I touched on audience briefly when I wrote about the concept of 1,000 True Fans, but it’s a topic that deserves a bit of a wider look.
A lot of businesses look at the world as customers and potential customers and aim their marketing materials at those two groups. I think that’s misguided largely because the world is much larger and more complicated than that.
At any given time, I think there are at least six groups of people who could encounter your content.
They don’t have any interest in what you have to say, don’t need the solutions you offer and aren’t worth trying to sell to.
They’re interested in what you have to say. They’ll read some of your stuff, follow you on social media and occasionally retweet or re-share something they find particularly interesting, moving, or helpful.
What they aren’t going to do is buy anything. They don’t have the problem you’re trying to solve right now. For my business, this would be someone who is thinking about starting an online business in the future but has some legitimate life reasons not to do it right now.
There are two ways these folks are of value. By sharing your stuff occasionally, they help draw attention to it in ways you can’t. Just by sharing something, they’re giving it a little social proof. They’re telling their audience that it’s worth their time.
They also have potential. A lot of these people aren’t ever going to buy, but some of them will. They’re good candidates for big picture How Tos and inspirational stuff. If you can convince them that what you’re selling is really possible for people like them, they’ll engage more.
They want what you’re selling; they’re just not convinced you’re the one they want to buy it from. These are the people most people think of when they think of potential customers, and obviously, that’s where their value is.
They’re good candidates for more detailed How Tos, case studies, and affinity content that convinces them you’re more aligned with their values than your competitor.
They’ve bought something, and that’s tremendously valuable. They used to be strangers, and now they Know, Like, and Trust you enough to fork over some cash. They’re much more likely to become repeat customers than someone who hasn’t bought anything.
There’s two kinds of content you want to aim at them, customer service content that will ensure they know you’re invested in their success, and more explicit sales content that shows them how to achieve more success by going deeper into your funnel and buying the next-most-expensive thing.
The Repeat Customers
They drive the profitability of your business. If you’re not spending content-creation time on them, you’re going to lose them. That is both bad for your business and utterly preventable.
Give them content that shows them how to get the most out of what you offer. Remind them repeatedly—and explicitly—that you are as invested in their success as they are in yours. Ask them to share your content and they will.
Stop Skimming Here
My point here is pretty simple. Instead of thinking of people as either interested or not, think of them as a large group of people with different but overlapping interests in your content.
The content aimed at repeat customers will get some shares from the folks who are just interested, and it will help convince the unconvinced. All of these groups—except the non-customers of course—deserve content aimed at them, and they’ll all get something out of content aimed at the others.