Build an Audience — Focus on Those Around You

When I talk to clients, I ask them where they want to build their brands. Most of them say they want to take their brands global. That’s a great goal, but building a global brand starts with building your local brand in the sphere you’re already influencing. True believers and early adopters are the people who will help you build bigger, so start by finding out what value means to them and offer more of it.

Jared VanderMeer shooting content in the UK — Digital Marketing Tips

Start Where Your Followers Are, Then Build Out

The best place to start your marketing and begin creating and correcting is where you already have the most followers. In most cases, that’s where your business is geographically located. It could also be where your family and friends are located. According to a recent survey by Adobe, content from family and friends is the most shared and trusted on social media platforms.

We’re at a point where you can start a business from almost anywhere with just a few clicks on your computer. That’s exactly what you should be doing. But when it comes time to market, remember that you have to cater to specific audiences. When you try to go global right away, you don’t have the resources or data to appeal to those audiences yet. That’s why you need to start with creating and correcting in your immediate sphere.

Find out what the people in your immediate sphere want and start delivering.

Creating and Correcting

Digital marketing success stories don’t typically happen overnight. They’re built on hard work, a ton of quality content, and a lot of creating and correcting.

Part of the create and correct process is gathering data. You don’t get to decide what value is; your audience does. Continuous improvement in marketing can’t happen in a vacuum, which is why you need outside input. Start with the people closest to you, like staff and customers, and then build out. Go back to your audience members and find out what they find most valuable and how you can offer more of it. Check on your metrics and keep an eye on what’s most effective. It could be certain types of content, and in a lot of cases, it’s probably the quantity of content too.

Once you start creating and correcting in your current sphere, you’ll have the tools to start leapfrogging to build your brand out.

Cities and Tourism as an Example of Local Marketing

When I’m travelling, I almost always head to the observation deck in the city I’m staying in. If you ask me, every city in the world should have an observation deck. Why? It tells the story of a city, connecting the past to the present. In doing that, it completely engages the emotions and provides endless value. After I’ve spent an hour or two at an observation deck, I feel connected to the city and its unique story.

The reason more and more cities are building observation decks is because it’s how they build a local sphere that can start attracting people on a global scale. The content is focused around that initial sphere of influence, but it’s built out so strongly that it impacts everyone who comes to see it. If you start by getting input from the people closest to your brand, you can achieve the same results.

Three Steps for Building a Larger Following for Your Brand

Right now, creating engaging digital marketing is one of the biggest barriers new businesses face. Everyone needs more and more eyes on their products, so they’re constantly trying to push further out and gain traction on a larger scale. The truth is, you can’t do that effectively until you’ve achieved that for your initial sphere. This is your experimenting ground, a starting point where you can connect your content with the value you offer to others.

Jared VanderMeer in Edinborough — Marketing and Branding Tips

Digital marketing is not a one-and-done process. It’s a continuous process of creating content, understanding your customers and what they value, and heading back to the drawing board. I call this process “creating and correcting.”

To gain traction, you need to be able to execute on this process as quickly as possible. That means skipping revisions and re-takes. Creating content in a single take does two things for your brand: it creates more authenticity in your content and it helps you save on resources (which you can then use to create more content). Don’t get me wrong; it can be hard to put out the first piece of content you create. You’ll constantly think you can do it better. And you probably can, but the important thing to remember is your audience won’t have that comparison. They won’t notice that your legs look strange in a certain shot or that you mixed up a few words. As long as the value is there, they’ll keep coming back for more content.

Here are the most important three things you can do as you build your brand online:

- Start with a sphere of dedicated followers and make a point of finding out what value means to them.

- Remember that most people find value in these three aspects of content: storytelling, engaging emotions, and problem-solving.

- Start creating and correcting as fast as you can (speed to market) to get more eyes on your content as you build out.

Finally, don’t give up when you don’t see results in the first day, week, or month (or even the first year) of making content. Once you start building value into every piece of content you create on a consistent basis, your brand will start to see value coming back tenfold. It takes time, it takes more content, and it takes a lot of effort, but it’s 100% worth it for your brand.

I recently published If You Sell, You Lose, my first marketing book designed for businesses, brands, and marketers. Videos and marketing tips on YouTube.