Why B2B publishers should care about audience development

Loyal readers mean a lot more to your B2B publishing business than those casual audiences that just show up on your website randomly. In fact, your loyal readership relationship audience has a much higher lifetime value for your business than someone who just clicked through a link on social media. That is why it is so important for B2B publishers to focus on audience development and building relationships with loyal devoted readers.

Email is the best tool for building relationships with readers because it allows publishers to communicate directly with their audience. Once you have a reader’s email address, the relationship is ready for deeper development. With the email address, you are in a position to collect first-party data about the reader and, in turn, use this information to refine your communications and develop a dialog. By understanding a reader’s click behavior you can begin to tailor your content to their interests. If your site deals with book news, for instance, you may send different stories to publishers than you would to book retailers. By understanding how your audience responds, you are better poised to develop a more substantial relationship and drive engagement over time.

The readers you email will come back to your site over and over again and again, and you will learn a lot about their habits and interests. Not only will this help you to provide a better user experience, it can also help you grow your bottom line, as targeted audiences are an attractive feature for advertisers. Selling display within emails allows advertisers to reach very specific audiences, which gives your publication additional revenue streams. Email subscribers specifically signed up for your content, instead of randomly ending up on your site from someone they follow’s tweet, which is much more appealing from the advertiser point of view. Advertisers will pay more for these targeted audiences.

Audience development can also help you overcome the loss of ad revenue from ad blockers. Loyal audiences are more likely to turn off their ad blockers if you ask them to and are also more likely to consider paying for subscriptions than casual visitors. Customers that you email regularly appreciate the free content and are more likely to understand why ad blockers hurt your business, than someone that is simply clicking through to a story they saw posted on LinkedIn or Facebook. Ad blockers are hurting revenues across B2B publications, but cultivating audience development can help you skirt these challenges.

When you have a client’s email address, you can also build a better website experience. If you know who is visiting your site, you can curate your content based on who is visiting. Instead of just throwing content up on the site, you can create several versions of your homepage based on a reader’s customer data and then use this data to personalize their experience on your site.

The longer your relationship is with a reader, the more enmeshed you are with them. Long relationships can even be revitalized, if they come to a lull. If you have a reader that hasn’t engaged in a while, you can run a re-engagement campaign using email in order to get them to come back. Perhaps you need to talk to them about frequency or suggest they join a different newsletter. No matter what, you can’t improve the relationship if you don’t have one. That is why you need their email address. Email is the most reliable way to reach them and get the dialog going.Anyone can end up on your site once in awhile, but the people you email will come back to your site over and over again. You will get a lot more out of your relationship with these loyal followers than with casual site visitors and it’s important for B2B publications to cultivate and develop these audiences for long term business success.