Why It’s Critical To Know Your Audience

by Travis Ketchum · 0 comments

A common mistake people make once they finally start building an audience and an email list is simply not knowing what that audience cares about and wants to learn more about.

I’ve made this mistake like everyone else – but fortunately with just a little bit of diligence this can be avoided and makes your existing assets worth a multiple more than they were to start with. If you don’t get this right you’ll be paying for it and end up losing the attention from almost everyone who’s listening right now.

What it means to “know your audience”

While it seems intuitive – the idea of knowing your list still evades almost every marketer I know because the general consensus is that “if (someone) has ever opted-in or purchased from me before then they must be interested in everything I ever have to offer. They must be JUST like me and have the same hurdles I have.”

This couldn’t be further form the truth. In reality you appeal to your audience in many different ways, and most people are only attracted to you for a tiny sliver of what you offer or do and will realistically be “honey badger” about anything else you do.

But guess what? That’s totally OK – in fact this is one of the few times your customers will be focused on something, so once you can figure out who wants what kind of information it’s actually a blessing because it lets you easily figure out what kind of offers and value to give each segment.

However, for those who don’t take the time to segment their audience and their offers will end up with a bunch of non-responsive leads and a fraction of the revenue they could have otherwise generated from their audience.

How to data mine and categorize by interest

The first part of segmenting your audience/list is defining what areas of your market have a high likelihood of being in your existing pool of users.

I usually start this process by writing down 7-10 more niche interests that I think exist within a list and then try to lump similar interests into 2 or 3 “pillar categories” that I plan on addressing more regularly. In my experience, unless you have a HUGE list (like 100k+) you likely won’t have big enough segments to make it worth your time to curate 10 relevant niche marketing strategies that provide value and offers.

An example of this for someone with an “Internet Marketing” list might be broken down into three main categories: social media, search engine optimization, and list building.

Each of those 3 different types of people think they have vastly different needs and so you’ll need to tailor your content differently to each one accordingly.

Step 1: Create 2+ pieces of “value”

While you’ll be able to associate segments and tags for future product launches and future opt-ins, the biggest pain point is understanding who’s already on your list. To do that, a great way to siphon your existing leads into new segments is by sending niche specific content to your entire list, at least 2 pieces focused on each pillar you want to address.

This will get your hottest and most engaged leads into categorized segments immediately so you can preserve their attention with a tailored experience.

Step 2: Segment or tag your clickers

Depending on what software you are using to manage your email list, this process will look a little different. A lot of services like AWeber manage your leads in terms of different “lists” even if the same contact is on multiple lists. A great way to siphon the clickers on platforms like AWeber is to use some easy to use but advanced scripts like Ninja Opt-in. The name and pitch may look and sound goofy but the power is actually pretty startling and allows you to move leads to new lists as soon as they click links to your content – it’s awesome.

For those of you on platforms like Infusionsoft (which I recently migrated too, but I still use AWeber for a few purposes too), your leads are differentiated by the idea of “tags”. This makes identifying interests even easier because all you have to do is associate a category tag with users who click your categorized content links.

Step 3: Drill down your list over time

As you send out more relevant value specific to your core topics, you’ll be able to do exclude rules for anyone who you know has clicked other categories (so if it was to SEO you’d send to your SEO segment and general list but exclude anyone on the Social Media and List Building). Using this practice will give you a much more specific reach for each piece of content and each offer you send out to your prospects.

Leveraging segments for greater engagement

When you do this kind of segmentation you will greatly reduce the noise each of your leads has in their inbox and help avoid the dreaded GMail folder – where engagement goes to die.

This means more people will actually open your emails and ultimately click through to your content and promoted offers. This will be a boon to your bottom line and keep people happy/engaged with what you are doing, after all you are paying through the nose for these email services why not make sure you are getting the most from each lead?

Keeping a segmented list and marketing approach not only makes you a nicer person (trust me, your audience will thank you) but it will mean you have much higher profits from each promotion you do because it will be targeted to people who have been trained to listen to what you have to say.

[Image Credit via EdTech Digest]

About Travis Ketchum
A smart ass marketer who doesn't take no for an answer and always questions the status quo. Connect with me on Google+. Convinced yet? Get more tips and great content 100% free.

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Building a sustainable business is all about how well you can gather and maintain an audience. An email list is still one of the most viable ways to do just that.

We wanted to find a way to build an email incredibly fast, in a way that people actually find interesting, engaging and well - cool. It took a lot of testing to weed-whack through all the hype and find something that really worked.

The result? We ended up building our own solution, focused around the idea of contests and rewarding people for taking the actions that ultimately led to more leads on our email list. Everyone wins (and some literally do!), because as it turns out people love contests regardless of their market place.

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