When Your Audience Isn’t Quite Big Enough—Or Right Enough

**NOTE: As we’re in the black hole of late summer, this is a repeat of one of my most popular, cornerstone articles on building your brand + business. Still want new content? Head over to the podcast where we’re cranking out a new episode weekly throughout the summer. Onward…

You have an idea.

An utterly awesome idea.

For a new service. A digital product. A course.

Before you invest tens or hundreds of hours building it out into something you can sell, ask yourself this question:

Is my audience big enough and right enough for this idea?

We’re talking about your audience reach.

The people in your physical and virtual orbit: your current clients, digital mailing list, the readers of your content on various media sites and your engaged social media peeps.

Are you connected and engaged with enough of the right people to make this worth your time?

Because it’s one thing to bring your idea to life. It’s another thing to have it make you money.

Now I’m not saying you need an audience of thousands—all audiences are NOT created equal.

A couple thousand engaged people on a digital mailing list could be quite enough to help you launch say a $500 training course.

A 2% buy rate—roughly comparable to a direct mail campaign response rate—would bring you $20,000.

But it wouldn’t be impossible for a highly engaged, highly targeted email list to fetch a 10% buy rate, which would balloon your gross to $100,000.

Either level might fit well within your revenue model and position you to either expand your audience (alliances and affiliates) or develop a follow-up course.

But if you’re selling a $15 book? It’s tough to make those audience numbers translate into cash.

Of course, you’re not just looking at sales when it comes to your book.

It might be part of a positioning campaign to goose your consulting or speaking fees.

Or a way to break through your competitors in your specialty or industry.

Or it might serve simply as a business card to reinforce your authority with potential clients.

Once you know the form, role and rough price point of your idea, do the math with your current audience.

If the math works—congratulations!

Now you can focus on your content creation and plan out your marketing/media campaign.

If the math makes you cringe—but you’re heading in a direction that makes sense strategically for your business, then it’s time to build your audience.

Consistently and methodically, with a clear intent and purpose.

I’ll be writing more about the literally hundreds of small and big ways to do this.

But for right now, your holy grail is “your Circle”.

These are both the exceedingly engaged from your digital list—your true fans—and the kindred spirits that will help you spread your utterly awesome idea.

These are your people.

Think mutual generosity: you help them, they help you. You grow together.

So here’s some simple homework: make a list of those in your Circle today.

Be sure to look across your social media platforms—everywhere you’re interacting with your tribe.

We’re talking past colleagues, instigators of interesting virtual conversations, everyone you’ve interacted with who resonates with you.

Then, as you compile your list, create a special section for your dream Circle members—people you don’t know yet but sense would be great partners-in-crime.

Maybe an author you admire or a seasoned competitor you’d love to trade notes with.

Put the list in whatever format works for you (mine is in a spreadsheet and on a Twitter list) and keep it handy.

Pull it out on Mondays and ask yourself: what can I do to build my relationships this week?

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