You’ve heard it a million and one times, “You really need to find your ideal audience and connect with them.” Okay, but who are they? And how in the world do I reach out.
We’ve all been there. Whether you are new to blogging and feel like you need a little more experience before reaching out, or you’ve been at this awhile and just don’t know the best way to connect with your audience. There’s no right way, because there are many ways. And there’s absolutely no need to stress about any of this. Finding your ideal audience can be fun and can teach you so much about your own brand, it’s strengths and weaknesses, and what your best path might inevitably be.
Let’s settle in and take a look at what an ideal audience IS and should be.
If you are thinking “Well, bloggers are my ideal audience”, WRONG! Think again. Saying just “bloggers” brings in people from all walks of life. I have an old sorority sister that got a job at a travel agency and now she runs a stunning travel blog, but there’s also the guy down the street that has a comic book store and likes to write about his fan theories. Both have blogs, but they are in completely different blogging groups. What markets to one, will not market to the other.
So REALLY think about who you are trying to reach. Some great examples would be “stay at home moms that love coming up with new recipes” or “dog owners that need tips on training”. You name it, there is someone out there who needs it.
If you are in a creative field like I am, your audience may be a little broad, but remember we are talking about ideal audience. Part of building your own brand is gearing it towards the type of customer you want to attract.
I feel like my idea of my ideal customer has shifted slightly since my company started, and that’s okay! That’s all part of growing and adapting to the ever changing industries that are on the internet.
Go to where the people are
There is no doubt about it, every audience has their favorite social media. Anything visual related (fashion, beauty, art, graphics, calligraphy, travel, and many, many more) is gold on instagram. People from all over the world will tune in to see a woman painting her nails, because hey, there’s a niche for that!.
Comedians and writers can be very successful on twitter because they share funny thoughts and get a dialogue going with their fans.
Pinterest is kind of a catch all, but diy is a HUGE industry on there.
Obviously there is overlap, as there should be, but it’s always important to find where your ideal audience mainly goes to hang out. That doesn’t always mean where people just like you are hanging out. Let me explain. I love looking through Behance. So many cool collaborations and ideas being shared that I always find something inspiring. BUT, that’s not usually where I’m going to find clients, because it’s mostly other designers like myself. It’s a great place to show off what I’m working on and get my work out there, but I rarely expect a client to contact me after seeing my work on Behance.
The good thing about social media is that undoubtedly your niche is out there just waiting for you.
Pinpoint their needs, then solve them!
Think of that ideal customer (it may already be someone that you know of and that you follow) and think about their needs exactly. Since I build websites and branding, I like to look at the bloggers that I’ve admired for quite some time and think “okay, they like to show off X, Y, and Z on their website. So how can I help my customers do the same.”
Usually for me, it’s about finding an interesting way to display a widget or finding the best way to show off their posts and material.
The fun thing about it is that most clients will have different needs, so you are always trying new things and coming up with new solutions. Life is certainly never boring around here.
There are issues that need solving in any field. Take beauty bloggers. Do people struggle with finding a great acne coverup? Absolutely, so there’s a great issue to solve. Do people want a cheap but gorgeous mascara? You bet! So why not show them what you’ve found.
No matter your industry, there is a problem that needs solving. And if you can come up with a creative solution, even better.
Ask for Directions
There is no shame in asking for directions when you’re lost, both in your car and in your business life. You may know exactly who your ideal customer is, but you have no idea how to connect with them. This is when you just have to muster up the courage to reach out and ask people.
Find several people in your ideal audience that you would love to work with and shoot them an email to see where they went to look for services similar to your own. For instance, I would find some bloggers that I love their website design and ask them “How did you track down your designer” or “Where were some places you went to research different designers before choosing one”. You can find a wealth of knowledge about where you should be marketing yourself to attract similar clients.
Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to other people in your field. Networking is a huge part of all of this. Most websites will have the designer/developer’s name at the bottom, so you can easily find who made the websites that you are crushing on. Even just shooting them an email saying “I so admire your work. I would be very interested to know how you got started and where you have found the majority of your clients.” Most established designers tend to attract clients solely from word of mouth, meaning people come to them. But everyone starts somewhere, and most will be kind enough to chat and give you some pointers. Also, if they like what you are doing, sometimes they will send clients or followers your way when they are completely booked.
This doesn’t just apply to designers. No matter what field you are in, there will be someone that I’m sure you admire. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Most people love answering questions about their business and helping out those that are just starting out.
Though not everyone will respond, which is to be expected. But some big names might surprise you and send you a very friendly email back. You’ll never know until you try.
Show them what you can do
Just like you wouldn’t get into the NBA without showing them you could play basketball, you also won’t get you ideal audience without showing them what you can produce. There’s a reason designers and artists build up a portfolio to show clients. People like to see past work. No one is going to blindly buy what you are selling.
You think Rise + Wander would be as successful if she didn’t keep promoting her new work and process on instagram?
Do you think Kayla Itsines would have her empire of students and followers without showing them that her methods actually worked?
Do you think Victoria from In the Frow would be where she is if she had never started photographing her outfits?
They, like so many others, continue to provide examples and show off what they can do. There’s no shame in self promotion if it stays tasteful. How will your ideal customer find you if no one’s ever seen you?
And once they HAVE found you, your posts become a way of proving that you are the source they should be going to for advice on the topic. You are solidifying your place at the top.
No one likes a person that can’t follow through with their promises. If you work with clients you ABSOLUTELY should be willing to deliver on everything you have told them. If you can’t, then you are marketing yourself incorrectly, but that’s a whole other post.
If you are a beauty blogger, keep showing new styles and tricks. No one wants to see the same look over and over, no matter how beautiful you are.
If you are satirical writer, keep writing and promoting with witty comebacks.
The sad truth is that people will forget about you if you are not always putting your product in front of them. There are so many new creatives coming on the scene everyday that you have to keep pursuing your audience. This doesn’t really end. My father has successfully owned his own business for 37 years and he still continues to innovate and tries new ways to reach new customers.
There won’t be an end point where you say “ok, I’ve made enough followers. I’m not going to create anymore.” That’s a fast track to watching your business fall apart around you.
But I firmly believe that if you keep working, keep innovating, keep reaching out, then the sky’s the limit. Not only will you connect with your ideal audience, but you’ll keep them around.
And really, what could be better than that?