This week we’re tackling a very tactical topic by way of request from a Rogue Mogul subscriber.
I want your question and ideas so I can be sure we’re answering the questions you have. Don’t be afraid to reply to this email and let me know what questions you have.
The question asked is:
“The main thing I struggle with in audience definition is the feedback and/or identifying the demos and psychos of them. Is there a free way to get this data from your list?”
The short answer is yes, there are free ways to learn about the demographics and psychographics of your audience.
The catch is it’s going to take some leg work, so roll up your sleeves and get ready to dig in.
How To Approach Getting To Know Your Audience
Your approach is going to depend on the size of your audience and goals.
If you already have a large audience you may want to look at the top 20% or 10% those who most engage with your content.
If your audience is smaller you can look at the entirety of them or a larger percentage of that audience.
You’ll also want to vary your approach by channel.
For example, if you have a large social following on Twitter, focus on the people who most engage with you there.
If you have a small email list, you may want to look at everyone. Though I would still break that down to those who open your emails. Or break it down further by those that also click on things in your newsletter.
No matter which channel you use, the first step is to figure out who you’re going to learn about. It will almost never be “everyone.”
Now that we have some idea of how to narrow down who we’re looking at we can get to know them better.
Get To Know The Audience You Already Have
Run a survey
One of the easiest ways to get to know demographics and psychographics is to ask. It sounds too simple but it’s direct and you can gather the specific information your looking for.
Not everyone will answer the survey or every question and that’s ok. Because those who care enough to reply are more likely to be fans of what you’re doing and now you know who they are.
Pro Tip: Be sure to tag survey responders in your email list so you can keep track of who they are. They’re an important segment for you.
Do A Little Social Media Stalking
Since we’re doing this by channel and limiting the number of people we’re looking at it’s not hard to go account by account and build a profile.
That said, it will be time consuming depending on the size of your audience. I would consider outsourcing this task, but be sure to be specific about what info you want to gather. Also, expect they won’t be able to fill in every data point you want.
Some of the psychographics will entail a degree of judgement, so lay out the criteria you would use to make decisions for the person you outsource to.
When looking at individual social profiles, look beyond the obvious demographics. Look at the things they share, like, reply to, etc…
Keep in mind that in some cases you’ll learn about who they are, other times you’ll learn what they aspire to. You’ll also learn what they don’t like.
What Do They Click On?
When it comes to your newsletter, be sure to tag users based on what they click on.
In Rogue Mogul, I tag anyone that leaves a comment so I can get to know those who are interacting with me through the newsletter.
If you look broadly at your click analytics, you can get a sense of what people are most interested in.
One approach is to tag the individual links with demographic or psychographic tags. You’ll be able to tell what’s most popular with your audience, and hence what they’re acting on/interested in. But you can also see who is clicking on those things to better build an ideal customer profile.
Do they have a website?
Some of your audience members will have a website of their own. If so, give it a visit (look for the URL on their social profiles or ask them in your survey).
Their own website will almost always include an about page which is a gold mine for getting to know them.
An ideal about page will emphasize what you can do for your customer (hint: it’s about them, not you). But in my experience, most people spend most of their about page talking about themselves, so use it to your advantage.
Yeah, I know it sounds a little creepy but most of us are leaving a digital footprint a mile wide these days. You may or may not find anything useful but it doesn’t hurt to look.
You can search on their name (if you know it) and on their email address.
Host an Online Event
Another way to get to know your list better, and to engage them more is to hold an online event. It doesn’t have to be fancy or high-production so don’t let this scare you.
Ideas for an easy online event:
- Pick a subject, have another expert on with you to do a presentation. End with Q&A.
- Do something more intimate for your most engaged subscribers like a virtual happy hour. Tip, have someone else on with you capturing info about the people your talking to. What do they like to drink? What do they do for fun?
- Do a Q&A or A.M.A. (ask me anything). You can seed this format with questions you want answers to. Ask for feedback from your audience so you can gather info on how they respond.
Even if the audience is only asking you questions, the questions they ask will tell you a lot about what is on their mind.
Whatever you do be sure to record the session so you can go back and revisit it!
You guys have already heard me talk about SparkToro but I’m mentioning it again because I’m in love with this tool.
It’s free with limited info or you can pay for it for full access (I do and it’s well worth it).
SparkToro will tell you things about what and who your audience is interested in based on who they follow, what sites they engage with, what hashtags they use, etc…
The trick to SparkToro is that it’s one step removed for your immediate audience. When using it to get to know your audience, you’ll need to look at the data SparkToro provides then make a judgment about what that means to you.
For example: I did the following SparkToro search:
My audience talks about: retirement
The results told me that the #1 news source for people talking about retirement is The Wall Street Journal. (BTW, this is just one of many data points I got from Spark Toro).
Then I did a Google search for “Wall Street Journal reader demographics” and got a link to a pdf of the WSJ audience profile.
The profile I found is a few years old but I can still learn a lot about that audience from it.
You will also see a column on your search for the top words that people use in their bio, hashtags they use, and frequently used phrases (which can help determine intent).
If you’re even a little interested in SparkToro go to their resources page and watch the first video “Getting Started: Become an audience intelligence pro in 12 minutes flat….”
There are endless ways to approach learning about your audience and it will change over time. Start as early as you can and establish the data points that are most important to your business.
Once you do the initial heavy lifting it will get easier as long as you keep up with it.
Let me know in the comments what kinds of things would be helpful here. Do you want templates, worksheets, a playbook?
Are you interested in a virtual event of our own where we can dig in more? If so reply to this email and say yes!
I’m also setting up interviews with a couple of experts on this topic to dig in a little deeper.
Business Examples To Inspire You:
At 22, Sophia Amoruso started an eBay store called Nasty Gal selling vintage stuff out of the back of an ‘87 Volvo. She scaled that business to $100,000,000 in revenue and wrote a New York Times Bestselling book about the whole thing and called #GIRLBOSS.
She wound up on the cover of Forbes and had a Netflix made a series based on her life.
She now sells courses, books, has a podcast, and is on a mission to share her knowledge with others navigating the waters of entrepreneurship.
Newsletter 90 – 96
While hitting 100 may be an arbitrary number I still want it. We’re so close yet it seems so elusive. If you want to share this newsletter with someone I would be grateful!
I’m still working on the Rogue Mogul stand-alone site. Since this is a side project it’s taken a back seat to some other projects I have going right now but it’s in the works.