Selling to strangers is hard, it’s much easier if you have a connection with your potential client. In this episode we will hear what Sahil Lavingia tells us on developing your audience.
Congratulations, by following steps outlined in last week’s blogs which were part manifesto and part roadmap. you know how to build a community, a product and one hundred customers. You have achieved product market fit. Note the 100 customers is not a hard number, it will depend on your business. If you are a coach, consultant or other solopreneur this number maybe only 5 or even as low as 3. The point is that you have repeat customers.
This week we will look at the advice for the minimalist entrepreneur offered by Savil Lavingia on how to grow beyond 100 customers starting with marketing by being you. Sales got you to 100 customers, marketing will bring you thousands.
Marketing at this stage of your business should not be confused with advertising. Ads cost money and as a minimalist entrepreneurs we only spend money when we must. Let’s start by looking at what we can do for the cost of our time. Most social media is free. Blog posts are free, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube are also free. So instead of spending money you should start by building an audience there.
Last week we talked about the relative ease of selling to family and friends. The harder challenge of selling to your community who cared less about you personally and more about your products. Strangers do not care about you at all, and buying your product is not going to be a priority. Selling to strangers is hard, but it becomes easier if you can bring strangers into you audience and eventually turn them into customers.
A quick definition of audience maybe helpful here. They maybe followers of your social media platform, your businesses followers, your newsletter subscribers. If you are launching a new product or service how many people could you tell. That is your audience.
People do not go directly from being strangers to customers. Instead, they go from being strangers to being vaguely aware of your product, to slowly over time becoming fans of your product to eventually becoming a customer.
To build fans you need to scale up the work you did when building your community. Remember the story of Nathan and Chris from last week, how Chris was able to build a loyal following by sharing and teaching what he learned as he improved his business? You should continue this but on a larger scale. You are larger business now, you have more to share.
Which social media platform should you use? Sahil’s recommendation is that you should try them all, to find out which is best for your business. Some people call this the spray and pray approach. You post everywhere and pray that you get some traction. I have learned that it takes time to post and to be successful you need to be consistent in posting regularly. If you have time to do this great, remember to reuse content whenever possible. If you prepare a YouTube video, use the text for your blog. Post short excepts on Twitter, post an abbreviated video on TikTok. Preparing for this show I talked to a media guru. Here is what he said: Use Instagram to build your brand, YouTube for informational videos, Twitch if you want to live stream, although this community is focused on gaming, TikTok for short snappy videos and everyone should have a Twitter account. I am intrigued with Sahil’s advice and the media guru’s recommendation. I am going to build a media plan for my business. If you want to follow along with me, drop me an email and I’ll share my progress or lack of it with you.
What should you post? Sahil’s advice is as follows:
- Don’t post what you had for lunch – status updates on your life and your business are fine but they won’t grow your audience.
- Be authentic – social media is about ideas not people. Be yourself but focus on a set of core values. What did you learn? Who have you talked to? What ideas have you had? Your job is here is to give, not to ask. This is not about selling.
- Build in public. Not only should you be sharing what you learn to maintain ties with your community, but you should be building your business in public and sharing the process with your customers.
- Trust the feedback loop. The great thing about social media as you develop followers is the instant response or lack of it. As your audience grows you will collect data on what works and what does not. Evaluate why some posts are more effective than others and fine tune your content.
People want to be educated, inspired and entertained. In his book Mr. Lavingia suggests that you progress in that sequence start by educating your audience, then inspire them and finally the most difficult goal to entertain them.
Level one – Educate. Not many people make the transition from being themselves to being teachers, but those who do build audiences quickly because people spend time on the internet in search of ways of improving their lives, a better way to live, learn and how to improve their income. By providing value for free, asking nothing in return. By attracting 100 customers you will have learned a lot, you can start by sharing that.
A word of caution at this point. Do not forget to focus on your business. Building a social media presence is a lagging indicator of the success of your business and should always be secondary to the business itself. Social media is a tool to grow your business not the main event.
Level two – Inspire. Education is a great start but to get beyond your audience of students you need to inspire people. Provide them with the motivation and inspiration to change their lives. How can you do this? Sharing learnings from your journey, the ups, the downs in a way that others can follow in your footsteps.
Level 3 – Entertain. People talk to others about things that have entertained them. Did you see the show on TV last night? Let me tell you about the game I saw last week. When it comes to grabbing attention entertainment wins. If you can attract attention by sharing something humorous. Sahil’s example is a line he wrote. Entrepreneurship – working 60 hours a week so you do not need to work 40 hours a week. If you are brave enough, sharing your dumb mistakes in an entertaining way could be a good place to start. And if you are like me and have made many mistakes over the years, you should have plenty of material available.