This is a common scenario. An aspiring digital entrepreneur lands a great idea and decides to take a risk and build a business from scratch to monetize his or her idea. Months go into product development, theorizing, visualization, attending conferences, buying cool software tools they don’t need, and all kinds of planning. After months, sometimes years of sweat struggle and anticipation of the big breakthrough, the product launches online.
“Why did no one show up?” They ask.
“My mousetrap is the best there is. This product can change lives. I even copied the exact formula Gary Vee used on his latest launch.” they say.
And so with a lot of heartache and out of despair they reset and either start again on a new idea or try to adjust “the product,” hoping that will make a difference.
I’m sure you or someone you know has experienced something similar. And in all fairness (especially for those of us who are for self-made entrepreneurs), this is probably an induction lesson we all go through to help us get better at building businesses.
The truth is…
You are not Gary Vee. He’s been playing the marketing game for decades now. To think that in today’s saturated online market you can just come in with minimal capital and a product and hit the same success he gets is like shooting yourself in the foot just before starting a race.
In 2019 and beyond, things have really changed. In fact, many of the techniques and strategies that were working a few years ago to grow hack a startup aren’t working anymore. You need to rethink your approach to entrepreneurial success.
Success in today’s digital marketplace begins with you prioritizing the building of your audience, not the product. Grant Cardone says it best in his book 10X Rules – Obscurity is your enemy. Whether you’re still a newbie in the online game or have been doing this for a while, if you’re still struggling with your “mousetrap,” it’s time to learn the lesson.
And the lesson is simple.
The worst mistake you can make in today’s world where clients are savvy and more demanding is to invest a ton of resources, time, energy, and effort into creating a product before building an audience.
Avoid this: building your product before building a tribe.
Do this instead:
Focus on building your tribe first. Grow and nurture your audience, get to know as much as you can about them, and let the product naturally unfold from that relationship. This is the path of success for a smart social entrepreneur.
If you consider yourself a smart social entrepreneur, here are five tips to help you nurture an active and engaged audience long before investing in your first product.
Tip 1. Craft content that feels like you’ve given out your “secret sauce.”
Each time I have this conversation with a new client, I can feel their energy constrict. Many of us live in scarcity. Society has taught us to withhold valuable information from our clients. That’s a mistake.
For example, I recently told one of my new clients that we need to shoot a video series of him teaching his best stuff on weight loss. And then we need to turn that into blog content, social media posts, and a free eBook. He looked at me like I was a bit crazy. Unless you come from a place of generosity and share with your audience the unique value proposition you have to offer, it’s going to be hard earning their attention and trust.
Think of people such as Neil Patel and Brian Dean, these guys are super successful and continue to grow massive online businesses because they give, give, and give some more.
Tip 2. Leverage the power of other platforms
If you want to become an influential social entrepreneur, then contributing and sharing your expertise on magazines and websites that your audience trusts can be a great investment. It requires some effort, because you need to put out quality stuff so your audience can start to see you as someone they want to follow, but if you care about serving your audience, this should be a worthwhile endeavor.
Tip 3. Podcast valuable content that’s worth paying for
Some of us are naturally inclined to spend hours typing and geeking out on the written word. Some would rather face any punishment than spend an hour typing. If that’s you, then you’re in luck. Podcasting has not only become a popular platform, but some people have successfully built massive audiences just using podcast (the few who do more than just blabber). There are so many podcasts out there, but only a handful are high quality in content. I can’t tell you how often I test out a new podcaster, because they show up on my newsfeed, and after 20 minutes I can’t tell you what in the world they were trying to accomplish. It’s usually the first and last time I ever pay any attention to them. That is the wrong way to use both paid ads and podcasting!
Have you ever heard of John Lee Dumas? Entrepreneurs on fire is his podcast, and he’s crushed it as a social entrepreneur mostly using podcast. He was an early adopter, and stuck with it until it paid off. I recommend doing the same if you enjoy talking.
How will you know you are doing it right?
If your listener can come off your show thrilled to go implement one or two practical things they just learned from you – you’re going to build a very loyal audience over time.
Tip 4. Create epic webinars
This is its own kind of beast that to me is like a cross between live events, video, and podcasting. It does have a learning curve for sure, but I have found that it goes a long way in helping you quickly build a real and engaged audience.
Your reach and authority can grow fairly quickly, especially if you boost your webinars with a little paid advertising on Facebook. As long as you have something valuable to share (can you see the common denominator here?) webinars can be a fast and effective way to attract a new audience. Just make sure that you take the time to choose a topic that aligns with your brand and solves a specific problem for your ideal audience.
Tip 5. Use storytelling frameworks to engage people in live videos
We all know most platforms, including LinkedIn and Facebook, are pushing video content more than any other type of content. So using video especially Facebook Lives, Instagram stories, etc. is an excellent way of creating waves on social platforms and getting people to connect with you quickly.
However, don’t make the same common mistake I’ve seen with so many social entrepreneurs. You can’t just “go live” for the sake of publishing content. There needs to be some strategy around it, and more importantly, there must be storytelling.
Your brand can only remain top of mind and attract new engaged audiences when it’s wrapped around a compelling story. Human beings are wired to connect better and faster to stories. We remember stories better than we remember facts. If you want to be memorable, become the guy or girl who first pops up to a new audience and delivers fantastic content and a compelling story that draws the audience in and invites them to become part of your world. If you need help crafting your brand’s story, this will help.
Do this well, and you will not only have an engaged audience, but you’ll also have loyal fans that can’t wait to support your growth and success.
Without a loyal tribe that is willing to spend money on what you have to offer, making money online will remain a wish. But don’t be fooled, no one builds an audience overnight. A lot of work goes into it, and you’ve got to be okay with your journey. There’s no shortcut around this unfortunately. In today’s world, your ability to produce amazing content and use storytelling is the key to attracting and retaining an engaged audience that will ultimately turn into buying clients. So before jumping into your next big idea, make sure that you have an already engaged audience that wants the offer you want to make. It will guarantee that every product you launch succeeds.