In the online space, it can feel like you are shouting into the void. There are so many people in your niche. So why should your audience choose to listen to you? In other words, how can you stand out in a crowded marketplace and feel like your work makes a difference?

Here’s the truth. Every one of us has an audience, even the ones we can’t actually see or hear. I call them the five types of people you meet online – with due apologies to Mitch Albom and his fabulous book The Five People You Meet In Heaven

Here are the five people you meet online and why we need all five of them at different stages of our life. They are particularly useful if you run a business and depend on the interactions online for a sustainable income.

  • The Supporter: This person is kind, generous and loves everything you post online. They will engage with your content, appreciate what you say and even become your good friend.

✔️Why you need them: Everyone needs a boost; a supporter provides that.

  • The Silent Reader: Also known as the ‘lurker’. This person reads all your content and absorbs what you say. They don’t engage in the open, but they will occasionally send you a message privately or an e-mail letting you know that your content has changed their life.

✔️Why you need them: They are the reminder that not all appreciation has to be vocalised all the time. Silent approval is as valuable as vocal approval.

  • The Buyer: The Loyal client and audience member who cherishes what you do and instantly always buys what you recommend or sell. They are the ones you’ve nurtured over a long period of time and they believe completely in what you do and swear by it.

✔️Why you need them: Want to run a business online? You need your buyers more than you realise.

  • The Amplifier- Also known as the ‘Word-of-mouth friend’, this person will happily, readily and wholly talk about you and your work with their network. They will ask others to buy from you, sign up for your courses and be your greatest allies in a crowded marketplace.

✔️Why you need them: Organic marketing is built on the strength of such deep relationships. Get to know your audience well & the returns will be way beyond your expectations.

  • The Critic: The one who finds fault with what you do, talks about you behind your back and/or indulges in sly referencing of you in public posts.

✔️Why you need them: They keep you grounded. Believe it or not, every critic I have ever faced has taught me something extremely valuable about myself and my business model. I wouldn’t be here today without my critics. Always grateful for them.

We thrive because of our village, even (especially) as solopreneurs and solo business owners. Let’s always embrace the kind of connection that comes from deep, heartfelt interactions with our audience.

If you truly want your voice to be heard above the noise, the distraction and the clamour, here are a few tips that will help you. Remember that none of these are hacks, tricks or shortcuts. They take time, energy, patience and perseverance. 

But the key thing to remember is that as long as you enjoy the process, the results will inevitably follow.

Row of white pencils with one pink pencil standing out. The blog post explains How to stand out in a crowded marketplace

CONSISTENCY

Consistency is a wonderful tool. The more regularly we show up, create, curate and connect with our audience, the more familiar they become with our work. The best part about consistency is that the control lies in our hands. We can’t control who reads us, who listens to us and who watches us and we shouldn’t either.

But creation? That’s in your hands, completely and utterly.

Read more: How to Create Content Consistently, Especially as a Busy Business Owner and Mom!


EXCEED EXPECTATIONS

Even if there are 10,000 other people writing about the same things you can go a step further. Always try to provide extreme value to your audience. Over time, you’d notice that this builds trust and confidence.

For instance, if a person in your niche writes a post about a great productivity tool, go a bit further. Explain why you love the tool, after doing a comparative study with 3 or 4 other tools.

In other words you are not just providing an opinion, but a weighted analysis that will help people make the decision easily.

One of my best posts on productivity tools is how I love and use Google Keep for my business.


ADD A PERSONAL TOUCH

The true way to stand out? Personalize it. Bring your experiences,lessons, growth and your learning into the messaging.

When I wrote about how I changed tracks in my business, I explained exactly how I did it, what were the motivators that made me take the decision and who was my inspiration to take this plunge.

That post resonated with so many people that it was incredible. Read it here:

How I stopped following the herd and started following my heart


TAKE THE OFF-BEAT PATH

When there are so many people in your niche, gently break free of the mould. Take an oft-repeated dictum and challenge it. Shake up the status quo.Make people sit up and listen. 

For example, as a social media coach, I repeatedly tell my clients these two things and they are something I absolutely stand by.

Why I Don’t Play With or Against the Algorithm; It Doesn’t Exist For Me

Why Follower Numbers are an Absolute Vanity Metric


STAY TRUE TO YOUR NORTH STAR

Do you know when people will listen to you? When you stay true to your intrinsic values. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t change your opinion on a subject, but ensure it aligns with your highest values.

For example, I am currently on a 60- day sabbatical from social media, which means I am not connecting with my audience on Instagram, my most popular social media platform. However, that doesn’t mean I am not connecting with them at all.

I have a weekly newsletter which they receive in their inboxes and what’s more, I reply personally to every single person who emails me.

Interested in more details about my sabbatical? I’m journaling about it every week which I am sharing with my newsletter subscribers.


SHOW COMPASSION

The one quality that helps you stand apart from the crowd is your ability to be empathetic, compassionate and share kindness in the way you speak/ do your business.

Even as a business owner (Or especially as one), learn to embrace the idea of empathy. Your audience appreciates it more than you realize.

One of the ways I try to show empathy is through my free content via my weekly newsletter, my Medium blog, my podcast and my YouTube channel. I understand that not everyone can afford a blogging coach or paid guidance.

In this scenario, they are welcome to explore the content I have created in the public domain and follow whatever helps them on their specific journey.

Additionally, I offer 2 free e-books as well as a free Instagram Course they can take to try things on their own.


LISTEN TO THE RIGHT FEEDBACK

When your work doesn’t hit the right note, learn to listen to the right feedback. The thing to remember is that you shouldn’t listen to everyone. But you should definitely listen to the people who matter.

Be open and receptive to feedback. The best leaders and creators are the ones who can admit their flaws and learn from them.

After every coaching session I conduct, my clients receive a feedback form they are encouraged to fill out. Whenever the feedback is less than desirable, I make it a point to follow up with the client and ask them how I can improve our next interaction.

*Interested in a 15-minute discovery call? It costs just $5. More details here.


OUTCOME

With time, you’d realize that you are no longer shouting. You only need to talk normally and gently and your audience is right there, waiting for you to speak.

You don’t need to be fighting algorithms to be heard. It just takes time and patience for this to manifest. And then, like Moses parting the Red Sea your voice will cut through the noise and directly reach your true fans. 

Sorry, I got carried away with that last reference. You can tell I have a flair for the melodramatic. 😉


Shailaja V

I’m a blog, social media and content coach with over 13 years of writing, blogging and social media experience.

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Since I’ve turned off comments on my blog, I welcome you to let me know your thoughts on this post via email here: shailaja@shailajav.com