Audience Development Presentation - Third Tuesday Meetup - March 2013


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This is an updated version of my Audience Development deck presented at the Third Tuesday Meetup - March 2013. It details how one gets to know their audience, and how you determine how and where to communicate with them and what kinds of content they want from you. Included are a couple of examples / case studies from my personal experience.

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  • I’ll primarily use 2 examples of building an audience from my past…
  • How to find similar sites. What are their audiences? What are they doing that’s working or not?
  • Of considerable use when the audience is large. Helps narrow your focus.
  • Showed us what we did not expect. That the main audience was fragmented into different wants and needs, showed us a segment we were ignoring, and allowed us to prioritize the segments (when paired with sales and customer data)
  • Now you know a little about your potential audience and what is important to them, what next? What do you say to them? Partly you have to try, test, fail, try again. Again, data is great, but start by just having a conversation with them.
  • What venue makes the most sense. Your site obviously...Offline could be local newspapers, radio, TV, charity events. There are lots of places to grow your audience.
  • At BD we really started from nothing (in 2000) and we made assumptions about this initially that were wrong (contractors) and tried to develop that audience. Didn’t work so well because we were trying to drive the bus not letting customers do it. Came to the realization that wasn’t working, retail sales became more prevalent (customer base was changing) and we started getting a little more experienced about marketing.
  • I did start with a site (and later a network of sites) that I inherited and it allowed me to have some data to start with on the audience. This gave me at least a basic demo to start from.
  • So I went about it the way I knew, find content I though relevant to them, start producing and sharing, and let readership grow. Except it didn’t work. Again I made an assumption that I knew better. In this case (to some degree) the previous owners were right customers were so unused to hearing from us out of season and for other reasons that at first they simply left. Clearly this was a very different kind of audience. The content we did produce fell flat (buying guides, gift guides, etc). In this case since it was a fairly web un-savvy audience, of primarily women, one venue we targeted was FB. Looking at our FB stats they were very heavily weighted to our target audience. Previously we had done RSS, Manual posts about ads and about our content and useful content) Armed with the knowledge that they were moms, etc, we out together a totally different campaign (show examples of posts and engagement).The audience was about the DAY. Planning, make it easier, help me decide.
  • Give example and mention mobile. Why? We were entertaining them with content relevant to them that was easy to consume. That’s what THIS audience wants, not ALL audiences.
  • Wildfire’s prices have come way down since Google bought them
  • insights we are gaining there are invaluable such as... what to buy (especially tech stuff and roundups of best deal at best place. They want someone to tell them what to buy)
  • The big stores did not ask or listen to customers and had huge negative backlash. Commiserate with the audience. Rather than support the big brands we sympathized with users to create a tighter bond. It was self serving (store openings were during our peak hours and we encouraged people to shop online instead of ruining thanksgiving dinner).
  • The big stores did not ask or listen to customers and had huge negative backlash. Commiserate with the audience. Rather than support the big brands we sympathized with users to create a tighter bond. It was self serving (store openings were during our peak hours and we encouraged people to shop online instead of ruining thanksgiving dinner).
  • Audience Development Presentation - Third Tuesday Meetup - March 2013

    1. 1. Third Tuesday – March 2013 MeetupHow to Build a Large, Passionate Audience From Scratch
    2. 2. Who Am I?12 years of online marketing and product merchandizingexperience in e-commerce and affiliate marketingWorked in all facets of online marketing with a focus on SEO, Social,and Content2 years with Reinvent an in-house incubator for one of the largestdomainers in the worldRun my own consulting business (3 weeks)
    3. 3. My long buying cycle, complex products, high $ value but a broad  very seasonally focused site with a short buying cycle, very focused on a single day  Long build up and must both capture the audience beforehand retain them, but also must lure them away from the competition just before buying
    4. 4. Getting StartedWho are they?What’s important to them?Where do you talk to them / find them?How do you get their attention?How do you get them to act to join you?How do you get them to share and expand the communityfor you?
    5. 5. Who Are They?Make some assumptionsYou have to start somewhereDon’t let the assumptions stand too long w/omore infoPrepare the organization to re-evaluate orchange audiencesMake a list of sites like yours
    6. 6. Who Are They?Google Ad Planner
    7. 7. Who Are They?
    8. 8. Who Are They?Quantcast (
    9. 9. Who Are They?SEM Rush
    10. 10. Ask Them!Talk to your customers ◦ Surveys ◦ Ask similar peopleSurveys ◦ 4Q ◦ Survey Monkey
    11. 11. Create PersonasWhat’s a Persona?How do I build them?Allows you to put yourself in their shoesSegment and prioritize large diverse audiencesResources:
    12. 12. Create Personas Debbie Do-it-YourselferDebbie is a 35 year old married woman with 2 school age kids.Debbie’s home is important to her. She likes to entertain andtakes pride in having a stylish home that others admire. Debbieenjoys reading home decorating and gardening magazines.Debbie and her husband Dan are of middle income but Debbieaspires to the types of homes she sees on TV and in themagazines.Dan Do-it-yourselfer, Sam Small-contractor, Dan Developer
    13. 13. What’s Important to Them?What works for your competition? Don’t be afraid to be a fastfollower for a whileAsk aroundPhone CallsPicked (via email) a group of customers then we simply phonedthem and asked ◦ What do you like about the site? ◦ What resources do you use to do research? ◦ What other sites do you like? ◦ What matters to you when you make a decision? ◦ Do you use Facebook, Twitter, browse on your phone, etc. ◦ Etc.
    14. 14. Where Do You Talk to Them?Suit the medium to the audienceDon’t just think about onlineParticipate where they doDevelopers might be Reddit, Hacker NewsMarketers might be Twitter, marketing blogsRetail buyers might be Facebook, your ownblog, “shopping” blogs, etc.
    15. 15. What We DidStarted with an assumption of who they wereWe were WRONGTalked to customers, surveyed them, built personasWhat did they want? Aspirations. Dream home.Give them what they wanted – room scenes, blog posts oninterior design, engaged designers, participated in forumsWent other places they would be: TV, Home improvementshows.
    16. 16. What We DidTried FB and completely failed, it wasn’t what they wantedGave away free stuff (samples) with tons of our brandingLong slow buildFollow up, customer service, and word of mouth was oneof the best audience builders.The audience was built by other audience members, butnot through socialOne way was to let them show off their homes, let themdo the promotion
    17. 17. What We DidThen went after smaller audience segments (builders)Industry organizations (even local, Twitter)Use different speakers for different segments (CEO forgetting professionals to follow on Twitter, etc.)
    18. 18. What We DidWith Black Friday it was very differentThe basic “audience” was everyone who shops on Black FridayIn 2012 that was 247,000,000 Americans (80% of the country)First step, again, figure out who they areWomen, 25-45, middle income and middle education,overwhelmingly with kids 0-17Previous owners made no attempt to develop the audiencethrough any means besides the site and reactive PRNo content (none) and no customer service
    19. 19. What We Did
    20. 20. What We Did @Started the same way as BuildDirect. Sameaudience must equal same tactics, right?Wrong!!!Back to the drawing boardNot just who they are but what they wantTalked extensively to ◦ former owners ◦ several very experienced retail people who had BF experience, ◦ internal and external people who loved BF
    21. 21. What We Did @ BlackFriday.comNow I had a better idea of what users wantedfrom usDid not want to hear from us out of seasonThey wanted quick hits, things that made lifeeasyGo back to who they are, what they like, andwhere they areTimely updates (the fastest), easy to read,not complicated, not too far of what theyexpected (yet).
    22. 22. What We DidArmed with the knowledge that they were moms, etc., we outtogether a totally different campaignGiven the audience, Facebook was the best place to testLooked at FB stats to confirm – 75% female , 55% age 25-44Went to image based posts that women, esp. moms couldidentify withThe audience on FB began to grow rapidlyFormer best post was 20K views, 783 Likes, 136 Comments, 292Shares
    23. 23. FacebookAsk for the Like, Share, Comment, etc.Give them a reason to visit the site50% of our growth came from mobile on FacebookMobile ads to Like pagesImages, Images, Images!Make sure images are optimized for mobile. (403px ×271px)
    24. 24. FacebookGive-awaysSimple to runI like Wildfire and StruttaAlmost $0 outlay on our part added 120K emailsubscribersPeople love free stuff
    25. 25. Mobile38% of traffic was mobile (18% last year)Created iPhone and iPad appsUsed other media to push apps#1 Free Lifestyle app in 24 hrsWe can push content to them and keep us top of mindLet us provide the content our audience wanted
    26. 26. Future GrowthContinue to learn by listeningAs the network grows they will tell youhow to grow it moreWhere? UserVoice , FB, sitecomments, social media monitoringNow we know better what they want andcan create that content
    27. 27. ResultsDid this stuff work?Mid Sept to Dec we increased our audience by: ◦ 800K Facebook fans ◦ 500K email subscribers ◦ 900K mobile app downloads ◦ 1 in 20 Americans visited the site in Nov. ◦ 200M pageviews ◦ 45% traffic growth YoY
    28. 28. Tips - WhereFacebook just use pics and videoTwitter much better for growing professional networks,really hasn’t worked in either case for us for retail stuffUse every medium that makes senseThink beyond the traditional web. Mobile, apps, webvideo, social, search, forums, email are all ways to reachyour community. How do they work together to present thesame message and to drive your audience to your mosteffective media?
    29. 29. Tips - WhatDon’t give them too little, but also don’t give them morethan they wantDon’t underestimate or over-estimate your audienceRespond when they ask questionsSympathise with their troublesCreate urgency – why do they want to pay attention to youNOW
    30. 30. TipsDon’t assume like demographics want the same things atthe same timeWhat they want from your site is as important as who theyusers areCreate an authoritative voice on the subject matterUsers want to feel like you are the expertKnow your industry (trends, deals, products, etc.)
    31. 31. Bonus Slide Quick links to stuff mentioned above:Black Friday FB page Friday app Friday Twitter Friday Pinterest Blog Facebook Twitter
    32. 32. Thank You! Rob Woods Twitter: @robdwoods Skype: rob.d.woods 604.374.5312