This week we spoke with Anthony Sarandrea, who gave us a lot of gold nuggets about generating leads online. But I know what some of you may be thinking: “I'm not even close to being able to do some of the things you talk about in that episode.” Even if that's the case, I still recommend listening to it if you haven't already, because we discuss an amazing approach to generating leads for your business.
However, if you're just starting out, I want to point out one thing Anthony mentioned, something that's so important when you're starting to build your business because it makes everything else so much easier. And that is: before you start trying to generate leads, you need to know exactly what your target audience is going through.
Hopefully, if you've followed me for a while and listened to the show, this won't be a foreign concept. But it bears repeating: everything else comes more easily when you know who your audience is. so how do you learn about them? Well, it's one thing to say, “I'm going to do some research, have conversations with people. I'll see what the forums are saying, put myself in people's shoes and try to figure out what I can do to best serve them. Ask them questions like, ‘What's your number one struggle right now?'”
That's a great start that can definitely help you. But it's just the first step. The next step is what I want to talk about today: becoming your target audience. Stick around and let's talk about what that looks like.
- Why you have to place yourself deeply in the community you want to operate in
- What I did to feel comfortable dedicating money to a portfolio made up of 98 percent Tesla stock
- Easy ways to get started immersing yourself within your target audience
SPI 506: Generating Leads for the Rest of Us (The #1 Thing You Should Do)
Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it's all about working hard now so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, he's become known as a podcasting legend, but he still thinks we're just in the beginning of it: Pat Flynn.
This week we spoke with Anthony Sarandrea, who you can connect with on Instagram. And he gave us a lot of gold nuggets about generating leads online. But I know what some of you may be thinking: “I'm not even close to that level yet where I can do some of those things that we talked about.” And still, I would recommend you listen to that episode if you haven't already, because we talked about a lot of things that aren't often discussed and an amazing approach to building leads for your business.
However, if you're just starting out, I wanted to point out one thing that Anthony mentioned that we talked about in the beginning, but is something that is so important when you're building your business, especially for the first time, because it makes everything else so much easier after that. And we'll talk about lead gen and how to do that, even if you're just starting out, but before you generate leads, we need to know exactly what our target audience is going through.
And I think, I've said this enough, hopefully if you've listened to the show before I've beaten that so much into you, because everything else comes easier when you know who your audience is. But it's one thing to say that like, “Oh, yeah. I'm going to do research. I'm going to have conversations with people. I'm going to see what the forums are saying and put myself in their shoes and try to figure out what I can do to best serve them. Ask them questions like, ‘What are you challenged with right now? What's your biggest and number one struggle that you're dealing with?’”
That can definitely help you, and that's a great thing to do. But more than that, becoming your target audience. That's what Anthony did. When he was looking at providing services to people who were in debt, what did he do? He went and defaulted on his credit card himself, just to understand what people were going through.
And on one hand, that's kind of ridiculous. First of all, it puts your own credit at risk and all this other stuff. But number two, how beautiful is it to then completely realize what a person's going through because you're going through it yourself. It's almost like, I've seen these things on YouTube where YouTubers will, and there's obviously a graceful and a good way to do this and there's a way to do it where you're just trying to get views and stuff. A lot of people have done this, but they live homeless for a week and just really put themselves in a homeless person's scenario, for example. And the YouTubers, I can't even remember the name of the YouTuber who did it. I mean, there was a number; some weren't doing it very well. Others really portrayed through cinematography and through storytelling exactly what a homeless person was going through.
And you can't help but if you are in that yourself and you're putting yourself in that situation really begin to empathize. And that's really the key here, and that's empathy. That's what this episode is all about. Having empathy for those who you are about to serve and those who you are serving. Because you need to, again, not just put yourself in the shoes of your target audience, but if possible, get fully immersed into it as much as possible. Now you've heard me talk about my Pokémon channel here before; it's called Deep Pocket Monster. I think at this point, we're very close to, if not already, past a hundred thousand subscribers on the channel, and we just started it earlier this year. I know for a fact, a big reason why I was able to succeed so quickly in this space, which is very saturated, is because I became a member of the community myself and I immersed myself in the community of Pokémon collectibles so much that it just became literally a part of my everyday life.
Not just because it allowed me to hang out with the kids more and play with them, but it also allowed me to do research. Not research like I'm keeping track in a notebook of all the things and which videos are performing well, which videos are not performing well. I didn't start doing that until after I started filming and creating videos for this community. But more so, just what are people like here? Why are they continually watching these live streams, and why are they donating money to that streamer? And why are they spending so much money on this? And what is it about it? I found out for example that a lot of the people in the Pokémon collectible space who are on YouTube in particular were 24- to 35-year-old males who had once grown up with Pokémon but didn't have enough money to really go out and buy things.
And as soon as they started getting jobs and the collectible market, especially of course with the pandemic hitting at the same time, it was like all things kind of built up to the fact that these people now who had jobs and have money or stimuluses or whatever are now spending money on things that bring them back to childhood when things weren't so crazy, when things were great and Pokémon was an escape for a lot of people. And it's not just Pokémon; a lot of other collectibles from Magic: The Gathering to sports card collectibles and coins and other things like that, everything rose. Everything rose. If you were a stockholder of, I can't remember the name of the stock, it's a collectibles type stock, they actually got acquired, but it rose like crazy. It rose like crazy. I remember following that. But again, immersing yourself in that situation because you're investing time and perhaps even money into it.
Speaking of investing, we'll just continue on this path. I knew that I wanted to invest in a company that would hopefully help grow my income by 10X, or grow my cash by 10X. And I was looking and discovering a lot of different companies. There was Apple at the time when I started getting interested in stocks and Google or Alphabet, of course, and Amazon. And I didn't really get in early on those, but I remember specifically people talking about in 2014, 2015, Tesla. And Tesla at the time, a lot of people didn't believe they were going to do very well. They had just come out with the Model S, and the model X was just about to come out. And a lot of people were very, very bullish on Tesla. A lot of people were also shorting Tesla, meaning they were betting that it was going to fail.
Now instead of just either believing one group or another and falling for propaganda on both sides, I decided to immerse myself in the Tesla community. So I test-drove a couple of Teslas. I asked a friend if I could drive his, and then I ended up loving it so much that I bought my own. Not only did I buy my own, I ended up being very active in different forums. I started to reach out and talk to other community members in the Tesla owner space. I started following YouTubers who were specifically talking about Tesla and what the company was doing just so I could stay involved. And I got so immersed in it that I remember when Elon Musk would give his keynotes and reveal certain things, everything from the semi-truck to the Tesla Model Y to even the cyber truck, which was just a failed presentation which actually turned out to be the best thing ever because it provided so much free marketing for them. This was when the windshield broke when Elon threw a steel ball into the windshield of a cyber truck.
I was just glued. I couldn't stop thinking. I couldn't stop reading. I couldn't stop watching about Tesla. And I fully immersed myself in it so much that I became confident that I could dedicate a number of dollars into a portfolio that was made up of 98% Tesla. And I'm very happy with how it's performed. It's actually just been amazing, in fact. And even though it's gone down a little bit, it's still way up. I mean, I remember when they split the stock by five, then it just continued to go up and I'm still very bullish on it. This is not stock advice, by the way; this is just my own experience. And all this to say, I didn't just put money into something without doing a bunch of research. But that research wasn't even just reading or watching or listening; it was actually being. Right? It was actually being.
I want you to think about your target audience, the target market that you're in. How much have you really immersed yourself into that community? Now, in some cases you might be doing this business because you were once somebody who was in that community yourself, who had gone through the same struggles, and you've already passed those struggles and now you're sharing that knowledge that you've gained with others who are once where you were before. But even then, I remember with my architecture website, which I still have, greenexamacademy.com, I was somebody who took a very difficult architectural exam and happened to have gotten laid off a few months later. And that inspired me to create a website to help people pass this architectural exam; it's called the LEED exam. And it did very well. And I was in the shoes of my audience because I had just taken the exam like earlier that year, so I knew exactly what a person was going through.
I knew exactly what a person was thinking because I was just there too. And that actually helped me because even a year later, when the United States Green Building Council—this is the company that actually creates and writes the exam questions for this really difficult exam—when they came out with their own study guide, people still connected with me more. Because they saw that I was exactly right where they were, that I understood even more than the company itself how difficult the test was, what it was like to go and get up on exam day, how to study, what not to study, and how to go through 600 pages of stuff and memorize it all. So that worked in my favor.
But over the years, as I started to dedicate more time to Smart Passive Income, as I started to dedicate more time to other projects, everything from the security guard training website from 2010, to the 2014 Foodtruckr website, both of those, by the way, having been sold in early 2020, which is something I'm very proud of, to building a membership community at SPI Pro, writing books, speaking around the world. All these kinds of things I had then far removed from the LEED exam space, that architecture space, and as a result of that, yeah, even though it is passive income, even though the website still ranks for certain keywords, even though people can still purchase products and affiliate products through my links, I still get paid, but I'm not in that community anymore.
And as a result, my income has gone down, and as a result, other competitors have come through who are more involved, who are still in the architecture world, of course. And I'm obviously not. I had gotten let go, and I've moved on and focused on other things. And of course, I talk about passive income and the automation of income and residual income and such, but nothing is forever. And I think the idea being you build something so that it can run on its own for a while. Either that, or you hire or find people and/or tools to help run it for a while. But even then, if you are removing yourself from who it is that you're serving because you've already accomplished those things, or because you have conquered those struggles and challenges, people change, challenges change, struggles change.
You've got to continually immerse yourself into your market and community, which is why one of my favorite things that I see some entrepreneurs do is they hold events. And sometimes they're online, sometimes they're offline. But with events, you get people who are really, really deep into that space to show up. And when people show up there, they talk. They talk to each other, they talk to teams, they talk to staff, and that's where you can find out so much information because you've literally created a space to immerse yourself with your own community. Something that I talk about a lot in Superfans, my book which helps you build fans, because you're bringing that community together, they're finding people just like themselves in there too. But more than that, that's an amazing place to do research, but also just be and put yourself in that situation.
And I'm really glad Anthony, in episode 505, talked about that, the fact that he defaulted on his credit card just so he would know what it was like to have a collector come, to feel what it was like to just continually get calls because of a payment that you missed. Very scary. And that way, you can get into the heads of those who are going through the same thing too. This is why I love to continually try new things here at SPI. Because when I try new things, I can become a beginner again. And I can remember what it was like. And I can start over with all of you at the same time. It's a beautiful thing. It's a beautiful thing. That's why I started the SwitchPod with Caleb because we were both complete noobs when it came to ecommerce and physical products and inventing and patenting and all that stuff. And that company, I don't know if you heard, but is in Best Buys now. You can check it out at Best Buy online, in fact, in the US, and I believe in Canada as well. With other projects, fully immersing myself, like the Deep Pocket Monster Pokémon channel, to bring this back around.
Again, all this to say, I want to challenge you: How can you better and more deeply, fully immerse yourself and become one of your target audience members yourself? Either that, or if that seems to be challenging, find a target audience member, somebody in your audience right now, and connect with them. Take them out to dinner or coffee. Get on a Skype call or a Zoom call with them and see what you can do to just continue that relationship. And they're going to feel loved. They're going to feel like you're paying a lot of attention to them. Provide them value. Don't just take, take, take. But at the same time, they're going to give you so much more in return. And everybody wins. Not just both of you, but the audience who is there like you as well and like them.
So that's my challenge to you: How will you fully immerse yourself into your community and become one with who it is that you're serving?
Again, everything becomes so much easier. The copy that you create, the content that you write and publish, who becomes a guest on your podcast, to the products that you create, to the emails that you send out and the customer service and how it feels to have a person complain about something that you provide them. Everything works better when you immerse yourself.
Thank you so much for listening to the follow-up Friday episode here on Smart Passive Income. Let me know what you think. Maybe this is something that you needed to hear right now. And if so, hook me up on @PatFlynn on Instagram and @PatFlynn on Twitter.
And again, make sure to follow Anthony Sarandrea, S-A-R-A-N-D-R-E-A, on Instagram. That's how he wants to connect with you. And I look forward to serving you next week in our next interview. Cheers. Take care. I appreciate you. And, oh man, I just looked at the guest for next week. Whoo! You are not going to want to miss this. Somebody who is a legend in the online business space, who is revamping something that has been a tried-and-true method and bringing us up to date with it. What is it? Well, you'll have to wait to find out. Episode 507 coming your way.
I appreciate you. Take care. Thanks so much. And as always, Team Flynn for the win.
Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast at SmartPassiveIncome.com. I'm your host, Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is Sara Jane Hess. Our series producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media. We'll catch you in the next session.