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How to Build an Audience from Scratch

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SPEAKERS

Mark Fidelman, Russell Nohelty

Mark Fidelman  00:05

Hello everyone joining me today is Russell Nohelty. He’s gonna show us how to build an audience from scratch you know I’m a big believer in building community before you build a product. He’s got a very unique approach, and I can’t wait to learn from him so well. Russell, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for having me. And can you give us a little bit of your background in 100 words or less

Russell Nohelty  00:30

sure I am a USA Today bestselling author I’m the publisher of one of the press and the host of the complete creative podcast and the training academy that goes with it. I’ve had five businesses, three before I turned 30 all failed because I didn’t understand audience building. And then the fourth one blew up in my face before I even got a chance to build an audience so it wasn’t until the fifth company that I started that I really understood all of these things that I’ve been able to put them into practice.

Mark Fidelman  00:58

Wonderful. So you got the wounds to show right you didn’t just hit it on the ballpark the first time then try to tell everybody else, how to replicate that because you got lucky so I like this approach I think most people can relate to. Having a few failures, and they’re looking for guidance as to, you know how to make it. Number three, number four number five number 10 work out for them. So let’s dive right into that so can you gonna give us a high level about you know what you do or recommend people do to build an audience from scratch.

Russell Nohelty  01:29

Sure. So, just really quickly so even my company want to be press. It took a long time to get the audience building right we started in 2015, and we didn’t really start scaling our company until 2017, where we went from about 2000 people on our mailing list to 20,000 all the way up to 75,000 before we kind of cut it down we remain now about like 15 to 20,000 people on our mailing list usually, and what I have learned from people is they are very. They are very into telling people to scale, but not why they should scale or the foundational reasons behind scaling or at what points you should scale and how to get to the point of scale. So, what I do, very high level is I show people how to build the foundational elements in place so that when you scale, you will be able to do it profitably. Instead of doing it. Well, frankly, how I did so I have a story about Twitter, I’ve got about 27,000 people that follow my Twitter account and they are useless to me because I did not know my audience well enough before I scale. I thought that getting a bunch of people was more important than getting the right people I think we all did, yeah. Yes, so I mean I use Twitter because I have things to promote sometimes and my friends are there but it’s a pretty useless account compared to my Facebook account which remained at about 1000 people, until the beginning of 2018. We’ve now grown that to over 14,000 people. So, just what I do on a high level is I show people, foundationally, what they need to do before they scale and then help them scale once they have all of the right pieces in place. Got it.

Mark Fidelman  03:21

So let’s start to break that down because this is such an important topic I think a lot of people need to know and understand how do you go about identifying the right people to build a product or service around.

Russell Nohelty  03:34

Alright, so I’m going to assume for the moment that you have an idea that you would like to pursue Do you think that’s fair. I think

Mark Fidelman  03:45

a lot of especially entrepreneurial types have that idea for sure.

Russell Nohelty  03:49

Yes. Okay. And you probably have some sort of yearning to make a product, it could be a creative product. It could be a bike. It could be manufacturer whatever it is but you’ve got an idea and you’re trying to find out the kinds of people who would buy that thing that you already know So first things first is, I always try to keep it in your network first, because they’re going to be the easiest people to reach out to and have real conversations with much faster than, then that groups on Facebook or making new connections and making a new network. So usually when I talk to somebody that has an idea, they’ve been posting about that idea for a while, maybe not exactly about that idea but they’re posting, I know people that write books about haunted houses and they’ve been talking about haunted houses on just on their Facebook or their Twitter or their Instagram for a long time. They’ve been doing art for a long time or they’re already in a bicycle bicycling commuter you know people that have bikes that that that that that buy bicycles, usually with most entrepreneurs. Their idea is not completely out of left field it’s something that they’ve kind of been building towards for a while. So the first thing that I tell them to do is you need to start reaching out and doing the unscalable. So, one of my favorite quotes is the only way to scale is to do the unscalable, and that means having at the beginning having real conversations with the people who are in your network already. Not just anyone in your network and I’ll explain specifically who you should reach out to in a second. But my favorite example of this is Airbnb Airbnb was a failed product that was not able to be profitable, and they went, they literally flew all around the country to their best homes and started talking to them about what they were doing, taking photos of them taking photos. Making redesigning their page with them in mind, and that is how they really got to scale because they were going to people who were hyper users of their product, and they were, they were, they were designing what they were doing based on that and the use cases that they were found. So, it is usually people are told to, you know, do a survey, or do or do a Twitter poll or something and almost never do those work because nobody wants to answer them. But they do almost always answer when you reach out to them one on one personally so the first task that you have is assuming you have an idea, you should be posting about that idea on social media and talking about it in person talking about it around because you kind of want to get a sense of whether there’s good energy there and sort of defining your idea, but once you are sort of posting about that idea and you’re going to find that certain people like your posts. And now what you’re looking for before you reach out to them are people in your social network, who are not your parents, not your girlfriend or boyfriend and not people in your immediate circle of friends. So, my best example as someone who’s almost 20 years from high school is somebody who you knew in high school but don’t haven’t hung out with in many years you may still have them on your friends’ list, but they’re not exactly. Someone that you’re talking to on a weekly or even monthly basis so but somebody that is posted that is liking and commenting that you kind of don’t know why they are liking and commenting, because you haven’t talked to them in a long time. Does that make sense?

Mark Fidelman  07:33

Yeah, that makes sense.

Russell Nohelty  07:35

And so, this is when you this is the basis of who you’re voting. This is the first mark of someone who’s in, who is going to enjoy the thing that you that you’re posting about and your take on it. And so, really easy. You just want to reach out to them,

Mark Fidelman  07:54

and most of us have those people on Facebook right you know your old high school friends that have found you or college friends that have found you and it’s pretty easy to find so is Facebook like the best place for it.

Russell Nohelty  08:06

I like Facebook, but I can’t say just Facebook because some people are much more prevalent on Instagram or Twitter or Pinterest, but it is about finding where sort of your strongest and where you have the best sort of organic network. Okay, I think that Facebook is almost always going to be the case but I know that generations.

Mark Fidelman  08:26

Yeah, my complaint about that.

Russell Nohelty  08:28

Yes, they’re gonna find somewhere else to

Mark Fidelman  08:31

Instagram it’s hard to find people, at least for me, I mean, you could do a lot of creative searching on Facebook I found.

Russell Nohelty  08:40

Yes, I agree. So I always tell people that if they have Facebook, that’s what they should use because it is where do you have the personal network that is separate from the professional network, and we’re really at the beginning here. Making I’m again making an assumption that most entrepreneurs I talked to are nervous about reaching out to random people who they don’t know. And so I’m trying to make this as easy as possible for them to like have these conversations because the One of the myths that that that I work to bust a lot is that people don’t want to be reached out to, they don’t want to be connected and you’re bugging them. And I find that if you do this with people who you’re friends with at least you have some connection with right then. It’s a little bit easier to convince an entrepreneur or somebody that has an idea to actually take the action, and it’s really the most important action that you can take is reaching out and having these real meaningful conversations with people that are in your that are going to be in the audience of the, of what you’re making. Secondarily to that. It’s really important to understand that everybody that’s in your network is not in your audience, everybody that likes you on Facebook or is friends with you on Facebook is not going to be the person who’s buying that product. So, a lot of times one of the big myths that I find is people say I have 1000 friends on Facebook, which means I’m going to have 1000 people to buy my product and that’s absolutely not true, which is why it’s important to find these people who are tangentially in your network because they are the best chance you have of crafting a product that both you and them are going to love. Does that make sense?

Yep, I’m following you all way right now. Awesome. So when you reach out. Your goal is to find out a whole bunch of information on this person you want to find out why they like you, and like why they like the product and like, what kind of stuff that they’re into, but also what kind of Facebook groups they frequent. What kind of books they read what kind of movies they like basically all sorts of stuff that can give you information about how you can take that one person and expand it out a little bit into 10 or 50 or 100 people. The biggest thing that you don’t want to do though is to make it about demographics. I. There’s nothing worse for an entrepreneur at the beginning to be like well my customer is a 35-year-old person who goes to yodeling camp every summer. What you’re really trying to do is create the essence of the attributes that makeup, buddy, love your work, or that why people love the thing that you do so, for instance, our company want to be press and my publishing company we have a mascot Melissa the wannabe and into it we poured all of our companies best traits so people that are rebellious and creative and no-nonsense and artistic and, and, and, and, like practical advice and like are like adventurous and like, and and and all of this sort of like the kind of have a snarky sarcastic attitude, the kinds of shows that they like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and, and, and Invader Zim and things like that so it all kind of pours into that person or that that that avatar, but it’s not a person, I find that we get so caught up in the app the exact person, but more likely it’s not an exact person that you’re looking for. It’s a personality that you’re looking for. I have fans that are 18, and I have fans that are 83 and but they all kind of have the same kind of anti-authority. Do it yourself, energy, about them.

Mark Fidelman  12:43

Yeah, I find with avatars I mean they’re just meant to direct people within the organization outside the organization. So here’s some. Here’s the type of person that you focus on it’s usually not one it’s three, but I do understand your point is that they’re not, they’re just it’s a fake person it’s not a real person. So what you’re saying is kind of listen to your own audience, no matter who they are. And, you know, figure out how to market to them based on some common traits, it sounds like

Russell Nohelty  13:09

absolutely now demographics becomes important when you’re doing Facebook ads and when you’re getting and finding your lowest customer acquisition cost and highest and highest lifetime value, but my favorite example of this is, there’s a book called Johnny the homicidal maniac that came out from SMG. The 2000s of his this century. Yeah, and the creator of adjoining Vasquez was very sure he was making it for 18 to 24-year-old man, however, that demographics of people who generally liked the book and responded to it, or were 11 to 17-year-old women. So, he, he, he made something that resonated but now with the people he thought it was so I just, I want people to, to not get caught up in what they think especially at the very beginning because when you’re when you reach out to that one person, you’re going to make some assumptions, but then they’re going to tell you. Other groups that they’re part of other places to look other books that they like other things that are related to that person and so you’re going to have one person, and one person assumption, and then your goal is to reach out to a couple more people who, who made that assumption and you’re going to realize that you have failed about 95% of the assumptions that you made, and but you, but it was right in about 5% of cases. And from that, and then talking to two more people and from that, talking to three more people and eventually you want to get at least 10 people that at least 10 people who are in your ideal sort of network, who sort of can amalgamate into one person that has the traits that you’re looking for that drill down below all of the overhanging information and you’re looking for three to seven traits that they these people share so personality traits that a person that likes Neil Gaiman is much different than a person that likes George RR Martin Dave there’s two different sorts of kinds of people that are going to respond to those books, there will be some overlapping, but you’re really looking for, you’re really looking for the traits that you’re going to be able to shout out to the other people that you’re about what you’re making. Can you advertise to those traits on Facebook, I suspect, Neil Gaiman fans for sure. George, I don’t know, George Martin,

Mark Fidelman  15:39

but I knew, Neil Gaiman is an amazing writer, by the way. What can you advertise those traits.

Russell Nohelty  15:45

So traits like brave and all of the like like personality traits, you’re not going to be able to advertise to, but that is more important to invite the spirit of your product than it is the, the other message.

Mark Fidelman  16:00

The message that resonate with them.

Russell Nohelty  16:02

Yeah, absolutely. And then the but the other information that they give you about, you know, what what what shows they like and what like places that they go to those aren’t going to be able to be advertised to, and the more information that you get from 10 or so people you’re going to be able to basically create a sort of advertising list that you can bring into Facebook and sort of look at at at at who is going to give you the lowest ad costs.

Mark Fidelman  16:31

Yeah. Okay, wonderful so

Russell Nohelty  16:34

the real thing you’re trying to figure out with these perfect customers is message and the kind of product that they are looking for, because they are going to tell you what is missing in the market.

Mark Fidelman  16:45

Yeah. Okay. Now, once you figure that out. And that’s it. That is a unique approach, I hadn’t thought of it that way, how then do you translate that into a product that or service that people want to buy, do yo present the product or service first to this group, or do you wait for their feedback to the side on how to you know finally shape it.

Russell Nohelty  17:10

Well there’s two different things that are important about this. The first is that they will tell you. But the second is, they will tell you out of the side of their mouth, one of the most important things I’ve learned in business, is that people will tell you what they want, but they will not necessarily tell you what they will actually pay for. Hmm. So there’s a couple of stages for this. The first is you need to figure out what they are saying they want a, so you’ll like let’s say let’s take bikes for an example, there may not be a good foldable bike that exists and that’s what they really want these are people that live in a city, they are you know they’re there, they don’t want to put their bike in the front of a bus. They just want but they want to fold it up and they want to like use it as a backpack. I know that’s just like they all kind of say the same thing kind of live in a city in densely packed areas and like this is the thing in the bike market that you think that they think is like the killer product they really, really, really want.

So, that is when you start going back and you sort of design something I don’t recommend spending No, you’re not going to be spending a lot of money at this point, because they’re wrong, almost always wrong about what they really want or what you want to do then is to design, like, come up with an idea of what separates you from the market based on what they’re telling you, and then bring it back to them, and you’re looking for. Usually, they’ll say, Oh, that’s nice, or that’s so cute, or like Wow, that’s amazing trying to save your feelings, what you’re looking for in there, in their wording, when you show it to them is buyer intent is when they go say something like, oh my god Where can I buy. Why isn’t this available now or, or I have to tell three friends about it, or things where you can tell they are visibly excited. They’re using buying language if they are not using buying. You have not actually found something that they will buy. Does that make sense? Yeah, people, people are very careful to parse their feelings out and make sure that like you’ll feel bad. Even if you’ve made something that they’re super into. So there are two pieces about this though there is also two-piece about this, you may have designed, amazing, but your audience is wrong. So you may have designed a killer product. But, but the people that you’ve been designing it for are wrong and you need to start again, using the same exact thing and making sure that like you’re building it differently now that you have an idea because there’s a couple of things that can go wrong when you’re building a business. One is that you have that product is that you have the wrong audience, and then three is you have the wrong price point. So, you have to make sure that that all of those things make sense, and by assuming you have the right audience. They are going to tell you exactly what, whether you have hit the nail on the head. There are words, not by just saying you can’t ask them, will you buy this. You have to secure it asleep, talk to them about the product and see what they say. And then one nice thing that you can do is if you have a website hopefully you have a website or five cards or some sort of card structure, you can create sort of a mock landing page to see if they will actually buy. Again, all of these things are happening at the very beginning with just your 10 person audience. Yep. And if one person buys that’s a 10% conversion rate that’s a pretty good idea that you’re on the right track. You don’t you can then refund their money or like not take the pre-order, but you’re trying to with this 10 group of pizzas this group of 10 people find a product that hopefully at least one but more like three or four of those people buy the reason is that those people are your friends already. So you’ve already done a lot of work so that they know like and trust you. Yep. And when. And so, you, you should have way more than a 10% conversion rate on the product before you can actually start scaling it. But at some point, you will have what you think through iteration and design and redesign and redesign you will have something that the people that are in that sort of test group, really resonate with or you have abandoned that test group and found a different test group, that, that, that, that you can, that you can test with but at some point you will have the product and the audience and business is nothing more than product and audience right so how do

Mark Fidelman  22:00

you how do you test to see if they will buy it, you put an offer in front of them or an ad or testing to see if they buy it.

Russell Nohelty  22:08

So once you have. Once you have sort of gotten their body once you think you’ve gotten their buy-in with the product that enough of that. 50% of them, 60% of them really like art and are super excited for it and you’re, you’re hearing that buying intention. That is when you set up a landing page and actually put the product out there and see if they will actually buy it. So you can use our cart feature like thrive card or Sam card, or Click Funnels or, or, or you can build a PayPal button onto a website that you already have, or heck you can just use PayPal and like say hey PayPal me $100 if you want to get in on this thing, and put up and give them your email address and see if they buy, but it’s something and you’re the first time, you’re probably not going to get it right. They’re probably you think you have gotten the buying intention, but they say, but they don’t buy, and that’s when you can go back to them and say, Why didn’t you buy like you know you can’t be like angry about it you just have to say, this is interesting like I’m wondering why you didn’t buy you said you were excited for it. Is it a timing issue is it because it’s too expensive, whatever it is you’re trying to figure out what’s making them not buying you’re gonna have to iterate this three-four maybe 10 times before you get 50 60% of them to buy. But, but yes you’re you’re either the easiest way is to give them your PayPal email address and or Venmo and have them just pay you. The, but you can also set up a whole bunch of other ways that are more complicated I try and keep it really simple. At the beginning with people, because I don’t want to invest my time in making a product that is even making a web page or a simple web page. Until I know that there’s buy-in from the people I’m designing this product for

Mark Fidelman  24:10

it makes perfect sense because you know why waste all those resources put stuff up ready to capture it with messaging, and none of its tested, and you’re hoping to get lucky and I’m sure after four failures you’ve learned that, hey, let’s get it all done upfront so I don’t spend a lot of money. And when I

Russell Nohelty  24:28

figure it out. I also say is, you know, let’s say you want to create a bike, maybe your first product is a bike horn, or a book on bikes, or a really cool kickstand, it’s something that you can do much more cheaply than a fully designed bike, because you’re just getting into this market and people are a lot more willing to give you, you know, 20 bucks. If you’re not tested than they are 300 or $3,000. Just one good way to test that audience is to give them just a sliver, and something that you can that that you can manufacture and deliver very easily. I

Mark Fidelman  25:10

find that, you know, you see a lot of these entrepreneurs that don’t think that’s sexy enough, but I think it’s a great strategy you know come up with some unique horn for a bike. But, you know, it’s just not sexy enough for him there’s like I’m not, you know quitting my job becoming entrepreneur, for a horn,

Russell Nohelty  25:24

but no i don’t think you should quit your job and become an entrepreneur for a horn I think you should use that horn to say yes, I now have a product that has a profit margin, and an audience that I can take the profit margin from that horn and invest it into marketing and development of the product I really want. There’s this. there’s a saying that I use and I work mostly with authors and other creative types, but I always say don’t make your dream product First, if you make your dream product first you are basically guaranteed to screw it up, because you’re not good enough, you haven’t designed enough you’re and you’re too precious of it, make something that you don’t care about nearly as much that you can do at a very high level if it’s a short story or a picture book or something that will take far less resources and allow you to iterate much more easily.

Otherwise, you’re going to have a situation like the coolest cooler. The coolest cooler is the most popular Kickstarter and at least was raised $10 million, and then five years later, it still hasn’t delivered anything or it’s delivered poorly because that person didn’t have a history of design and they didn’t have that they weren’t able to grow into that position so no I certainly don’t think you should you should bank, your, your entire career, on, on, on bike corn or a kickstand. But I do think that by, by making the coolest kickstand of all time. One that will never fall down no matter what you do, you then prove yourself to the audience for trying to create for, and it allows you to build bigger and bigger and bigger stuff and get that word of mouth a lot easier and get that buy-in a lot easier. The second and third time around.

Mark Fidelman  27:17

Yeah, I mean this is all great advice. And if you’re thinking about starting a product or you’ve already started a product, you could reverse the steps. And, you know, do it over again, and as painful as that sounds, it probably you know is the best thing that that you can do. So let’s say you’ve got product-market fit you’ve gone through your process here. You’ve got a product that’s resonating with at least half, you know, five people on a 10. How do you scale it.

Russell Nohelty  27:46

Okay, so now you are so this is really important because now you have to have a product, you have an audience and you have a product that has a profit margin, like it has to have a profit some amount of profit margin because that profit margins which we’re going to use to go back and do Facebook ads and figure out your marketing and all of those other things, it can be very small at first, but it’s going to usually start with going TO to places where your perfect customer already lives. So, those 10 people who are in your audience are going to have told you about Facebook groups and meetup groups. Well, when things get back to normal hopefully meetup in person places and, and an online places and forums and all sorts of places that the perfect person congregate So, for instance, I, we can take this podcast for a perfect example. I went to a podcast conference, and I was told about a website called spot a guest. And I joined a magpie a mastermind for business podcast because I have a business podcast called the complete creative and from being on spot as I was told about pot it, and from pod, I was told about matchmaker FM, and each of those steps brought me closer to being on this show. Because I sort of took what my audience was saying of where they were hanging out and I expanded it. I expanded it more with each time that someone told me some new information. So before you start running Facebook ads and doing all of this huge ad spend, you now have to take what you’ve learned about those 10 people, and turn those 10 people into 100 people, and you turn those 10 people into 100 people by going into the forums, by, by, by, by finding where they are and not talking about your product but actually getting to know them.

So your first hundred customers I think we’ve talked about this before in your first hundred customers the first hundred people in your fan base are the most important because they see everything that you’re going to do for the rest of your, your company’s history, pretty much. Once you have that avatar in place, and all of those things. It’s very hard to change it later on. With without destroying sort of a unique piece that makes your company what it is.

So you want to make sure that you’re going out and you’re serving them so this is when I recommend starting a blog or a podcast or some sort of free content that you can come up weekly. At least weekly. But if you can’t do that monthly but something that you can do that will service that community. So in that in the bike example, you can you can have a blog about, about, about like new bikes, the best kind of bikes, new technology and bikes, the best hiking trails the best biking trails, the best races. There’s all sorts of stuff that you can give them that, that, that don’t involve you selling them.

The thing that you’re making because they’re not ready to be sold at the thing yet, a big mistake that people make is thinking that because the 10 people who’ve known them for a decade are willing to buy. That means that everyone they meet is going to want to buy from them immediately. So, this could be conducting webinars as well about some part of bicycles or bicycle safety or it can be all sorts of stuff. But your goal now is to take the places that the people hang out, go to there and sort of plant start planting your flag in these forums and other places to try and draw people to you from, from where they are. This is not saying that you’re going to that that they’re going to stop living there. You just want them to start living there, and also hanging out with you. That makes sense.

Mark Fidelman  31:40

Yeah. And so you’re taking what you learned from the first pen, and you’re applying it to all these other places, those 10 people might hang out. Is that what

Russell Nohelty  31:49

you’re saying. Because the messaging right now because the, the people didn’t just give you their demographic information but you’ve been talking to them a lot you kind of know how they talk how they feel like you don’t just have the terminology, but like, you’ve got their attitude down. Some people are a lot more like down to earth gritty, sort of like a biker bar, kind of person and some people are Country Club the kind of person much more elegant and, and you want to know what kind of person you’re trying to attract and who you’re going to attract naturally. I love like literary fiction books and like ones where like the people use very elegant prose, but I can never write like that that is not my style that is not who I attract, if I went and I tried to be a very elegant like proper put together person. I would be attracting the wrong kind of my books. So, and into the training academy that I have as well, so I try and keep things on a much more practical tactical. A hands hands dirty level. And because that is sort of the brand that I’ve built. When I go out into these places, an artist shows, or have my own sho

w or whatever is I’m talking, not just in the manner that they that those places are, but I’m looking for people that seem to share my mentality that like, sort of like have that like punk rocky mentality to like sort of try and get those people to come and hang out with me, because I think they would like what I have to say,

Mark Fidelman  33:26

yeah. Okay, so that’s a good place to kind of, you know, look at how you scale at a one to one level, and I don’t mean one to one, but you’re one of these communities, you’re posting stuff there. Is there an advertising strategy then that you can deploy or is there something that they can go after once that starts resonating.

Russell Nohelty  33:48

So here’s the next part that you need to know you need to create a system. Probably an autoresponder friends that will cut all of that will turn somebody from not knowing you into a rabid fan. So, from there, I know everyone talks about a funnel right but for me, a funnel is four parts, a funnel is a certain amount of people that know you will like you will trust you trust you will buy from you and then people that have bought from you will buy again and those are the rabid fans, the ones who like love your stuff are the ones who are going to buy a second time.

And so, your autoresponder sequence needs to be using all of the messaging that you have, or your sales funnel or whatever you’re doing to get people into your into your network needs to use the messaging that you’ve learned from these first 10 these first hundred people to be able to put a bunch of people into the top of your funnel and be able to drill them down into finding the rabid fans.

So I like to say that this is like a. We all have that uncle that we know but don’t like that cousin we like but don’t trust that friend that we trust but like he just doesn’t have the same taste as us, you know, he goes and always gets anchovy pizza and I really like pepperoni, but then we all have those friends. We also have those best friends, the ones that have you give them $20. They are going to, like, come back with something that you absolutely love. And that is what we’re trying to find in this process. What kinds of stuff do you have to say what objections Do you have to break apart before those people move from one part of your funnel to the next part of your funnel, and this is absolutely essential because if you do not have this as in a profitable way.

And it doesn’t produce results at the bottom, no amount of advertising that you do is going to work. Once you have this system in place where you can get somebody to break all of their objections to two and find the best way to do that this may be an autoresponder sequence, it might be in a sales funnel, it might be in a webinar, but whatever that system is, it has to be repeatable.

The minute that you get that repeatable that system that funnel repeatable so you can put what $2, or you can put $1 at the top and, and pull out $2 at the bottom. The minute, then, then, once you have that everything is greenlight go, so you.

That is when you can start running Facebook ads, that’s when you can start running at Amazon or whatever ads that you’re going to run because you know for a fact that the funnel is working. And so you can see most people talk about this scale part being the like the first thing that you’re thinking about but we’re now at the third stage and what I usually what I trained people to do, and we’re just now talking about actually scaling this thing.

And, because if any part of that is broken, you want to find it before you’re pouring thousands of dollars into your funnel, or worse, building getting the wrong kind of person at the bottom, because that is equally miserable if you’re finding someone who will pay $2, but then they’ll never buy again, then the base of your business never grows.

So you want to find the person get the person at the bottom, who has the lowest customer acquisition cost and the highest lifetime value. And then once you’re once you found. Once you had that system working then it becomes pretty easy because you’re now pretty engrossed in the community, you’ll know like what websites you should be buying ads from what places you should be targeting on your phone on Facebook and then it’s a lot of testing, you’re going to take all of these things that you’ve learned and you’re going to test a lot of low cost ads to see which ones are the not low cost but low dollar amounts so $5 a day $10 a day to find out which ones are really the most profitable, because then you might be able to put in $1 and get $10 out. Right. Um, and then then you’re already engrossed in the community and the best part about using a system like this is. If you know your audience well enough, you literally never have to ask the question, what should I make for them.

What should I do for them, where should I be for them, and almost every entrepreneur that I’ve ever met, has a problem with knowing their audience well enough. It’s very rare that I meet someone who runs a company. Especially not a non-successful company that that has that doesn’t have a problem with their audience tons of successful companies that are problem figuring out what to make for their audience, because they also have an audience problem but I really think that the differentiating factor between a successful entrepreneur and an unsuccessful. One is that they don’t know their audience well enough. I have never. I’ve had to look around and and find products for people and not like knowing what to make for them. Next, but when that product emerges I 100% know that it is going to work with my audience, every single time, or I at least know that

I’m going to have to work really hard to win them over. For instance, my company mostly has made comics historically they mostly make made comics, and I have been trying desperately to get people to try our books, and novels, which I think are as good or better than our comics, but I knew that it will be a losing proposition for a while, as I tried to win them over because that is not what they historically have they have fought from they’ve got

Mark Fidelman  39:50

shorter and shorter attention spans and they like visuals probably right.

Russell Nohelty  39:54

That’s part of it but also it’s just, I have made a company based on one thing and people want to put you in one bucket. So I knew that when I started doing these novels that a I had to do them in a certain way and be I had to do them for a certain length of time before I would ever before I would get the return that I wanted. and I’m willing to, I was willing to commit to doing that, knowing that it would be less profitable than doing something else because I really believed in it, but I knew it would be a problem going in. So it’s not like you will, you have to only make the products that your audience will love.

If you know that you that your audience will like this thing if they just try it. You then just have to know that it’s going to be a struggle, so you’ll know your core products, your premium products, you know your like your ancillary products that you could move people into. But all of these things will become crystal clear to you if you spend an enormous amount of time getting to know your audience and this never changes. Even now, I try to reach out to two or three people from our audience at least manipulate and talk to them and prod them and make sure that like fair that like they’re still on board, if they haven’t bought our last couple of products I try and like figure out what I could do to win them back and all of these things all, come from my insatiable and a sort of a rabid need to know the customer as well as I possibly can so that I can then make sure I’m making a product that is profitable enough that I can pull some part of it out and use that for marketing so I can find more people like them.

Mark Fidelman  41:41

Okay. Well, this has been a very good education on how you build an audience, is there anything, any milestones that Once reached. You know, you need to do something different like if you reach your first 10,000 that are real community members that are active. Is there anything along this journey from a hundred to 10,000 or 100,000 that you’ve got to pivot or do something different.

Russell Nohelty  42:09

I think that before you scale. I like really scale with ads you should probably have 1000 people on your mailing list like good people on your mailing list and like you’ve met and found, and that’s not saying you can’t have a profitable business with like 1000 people which are the first three years of our business, we you know we weren’t doing like six figures but we were doing a well enough to like survive and get by and have profit to like do the next thing and it was. It wasn’t until 2017 that we really had our first two hit products. But even with those two hit products we only had 2000 people on our mailing list for the vast majority of those two launches. So it’s, it’s not like you can have a good well established product what I will say is, you might need to have a higher end like a service based product so something that you can get reoccurring revenue from a coaching or something, while you’re trying to build their audience and coaching is a great way to basically get paid to get to know your audience better.

So they’re paying you to basically get data from them about what they’re struggling with. So all of these sort of one on one strategies can be monetized as well to help you get a good foundation. I’m not saying that you. I mean I’ve seen people do great launches with 100 200 people on their mailing list, but if you’re looking for a, a, like a good barometer. I think that 1000 people on your mailing list or 100 paying customers is a good way to know that too but you have is working. You’ll also know, once you have customers are actually profitable for you which ones are annoying are our high, high energy customers, which ones are like your favorite customers and you can move your way in there.

So it’s really a process of of testing and thinking about the long term, I would say it would take at least a year to know all of these steps because you don’t want to scale, before you, you know, which clients you want because the first step is, you’re finding lines and then you’re getting the clients and then you. You have to know where you should like there’s going to be a bell curve, and some of them are some of the clients should definitely fire, and some of them you should definitely, and you don’t actually know which ones which until you start actually making products for them and and servicing them. Does that make sense.

Yeah,, it’s very fast, but you can scale at any point, I’ve had people scale with, I definitely wouldn’t recommend scaling with less than 100 people on a mailing list at least. But I’ve, I’ve had people scale-like much, much smaller than my recommendations and I’ve had people wait a lot longer than my recommendations. Then, the best, the best barometer is the minute that you can know for a fact what your audience will like Without you have to like, pull them. That is the time that it is that that that you can scale. Really, with confidence, because you now know your audience well enough to be able to know what to make for them. And now it’s just about finding more people, more and more people like them. Yeah. Okay. Well,

Mark Fidelman  45:42

I mean, I know, we can go on and on beyond this, but my promise was for you to kind of learn how to build an audience from scratch and you’ve more than delivered, Russell I’ve learned a lot and I’m gonna apply some of these to the to a course I’m creating. And I think it’s an excellent suggestion I’ve done some of these already I’ve kind of tested out the concept, a lot of people want to see it especially now with, you know, the quarantine because it’s kind of a quarantine related product not intentionally, it just ended up being so. So I’ve got two final questions that I asked everybody. And the first is, what is the hottest digital marketing technology that you are using or want to use. And I know you’re not big, you’re more old school. But I think you know you’ve got an answer to this.

Russell Nohelty  46:30

Yeah, so I will tell you the one I’m really excited to use in the near future is thrive cart. I, I’ve been looking at in most of my sales are still have still been hand handled like like literally hand sales like I would be selling to a person at a show or on Kickstarter. I haven’t really had to think of like the digital workflow. But I have noticed, as we were trying to transition online that our shopping carts are very janky comparatively to what I would like them to be. So I am excited to hopefully in the next month. Try start trying thrive cart and getting our shopping carts to a place where I think they need to be.

Mark Fidelman  47:17

Okay, and thrive does what that’s different than any other shop shopping cart technology.

Russell Nohelty  47:22

I mean I don’t know like I looked at Sam cart and click funnel and all of those ones and they’re quite expensive thrive cart right now has an option, where you for $690 or $500 you can buy a lifetime access which is less than one year of using any of the other cart features. I’ve tried, I’ve tried the ones that are a lot cheaper than thrive cart as well and they don’t seem to have the functionality that I need, I would like something called a bump offer, which is, you, you. When you’re paying you can add a little checkmark that says like yes I want to get this other thing for 50 more dollars like on the end that is only available on a lot of the more expensive cart options. And so, thrive cart seems to be the cheapest one with the most functionality that has all I need and I don’t like having subscriptions to things I like being able to own them outright. Yeah. So, it can be there’s a lot of them that you know, like I said, Sam cart, and there’s a few other ones that are like bigger names in the industry that I’m that I plan to that that you can look at. I just seemed like from what I needed thrive cart was like designed to get to to be seamless. Another one that I use right now is teachable. And I host all of my courses on teachable and teachable as well.

Mark Fidelman  48:52

Okay. The second question Thanks for answering I’m gonna check out thrive cart, by the way. Who are you learning from in sales or marketing today. Who’s influenced you the most.

Russell Nohelty  49:04

Seth Godin Kimbo, I don’t know if you listen to the akimbo podcast know one of the most brilliant podcasts,

Mark Fidelman  49:11

why breaks down, it just seems so high level to me. Not that I have anything against him I think he’s brilliant. She seems so high level to me What do you like about.

Russell Nohelty  49:18

I like that he is talking about marketing strategies that have worked for the last hundred years, and I, one thing that I’m very conscious of is to not follow any fad, that might change in three months or two months or a month, and is highball more active. I follow Russell Brunson. So Russell Brunson is more like I think you have to have sort of both sides of it, you want somebody that can give you the overall view of like what marketing means and push you in a direction, you know, every time I think, Seth, Seth Godin always talks about you know the minimum viable audience, and he talks very slowly and like methodically and he helps me think about things, methodically, and, and, and whether the thing that I’m doing is necessary. He.

There’s another one, James Wedmore is also really good in doing, talking about mindset of an entrepreneur and that you don’t have to hustle all the time. And so there’s stuff I pull out of all of those three people anymore. You know he Porterfield is great and and and there’s a couple of others but if I had to pick one. just because I believe that mindset is the most important for an onshore not always believe that I was, I really, but put a lot more value in sales, and innovate in the marketing but as I become more successful on for longer.

I just realized that it really is all about mindset, it’s really all about, like, how do I keep going every man. Yeah, and I believe that when I listen to Seth Godin, I find the will to keep going and. And the idea that like. It doesn’t have to be fast, it’s better to be good, than to be fast than like when you’re building something for the future. You know it takes a long time and setting the foundations is so important. And I, I always feel it maybe it’s like a coach, you know, like a baseball coach who like you know they’re always drilling the fundamentals into you. They’re always like no keep your shoulder down, you’ve heard it 1000 times but like then you get the yips and you like, you know, you have to go back to those fundamentals and I always find myself returning to those fundamentals with him.

Mark Fidelman  51:47

Excellent. Well, okay. Well, we’re gonna wrap things up but before we do, I want to let everyone know that Russell has got a free audience building webinar, it’ll be in the show notes but it’s at the complete reread of comm forward-slash audience. You can also find it in the show notes. And then how do people get ahold of you Russell

Russell Nohelty  52:13

the easiest way is if you want to email me, you can email me at Russell, that’s two SS two L’s at wannabe press calm, or at the complete creative calm has all of our epic blog posts, our, our podcast archives, or other free courses, and a whole lot more.

Mark Fidelman  52:33

All right, excellent. So, I know you guys enjoy this podcast I certainly have right review, let Russell and I know about what you felt. And if you had any questions, please send them to Russell about this. And hey, we got to have you back on in a few months just to kind of give us a second half of the story once after it’s scaling and everything else what do you do then so we’re going to do that, we’re going to put this on the calendar and then we’ll talk to you then.

Russell Nohelty  53:02

Thanks so much for having me.


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