Three ways you’re pissing off your audience

 

The three unsavory audience development mistakes you’re (probably) already making and how to solve them.

You’re finally in the last round of asset design after arguing with six different team members about which color to make the button, where to place the logo, whether the green background is TOO green—all in an effort to deploy a beautiful campaign that’s going to make it rain new audience members.

You’ve worked tirelessly to attract that perfect contact in hopes of someday calling them a reader, subscriber, and loyal brand ambassador. You’re eager to send them subscription offers, partner eblasts, and event information—all of the channels that will show an immediate return, and prove to your CFO that every penny you’ve spent on your shiny new DMP/ESP was worth it that you forget your mission as an audience development specialist—to nurture and serve.


Here’s where you’re likely turning off your users

You’re asking for too much information.

It’s tempting to ask for personal details once you’ve acquired a new audience member or even in the process of acquiring a new email address. Yes, the more you know about them, the better you can tailor their experience. But additional or mandatory form questions are the swiftest way to raise your form/cart abandonment rate. Your workflows should be designed to constantly learn and flag unique information about your users. Let your audience show you their interests through their content consumption, not daunting forms.

You’re not delivering what they signed up for.

Balance your asks and offers with content-driven nurturing. Continue to display your value and appreciation that they’re a part of your brand’s family. Workflows that utilize implied interests in a fun or interesting way remind your audience that your mission is to thoughtfully engage, not aggressively invade.

Easy workflow inspiration.

  • A welcome email upon newsletter subscription with pillar-specific content below a letter from the editor or publisher. A tailored message will go a lot farther than a simple “Thanks for subscribing!”

  • A birthday workflow that sends a discount code to a local bakery/ice cream shop.

  • A guide to local camping in the fall complete with map, packing list, and editorial camping features triggered to send after a new hiking feature is read on site.

  • Surface and send some of your greatest hits. Chances are a new member to your database hasn’t discovered all of your incredible content yet. Use those first crucial weeks of the relationship to show them the best of what you do.

And even more important than what you do send is what you don’t send. When a new email address enters your database, give them a few weeks grace before you start hitting them up with your advertising emails. First impressions go a long way.

You don’t know when to let go.

Repeatedly sending emails that go unopened isn’t just a blow to your marketing ego, it’s damaging your IP reputation. The longer this pattern continues, the more likely your engaged contacts’ inbox will start to filter your messages into the social or spam folders. This practice will cause irreparable damage to your deliverability and open rates.  Trust us when we tell you this is not a hole that you want to have to dig yourself out of.

Setup a re-engagement campaign for anyone that hasn’t opened any message from your brand in over 26 weeks (that’s half a year!). Remind users why they chose to join your circle in the first place. Make them laugh, make them smile, give them the option to change how often they hear from you. But if they don’t engage after a series of attempts, let them go with a fond “see you later”. Just because a relationship ends, doesn’t mean it wasn’t great.  How does that saying go? If you love them, let them go? That definitely applies here.

Simple practices like these strengthen brand loyalty by reducing friction, deepening connections, and understanding change. A strong audience development strategy consistently delivers value and organically converts.

TL;DR? (too long; didn’t read) Follow the golden rule. Treat your audience the way you would want to be treated.