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AP 0083: How Do You Figure Out Who Your Audience Is, and What They Need?

AP 0083: How Do You Figure Out Who Your Audience Is, and What They Need?

By Pat Flynn on

AskPat 83 Episode Transcript

Pat Flynn: Hey what’s up everybody, Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 83 of AskPat. This is where I answer your online business questions five days a week.

Now if you’re just getting started in an online business I recommend you check out my free resource over at SmartPassiveIncome.com: You can go to SmartPassiveIncome.com/start. That’ll take you to my Getting Started page, all the information you need to get started, the right podcast episodes to listen to, the right articles to read if you’re just starting out. And some videos to help you get started right away. So again, SmartPassiveIncome.com/start. Now today’s question comes from Tim, and it’s all about finding your audience, and helping them out. So let’s hear from Tim right now.

Pat Flynn: Hey Pat, Tim here. My question is, how do you find your blog audience and how do you find out the problems they have that you could turn into a product, such as an ebook or ecourse? I’m in a very untapped niche and I’m having trouble finding the readers that I know are out there. Thanks.

Pat Flynn: Tim, thank you so much for your questions actually, these are perfect questions for those people just starting out. And also perfect questions for people who might be struggling, who might have a blog and might be targeting a particular niche and might not have that audience that they’re hoping to have. So, let’s start with your first question which was how do you find your blog audience?

Well, of course you want to know a little bit about them, and what they do and what their interests are. And the goal is to find where they are, where they hang out. And to do that you want to go and search for areas where they might be convening online, where they might be coming together. And there are a number of different ways to do that. Now Tim, I wish you had given a specific niche, that way I can help walk you through this process specifically, which would be a great example for everybody else, but I might be able to do this. And I think I’ll be able to do this by just sharing tactics that will work for you. And some of these will maybe not work for you, but I’m going to list all these different places where you can go and find where your targeted audience might be. And you’ll have to, of course, do research and dig deeper into these methods, however this is the approach that I would take.

So, the first thing I would do is I would look for other sites, other forums and other blogs that are out there that are talking about the same thing that you are. Now Tim you said you are in a specific niche, but I don’t think there’s any niche that’s so specific where there might be nobody talking about what you’re talking about. And you might be going much deeper, or more narrow in a particular niche, but that doesn’t mean that your target audience does not exist on a more general type of site. For instance, maybe you were targeting dog training for female chihuahuas in San Diego, California. Well that doesn’t mean that people who are chihuahua owners in California wouldn’t benefit from the site as well; people in San Diego are obviously from California, so that’s probably a terrible example but I think you know what I mean. You can always become more general in your audience research if you feel like your niche is too specific or hard to find your audience because it’s too specific.

So, I would look for forums and blogs related to your industry. And again it doesn’t have to be exact, it can be just on a horizontal level, just related. You know, the same people who would like your site would also like X or Y or Z. So look to see where those sites are. Now an easy and quick tip for you on Google: If you’re looking for blogs or forums related to a topic, just pick a keyword related to your topic, it might be the exact name of your site or what your site is about, and type in “blogs:” and then that keyword or those key phrases, and then hit enter. You’re going to get search results showing you all the different blogs that are out there, ranked on popularity based off of the algorithm that Google has for search, that you can go and explore and do some research about your target audience. And I think that’s a great thing to do in terms of understanding what other sites are out there, who you could build a relationship with. I would actually keep a spreadsheet of all the blogs and the social media accounts and all those things that are related to your niche, so you can know who to reach out to if, for example, you wanted to write a guest post or you just wanted to make a connection with somebody, that could . . . You know, you could have a mutual and beneficial relationship down the road. You could do the same thing with forums. So “forums:” and then your keyword or key phrases. And you can try multiple different key words, and multiple different key phrases and different searches, and find a lot of different sites that might be relevant to the topic that you’re talking about, Tim.

Now, the second thing you could do is another great way to do this, and this is a way that not a lot of people think about even though it totally is obvious once you hear it, is you go to Facebook, and you type in your keywords, and you find groups related in the same fashion to what it is that you’re talking about. There are groups online that are completely active on a lot of different topics, obviously, and you can go in there and those are great places to not only understand where your audience exists but also what their problems are, what their pains are, which is what goes along with your second question, how do you know what they’re interested in, or what their pains are, and what you could provide solutions for? Well, that’s how you find out. You go to where they’re having conversations, and you listen. You listen, and then if there’s an opportunity, you ask questions that are even deeper, or you ask why, or you keep going deeper into the conversation. And that’s a great way to do it from an outside perspective in, from somebody who is joining these conversations and just listening in as if you were at a party and you were going around to all the different circles and cliques around the party, and you just listen in on one, and then when it’s an opportunity for you to chime in because you have something to add value to, or you can provide a solution, that’s when you come in. That as opposed to going to a party, finding all these different conversations going on, and then you all of a sudden going, “Hey my name’s Tim, I sell this!” You don’t want to do that. You want to listen and add value when you can, have people want to get to know you before you start to pitch anything. So that’s the approach I would take when it comes to handling the relationships that you’re going to build with these people who are having these issues that you could potentially provide a solution for.

So Facebook groups is a great way, a great method to tap into your audience, and also understand what they’re having issues with. Facebook ads is another one. If you had a little bit of income to spare to do some research and test, you could target people on Facebook and pay for targeted ads to do some research with. Perhaps drive them to a landing page on your site, where you can then collect them into an email list, and that way you can do further research with them. So, maybe you target based on certain keywords or likes or pages that they like, and then they go to your landing page and then they get on your email list if you have something to provide, maybe you have a free offer of some kind, some incentive. A lead magnet, perhaps. And then they get on your list, and then you can tap into that list for research for what it is that you want to do to serve them. This is a great tactic that a number of bloggers and online business people use, is when people get into their email list, they use that email list to do research. So I do this, and I think the fifth or sixth email I ask my audience is, “Well what do you want me to write a blog post about?” And that tells me exactly what their pains and struggles are, and what they want me to provide solutions about. Derek Halpern on SocialTriggers.com, his first email that he sends to you—and again this is totally automatic which is the beauty of it—says, “Well what are you struggling with?” And he tells me he gets these incredibly long stories of what people are having issues with, and what their pains are which gives him perfect insight on what he can provide solutions for, on what the blog posts he can write are about. On what podcast episodes he could have, and also of course what products too. So again tapping into your email list, whether or not it’s people who are brand new and fresh from Facebook, or people on your list already, Tim, I would definitely recommend asking your audience right now, if you have any sort of size of email list, ask them what they’re struggling with and try to have a direct conversation with them. And actually, if you’re a small blogger right now and you have a very little following, that’s a perfect opportunity because you have yet to get to the volume where it just becomes overwhelming to chat with everybody in your audience. But when you’re small, that’s when you should absolutely take the time to reach out to every single person on your email list, one to one, personally, and just ask them and have a conversation with them. You’re going to find out so many things, so many golden nuggets that’s going to help take your brand to the next level, and of course, because you’re interacting with these people one on one, they feel like they’re getting special treatment. And they’re going to become fans for life. Especially if you can help them and even possibly work with them to create these solutions that you’re trying to create for this target audience.

So we talked about forums and blogs, talked about Facebook groups, Facebook ads, and again I went over part of your second question, we’re answering that as we go along: How do you serve them, how do you find out what their problems are? We talked about that already and we’ll keep talking about that. Number four, social media. Like Twitter, we talked about Facebook but Twitter is a good one too because you can type in certain keywords, you can create columns on tools like Tweetdeck, that automatically will populate whenever somebody talks about a certain keyword. So you can have it—you can set up a column for certain search terms and then you can see the conversations going on about that search term, and again, just like I talked about with that party thing, you come in and talk about or provide answers whenever it seems appropriate. Then that way people will become knowledgeable of what you do and the type of knowledge you have, and perhaps come to the site that you have and then maybe get on your email list where you can just find out more, having a conversation with them on Twitter. That’s a great way to go about it.

I would also look at YouTube; YouTube is also a great untapped research forum, or research area for finding out what pains and problems are that people have. Same thing with Amazon, Amazon.com is another one too, so what you do is you look up videos related to your topic and you see what the most popular videos are. And you understand that those are pain points that people have. You can read the comments and see what else people have questions about. You could from there of course understand who the major players are talking about the things that are related to what you do and you can try to develop a relationship with them. On Amazon, you can go on Amazon and search through books related to your topic, and you can go through the book cover—you know how you can look inside the book—you can look inside the table of contents and see what main topics are being written about in those books about your topic, and that’ll give you some inspiration for what types of blog posts to write or what solutions you better make sure you cover, because those people who write those books are obviously spending a lot of time trying to understand the perfect type of content to put in there.

So, those are all some great ways and of course iTunes is another repository where you can find major players who have audiences and you can discover the sort of things you should be talking about in your niche as well. So, that’s a lot of stuff Tim, but I hope that gives you some starting points as far as where you can find your audience and how to find them, and also how to understand what it is that their problems are and what you should be talking about on your site as well, potentially in products that you create too.

So Tim, thank you so much for your question, an AskPat t-shirt is going to be headed your way for having your question featured here on the show. For those of you listening if you have a question you’d like potentially featured here on the show and also potentially get an AskPat t-shirt, head on over to AskPat.com. That’s all you have to do, you can ask a question right there on the widget right on that page.

Thank you all so much for listening in. Of course one more time to reiterate, if you’re just getting started, I mean this is a great episode for you if you’re just getting started, but even if you don’t have anything yet, I recommend you go to SmartPassiveIncome.com/start. That’ll take you to my Getting Started page on my main site and it will walk you through the process of how to do all the stuff and there’s a hundred thousand different ways. Maybe not a hundred thousand, but there’s hundreds, or even thousands of different ways to earn a living online, and make some money whether on the side or full time. And I give you a lot of the options there for you and for how you’d like to work online. So again that’s SmartPassiveIncome.com/start.

Thank you so much, and of course I’m going to leave you with a quote of the day. And this quote comes from Sir Claus Moser. He says, “Education costs money. But then so does ignorance.” Thank you so much, take care, and I’ll see you in the next episode of AskPat.

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