Learning how to communicate with your audience in WordPress may seem trivial, but it can do a lot for your website and your business in different ways. It can give you insight into what your audience is thinking, feeling and struggling with, and it can help you establish a sense of trust that will make it easier for you to implement changes and new products/services in your business without causing a huge uproar.
We’re going to focus on the many different ways you can improve the way you communicate with your audience on a WordPress site. Here’s a preview of what we’ll be discussing:
- Email Marketing
- Asking for Feedback
- Comment Systems
- RSS Feeds
- Web Design
First, let’s talk more about why using your WordPress site as opposed to social media, conferences and other forms of communication to communicate with your audience is beneficial.
Why Should You Communicate with Your Audience Through Your WordPress Site?
To understand why you should communicate with your audience through your WordPress site, you need to understand why you’d want to communicate with your audience in the first place. Business is simple. If you’re not profiting, you’re not succeeding. Unfortunately, however, some businesses go so far in their quest for profits, they seemingly forget about the customer base they need to keep satisfied. All they see are the profits they’re making or losing and put their efforts into offering discounts and new products and features no one asked for when profits are down.
Communicating with your audience allows you to establish trust with them, and it gives you a window into what they’re dealing with when it comes to your niche. This window can become your guide book into deciphering what your audience is looking for in terms content and products.
If you think about the content or products you create as something for them to read or buy and nothing else, you may not see the conversions you were hoping for. If you think of them as solutions to the problems your audience is facing, you’re more likely to create a sustainable business model for yourself.
Using WordPress to Communicate with Your Audience
Establishing your brand on social media and in the “real world” is important, especially if you want to use platforms like Twitter, Facebook and conferences to attract new customers. That’s the key point you’re missing. You’re using these platforms to attract new customers, but where are you likely attracting them to? Your website, your unrestricted playground you can use as you see fit.
Your website is where the majority of your users will convert into leads or customers, whether they subscribe to your email list through your blog or landing page or whether they purchase a product directly from your website. This isn’t always true, but content marketing and email marketing have been popular and undying business tactics for years for a reason. You can read more about this in our beginner’s guide to building an email list.
All in all, implementing new strategies in your business and tweaking a few things on your website can help you communicate with your audience more effectively. It gives you insight into what they’re thinking or feeling, as we established, and it can even change the way they perceive your business and engage with it.
For example, if you’ve established a real relationship with your audience that’s built on trust and transparency and have a few important changes to make to your business, you won’t receive as much of a negative response from them when you announce those changes. They may be caught off guard, but because you know what they want and need and have always went above and beyond to ensure you’re doing everything right by them, you won’t face as much as of a backlash as the profit-oriented businesses we discussed earlier would.
Let’s get into the methods you should consider using to communicate with your audience to make things a little more more clear.
Email marketing is one of the most popular ways to up your content marketing game and eventually convert all of those visitors who “pass through” your website into customers. Again, you can learn more about this in our beginner’s guide to building an email list.
What many site owners don’t realize is the amount of potential this platform has in helping you to establish a connection with your audience, a connection deeper than the one you can make on social media. A lot of distractions exist on social media. It’s just you and your reader when it comes to their inbox. It gives you a chance to stay in touch, send personalized emails and promotions, and perhaps even exclusive content.
Make sure you also check out our post on the best email marketing service providers.
Asking for Feedback
There are a lot of ways you to out what problems members of your niche are having, but if you have an audience on your website, why not just go to them? Ask them what their biggest struggles are, and find out what types of content they’re interested in.
There are a couple of different ways you can do this. You can use the powers of email marketing to send a broadcast email asking every one of your readers what their biggest struggles are. You can even add that same email to the autoresponder series you use for new subscribers.
You can also use special contact form on your website readers can use to ask questions similar to an old-fashioned advice column in a newspaper. Here are a few suggestions:
You can even ask for feedback through a survey you send out in a broadcast email or showcase on your website using pop-ups and banners. This can help you determine what types of people are in your audience and how to optimize your content, products and overall business for them.
This is probably one of the most obvious ways to increase the amount of communication you have with your audience. Despite the existence of trolls and negative naysayers, it’s still a great way to give your audience a voice of their own, which lets them know you care about their input. You also get to know more about them by listening to their viewpoints on certain topics, and yes, you’ll receive criticism. Hopefully, most of it will be constructive and will help you improve your content marketing game.
Here are a few comment systems we recommend:
- Default Comment System
- Facebook Comments
Forums aren’t very popular, and for good reason, too. It’s another module you need to add to your website, and it’s another form of feedback from your audience you need to moderate. Plus, you have your email list to use for announcements and a comment system to use for feedback. Why bother implementing this on your site?
If you have an active community who responds to every blog post you publish, every email you send out, every tweet you send and every Facebook post you publish, you may want to consider gathering this vocal yet isolated community into one area where they can engage and converse with one another about various topics. They may even help each other out rather than waiting for you to reply to an email or publish a post about an issue they’ve expressed to you. Having this level of community at your disposal can even put you ahead of your competitors in terms of brand awareness. Plus, you may learn more about the struggles your audience is facing.
Here are the two most popular plugins to use to build a community website with WordPress:
RSS feeds are definitely less popular due to the rise of social media and the fall of Google Reader, but they provide a wonderful way for you to offer your content to readers who aren’t going to visit your blog on their own and do not wish to join your email list at the moment.
Many people use RSS feeds to keep up with the blogs they follow. They even use special tools, such as Feedly. All websites have RSS feeds. If you have pretty permalinks enabled, you can view your RSS feed by navigating to “example.com/feed/rss”.
The first thing you’ll notice is how much of a mess this feed is, so you’ll need a plugin to better deliver it to your reader in a much more legible fashion. Here are a few decent options:
Web design plays a crucial role in how effective you are in communicating with your audience. If a blog post has a “hello bar” advertising your latest ebook, a sidebar that recommends other posts as well as an obnoxious pop-up asking readers to subscribe to your email list, your readers may become overwhelmed and confused about what they should do given the amount of actions you’re asking them to take on a single page.
One solution for this is to implement a minimalist web design on your site. It involves decluttering your site by removing distractions. On a WordPress site, these distractions may involve that same hello bar, pop-ups, sidebars, sliders, animations, related posts widgets and more. Cutting back on these unnecessary elements, especially on your homepage, will let users know what you want from them.
You can also use a heat map tool to search for “cool” areas on your certain pages of your website, especially your homepage. These cool areas indicate a part of your website that is not as optimized for conversions as it could be.
Here are a few suggestions:
Implementing these strategies on your website is difficult, but acquiring feedback from you audience in any way possible can help you determine which direction to take when you need to make decisions on content marketing, product creation and more. Just be smart about what you choose to implement. For example, if your customers aren’t active in your comment section or social media, you probably don’t want to waste resources building a forum.
Decide what’s best for you and your site by determining what resources you have or can stand to lose. It’s just a matter of being strategic about which methods to use after that.