I’ll be honest. There’s a few Twitter accounts I’m super jealous of. Occasionally I’ll view their profile and each time I see that follower number go up, up up! 7,000, 8,000, 10,000!!
Damn! I only have 62 followers. (at the time of writing and I fully expect it to go down :) )
But here’s the thing. If you want to start a business and your first step is building an audience, you’re doing it wrong.
Building an audience first is like trying to make your home warmer by breathing hot air on your thermometer. It may read 70, 80, 96.8 degrees!, but your feet will still be cold.
A couple years ago Insider published an article about how Arii, an Instagram influencer with 2.6 Million followers, couldn’t even sell 36 t-shirts.
So what went wrong? And where does audience building fit into the overall journey of creating a sustainable business?
It all starts with your target customer. Who are you targeting? What do they need? And what are you prepared to give them?
If you build your audience without first thinking about what you want to sell you may get trapped by them.
For example, let’s say you want to build a SaaS for mid-sized startups. You used to work at one and you think you have a great idea.
You decide that as you build it you should tweet about it. #buildinpublic and all that junk. You tweet and tweet and code and code. Then when you’ve finally built up your audience and launch your SaaS…..no one buys.
Why? Because your audience is comprised of other #buildinpublic indiehackers like you and not mid-sized startup employees. At this point you have two options.
Regardless of which option you choose, you’re still throwing away half your work. Wouldn’t it be better to figure out if your product is viable before doing the hard work of building an audience.
Last February I read Alexander Chernev’s Strategic Marketing Management. It’s very boring but it has this diagram that’s been burned into my memory because it shows with such clarity the 4 different situations you can fall into when targeting your customers.
If you build your audience first you run the risk of looking like the “Shot in the dark” circle. Even if you end up with the “Shotgun” circle, you’ve wasted a lot of effort on people who aren’t going to buy and you may get confused as to who your customer really is.
Long story short. Take the time to understand your target customer before you build an audience because you may build the wrong one or you may not need to build one at all.
Anyway, that’s my spiel. And of course I have a CTA for you.
I made TweetSpacer. A distraction-free tweet thread composer & scheduler. I’m doing $20 lifetime subscriptions for the first 20 customers. 3 spots are left. You can check it out at https://www.tweetspacer.com
I also run CrowdMagnet. A newsletter cross-promotion community to help newsletter creators grow their audience. It's free to join. https://www.getcrowdmagnet.com
You can also find me on Twitter at @AdamFrom1989