Introduction to Online Marketing and Audience Building

Published on by John Teel

In these two videos (and transcript if you prefer reading) you’ll learn about online marketing and the audience building. Although these videos were made specifically for hardware startups wishing to learn marketing, they also apply equally well for service businesses.

In the first video above we will look at online marketing, and in the second video below we will concentrate on building an audience.

NOTE: These two videos are actually just the first two lessons from a full video course on marketing available exclusively to members of the Hardware Academy. These first two lessons provide some basic overview, and we get into all of the implementation details in the full course.

Video #1 Transcript:

In this first lesson, we’re going to look at the different types of online marketing. First, I want to also define what is marketing. I like to look at marketing as two different parts.

The first part is reach. The reach is how many people you reach with your message so you get your message out to either about your product or your company. That’s probably the segment that the aspect of marketing that I think most people think of is just they want to spread the word about their product or company.

The second part, which is just as critical if not more critical, is the trust building. Selling to strangers is really difficult. It’s critical that not only do you identify potential customers through your marketing reach, but that you also use your marketing activities to build trust with these people.

Typically, building trust is going to require that they become part of your audience so that you can form a long-term relationship with them.

There are various ways to categorize online marketing. One type that you’ll hear is inbound versus outbound marketing. Inbound is essentially having people come to you instead of you going to them.

The classic case of outbound marketing is a commercial or a TV commercial or a banner ad or something in your Facebook feed. Those typically are outbound marketing because you’re putting your message out in front of the customer, you’re almost forcing them to consume your message versus inbound marketing is more about having the customers come to you on their terms.

Inbound marketing is so much more powerful. It’s really the new wave of marketing compared to the old style of outbound marketing.

Inbound marketing is typically going to be you producing valuable content that then draws those people in to your brand to consume this content. We’ll obviously get into that in more depth. You also hear about organic versus paid marketing.

Paid marketing is pretty clear what that is. That’s typically what you think of for Facebook ads or Google AdWords or Twitter you can advertise on or LinkedIn. Those are all paid marketing activities versus organic is essentially, once again, you creating content, Google finds that content, indexes it, and now you start getting traffic from Google.

That’s traffic that you’re not paying for. Nothing’s ever free so you’re still paying for it with the time that it took you to produce the content that is driving that traffic, but it’s not paid on a per user, per click type of a scenario like with paid marketing.

In almost all cases, I recommend that you start off with organic marketing and eventually later you can begin to boost that with some paid marketing. If you start off in the beginning with paid marketing, without really knowing your messaging and having everything fine tuned, you’re going to spend a lot of money to figure out the right way to do things.

I find it much better to do that through organic traffic, creating content, getting traffic from Google. That’s a slow process as we’ll discuss more, but it’s a much better way to start with that first. Then once you get everything going smoothly, then you can boost everything with some paid marketing.

Once again, paid marketing is not going to be outbound marketing. You’re still, in most of these cases, whether you’re running a Facebook ad or a Google ad or a Twitter ad, you don’t want to drive people to your product itself.

You don’t want this to be a sales, buy my product for this price. Instead, you want to use paid marketing to drive traffic to your content. It’s still inbound marketing, but it’s being boosted by paid traffic.

Instead of having your Facebook ad go directly to your sales page, you would instead have it go to some useful content. Then once they go to that content and they become hopefully part of your audience, which is obviously going to be a big portion of this course of how to get them in your audience.

Then once they’re in your audience, then you can build a relationship with them. Then once that relationship is developed and that can, it tell turn into a sales opportunity.

It should never start with sales. Instead it’s always best to think of your customer to always be serving them and providing what they need and what’s most helpful for them. In this case that would be creating content that provides them information that they’re seeking.

Like I’ve mentioned, no longer outbound marketing, no longer are in your face ads really successful online. That’s still the way it is through television. I’m hopeful that ends.

It’s like I’m always surprised and how outdated television commercials seem that they just spontaneously come on and I’m being forced to listen to some branding message that I don’t really want to listen to.

That was the way things started off with the internet, with banner ads and such. Over time, people just became immune to them and just would ignore any banners and would just close them without reading them.

That style no longer really works on online marketing. Instead, it’s all about just providing lots of value for people and then having them come to you instead of you going to them trying to sell your product.

That’s just an introduction to online marketing, what marketing really is. Again, just to emphasize, it’s both reaching people and it’s also building trust with those people.

That trust element is so key and is often overlooked in business that everything in business, whether you’re a partnership of another business or trying to sell your product to one consumer, it all is built upon trust. Always be focusing on ways to build trust with your audience.

The best way to build trust with people is to provide them what they need and not what you’re trying to get out of them. Just always focus on the inbound marketing instead of outbound marketing.

Focus on putting out content that people want and then use that content to drive them back to your website so they can hear your brand and your message but yet it’s done on their terms instead of on your terms.

Everything in business if you always focus on putting the customer first then, that’s usually going to lead you to making the right decision.

Video #2 Transcript:

Although it’s possible to do online marketing without audience building. If you go that route, what you miss out is the building trust aspect of marketing.

If you just do online marketing and even produce content and drive Google traffic and even do paid advertising, that will get your brand out there. To build trust, you needed repeated, continuous interactions with people.

The best way to do that is by building an audience. Once you’ve built this audience and you have a way to reach out to these people, then you just keep providing useful, helpful content on a regular, consistent basis.

This is exactly what I’ve done with predictable designs. Everything I’m teaching here is exactly all the same steps I’ve taken with predictable designs. This process of online marketing and audience building, it works regardless of the type of business you have.

Whether you have a service business like predictable designs or you have a hardware startup, it’s the exact same process of getting your message out there, building an audience, building relationships with that audience, and then building trust with that audience.

Which then allows you to sell your product to people that already trust you and have a relationship. It’s a much better way to go about selling a product instead of just shoving your product in the face of everyone. That just does not work anymore as we discussed in lesson one.

Building an audience is how you’re going to build trust and how you’re going to build relationships with these people. It’s absolutely critical to the equation of success with marketing is you have to do the online marketing and the audience building.

That’s why both of those topics are being covered in this course. There are three fundamental ways to build an audience. You can either build your own audience, so that means producing lots of content, getting Google to index that content, driving traffic back to you, and then you get those people added into your audience, which we’ll discuss that in just a second.

You can build your audience. That’s typically the best way to start. It’s also the slowest and takes the most work.

It’s also the one that will just- there’s a lot of work in the upfront time it takes, but once it starts delivering results back to you, that just keeps snowballing and building and building and building and work that you’ve done years ago will still be producing marketing benefits for you that will be driving customers.

You definitely want to start with building your market or building your own audience.

The second option is borrowing an audience. This is finding someone that’s already has an audience that is an influencer online, that has an audience, that is an audience, that’s the same demographic and the same target market is what you’re looking to build. Then you can partner with these people and use their audience.

Perhaps either they sell your product or talk about your product or recommend your product in exchange for a commission. That’s borrowing an audience. That tends to be really difficult when you’re first starting out because no one wants to promote your product to their audience if it’s a product that’s unproven, if you’re unproven, if they don’t know you.

That’s more an option that will be feasible once you start to build your own audience and build your online reputation and build some success with your product so that other influencers will be more comfortable promoting your product to their audience.

Then the final way is you can buy an audience and that’s basically through Facebook ads, Google ad words. Those tend to be the two big ones with Facebook being by far, I think the dominant player in online advertising right now.

There are other options, Twitter and LinkedIn. LinkedIn can be a really good choice if your product is a business to business product. For business to consumer, probably Facebook is going to be your best bet.

Those are the three options. You can either build, borrow, or buy. I recommend that you start by building, and then as you get things going smoothly and you get everything fine-tuned, then you can add the borrow and the buy options into your mix later to just a boost everything up from the audience. that you’ve already manually built.

When building an audience, what exactly is an audience? It’s that Twitter followers, Facebook fans. It’s neither of those, those can be part of your audiences is your social media audience, but it’s way overhyped. There is 10 times more value in having someone’s email address because an email address allows you to communicate one to one with that person.

It’s the same way that they’re communicating with their friends and family directly. Obviously, they’re communicating through social media as well, but privately they’re communicating through email. Your email is sitting there right next to an email from, I don’t know, their grandma, someone that they already trust. It’s an email is by far, the way to build an audience. You want to get email addresses and build an email list.

This is very well-known in online marketing that email is where all the value is at.

In fact, you’ll hear a saying that the money is in the list and that’s referring to the email list. Every online marketer will tell you that they get so much larger return on investment for anything that they do through email versus what they do on social media. I encourage you to not ignore social media but to deprioritize it to a very low level and to prioritize getting email addresses.

That’s where the real relationship building and trust building happens is through email. That’s going to be that way for well into the foreseeable future.

There’s no one realistically thinks email is going to disappear anytime soon. There was talk of it years ago when social media started taking off, but that just never happened and email still serves a very special unique purpose that can’t be replaced by social media.

Focus on collecting email addresses and not on getting followers to your Twitter feed or your Facebook page. Those can be important. I still recommend that you do those to boost your content marketing and use those to get people on your email list.

If you have a new blog post, you send that out to your Twitter feed and you want to drive those people back to your website and from there, you collect their email address.

The goal with all of the social media is rarely to sell through social media, instead it’s to use social media and to drive those people to get on your email list.

Focus 90% of your effort on building an email audience and not social media following. Social media tends to be a huge distraction anyways. If you’re using that for all of your marketing activities, it can be a bit of a trap.

You go on there to share some information about new content and next thing you know, you’re pulled in watching cute cat videos or something like that. Focus on email and try to not let social media distract you from the real marketing efforts.

If you read only one article about product development make it this one: Ultimate Guide – How to Develop a New Electronic Hardware Product in 2020.  

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MinBau Liao
MinBau Liao

Thanks John, this blog is very informative. I believe if I made up my mind considering a hardware development on my own in the future, the content I read today will surely help me a lot!


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