Thursday, September 1, 2016

Creators: Understanding your audience

It's not magic
Your audience is a collection of the people who follow your work, taking interest and ultimately buying your product. So how important is it to understand your audience? Well, if you don't have your own marketing team or money to dump into advertising, it's fairly important. If you aren't already considered some kind of guru or master of your craft, it's fairly important. Your audience is how you make a name for yourself. But how do you manage that?

Right now, you can break your audience reach into three forms; internet, local, and in person. Internet offers connections to far more people at great distances, but can be super difficult to navigate and gain the acceptance of those audiences. Anything in person is usually much simpler because you have the human connection that the internet lacks, but you are limited in access to people based on who is physically at whatever event you are part of.

Let's look at the internet audience. Everyone goes to the internet. You practically have the entire world at your fingertips. Or do you? You certainly have access to a great diversity of consumers. But there's a huge catch. Unless you are paying for advertising (and this session of my blog assumes you aren't) you can't just jump into some forum of people and say, "here's what I'm selling, everyone!". It won't work. That's because the one thing you have to understand about the internet audience is the universal bloody eyed hatred of spam. This hatred is so strong that it makes internet social marketing a veritable mine field.

This is even if you are talking to people of a group that is all about the product you have created. That's even if the forum you are taking part in, has clear rules that allow you to share your project in certain time intervals. It's not evil to be excited about your product. It's a great achievement for you. But this is the rule you need to follow.

Be a person first. People on the internet want to know that you are personally a human being they can take interest in. That means the want to have idle chat and basic entertaining post share. They are going to want to that for a significant amount of time as well. After all, how long does it take to get to know someone. They want to know that you aren't just a market bot on the net. No, just saying you aren't isn't going to work.  This is how you market yourself as a person. Just take part in the average discussions and present yourself as an interesting human being. Be yourself as much as you can.

Local audience is important too. This is audience you can go out and spend time with in person. Making local connections branches out into more local connections. But what's the secret? Be interested in other people. Learn about them and their projects. Be supportive of their projects. Often enough that will come back around to you. Be social and prepared to just shoot the breeze. Be personable. Remember that in many situations where you are approaching other people, the dynamics are the opposite of the last point I'm about to make.

The best way to find that "in person" audience is at events like conventions. The primary difference is that people are now coming to you to find out what your product is. It's a big part of the exact reason they are there. If this goes well, word of mouth will carry news about you. The more events you can go to for your book, game, etcetra, the better. This is practically the polar opposite of trying to market via social media outlets.

To sum up, remember that your audience is made of people. You need to understand what they want. They want you to appeal to their interests. Find the people who have the interests that match your product/project, and you will move forward (so long as you remember they are people first).
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