the expected result. Problem is, it appears they’ve been quite distorted, and people don’t apply them literally enough.

So, a little refresher might be in order. Here goes…

Be unapologetically authentic

We keep hearing how important it is to have our own voice. But more and more, every piece of content, headline, and tip looks and sounds the same.

You know another way to find out who’s really loyal to your content and your voice? Being unapologetically yourself.

Of course, you should still follow certain rules. But so what if you feel like swearing in your next sentence? Karen might get offended and leave your website, never to come back, sure. But you’ll then have more knowledge about who you should and shouldn’t aggressively target with your in-bound marketing.

And that’s all part of a bigger strategy to focus on who gets to stay and who has to go as you try and focus on more personalized, better quality content for your loyal audience — and not just pushing content for the sake of it — a fairly outdated tactic highlighting the need for a healthier kind of marketing.

Bonus: you’ll probably have way more fun creating content — content you’re unequivocally going to be proud of.

Add value

This one goes hand-in-hand with the first one. But the keyword here is the verb. Don’t just bring value, but add your own to it –whether it’s simply giving your opinion or really going deep into thinking mode and coming up with your own tips. Don’t just paraphrase something you saw elsewhere. That’s not what adding means. Be bold. Be generous.

We’re seeing, hearing, and reading more and more of the same sugarcoated content.

Why not bring a little edge to your next video? Why not come up with your own way of seeing the world? Why not try and be legitimately different from the pack?

Maybe because the systems in place push us to copy each other all the time –think algorithms, SEO, but also what everyone keeps telling us about what to do and how to do it (a snake-biting-its-own-tail-type of thing if you ask me). Because it’s safer. It’s warm and cozy. We’re not taking any risks and we stick to what others tell us works, because we’re afraid to look like fools. Well, whether you like them or not, we can all agree that the Elon Musks and Steve Jobs and Stephen Kings of the World did not become who they are by staying comfy.

Deliver on your promise

Actually, that one is good as it is.

But, since we’re not altering it, here’s one last piece of advice to wrap it all up:

Show more of your true self

This one is pretty hard to accomplish because a lot of us fear one thing: being inadequate.

Am I pretty enough? Will people think I’m lame? Is it really my place to open up a debate about so and so? Maybe if I hide it, people won’t mock my mannerisms, accent, or whatever it is they won’t like about me?

For some of the reasons stated above — and plenty of other reasons, we feel a constant pressure from lacking in one or often way more than one aspect of our lives and personalities.

However, if you can move past that fear of inadequacy, you’ll once again discover who follows you for who you are — for what you truly stand for and believe in.

And TBH, the “hiding” option isn’t even one, because, more and more, people can sense fakeness. And what happens when they do? They flee.

In the end, it appears as though most of us have gotten lost in the algorithms and the tricks we get told on how to grow our audience and get more views. Those tips make perfect sense, yes. Except if they get misinterpreted, or worse! When we half-ass it.

As we keep moving into an era of ever-expanding content personalization, it sure feels like our content strategies could use a bit more of said personalization, audacity and real authenticity to grow our audience.

Don’t you think?

Originally published at on April 28, 2020.

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Stephane Egger

Written by

Brand Strategist, Storyteller, Content Marketer | Seeking clarity for you and your brand | This and other stuff | Twitter: @StephEgger

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +800K followers.

Stephane Egger

Written by

Brand Strategist, Storyteller, Content Marketer | Seeking clarity for you and your brand | This and other stuff | Twitter: @StephEgger

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +800K followers.

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