Guide for Launching Your Next Big Idea

Creating an Audience Shortlist

Paul Boag

Paul Boag

Guide for Launching Your Next Big Idea

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The "Creating an Audience Shortlist" Lesson is part of the full, Guide for Launching Your Next Big Idea course featured in this preview video. Here's what you'd learn in this lesson:

Paul walks through the initial steps for identifying an audience. The process starts with removing impractical or challenging audiences and prioritizing the remaining ones. Key factors include market size, growth potential, product fit, competitive landscape, buying power, and lifetime value.


Transcript from the "Creating an Audience Shortlist" Lesson

>> So, that is reviewing the market and it is definitely the place that I would encourage you to start. But very quickly after that, you need to get into the idea of understanding your audience, right? And, this is a really interesting balance that you need to find here, because you don't just need to find your audience, you also need to tailor the app to the audience.

So it's a symbiotic relationship. So if you've had an idea for an app, the chances are there won't be the perfect audience out there for that app exactly as you've got it in your head, right? Because it just doesn't work like that. Instead, you need to find that audience and then allow what you learn about the audience to inform the exact nature of the app.

So just bear that in mind, and that's why it's so important to really not just kind of segment your audience or define your niche or whatever pretentious marketing jargon you want to throw around. You also have to really understand those people so that you can understand the unique things that they want from the thing you're creating.

Right, and now I think it's one of the big mistakes again that I see is because we jump into developing it because that's what we know how to do. And we build the thing and then go and look for the audience. But it's not that binary. It's messier than that.

So let's talk about a day adapting your app for your audience just so you can see some ways that that is done. First of all, you will have to adapt your features, what precisely the app will do needs to be tailored to the audience that you are targeting, right?

So it may be that some of the ideas you've had are just not relevant for that audience. There may be things for features that you hadn't considered that will need to be included. And then there's the top tasks. Depending on the niche that you've picked, the audience that you've picked, there will be different features that they care about more, things that they want to do more.

And so we need to make sure that those features are highlighted, and what those features are will depend on the audience. And then finally, there's how we communicate with our audience will depend on who they are. You need to talk to different people in different ways. So we need to understand our audience, and to do that, first of all, we need to pick our audience specifically.

So the way that I tend to do this is I identify all the possible audiences I can think of, right? So I'm just brainstorming lots and lots of different audiences, then I shortlist those audiences into ones that I think are most viable. I pick an initial target of an audience that I'm initially gonna build for and then I dig deeper into that audience.

Those are the steps. Now let's run through those in a bit more detail. So step one is identify your possible audiences. Again, this is gonna depend on whether we're targeting B2B and B2C. But just to recap what I've literally just said, but I'm gonna say it again just because we're now at that point.

If your B2B, look at different verticals. What are all the verticals that you could, all the different sectors that you might be able to target, that might be interested in whatever it is you're building, right? What are the different size of organizations that you could target? Yeah, it's obvious, and what different regions might you've target.

Don't constrain yourself at this point, just write everything. You don't need to write every country on the planet, cuz I don't think anybody's gonna buy it in Antarctica, but anything that's reasonably sane, put on that list at that point. So to give you some ideas of what those different things mean, cuz it might not always be immediately obvious.

If you're talking about verticals, some verticals might be health care, higher education, charities, finance, technology, right, real estate, as we were talking about earlier. And sizes might be based on revenue, based on the number of employees, the market share they've got, the assets they've got, their valuation. That's a way different ways of sizing an organization.

And region might be geographic region, it might be country, it might be state, city, it might even be down a zip code for crying out loud. I'm working on an app at the moment that's intending to roll out nationally, but it's starting just on the Lower East Side of New York, right, in order to pick its initial audience.

If you're working on B2C, as I said earlier, its interests, its demographics, and its region. So to look at those in a bit more detail, interest might be sports, hobbies, media, values, lifestyle. They're all different interests that people have that you might be able to target around. Demographics might include age, gender, education, income, family, and then regions again, the same as before.

And like I said, you can look at your competition for inspiration. Who are they gonna target? Who follows them is always a good starting point, but you could also look beyond that, who's talking about the pain points that you're solving, right? So on social media, on the internet, who's moaning about the thing that you're fixing.

So I tend to use Buzzsumo to help with that. Hootsuite is quite good for helping with that. And are all good for kind of analyzing what people are saying online. And like I was saying before, I look at related SEO terms in order to give me a sense of the different kind of apps and which is performing better.

So let me give you an example. So if you're creating a task app and what are all the related phrases associated with task apps? So project task management or housework task app or that kind of thing. And then I'll actually compare paired the levels with one another, which ones have got the biggest market associated with them just to give me a kind of idea.

So you can use things like keyword manager, Google Keyword manager for that or Ahrefs or SMErush, will all help kind of you understand what different terminologies is being used around it. So once I've done that initial brainstorm, I've got massive big list of potential audiences that that I like the look of.

It's then time to shortlist them, right, to get them down to ones that would actually make a feasible business, okay? What I do to do that is I start by just removing the impractical options, right? So I can't speak Mandarin, so probably that excludes a big Asian market that I probably don't wanna look at initially because that's a bit out my wheelhouse, right?

Or I know nothing about crochet, so I probably don't wanna target the crochet market and so on, right? So I kind of just get rid of ones that are pretty impractical for whatever reason. And then from what's remain is I prioritize them, right? So I now just start organizing them based on some criteria to go with which has got the most potential.

Now, obviously you need to know how I prioritize. So I often start with stock market size and growth potential, it's not to say that always go with the biggest cuz like I said earlier, niching down is good, but I do look at volume. Is the audience large enough to sustain and grow my business?

Or would I need to secondary audiences to support it, and that's fine, right? The app that I was talking about a minute ago, which is starting on the Lower East Side, right? They know that it's not gonna be sustained on the Lower East Side. That's not gonna be enough.

That's just their initial audience. But you kind of need to be aware of that going in. And then there's growth. Look for a market with growth potential. So maybe, it's a market that you know is growing over time. So for example, baby boomers are really getting old now, right?

So if you were creating a care app, for example, great, there's a growth market there until they will die. And then you've got Gen Xs to deal with, who as we have established, are the best generation. So great market size and potential. Then there's market needs and pain points as well.

So does your product offer a compelling solution to a specific need, problem, or pain point for your audiences in that list? If it's not a really compelling thing, then deprioritize that as a potential audience. So you can really focus in on just the ones that you've got something really compelling.

But also consider underserved needs. So there might be some audiences that maybe your offering isn't quite as compelling, but nobody else is addressing that anyway. So it might be worth considering a little bit more. Then there's product fit. Does your product features benefits and user experience align with the the target audience's preferences and requirements?

Then there's adaptability. How adaptable will your product be for changes in what that audience might need over time? Then of course there's competitive landscape. How well does the competition meet the needs, saturation in the market? How entrenched are the existing competitors? So I look at that as well, and if it's an over-saturated market with a lot of, it's gonna be hard to do, demote it.

Don't wanna look at it. There's buying power, right? Can these people actually afford your app, cuz why are you wasting your time otherwise? And do they have the power to make the purchase or is there another audience that is influencing that purchasing decision. I do also think about things like lifetime value, profitability for example, how much profit am I likely to be able to make off this audience?

Am I gonna have to keep it really cheap for them to be able to afford it? So my margins are gonna be lower. How loyal are they likely to be to me? All of this is guesswork, right, but it's just thinking through these things. And you can look at accessibility as well.

Can you reach this audience? Are you gonna be able to get at them or are they gonna be really hard to get at? And that actually is a really important one that we will come on to later. And engagement, how willing is that audience gonna be to engage with your brand?

Are they gonna want to talk to you? And then sometimes you need to think about regulatory stuff, which if you're working in the B2B sector, are there compliance rules? That means that developing it for this audience are gonna be a pain in the butt. For example, if you wanted to create a banking app, right, do I really wanna be dealing with the banking sector and all of the crap that comes with that?

And some of these, obviously, that can result in a very high barrier to entry because you gotta have certification and regulation and blah, blah, blah. You also need to think about cultural fit. It's a bit of an abstract thing, but do you understand the values and preferences of the audience you're trying to reach?

Can you effectively communicate with them? I know that I'm very hip and trendy, but there are certain audiences that I wouldn't be able to communicate very well with because I don't have any shared values with them. And if I'm not intending to hire a lot of staff or whatever else, I'll probably wanna avoid them as a market.

And then language and localization. Do I understand the culture of the country? Do I know its languages, etc? We mentioned technical savviness already, users proficiency in that. If they might struggle with your app, then we're gonna have to do a lot of support and education. Do I wanna spend the time doing all of that, blah, blah, blah?

Now, not all of those things are equal. It's messy. I'd love to say, right, okay, first of all, you're a prioritized audience and then you do this, and then you do that, and now you end up with a prioritized list. And it's all very one step, two step, three step, right?

Unfortunately in the kind of world I operate in, things are messier than that, but have a go with those criteria in the back of your mind. Go with a gut reaction based on what you've learned from your competitive analysis and the research that you've done online, just write yourself a prioritized list of what feels right, right?

And that's better than nothing, [LAUGH] okay? It's better than just kind of picking one at random.

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