I’m all about that semi-retired life. I don’t want to waste my time on anything that isn’t going to make an impact on my business.
In this episode, we’re going to talk about the pros and cons of building an audience before selling. I’ll be sharing real examples of people who built an audience that didn’t make them ANY money. AND I’ll be telling you how to build and audience the right way.
- Am I “against” content marketing? [1:48]
- The truth about being an e-celeb [02:23]
- Are you training your audience NOT to buy from you? [04:26]
- A decision I made 3 or 4 years ago about marketing my business [06:44]
- How to know when it’s the right time to start content marketing and brand building [07:02]
…And much more!
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I live the semiretired lifestyle. And if I spent all day creating content, creating content that I didn’t know my audience valued or wanted to listen to, then I’d be wasting my time.
Hey, what’s going on? It’s Joel Erway and welcome to another very special episode of sold with webinars. Today I have a very important topic that I want to discuss. I have been going back and forth with my audience, asking you for feedback on what new topics you want me to discuss and one of the topics that has come up with over and over again, because I’ve voiced my opinion on the idea of audience building.
And today I want to talk about the pros and cons of building an audience first before selling. Now if you have followed any of my content in the past three or four years, you should probably have an idea of my methodology and of my approach for how I go about launching offers, validating offers, et cetera, et cetera.
And essentially what it breaks down to is this. You have two worlds of thoughts. Let’s just say the first world of thought is you’ve got the content marketer approach. These people who do blogging, who put out all this tons and tons and tons of great content, provide value first, build an audience, generate a list, build the leads that eventually somewhere down the road, you invite them to purchase an offer, whether that’s your course, whether it’s a high ticket offer, et cetera, et cetera.
Now then there’s the other approach. And the other approach is offer first, then content marketing second. And if you know me, that’s the approach that I go. So let’s discuss a couple of the reasons why I don’t go the previous route. Now let me be very, very clear. I am not against content marketing.
I’m just all about doing it in the correct order putting the building blocks in place that make the most use of your time. I live the semiretired lifestyle and if I spent all day creating content, creating content that I didn’t know my audience valued or wanted to listen to, then I’d be wasting my time.
So let’s talk about some of the cons of building an audience first, before you sell to them, before you make them an offer. A couple of years ago, I had a friend of mine who reached out to my agency and filled out an assessment form, filled out all the details and he told me how big his list size was, how big his email list size was.
Now this person had around 30,000 people on his email list. Now we’ve done email marketing in the past. We know how to monetize lists and so I started talking to him and I started asking him some questions. And I said, hey man, so you tell me you’ve got 30,000 people on your list. That’s awesome. Tell me a little bit more.
And he started to go into detail. He said, well, I’ve got this blog. It’s a pretty popular blog we get about, I don’t know, and I could be wrong with this, but I thought he said around a hundred thousand visitors a month. Regardless, he had a pretty substantial traffic, a pretty substantial amount of traffic going to his site already, and he generated 30,000 email subscribers, he was generating about 50 to a 100 new leads per day.
All organically, not even paying, spending money on paid ads. Dude, that’s awesome. Like you must be doing pretty well right now. Right? He comes back to me and says, no, you know, I’m actually my best month that I ever had, I made $800 with that list. I’m like, Oh dude. I’m so sorry, you know, I’m like, Oh, you know, it sounds like you’ve got the creator’s curse, right?
It sounds like you have built this amazing following, these people love all the content, and they value all the content that you’ve put out, but they’ve never seen an offer and so your relationship is really just a one way street. Okay? It’s a one way street where you’re just giving, giving, giving, giving, and they’re used to receiving, receiving, receiving.
That whenever you put out an offer, it probably falls on deaf ears. Now there are some other alternatives to maybe he’s putting out the wrong offer. I’m sure that they would buy something from him and maybe he just has an offer problem. But the problem with building that audience first, before ever figuring out that audience is willing to pull up their credit card and exchange money for the value that you’re giving them is that you may be training them unknowingly.
You may be training them just to siphon you for free resources. And that’s a very bad way to go about your business because now you’re stuck. You feel obligated. You feel like you’re bound by these rules. These unwritten rules that you have to constantly deliver content to them, constantly deliver new stuff to them, send them more content and feed this growing fire, this growing audience of yours.
But yet they’re not giving you anything in return. Whereas the flip side, how we launch as we always lead it, like if I am talking to a brand new lead and I’m not talking to them one on one, I mean, if I’m reaching out, if a new prospect interacts with me and I have no presence online, my brand is not established.
The first thing that I want them to see from me is an offer or a form of an offer. Right? So I would talk about power offers and there’s a couple of reasons behind that. Number one, I lead with sales first then I give them marketing, which means I want them to see that I’ve got value that they can extract from me.
Right. And it’s going to be at some sort of level of investment, but I want to set that precedent upfront so they’re not blindsided or hidden somewhere down the road after you give them tons of free content with an offer and they say, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. I didn’t realize you wanted to charge for this. Right? Now, the game flips.
But if I lead with an offer first in the back of their head, they’re going to know that okay, cool, once I get into a place where it makes sense. Then I’ll invest with Joel’s program. I’ll invest with his level. One of his offers. And so that’s why I always lead with an offer first, because I want to set that precedent.
I want them to know like, okay, cool, like this guy is not just giving out free content and there’s plenty of creators out there. Plenty of YouTube channels out there. Plenty of bloggers out there that do give out tons of free content, but they’re hardly making any money, or they rely on advertisers who know how to monetize an audience.
They rely on advertisers to pay them money. And then you’re just ended up working for yourself. And so three or four years ago, I made a distinct decision in my business to whenever I’m launching new things, I’m leading with an offer first then I supplement with marketing because the way that I go about my business is like I go through different stages and stage one is validating that offer first and getting to 30 or $50,000 per month with that offer through a high ticket offer, through high ticket course, whatever it is.
And then once I decide, okay I enjoy fulfilling on this offer and it’s something I want to scale. Now I work on building out my brand. Now I work on developing different pieces of content in different channels, right?
Whether that’s podcasting, whether that’s social media marketing, right? I’m not against content marketing because it absolutely does crush your competition. Once you start to warm up and nurture an audience that wasn’t initially ready to buy at first. But I promise you, you have people who are ready to buy right now.
And that is why I go after that audience first, because funds my entire business venture, especially for us who are bootstrapping. Like we have to do that first. We have to get cash in the door first to fund the rest of our ventures and adventures, but to fund the rest of our ventures.
And so we start with the offer first, then we’ll work on building out our content and our brands and the way that I do that as Facebook groups, I do that through podcasts that through content marketing, we’ve got a YouTube channel. So I’ve got all the elements. I’ve got an email list. I’ve got all the elements of a brand and content marketing.
We’re hitting them every single day with great content and in different mediums. But we have to validate the offer first. And so the major cons that happen when you build that audience first number one, you really don’t know what they’re going to buy and what they want to buy, because you’re just getting in them in through all sorts of different free types of content.
Especially with SEO. SEO you can bring them from all different walks of life. And you’re not really controlling where they’re coming in from all the different stages of awareness and all the different stages of buying, potential buying that they’re coming in. So you really don’t know what it is that they want to buy.
So you’re creating all this great content, but you have a list of totally unqualified leads and it could be a list of total freebie seekers. And that’s the one thing that we want to avoid. We would hate for you to build a massive list where you get very excited, because you’ve got a bunch of followers on Instagram, or we’ve got a bunch of followers on your email list, but you don’t know how to monetize it.
Lead with the offer first, then build your audience for scale once you know exactly what they want to buy. Does that make sense? That’s my message for you today, right? The pros and cons of building an audience first before selling, I hope this made sense to you. This is something that’s near and dear to my heart.
And if this makes sense to you, I would love, I would love it if you’d give me some feedback, send me a message at [email protected] and if you so choose, go ahead leave a review, leave an honest review. Hopefully it’s positive, but if it’s negative, that also gives me feedback as well, but leave me an honest review to help get this message out into the marketplace.
Help us grow our audience, help us grow our listeners. It would mean the world to me. That’s what I’ve got for you today. All right. Thank you so much for tuning in today. I will see you on the next episode. Take care.