In case there is any doubt I can assure you the heady days of “if you build it they will come” have been over for a long time.
It’s our responsibility as business owners to meet our customers where they are.
In doing so, you can build an audience that is easier to connect with. Hint: That’s also why you build your email list.
But in the beginning, it’s a lot of work.
How do you know where to find those ideal customers to begin with?
There are a lot of creative ways to go about finding them but I’ll offer up a few to get you started. My hope is these suggestions will get the creative juices flowing and you’ll start to come up with ideas of your own.
If you want to share your thoughts or get feedback on an idea, leave me a comment.
7 Places To Find Your Ideal Customer
Note: I‘m giving you places to look but I’m not creating detailed tutorials on using each of these channels. There are plenty of tutorials online with specifics on how to use them. A quick Google search should give you all you need.
Also, the technical details of how these things work changes often.
If you do get stuck, leave me a comment and I’ll try to help out.
Finally, don’t think you have to use every recommendation below. Start with one or two and build from there. Don’t overwhelm yourself.
1. Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc… all seem like low hanging fruit and they are. The odds are your ideal customer is using some form of social media.
The question is which platform(s) are the on? In some cases it may be obvious, for others you’ll have to dig.
For the DIY art business idea we discussed I would look to the more visual outlets like Instagram and Pinterest.
If you’re in the B2B space, LinkedIn is the obvious place to go. I would be careful on LinkedIn though. A lot of people are getting very spammy in how they connect. Don’t be one of them.
You’re better off commenting on posts, posting your own content, and building momentum.
Relationships take time. If you do try to connect with someone on LinkedIn that you don’t know offline, write a VERY personalized message. If you won’t take the time to do so, why should they add you to their network?
Despite my disdain for Facebook, I wouldn’t rule it out. Their ad targeting is amazing and even if you don’t run an ad, I would use their ad tool to assess audience size and whether they are on Facebook.
Like Facebook, Twitter is a bit of a social media catch-all but is a gold mine for finding audience. A simple twitter search on a relevant phrase or hashtag can yield a windfall of results.
If you don’t find much on Twitter it may be that your audience isn’t as engaged there. But don’t get discouraged. There are a lot of other places to find your ideal customer.
YouTube is often overlooked. I have a difficult time qualifying it as social media but I’ll include it here for lack of a better place to put it.
If you’re creating video content of any kind, YouTube is a must. It’s also a long-term strategy.
Production quality is starting to matter more and more (don’t let that keep you from getting started). And it’s going to take time to build an audience there. But I can almost guarantee that you can find almost any ideal customer on YouTube.
YouTube is a part of my long-term plan for Rogue Mogul but I won’t be rolling that out for a while.
Reddit is about community and conversation. There are a lot of great Reddit threads on almost any topic you can think of.
I’ve recently started using Reddit and don’t have a ton of experience there yet.
What I have learned so far is that you will have to spend some time building trust and taking part in the community.
Reddit is NOT the place to drop in from time to time, drop a link or ask a favor, and then move on. You’ll get flamed pretty fast and may even get banned from the subreddit. Redditors are very no-nonsense about that.
That said, like any community, you’ll get out of it the more you put into it. But you have to make those initial deposits first.
You can also gain a lot of knowledge about your ideal audience from reading related threads (a.k.a subreddits).
I love Quora because it’s a channel where I get to be helpful to someone looking for an answer to a question they have. It’s a great way to build trust and authority fast.
As you answer more questions in a specific area, Quora will start sending you questions that need answers for which your expertise will apply. That means you’ll spend less time searching for those questions making how you spend your time there more efficient.
Don’t be afraid to answer questions that have already have answers if you have a more complete or better answer.
Another tip for using Quora is to find related questions people are asking but aren’t so obvious.
Using our DIY art business example again, questions about stress reduction, improving focus, creativity, etc… may benefit by recommending art projects to help with those things.
4. Related Websites
This one is a little old-school but getting engaged on websites that aren’t your own can still yield benefits.
The key here is finding websites that have a reasonable amount of traffic, the audience you want, and open comments.
Don’t get in there and drop your link. Start by offering up something of value in a post, reply to others’ comments, and generally be a good steward of the community.
If you don’t, your comments may not get approved or worse will get marked as spam.
5. Forums & Communities
Still, there are active and viable forums still out there so don’t discount them.
A lot of communities are still using Facebook groups as well. In fact, there is one community I am a part of that still uses a Facebook group and it’s the only reason I haven’t deleted my Facebook account (sigh).
Some communities are free, others will cost money to join but can be a great investment.
Of all the options listed here, communities are one of my favorite because of the relationships I’ve built through them.
Two things to keep in mind with communities:
- You get out what you put in. If you join a community, get active in it. Help other people and build relationships. It doesn’t have to take a ton of time but if you start strong then fade out, you’re wasting time and money.
- Join 1 to 3 communities at most. Community participation does take time if you’re going to add value (and get value). I’m currently in 3 communities and it’s about as much as I can handle. 2 is a good number to shoot for. It’s manageable but enough to give you different perspectives.
Pro Tip: I block out 30 minutes a day for community contribution. It’s time I spend going into each of my communities to help others, answer questions, and keep a pulse on what’s happening. I recommend making it a part of your routine.
I’ve mentioned SparkToro before. If you haven’t checked it out yet, now is the time.
SparkToro will help you located the websites and social accounts that your audience reads and engage with. It’s a gold mine of information that will accelerate your ability to locate your ideal customers online.
You can do limited searches for free or get a premium account to expand the results and number of queries you run per month.
If you want to learn more about how to use SparkToro to narrow in on your audience they have some great resources. But it was the thought process outlined in this tweet by founder Rand Fishkin that pushed me over the edge and got me to subscribe:
7. Real Life
Let’s not forget real-life. Conferences and events are going to bounce back. There is nothing like an in-person event to build your network, get new ideas, and connect with like-minded people.
Try not to get caught in the marketing conference echo chamber though. If your business is selling DIY art projects, then find conferences that apply to that audience.
Hint: Your audience isn’t showing up at the latest internet marketing conference. They’re more likely to be at a self-improvement, maker, or stress reduction event.
If you’re stuck here, respond to this email on your business or niche and I’ll see if I can come up with some ideas to help you along.
Business Examples To Inspire You
Krista Stryker is the founder of 12-Minute Athlete. Looking for a way to get the maximum results in the least amount while also eliminating the excuse of “I don’t have time to workout.”
Like many of us, her fitness journey was anything but linear, or easy. She felt like the non-athlete in a very athletic family. Everything changed once she found high-intensity interval training and the rest is history.
You can hear more of her story in her own words on her 7-Figure Small podcast interview.
The Rogue Mogul site design will be getting the final polish this weekend. We’ll launch the next phase of focus on newsletter growth once it launches.
To the 90 of you who have subscribed so far I want to say THANK YOU for joining me on this journey. I’m sincerely grateful to have you here. We’re a stones throw from 100!
Please don’t hesitate to let me know how I can help. Next weeks newsletter will answer a question asked by one of our subscribers and will be a fun one!