How Audience Marketing keeps me up at night.

Curse you, Danny Iny, you sleep-thieving bastard.

On the recommendation of Jeff Goins, whose newsletters I need to read more often than I do, I got my sorry self out of bed at around two this morning to join a webinar – my first live webinar ever – hosted by Danny Iny, the so-called Freddy Krueger of the blogosphere (’cause wherever you turn, there he is).

Though I’ve tried to get back to sleep since the webinar wound up at around four, I keep getting back up and making notes of the ideas that just wouldn’t let me nod off again.

(Even in sleep there was no escape – my God, he really IS Freddy Krueger!)

The webinar was titled, “The Brutally Honest Truth about what it’s REALLY Going to Take to Build a Thriving Audience and Business Online in 2013.”

Danny, who are you trying to kid? Maybe the Freddy Kruger talk got to you, sir. Honest, yes.

Brutal? No way.

Danny’s a great speaker – I don’t remember a single “um” or “ah” during his speech, and he was straight up about what he was talking about, but he made no effort to go on the offensive about stripping people of their delusions. Instead, he did exactly what he promised – laid out a blueprint for starting a successful online business.

There may have been a sales pitch at the end for his community and coaching services, sure, but Danny’s webinar did exactly what any content marketing worth its salt should – paid its attendees’ attention back with something they could take away and apply immediately.

Both the webinar and the attendant lack of sleep were worthwhile (as I edit this on my lunch break I’m still waiting for the crash, but right now I feel fine on three hours). The blueprint Danny outlined suddenly made all the bits and pieces I’ve been hearing internet business podcasts and reading in marketing blogs about providing value and becoming an expert and building a mailing list and landing pages and conversions make sense.

The idea that finally tied all those little nuggets together for me, though, was a concept that Danny called “audience marketing:” Instead of starting your business with a product, you start by gathering an audience to you and keep them with you by helping them out.

With what? With the thing you’ve made yourself an expert in.

Starting with people, not product

I’ve never felt like an expert in anything helpful or practical, but this idea has been at me ever since I spoke with Jeff Rufino and, more recently, Emazon. The idea of not just being passionate about a thing, but being so passionate that helping other people do it brings you as much joy as doing it yourself.

Remember that Scott Dinsmore TED talk I mentioned on New Year’s Eve, the one about “What’s the work that I can’t not do?” This idea the next stage of that one:

What’s the work I’d love to help you (and by extension the both of us) get better at doing?

While that’s the basic idea behind audience marketing, there’s another element to it that hadn’t really sunk into me until now.

See, whenever I’ve hard talk of “audiences” and “tribes” and such, I’ve always seen the concept the people using the words were getting at as “a group of people other than me.” You know, there’s me, the content creator / provider, and then there’s my audience / tribe, the people who will pay me to solve their problems.

Except the separation is a myth. There’s no “me” and “my audience” – actually, let’s use “tribe,” because that feels better for the point I’m trying to make, there’s just “the tribe,” of which I may be a leader (and not all the time), but always a member.

The tribe (and you marketers out there will probably be nodding along with this, especially you, Catherine Caine), is the pack of glorious nut-jobs that you’ve always wanted to hang out with.

The group of people whom helping isn’t just a commercial transaction but a joy.

The blessed loonies who share enough of your personal brand of blessed lunacy that you love them so much that you share your stuff with them and they love you so much that they can’t help but pass the word about your stuff on – but still remain different enough from you that building a relationship with them (the heart of audience marketing) is still complex, but exhilaratingly so.

And, in the end, the ones who will tell you just what they want to buy off you, so instead of taking a shot in the dark at making a product that you hope will sell, you’ll be custom making a product for an audience primed to buy it.

Heck, I’m pretty sure that Leigh Dall’Osto inadvertently used a similar method for starting Plan B; she decided to fill a niche by standing for local election, built a tribe of locals who believed in her ability to help them, then created a product that met their need of a community centre!

Reads like audience marketing to me…

Finding my tribe

Maybe I’m building myself a romantic ideal here. The reality of building an audience could well be a lot more mundane than the picture I’m painting in my head.

And then there’s the hard work of getting to there, the achievement of that ideal or something closely resembling it, from here, one man at a keyboard with a fledgling subscriber list.

But I still want to go about finding the people of that as-yet-unformed tribe this year.

So screw you, Iny, for giving me something valuable for almost four hours of sleep, shaking up my goal-setting for 2013 and making the Internet business world make sense. You and the horse you rode in on!

Are you curious?

How did you go about building a clientele when starting your business?

Where can you find out more about audience marketing?

Danny Iny’s web site and company, Firepole Marketing

Author and advocate of Danny’s audience marketing blueprint, Jeff Goins

Other Links

The Internet Business Mastery podcast

Catherine Caine’s web site, Cash and Joy

Featured image sourced from Wikipedia; originally hosted on the A Nightmare on Elm Street Films fan site.

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