#304 3 Reasons Your Audience Growth Has Stalled

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Do you ever feel like you’re putting in the work, doing everything right, and still not seeing any big changes in your business?

Hitting a business plateau is the number one reason jewelry designers and makers join our coaching programs.

If your audience growth online has stalled, it can be difficult to reach new customers like the ones you already have. 

This is most likely because you’re marketing to the same people over and over again and not reaching new audiences.

Whether you’re struggling to stay afloat or striving for that next big milestone, I hope this episode can help you identify ways you can create a sustainable flow of interest in your business that doesn’t rely on sheer algorithm luck. 

On top of all that, she also works with our Momentum coaching students to build and optimize Shopify websites that resonate with their Dream Clients and drive sales.

There are three big reasons for stalled audience growth, and I see it all the time when I’m working with designers to uplevel their businesses.

As you’re following along, try to be honest with yourself about where you need to improve. It makes all the difference.

3 Reasons Your Audience Growth Has Stalled Show Notes

“It's actually like something that I'm really leaning into this year and so consistency is key. And I want you to take a look at yourself, and where you're not being consistent with getting the word out more about what you're doing.”

Welcome to Thrive by Design, the podcast for ambitious independent jewelry brands, looking to profit from their products, get ready to make more and sell more doing what you love, without spending every single waking minute doing it. Hey, and if you're a creative fashion or product-based business, I want to welcome you to the show. I'll be dropping big tips on launching, growing, and scaling your business. Spend more of your precious time using your creativity to make you ready. All right, let's do this.

Welcome to the Thrive by Design podcast, Episode 304. Hey, there, it's Tracy Matthews, Chief Visionary Officer of Flourish and Thrive Academy. And I'm excited to be here today. And this one goes out to all of you who are a little bit frustrated, because you've done all the work, you're putting in the time you're building your business, but for some reason, your audience growth has stalled. And you know what that means. That means that your sales have probably plateaued as well. 

So wherever you are, this is a really important episode, whether you're totally thriving and crushing it in business, and you're having sales grow exponentially all the time, or you're someone who is really struggling, because you're trying to gain traction, or you're somewhere in between and what I mean by that is that we talk to people all the time over here on strategy sessions and in our community and one of the number one reasons or one of the number one, I guess the best way to put it as like a pain point that people come to us is because they have a successful business, they did a lot to grow it but for some reason, they have a hard time reaching more customers, like the ones that they already have and part of that part of the struggle really is because they're consistently marketing to the same people over and over again.

Which potentially could be good, you know, you can get repeat sales that way. But at a certain point, like you need new people always coming into your sales funnel and I'm using air quotes as I say that. So I'm going to keep this one short, because I'm recording this the day before I leave for Hawaii for my 50th birthday trip. We've had a super fun birthday celebration month, and I hope you grab my birthday gift that I released last week. Before I do though, I would love to ask you a question. 

You know, what would it mean for you? Or how would it feel if you were actually reaching more of those best paying customers that you have, and you're reaching them all year long, and that you are able to create a financially sustainable business that doesn't rely on foot traffic, algorithms, or your next trade show? If that's a heck, yes, then I'd love for you to keep on listening because this is a good one. 

Here's the thing, it's a known fact that jewelry and other types of products, entrepreneurs at all stages in business need to do one thing regularly and that is, especially if they want to continue growing their sales and this is especially for people who've already crossed that six figure mark or multiple, six figures. It's that they continually need to expand their audience to grow their sales and the reason why this is so important is that if you're not doing this on a continual basis, you're literally legitimately leaving money on the table. And that money is just gonna get eaten up by your competitors, because people want to shop from small businesses. In light of everything that happened this year, people are craving to support the little guys. 

People are tired of buying on Amazon, they don't want to do that anymore. They want to be supporting small brands, who are reliable and trustworthy. So if you want to create a cycle of consistent sales and audience growth, and all this, all this stuff, then that's what we're going to talk about today in the episode like on a high level how to do it. But what you really need to do is to be able to have a consistent plan and strategy for attracting new prospects into your business, to getting those people to buy from you and turn into customers. And to start getting those people to refer you out to other people. That's really how it works. It's an entire strategy of the Desire Brand Effect model which I teach over here on a regular basis. So if you're interested in learning more about that, what I want to tell you is that I'm hosting a live virtual event on June 15th. called Expand your Audience, Grow Your Sales, and I'm playing around with some new ways to serve our people and this is sort of, you know, I'm really missing creating like a structured event day like we used to do at flourish and thrive live. And we took one year off and then plan to come back the next year and the pandemic happen. And so we haven't been able to meet in person. And while things are coming back, they're probably not going to come back for a while. 

So we're hoping to have our next in person event in 2022. But until then, we're going to be hosting virtual events. And so this one is going to be amazing. It's gonna be structured like our other live events, where we have keynote speakers, panels of experts have some really great panelists lined up, you're gonna love it. And these are experienced designers, makers, and business owners who have like six, multiple six and seven figure online businesses where they're selling their products to consumers. So you're definitely not gonna want to miss this. Plus, we're gonna have Q&A is breakouts, workshops, like all the fun stuff, and is going to be amazing, the lineup is incredible. So if you want to learn more about this, it's great for business owners of all sizes, at all stages in business. And I'm going to call out kind of who it's for in just a minute. 

But if you want to check it out, head on over to flourishthriveacademy.com/expandyouraudience and you can see the full deliverables there. But it's perfect for people who already have an established online business, who are trying to reach more of those customers. It's great for brick and mortar retailers, who want to become the best in their local area and kind of crush their other competition, or just reach more people in their local area. So those people can find them. It is great for people who are on third party platforms who want to have a more leveraged business model where they're not, they're not relying on algorithms to grow their company. It's great for people who who have sold traditionally in wholesale but want to reach more people direct to consumer, and create a more sustainable business model. It's also perfect for anyone who does live events, or you sell in person at a booth or anything like that, art shows, retail pop ups, those are great ways to meet your customers. 

But typically people who rely on that have a very sporadic business model where they're they're not making money all at all times of the year. In fact, this reminds me of Erin, who is a graduate of our Momentum program. One of the reasons why she joined momentum is because she had a very successful seasonal in person show business, where she had a her own kiosk for like six months of the year, but the other six months, like she had no sales coming in and so she wanted to create a more leveraged business model. So if you're interested in learning more about that event, it is super affordable, it's only $97 for the entire day, you can head on over to flourishthriveacademy.com/expandyouraudience to check it out. 

So I'm gonna keep this podcast relatively short today, because I got to finish packing for my trip, and all the things, but I want to kind of like help you troubleshoot why things aren't going your way, if you are if your audience growth has stalled, and he want you to really like be honest with yourself on what's going on with you. 

So reason number one really comes down to the obvious thing, but people don't think about it is consistency, because people oftentimes make excuses about why they aren't consistent. So when I think about this, you know, one of the panels we're having on the event is a PR panel. And I'm going to call myself out right now, because I have a huge opportunity to get more PR and press for my jewelry company for Creatives Rule the World  and for Flourish and Thrive Academy. The reason why I'm not getting press right now, and expanding my audience that way is because I am not consistent with my PR outreach and because of that lack of consistency, my audience from that realm isn't growing fast enough. And so it's actually like something that I'm really leaning into this year. And so consistency is key. And I want you to take a look at yourself, and where you're not being consistent with getting the word out more about what you're doing. 

So this could be from a PR front, maybe you're not pitching enough PR. It could be from a promotional standpoint, are you actually like asking for referrals from your previous customers are creating some sort of referral system? Do you have Ambassador programs or something where you can reach more of those people? Do you have an advertising strategy where you're using paid ads to expand your audience? In fact, I talk about this a lot but one of our designers, Alex Camacho one of the reasons why her business more than doubled from 2019 to 2020. At the end of the year, she went from $150,000 to $330,000 is that she had a very targeted advertising strategy that reached more of the customers that she was already serving. 

So from the previous years, her customer her business was growing and it was growing at a nice rate she went from $65 to $105-ish to $150,000 over like a three year period, right? When she started working with us, she was on track to do $100,000 that year. And when she added in advertising into it, it really exploded her audience building and then she, she got to get those people on our email list and got to market to those people. I don't think that she's all she always advertises. But she was advertising in these bursts. And it really was a game changer for her. So remember, consistent referral network, ambassador program, PR outreach, advertising, getting on social on a regular basis, all the things, getting consistent with those strategies is really, really important to continue amplifying your growth or expanding your growth and growing your sales. consistency is key. 

So I want you to think about the areas of your business, I listed a few where you are being consistent, and where you're not being consistent. And just document those right now. Because that's going to be really helpful in how you're taking a look at what you're doing and showing up for your business, if that makes sense.

Now, the second piece of this is learning curve. Now we, I work with a lot of people, and we all have different challenges or learning curves in business. So for me right now, that my biggest like pain point when it comes to getting things off the ground quickly, will be technology. And so I'm at a place in my business where I can afford to hire someone to actually deal with that. But I remember times when I wasn't. And it became really painful to try and figure things out. 

My new learning curve technology is really figuring out how can I make a reel on Instagram quickly, so that I can get on my social media posts fast and not procrastinate on them. And I will tell you that I am a huge procrastinator when it when it comes to posting the social media stuff because because of the learning curve with some of the stuff that I have to do is much easier for me to just flip on a video and start talking than it is for me to edit a reel, or to be clever about other things that I'm doing in the post. So I usually go for the easiest, instead of the thing, maybe that's going to have the biggest impact. 

So the learning curve can be really impactful. And I think a learning curve comes from like understanding algorithms and how to work with them. It can come from understanding what your audience actually wants from you. It can come from a tech, you know, challenge or whatever that might look like for you. It could come from any other thing where it's hard for you to learn. I know for some people, like if they're setting up, I don't know, automations in their business, which is a great thing to do, because it basically gets you sales on autopilot. But there's like a technology aspect to it, that can be sort of challenging. And so learning curve, that is like the third reason or the second reason, excuse me, oftentimes why people really struggle to continually grow their audience, and continue getting out there. 

So if you're struggling with the learning curve thing, then either get some help, or find a support from mentors or community where they can help you kind of lean in and teach you what you need to know. Plus, Google is your friend. So if you a lot of times, if you Google, you can figure out how to do things a lot more quickly. I know one of the things that sometimes happens in our community is people ask really easily Google level questions and they're waiting for answers for a long time sometimes. And so more complex questions, definitely, you need some coaching and mentorship. But a lot of times some of those simple things, especially those tech based hang ups that you might be having can be easily found out. So try to overcome the learning curve, because the more that you practice, and you kind of come over it, the easier it is, in fact, for me learning curve with reels, I'm starting to edit my reels and another app, not Instagram app, because it's hard to edit those reels and Instagram app. And my friend Elise Dharma told me to use Inshot. And I love that app anyway. So I'm just gonna do it. So figure out like the easiest way for you to kind of align with all of those things. 

Now, the third piece of this is that you might just be playing overwhelmed and being overwhelmed, comes in a lot of ways, shapes and forms. Typically, what ends up happening is when someone gets to a state of feeling overwhelmed by their business, and all the things that they have to do it, that's oftentimes the most important things don't get done. A couple weeks ago, I hosted an amazing workshop called Aligned to Ignite. And it's really I should have probably named it from overwhelmed and stressed out to ease and flow because that's really what the workshop was about. And a lot of times when people feel overwhelmed, they basically blow off the most important parts of their business, like continually building their audience, and opt to do the things that are easy because it makes them feel like they're making progress and so a good example of this would be like, doing a bunch of like repetitive tasks instead of focusing on the big hard thing like going and figuring out okay, what hashtags do I need to do or to post on or I know I need to spend 20 minutes a day finding more of my dream clients. But that feels hard. So I'm not going to do it on Instagram. Instead, I'm going to like, I don't know, file papers or something like that, which filing papers might be important for to clear clutter in your office, but it's not actually going to grow your business, if that makes sense. And so when you're overwhelmed, I think it's really important to do what I like to say, like a do, ditch, delegate exercise, where you can think through everything that you have to do and get it all out of your head and identify which tasks are the highest leverage, and most valuable tasks for you to be doing, and which tasks are unnecessary and low leverage and either do them, ditch them, or delegate and so the way this works is the do is like all the high leverage important urgent things that are actually going to bring revenue into your business. The ditch is anything low leverage that if you stop doing it anyway, it's not going to really make an impact on your business. So let those filing cabinets papers, pile up, and then have your kid file it on the weekend. 

I'm joking, sort of, but not really. And the delegate are the things that are important to get done, but don't necessarily need to be done by you. And a lot of times, there might be a hang up with delegating things. Because a lot of times want to delegate the most important things like sales or, you know, anything that's going to bring money into our business, which at a certain point you can do, I definitely think that's something you can delegate. But in the beginning, it's really the stuff that someone can easily jump in and do. 

So it might look like shipping, it might look like engaging on social media, that is actually something that could be delegated really easily that doesn't necessarily have to be done by you. As long as you are training someone how you want them to speak to your audience. It might also be something like making it repetitive production of your product. And a lot I know in the jewelry industry, a lot of the people that we serve are handmade designers who love making. And that's fantastic. But at a certain point, that's not the most leveraged use of your time, the most leverage use of your time. Of course, you want to fill the order. So I'm not saying don't fill the orders. But the most leverage use of your time is actually doing the things that are going to sales and maybe bringing someone else in to do the making for you, or peace working it out or finding a factory or whatever it might be, or small batch manufacturer who can help you with handmade goods, you get the picture. There's a lot more where that came from. Anyway, this is my short podcast for today. 

I wanted to keep it short and sweet. And to the point which is awesome. But you know if you really want to get over that stalled and build some more sales and momentum in your business, by expanding your audience and reaching more people that you want to reach that are like the people who already buy from you, your best paying customers. Then here's your official invite to the Expand Your Audience, Grow Your Sales live virtual event. It is a one day event on June 15th. You are going to love it. We have amazing panelists, keynotes, guest speakers, Q and A's, workshops, breakouts, all the things and all condensed into a virtual event. So you don't have to spend any money on travel. You don't have to get a hotel or any of those things. You can sit on your couch and participate virtually. And I hope you'll join us. So if you would like to learn more about that event, it is a no brainer investment of $97 I hope that you will join us head on over to flourishthriveacademy.com/expandyouraudience for more details. 

Well, this is Tracy Matthews signing off until next time, I also want to thank everyone who has participated with me in my birthday month. In fact, we had a big promotion. And I gave away a free training series and workbook called the Aligned Vision workbook as my birthday gift, and one of my ask was more podcast reviews because I know so many people are listening to this show. And I want to hear what you think about it and we got some amazing reviews that I want to share. 

Karianne says: “It shocked fall or chock full love this podcast for all the information, inspiration and sparks that get me moving.”

Thank you and Christina St. Vagabond says: 

“Building confidence as an artistic entrepreneur to the Thrive by Design podcast has become part of my weekly morning ritual. Tracy and her guests are super knowledgeable and inspiring and offer real tips and guidance that you can implement immediately to feel more focus and confidence in growing your business. As a creative who often finds it challenging to do the business side of things. Tracy easily breaks down the fundamentals of how to stop the stress and lean into success.”

Ooh, I like that line. One podcast at a time always leaving me excited about my next business move. Well, thank you so much, Christina and Carrie Anne. I so appreciate you leaving those five star reviews. If you haven't done so yet, and you'd like to leave a five star review, please head on over to Apple iTunes and post a review right there. And rate and review the show. All right, this is Tracy Matthews signing off. Thank you so much for listening today. I hope to see you Expand Your Audience and Grow Your Sales event. See you soon. 

Click here to download the show notes

You’re Not Being Consistent

Consistency is the key to retaining and growing your audience.

Take an honest look at your online strategy. What are you doing consistently, and how can you do better about getting the word out?

Some areas to look at would be…

  • PR
  • Promotional Content
  • Referral Incentives
  • An Ambassador Program
  • Ad Strategy
  • Email marketing

Dial in the strategies that work best for your brand and be consistent to continue amplifying your growth.

You’re Stuck on a Learning Curve

There’s a learning curve to everything.

When it comes to online content, the big learning curve for me has been the ever-changing technology. 

I’m just now figuring out how to consistently edit and post Instagram reels. 

You may be struggling with a specific aspect of your online presence, like algorithms, tech, or figuring out what your audience wants.

Get the help that you need to overcome the learning curve. This could mean finding support from mentors and a community or just dedicating a few hours to teaching yourself a new skill.

You’re Overwhelmed

Overcoming overwhelm is an ongoing challenge. 

As a designer and maker, you have to protect your boundaries and carefully structure your time to avoid becoming burnt out.

When you do feel overwhelmed, often the most important stuff gets pushed to the side.

If you find yourself focusing on repetitive, easy tasks that aren’t really moving the needle in your business, I’d recommend sitting down for a “Do, Ditch, & Delegate” exercise.

Listen to the full episode above for a breakdown of this exercise and how it can help you reassess your priorities to beat overwhelm.

xo, Tracy


June 15 – Expand Your Audience & Grow Your Sales Workshop

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