Deadly Conversion Busters: Building a Targeted Audience

Lots of people talk about “traffic”, but how can you attract more of the right people? How can you grow an audience of people who you can most help, who will see success from your products and services, and who will be long term loyal customers?

In this episode Chris and Tony reveal:

  • Why you need to be constantly looking for ways to attract new people into your community
  • How to clone your best prospects
  • What to do to meet your prospects where they are and bring them home
  • Perfecting your messaging and funnels through testing

Deadly Conversion Busters: Building a Targeted Audience

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Tony Clark: This is The Mainframe.

Welcome everybody to our continuing series of the Deadly Conversion Busters. Last week we talked about lack of goodwill, and how that can affect your conversions. This week we are going to talk about building a very targeted audience.

How are you doing today, Chris?

Chris Garrett: I’m doing good. As I said last time, I’m really getting into this Daredevil, and Stick just arrived. I’m sorry if that’s a spoiler to anybody, but I’m very excited that a character I recognize has appeared.

Tony Clark: Yeah, it was pretty exciting. I won’t give anything away, but there’s another character that they don’t actually mention in that little arc of that episode, but those who have read, know who it is and it kind of foreshadows what might be coming, which is interesting. It kind of gets people drawn in. Both, people who know what’s going on, people who don’t know what’s going on, and then those who seemingly think they can guess what’s going on, right? Trying to pick out the Easter eggs.

Chris Garrett: I’ve only ever read the comics when there has been crossovers with Spiderman, or where there has been an arc – where you need to read back. So a lot of this is brand new to me, and I knew the big bad guy, and I knew some of the characters, but it’s all falling into place. It’s very cool.

Tony Clark: Yeah, and it’s cool when they diverge too because that’s one of the things we have seen on Walking Dead, is that the TV series has diverged enough from the books, that it keeps those of us who have read the comics and love the comic series, guessing about who they are going to swap out in character deaths, or who is going to take up the attributes of this character from the book, who is not in there. When we are talking about targeted audience, they’ve done a fantastic job of cultivating two very specific audiences for that.

Why You Need to Be Constantly Looking for Ways to Attract New People Into Your Community

Chris Garrett: Yeah, and it makes you wonder how they are going to keep going without burning out the audience. I think one of the things we have talked about in this series is having a constant stream of fresh blood, because it has to grow. You are always going to have churn. You can always lose some people. There’s no list on earth of a decent size that has zero unsubscribes. So you always have to have fresh blood coming in.

Agents of SHIELD is doing yet another spin-off, so it could be that they have two spin-offs. Are they asking too much, or is the audience there? Obviously they think they do. Most people who are into comics, they don’t just buy one, but it does make you think, are they going to exhaust their pool? And it’s one of the things we have to think about in business. Have we got sufficient targeted audience? Do we have access to a larger audience? And how do we find them?

How to Clone Your Best Products

Tony Clark: Right. And one of the things that when you are talking about a list and an audience, is what we call ‘cloning your best prospects.’ It’s about weeding out the prospects that aren’t the right fit for your audience, and then increasing those that are. And getting back to what we were just talking about, they do that on Walking Dead. They tend to bring in characters that the audience can relate to, especially after the death of a favorite character, and think of that as when you start seeing unsubcribes, you actually need to start looking at your campaign and start refilling that with the right type of prospects.

Chris Garrett: And even within an overall audience, you will have prospects for specific products. If you look at the Copyblogger business, we have designers, developers, do-it-yourself website builders, writers, agencies, and consultants. The themes might appeal to one segment, the training might appeal to another segment. It could be that there are people where those two things don’t overlap. They are only interested in training. They are only interested in themes.

So you have to tailor to your sub-audiences – your niches and your segments as well, without annoying the people who it’s not relevant for. And partly that’s how you get into email segmentation, marketing automation, but it’s also just writing content that will appeal to the right people, without annoying the wrong people.

Tony Clark: And doing the right intersections, because you were talking about the different segments, and there is overlap. And you’ll start to notice patterns of intersections of this specific segment of the audience, and this specific segment. And that’s another way, as you can start targeting larger groups of segments by creating intersecting content, and that’s something great to do with email and marketing automation. You can actually tailor your campaigns to sort of bridge the gap between two specific segments, in addition to do individual emails to say a very specific segment of that audience.

Chris Garrett: Yeah, and when you get down to segments, if you can achieve getting down to segments, then you can really get to know them. You can get to know their specific needs, desires, goals, and really cloning your best prospects does come down to knowing as much as you can about those best practices as you can.

And people often feel like they can use gut instinct and they can guess, and to an extent when you start, you have to do that because you don’t have really good customers, if you are starting from zero. But over time you do need to get to know them, and the best way of doing that is to actually talk to them. So you can do a certain amount by spying, and using tools, but at some point you really need to get on the phone because people will tell you what their motivations are, but until you ask why, and keep asking why, they won’t tell you the real reasons.

I will give you a real good example. Everybody needs money. But why somebody wants to make more money can vary widely between different people. You know, there are some people who want to be powerful, some people want freedom, some people have some big bills that they need to take care of. Some people are wanting to add money to the bank account out of fear. Some people just like hoarding it. Some people like to go on shopping sprees.

Some of those reasons may seem superficial to you, but they are important to them. And unless you can ask why, why, why, you’ll not be able to drill down to really what is that’s motivating them. And you might find out that they are wanting a solution to a problem they don’t actually have. They’ve missed diagnosed their problem.

So to really help them, you need to drill down to really where they want to be, what they are trying to get away from, and what they were trying to go towards.

What To Do To Meet Your Prospects Where They Are and Bring Them Home

Tony Clark: You are trying to pick out those attributes so you can tailor that messaging accordingly. And also when you are looking for prospects, you have to remember that you are trying to determine where this prospect is coming from, both mentally, like you were just talking about. Why do they want this?

But also physically, what are they attributes that are drawing them from here? Are they coming from a forum? Are they coming from my list? Is it a very specific local type of thing? Is this a local marketing campaign? And those different attributes that you are putting together to better understand who this prospect is, will also kind of give you an indication of where you need to go to find more of that specific type of prospect.

Chris Garrett: Yeah, where they hang out, what they do when they are there, how they are interacting, the words they use, the phrases they use. All of that will tell you where you are going to find more of them.

Tony Clark: The idea is if you can determine what it is that is the attraction strategy that’s working, and what are others using to also create those same attraction strategies, you can create this concept of “here is a model of this prospect for this specific segment” and then what you do is, you use that to continue to build your list.

This is something that has been done since the beginning of business. You see it with a lot of trade shows. Targeting very specific types of prospects at trade shows, and in-person networking. It’s the same concept when you are doing it online. You have the same concept of going to where or meeting the prospect where they are, and being involved in their communities, à la trade show, to better understand what it is they need, and what attributes make up this specific type of prospect.

Chris Garrett: If you think about back in the direct mail days, which fewer people do, but it still works, and compare that to Facebook advertising, you’ll see there is a lot in common between those tactics. With direct mail you would buy a list of people who have purchased something that really closely matches who you are trying to go after.

So they might be a magazine subscriber and that magazine might have a really good correlation with people who would purchase your product. And you can do that on Facebook. You can say, “If they like this page” and you notice, we are not really talking about demographics. We are not talking about age and gender and all that kind of thing. I find demographics works better as a filter, rather than your starting point. I’m much more interested in their behavior, their activity, where they hang out, what they are already a fan of, what do they already like, have they visited your site before?

The retargeting can be very powerful, and then use demographics as a filter. If you can apply where they hang out and what they are doing, and the things that they are interested in, with messaging that speaks to their motivations, then you are going to attract a greater number of the right prospects. And you are not going to waste your time, your energy and your resources on attracting people that you will never be able to help.

Tony Clark: Now we are getting to the thing that I get excited about, which is the ability to use tools and methods to better understand your audience — their behavior as you were talking about — and how to use these tools to actually clone your audience, and also to find out where they are so you can track them better.

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Perfecting Your Messaging and Funnels Through Testing

Chris Garrett: Tony, your experience with testing is a lot deeper than mine, so can you tell us a little bit about how you would test your messaging, and test your conversions, so you know you are attracting the right people?

Tony Clark: There are a lot of ways to go about doing it, and one of the things we are going to cover in-depth later on is this idea of adaptive content and using that to give the right messaging at the right time to your audience. And using that to also continue to build your list and qualify leads, and we’ll also talk about how that’s all automated.

Getting started is really just a matter of watching patterns and getting a good idea of what it is your audience is doing. You can do that by following their path that you’ve initiated through an email, or through an ad, to a landing page and then where they ultimately ended up.

So it’s really about following closely in the funnels, and this can be something as simple as setting up Google Analytics, and that will give you a good idea of what’s happening with your audience. Or you can do more in-depth segmenting through your email list. I mean one of the things we have on the Rainmaker Platform that I love, is that all of this is tied together, and we are actually working on some things that are going to make it even more tied together, and I’m really excited about. I’m not going to talk about it now, but I can’t wait until we can talk about it.

What it does it creates a very tight line that you can follow to watch people from their initial attraction — what content drew them in — to each step through the process. And you can do that with Google Analytics as well, but when you have tools and systems in place that allow you to better determine what it is that caused this person to make the next step, it allows you to better tailor your messaging and get a better sense of what’s working and what’s not.

Chris Garrett: Yeah, and I found in a really humble and clumsy way that I could work out who was referring the best people to me, just by using my email sign-up as a goal. In your email account you will have like a thank you page that you send people to after confirming their email. In your Google Analytics, if you set that as your goal, this is the most simple thing you can do. Just set that thank you page up as a goal and then as Tony said, work back where they came from. That will add a great deal of insight into how you are approaching your content, where you are getting your referrals from, and where to go after new and better referrals.

The best approach is, revenue. You know, working back from where people are paying you money. But if you are not ready for that, the next proxy for revenue is your email subscriber base. You have set that thank you page up as your goal in Google Analytics, see where these people are coming from, which content is initiating that, can you do more guest posting in places that are going to attract those people?

It’s a really good way of adding links to your search engine optimization, plus it gives you direct traffic. And it’s direct traffic from people are clicking because they read some content that they really engaged with.

Tony Clark: And one of the things I like to do too is, and you can make this really simple — like you just said — using specific landing pages for different email segments that you are sending out, will also help you kind of see which ones are generating the goals.

You can also use things like an early bird list, to really see how interested people are to engage in that content, or be part of that launch. And you can use that to see how effective that list is, because one of the things that we see a lot of, is people using heavy-handed practices to get people on a list. Pop-ups. You know, you get to a page and we know pop-ups work but what do we mean by work?

Now, when you get to a page to read a piece of content and you are immediately hit with a pop-up ad, is that getting people to sign-up for your list? Well, maybe it is. But how effective is that list after that? Because this is somebody who is not engaged with you at all, and that’s their first interaction.

So what this does, it allows you to better understand, not only who is being attracted, what specific content has attracted them, but also afterwards when you send out to that list to say “get on the early bird list,” it helps filter out those people who aren’t interested. And that sub-list now becomes people who are feeling engaged in your content, and will be a better way to effectively measure that particular campaign.

Chris Garrett: Yeah, and the measurement is a big part of this. Knowing that you are putting your energy into the right places, but don’t feel like every experiment has to work out, because that just constrains you to things you have always done.

So nobody is perfect, and your audience will actually shift and move. Your audience will shift with what your competition is doing as well. You know, if we still sold Teaching Sells, the same way as it sold in 2007, then it probably wouldn’t work as well. You know, we have to move with the times. Just remember that none of this is going to be perfect.

What you can do to monitor how your audience is changing is to set up some searches on Twitter. If I was looking to do some WordPress development, I’d be searching on Twitter to see what questions people were asking about WordPress. So people who are saying, “Does anybody know _____ in WordPress?” or “Can anybody help with WordPress?” or “Does anybody have this problem in WordPress?” And you’ll see that they can actually be prospects for your service, but you are not going to go straight in and pitch them. But what you can do is you can see that there’s commonality between the phrasing. So you could write articles that actually answer those questions, and you can send those answers to these people and say, “Hey, I wrote an article about that, but let me know if you have any more problems.”

It’s human language. It’s what they are actually searching for and usually people will go to social media because they are frustrated with a problem that they have not been able to find easy answers to. So they may have already done a Google search. We joke about “let me Google that for you” but a lot of times, people are embarrassed if they ask a question that they could have just got on the first page of the Google results.

So if they are asking it in social media, they probably actually have that problem and they are getting frustrated. If you can be relief to that frustration, they are going to love you, and you are going to get insight. Then you can use that and develop it to get more referrals, because once you have got that messaging, you can then get people to refer to you. If somebody says “Thank you very much, you really helped me,” you can say, “Well, one thing you can really do to help me, is if you know anybody who needs help with X, then send them my way.” And you can actually give them the messaging to refer people to you.

It’s not just in your guest posting, it’s not just in the links you develop. It’s not just, you know, if you want to do Facebook advertising. It’s also the human referrals. They need messaging. They need to know who you can most help and how you can help them.

Tony Clark: And we’re talking about building a targeted audience here, and that’s a great method and something you mentioned earlier about “failures” is also about building a targeted audience. Sometimes unsubscribes are a good thing. If you are sending out very targeted content to a list that relates to a product or an upcoming launch, and people start leaving, it may not be the content, it may be that it’s actually the right content, for the right people on that list.

Sometimes “failure” of content is a good way to weed out people that were never interested in buying anyway, because remember, ultimately you need to get down to buyers. And that’s what a targeted audience is all about. Getting those people that are going to take the action that you want them to take.

Chris Garrett: Yep. So you need to do testing, and you need to set up your sources of traffic, be that prospecting on social media and in communities and forums, like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook Groups, traditional forums. Getting human referrals and getting referrals from your guest posting, and accelerating that once you have got some numbers with advertising.

You need your messaging, and you need to put the messaging in the right place, and you need to base that messaging location on where you are getting the best referrals and the best prospects. Once you’ve got that, then you are going to have a growing targeted audience.


Chris Garrett: Now Tony, can you sum up the three stages that we were talking about earlier, so that everybody knows what to takeaway?

Tony Clark: Sure, Chris. Well, we started with what we call ‘cloning your best practices,’ and what that is, is really trying to build your list with more of those people that are on it, that will take the action that you want them to. Or are the right audience for that message.

Then you need to begin to go out and meet people where they are. Meet those prospects where they are, and use that to attract them back to your system.

And finally, you need to test and measure, and make sure that what you are doing is actually working, and helping you build that list. It will also help you see if you are getting a very specific targeted audience, the way you want to.

Chris Garrett: Yeah, if you do those things, then you are going to have a targeted audience. You are not going to be attracting the wrong people, which can damage your conversions. We talked a lot about getting the correct messaging. A big part of messaging is being unique, being able to stand apart from the competition. So that’s what we are going to talk about in the next episode. Crafting your uniqueness and standing out from the competition. So check out the next episode and thank you for listening.