[343] The three audiences you must build to create a profitable online business

the three audiences must build to create profitable online business

Are you feeling frustrated because you're trying to build your online audience...but you still don't have enough clients?

While activities like social media marketing, blogging and building your email list are brilliant for attracting cold leads (i.e. people who don't know about you yet), research consistently shows that most people need at least 7 or 8 touch points with you before they buy. Which means it could take up to a year - or longer - before they are ready to buy from you. 

So if you’re prioritising attracting people who might be ready to work with you in a years’ time (your cold audience) over people who have the money and desire to work with you right now (your warm and hot audiences), you’ll soon find yourself short of clients.

That’s why it’s vital to remember that you actually need three audiences: hot, warm and cold and you need to be giving the right kind of attention to each. 

{Click on the player above to listen to the podcast episode and/or read on for a detailed overview. Scroll down to the bottom to read the show notes including all the links mentioned in this episode}.

1. Your hot audience 

Your hot audience includes the people who are most likely to buy from you. These are generally people you already have a relationship with e.g. your existing or previous clients/customers, friends/family. The marketing activities that generally work best for your hot audience are:

  • Personal emails
  • Personal messages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc)
  • Phone calls
  • Meetings
  • Letters
  • In-person networking

These are generally referred to as high-touch marketing strategies and include a mix of on and offline activities. With high-touch marketing strategies, you would typically contact the prospect on a one-to-one basis.

Typical conversion time: If a prospect already knows, likes and trusts you, they may be able to make a buying decision immediately. Which is why hot audience leads can convert in 30 days or less.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Buffer
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
If you're prioritising attracting clients who might want to work you in 12 months' time (your cold audience) over people who might want to pay you to work with them right now...you'll soon find yourself short on clients

2. Your warm audience 

Your warm audience is the second most likely group to buy from you. These people are generally aware of you - and may have expressed an interest in your product/service - but you don’t necessarily have a relationship with them. e.g. engaged social media followers, email list subscribers (who either haven’t bought anything from you or have only made a small investment so far), Facebook group members, friends-of-friends.

High-touch strategies can also work with warm leads but generally this group are still getting to know, like and trust you. So the marketing activities that tend to work best with your warm audience are:

  • Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars
  • Social media posts (high-value)
  • Facebook Lives
  • Books
  • Speaking
  • Lead magnets
  • Online networking
  • Retargeting ads (adverts that are shown to people who have already looked at your sales page)

These are generally referred to as medium or multi-touch marketing strategies that include more online than offline activities. With medium or multi-touch marketing strategies, you typically contact the prospect on both a one-to-one and one-to-many basis (e.g. automated emails sent to multiple recipients).

Typical conversion time: If a prospect already knows a little bit about you, they may be able to make a buying decision more quickly. But they still need to get to know, like and trust you. Which is why warm leads can take 3-6 months to get to the stage where they are ready to buy.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Buffer
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

3. Your cold audience 

Your cold audience is the least likely group to buy from you. These people don’t even know you exist right now...so why would they buy from you right now?  This group still need to get to know, like and trust you so they also need to be nurtured with content. So the marketing activities that tend to work best with cold leads are:

  • Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars
  • Social media posts (high-value)
  • Facebook Lives
  • Books
  • Speaking
  • Lead magnets
  • Online networking
  • Facebook / Instagram ads

There’s no reason why you can’t target this group from ‘cold’ content e.g. Facebook ads or blog content, but you will probably find they need to see your content 6, 7 or 8 times before they buy.

These are generally referred to as low-touch marketing strategies that generally only include online activities. With low-touch marketing strategies, you typically contact the prospect on a one-to-many basis (e.g. automated emails sent to multiple recipients).

Typical conversion time: Most people need 7 or 8 touch points with you before they buy. Which is why it typically takes a year or longer to convert cold leads into buyers.

So if you want to boost your sales - quick - you need to focus on your hot audience and use high-touch strategies to reach them. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be thinking about your warm and cold audiences….you should be working on attracting and nurturing these people every single day.

Avoiding the ‘cold audience’ trap

Many coaches, consultants and experts fall into the trap of spending too much time on cold audiences...and barely any time on following up their hottest leads.

This is because your hottest leads tend to be people you’re working with right now or have worked with in the past. And these people typically respond best to high-touch activities e.g. email, phone calls etc.

The problem is, reaching out to family, friends or current/previous clients can make you feel embarrassed. While these people - the ones who already know, like and trust you - are the ones who are most likely to say ‘yes’ to you (or refer you to your ideal clients) - they’re also more likely to hurt you.

Because getting a ‘no’ from someone you know stings far more than getting a ‘no’ from a stranger, right? Which is why it's tempting to distract yourself with social media, blogging and creating email lead magnets....instead of reaching out to people who are ready to work with you right now. 

How much time should you spend on your cold, warm and hot audiences? 

The rather unsatisfactory answer is: it depends.

If you have enough clients and leads to keep you busy for the next 12 months, you may be able to spend as little as 30 minutes a day on your hot and warm audiences - freeing you up to spend time on your cold audience (which is typically more time consuming).

But if you need clients right now - if you’re struggling to pay your bills each month - it's time to get honest with yourself. Are playing in the cold ring i.e. focusing on your cold audience because it feels more comfortable than reaching out to your hottest leads? 

If the answer is 'yes' it's time to refocus. Here are the steps I'd recommend:

  1. Take an honest look at how much time you're spending each day on your cold, warm and hot audiences. Use a tool like Paymo or Toggl to track how you are spending your time.
  2.  If you're spending too much time on your cold audience, hit 'pause' on your cold outreach activities for a few days while you have a system in place for prospecting and following up with your hottest leads.
  3. Do an audit of your hot, warm and cold leads (as in the example above) and the activities that will work best for each
  4. Decide how much time you have each day/week for your cold, warm and hot outreach (I’d recommend getting into the habit of spending the first 30-60 minutes of your working day on hot outreach - you'll feel so much better knowing it's done.

Podcast show notes:

  • Why your marketing strategy isn’t attracting you any leads (5:15)
  • The three different types of leads you need (8:20)
  • How to reach out to your ‘hot’ leads and convert them into clients (11:02)
  • How to reach out to your ‘warm’ leads and convert them into clients (20:12)
  • The average conversion time for your warm leads (28:40)
  • How to reach out to your ‘cold’ leads and convert them into clients (32:30)
  • Why you shouldn’t spend all your time attracting cold leads (40:40)
  • How to prioritise your marketing strategies correctly (48:02)

Resources

Blog Post: How I chose the speakers for Build Your Audience Live

Episode 335: How to create a high-converting lead magnet

Keap (previously InfusionSoft)

Janet Murray’s Prospecting Kit

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Janet Murray’s Audience Calculator

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Register your interest in the Build Your Audience programme

Order the 2019 Sorted Content Planning Toolkit here

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