Selecting the right audience members to work with
January 06, 2021
I think you’re probably here because you create a product or service for a certain audience.
In the previous episodes of the audience Explorer, I have shown you four steps to deliberately search for your audience in a systematic way. In the last episode I showed you what to do when you actually find that audience: You should really spend time to understand them, to learn from them, to learn their domain language, to learn the problems and underserved needs so that you can build a product or a service that really helps them.
Today in this episode, I talk about the logical next step to develop your audience:
Once you have this initial, basic understanding, you’ll want to select those people in your audience with whom you want to engage in a conversation later. This means that you will probably have to select the people you want to work with.
Why could this be important, the selection of audience members?
Well, first of all, you need other people to learn. Doing it on your own can only do so much. As Steve Blank used to say: ”Get out of the building”. Talk to real people outside, you won’t be able to do this alone.
On the other hand, your time as an indie creator or indie hacker is limited. Maybe you are a single-person company, so you don’t have infinite time to talk to people, because you also have to do product building, service building, and you have to do marketing, right? All this at the same time and in a kind of iterative cycle.
Your time is limited as an indie creator, i.e. you want to maximize the probability to learn from the people in your audience! You need to select those from whom you can learn a lot of things in a short time, this would be the ideal.
You need lively people, you need people who are able to talk, who are enthusiastic or angry about their under-served needs. You really need people with a lot of energy where you can learn something from.
What’s the basic idea to select those people?
First, when I go out and select people whom I want to work with, I look for energy. I look for people who are active, who are lively speaking or writing, or are recording videos, podcasts, and so on. People who … I would say: “Oh yeah, they are visible, they are talking! I can learn from them!”
Then I also look for people who are probably executing a certain job to be done. For example, if I want to help book authors, I look for people who are actively writing books, who are researching the content for the books, who are building structure: characters, locations and time where the story’s playing etc.
I’d also probably look for people who have a certain pain or problem. When somebody is totally happy with book writing, I can’t help them with book writing software, for example. I really have to look for: What are they missing, what could improve that process? Maybe I can discover a certain underserved need, so I would be looking for people who have those needs.
In general, you would look for lively people about which you have a certain hypothesis that you will need to falsify.
Let’s say you’re building a product. Then, behind that product there is a value hypothesis. You think that your product renders some value to your audience and you want to know: Is this hypothesis true, am I really right when I think that my product will render value for my audience?
You need people whom you can talk to and people who will really tell you whether your hypothesis is true or false, or whether it needs to be modified.
The next step after selecting those people would be to engage in a conversation with them. You select people to enable that conversation.
How could you do that? Well let’s make an example.
Last time, I talked about beekeepers, people who keep bees and get honey and walks from them. I want to help them with some software that enables them to create a community of beekeepers.
Then, first of all, of course, I would talk to beekeepers themselves because they know much about it. They know how the bees feel, what the bees need, and what they need to do with the bees.
And they would know each other: They would know what beekeepers are typically doing, what their friends are doing, what events there are for beekeeping, etc.
A perfect colony of stingless bees. Eggs, pollen and honey inside the hive can be seen. Its one of the best honey too @Scotbeekeepers @apimondia @worldbeeproject @BeekeepingP @BeekeepingP pic.twitter.com/Ax4T2q3iU9— Jose Louies (@josethanni) November 16, 2020
Then I would also talk to other people like honey makers, for example. Maybe some beekeepers make their own honey and maybe there are honey-making specialists who work for several beekeepers, this could also be true. Or, if I want to go big, I could talk to the honey-making industry. I don’t know.
I should possibly talk to wax and candlemakers. Let’s say, I talked to candlemakers who specialize in natural bee wax candles, very niche kind of audience. I would ask them: What have you to do with beekeepers, how do you interact with them? Where do you get your wax from? Do you know the people you get your wax from, or do you get it via some kind of wholesale process?
Another special case from here where I live in the West of Germany: We have a lot of apple farms here in this little village where I live. Sometimes on Sundays, I go out for a walk through the apple farms, and I see boxes with bees inside. The bees fly through the apple fields and act as pollinators for the apple trees.
So, if I would really create some community building software for beekeepers, I would probably talk to those apple farmers because they are very much interested in getting enough pollen on their trees, and the bees would help them with that. This could be also be interesting for a beekeeper community.
Finally, I would talk to beekeepers associations, for example the Scottish or the British beekeepers’ association. There are several of them around the world. I would talk to them because I wanted to falsify my hypotheses about community building. A beekeepers association is a community in itself, so they must know something about community building, right?
If you’re a little creative then within five minutes, I’ve got four different roles of people whom I should talk to: beekeepers, honey makers, wax and candlemakers, apple farmers and beekeepers’ associations.
Identify the roles of the people whom you want to work with and then get started.
Go, for example, out on Twitter and try to find people in one of those roles. Find beekeepers, find honey makers, candlemakers, apple farmers, beekeepers associations.
Maybe you could use “Get The Audience”, the tool that I’m making. This tool can help you to find them, understand them, understand what they’re speaking about, who is it that is speaking, and when they are most active so that you can join the conversation with them.
Maybe you can DM them and make an appointment on Zoom, for example, to meet them on a video conference. Then you can ask them: Beekeepers, how are you doing your job? Honey makers: What’s important for you, what are your needs, which of those needs are already served, which are underserved?
So you can really start interact them with them.
Speaking about “Get The Audience”, my tool that I’m creating to help you with audience development: Let me talk a little bit about the current status and the progress that I make.
I put it out there on the internet, it is live, it can be bought, I put it on Paddle so that you can license it there.
Let’s have a look at the stats, at the numbers of this week. Let’s have a look, what the database says:
This week, I got an activation of one new user. That’s not too much. The activation number: I’ve got two new audiences in that week with 2,580 new tweets that were imported from 1,472 Twitter users.
The retaining: I was able to retain two users from the weeks or months before: Two people who didn’t sign up this week, they reappeared on “Get The Audience” and did some jobs.
The revenue: Well, it’s not much this week. I’ve got one new trial user, and of course it’s a $0 revenue for them because they have not yet confirmed their membership. It’s still a trial membership.
Well, I looked at those numbers and I said: Hm… The activation is well, not so great. The retention is not so great, so I really have to do something.
And I signed up for Corey Haines’ Swipe Files community. He created a fantastic marketing community where people around the subject of marketing meet, they swipe existing marketing ideas, and they exchange new ideas. They give feedback to each other. I signed up for that paid community, and it’s really great.
I posted a question there with my AARRR numbers. And Corey came back and had an idea: He said: “Well you don’t seem to have any trigger in your software that makes people come back, right?” Why should a user come back to me into my app and do something? They need to trigger, a reminder!
For example “Come back to your audience, your audience is waiting for you. Your audience is so-and-so large with so-and-so many tweets and so-and-so many users.”
I think my users need some trigger to come back. So yes, it’s really good idea. And we will contine to work on this.
Also, I was thinking about “how do I know when people come back?” If they don’t import new tweets or new users from Twitter, I wouldn’t know that they come back. So maybe I should enable more actions in “Get The Audience” that can be done where I can notice: “Oh, people come back, they do something” or “No, people don’t come back and don’t do anything”.
I’ve got several new ideas this week about interacting more with my audience and to have my app interact more with my audience. Lots of good ideas.
Good! To summarize this episode, I think the main takeaways are:
- Why is it so important that you select the members of your audience that you want to work with? It’s so important because your time as an indie creator is limited, you have to maximize the probability for learning. You have to select those people from whom you can learn much in a short time.
- What is the basic idea for selecting the right people? Search for active, lively people, nice people that get a certain job done: like the beekeepers, the honey makers, the apple farmers, etc.
- Select them so that you enable the following conversation, you want to follow up with a conversation with them. Select those people who really like to converse with.
Then the most important thing: get started! Don’t sit at your desk and pondering “how is the best way to get started?” Simply get started, contact the first few people, hop on Zoom with them, and ask them what’s going on.
Thanks for this week. Thanks for listening. And go on with audience development.
Thanks for listening to The Audience Explorer podcast, today.
You can find me on Twitter at @GetTheAudience and you can checkout the blog at gettheaudience.com
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