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Building a client base is about connection; it’s about building a community. Through a strategic marketing plan, you can draw loyal clients and students from a connected online community, what we call your audience. You can connect with your online audience in two ways: directly or through a third party. These distinct audience groups are known as your “Owned Audience” and your “Rented Audience.” 

An Owned Audience is one where you have direct contact with the community; you have their individual contact information, and are able to reach them through email, phone, or in person. Your email list and your client list are examples of an Owned Audience. A Rented Audience is reachable only through a third party like a social media platform or a digital ad. You may be able to connect and interact with your Rented Audience but if that third party were to shut its doors, or you were to stop utilizing their platform, you would lose access to that community. 

It is much easier for a  member of your nourished Owned Audience to become a client or student than a Rented Audience member due to  their direct line to your business. A Rented Audience can be cultivated into a strong community that benefits your Owned Audience, but the relationships you build with your Rented Audience are always under threat of being severed by the influence of the third party. Think about how Twitter’s recent turmoil has caused a significant exodus from the platform or how Instagram’s changing algorithm has impacted your business profile. This leads some marketers to focus solely on building a business’s Owned Audience, but don’t jump ship on your Rented Audience just yet. 

With a robust marketing strategy you can utilize your Rented Audience to support your marketing efforts and even grow your audience as a whole. Here are 4 ways your Rented Audience can fuel the growth of your Owned Audience.

1. Establishes a larger community base

As a service-based business your marketing goals include increasing your client base. There are many different ways to do this. Incorporating Rented Audience growth tactics into your strategy will help to expand the potential client list you can draw from.

Some marketing strategies focus too much on growing a social following; don’t forget about the power of direct relationships. Try incorporating a simple content-marketing approach that you can manage and that offers valuable content to your Rented Audience. This will expand your following and build a broader base from which you can draw future owned audience members.

2. Generates momentum

Dropping a ball in a small puddle makes a tiny splash; drop that same ball into a large swimming pool and you’ll create a much bigger effect. The same is true for generating interest in your offerings. A nurtured Rented Audience can generate more momentum around your marketing efforts than a small Owned Audience, helping increase interest and desire for your services.

Sharing valuable pieces from your longer-form content like a blog post or long video with your social media community can create a level of interest in your lead magnets. This approach can be very effective to turn members of your Rented Audience into champions of your business.

3. Increases engagement

Have you heard the line, “if there is a queue I will join it”? The desire to join in  is a profound aspect to the success of the social media world. An engaged following can ignite your marketing efforts and help expand your Rented Audience list, creating great potential for increasing your Owned Audience list as well. 

Understanding the needs and behaviours of your Rented Audience will inform your content marketing to ensure you are offering valuable content. Knowledge of the needs of both your Rented and Owned Audiences will not only help simplify your marketing efforts but will also bolster your content.

4. Spreads your message

The internet is ultimately an information-distribution system.The various communities online disperse large amounts of ideas quickly to huge groups of readers. It is digital word-of-mouth. 

Growing your Rented Audience will increase your reach in your chosen social networks and beyond. With an established, engaged audience your unique value can spread far and wide helping to increase the frequency and depth of conversations going on about your business. Though your Owned Audience plays a crucial role in heralding your business to the general public, your Rented Audience can do the same. Through shares, likes, comments, and messaging your Rented Audience has the capacity to spread the word about your business and expand your reach.


Marketing to your Owned Audience typically results in more sustainable return on your efforts than with your Rented Audience, but a robust Marketing Strategy will include both. The value of your Rented Audience lies in the potential of its members to transform into an Owned Audience. Balancing your resources to effectively boost both your Owned and Rented Audiences will result in a stronger online community as well as a more connected client and student base.

Book your free Discovery Call today to start building your client and student base to where you want it. We love to talk strategy and are here to help you market your business so you can do what you love, helping other people.

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