Your audience is your second most valuable group of connections. Your customers are obviously the most valuable asset to your business; however, your customers are part of your audience as well.

As your business grows and changes, it can be difficult to stay true to the people who have been with you from the beginning. I know it’s easy to get sidetracked from your original message when things are coming at you every week – technology, social media, keeping up with your industry.  Yet if you stay true to your audience, your business can expand in unbelievable and profitable ways. It’s about keeping your old friends and making new ones too. You can be innovative, add new products and services, and still meet the needs of your audience. Here’s how:

1) Connect with them via social media. Social media has the power to let you be the metaphorical fly on the wall. You can listen, observe and learn. You can also interact and discuss. These conversations provide valuable information about what your audience needs and wants. Discovering their problems puts you in an ideal situation to be the solution.

2) Ask questions and listen to the answers. As you’re striving to grow your business you may have moments of uncertainty. Would your audience prefer a book or a seminar? Would they buy a membership? If you don’t know the answers or don’t want to risk the expense of making a mistake, ask them. Send email questionnaires. Post surveys on social media sites. Ask your audience the important questions and then listen to the answers.

If you are a service provider like me, what I do is send an email six months after partnering with a new client asking them how I can be more of service as well as a year-end re-cap.

3) Stay on top of industry information. Read industry publications and stay on top of trends. This information can help you tap into emerging ideas. It can also help you continue to position yourself as a credible authority in your niche. When you’re able to discuss the latest news and industry advances, you’re able to continue to provide up-to-date solutions. I have seen a whole new crop of virtual assistants spring up just in the last few years who specialize in WordPress, social media, and Infusionsoft. Wherever there is a NEED there will be a service that you can provide.

4) Be constantly aware of the value to your audience. Creating a product for the sake of having something new is a mistake. Creating a product because it solves a problem in a new and beneficial way is a smarter approach. Whenever you’re changing your business or adding new products or services, always put yourself in your audience’s shoes and ask the question, “What’s in it for me?”

5) Install analytics. Pay attention to what your audience responds to. Analytics are essential. If you don’t know what your audience responds to, how can you continue to give them what they need? Install analytics and schedule time each week or month reviewing the information. Use the data to make smart business building decisions.

Finally, don’t hesitate to test and try new things. If you are uncertain about a new product or service, try a beta test. Release the product to a small group of people and use their feedback and response to improve and grow.