How to Listen to Your Audience and Create What They Want
I have always tried really hard to create what my audience wants/needs, even when I’ve been criticized for it in the past. I have had people tell me that I’m changing directions in my business too often or that I shouldn’t be doing something. While I realize that some of my pivots away from the things my audience wants have bit me in the butt, I don’t ever regret putting content out based on what you want. Today, I want to talk about how to listen to your audience and create what they want.
How to Listen to Your Audience and Create What They Want
Want to listen to the podcast version of this post? I’ve got you covered!
Listening to your audience and creating what they want is easier said than done sometimes. Nobody is out here explaining how to actually listen to your audience – and that’s important.
First, a side note about celebrating our successes!
By the time you’re reading this, unless something went terribly wrong, I will have hit 100,000 subscribers on YouTube – which is SO EXCITING! I have a tendency to downplay all of my successes. When I realized I was getting close, I started thinking about how many other people had hit this quicker than me, or how I wish I was growing faster.
We have all of these negative thoughts that creep in about how we’re not doing enough. I did a quick Google search, and only about 5% of YouTubers EVER hit 100,000 subscribers. So that’s a big deal, and that’s one to be celebrated.
I don’t think we celebrate ourselves enough! And I want to make sure I am celebrating this milestone because it really is a big deal. (I’m getting ready to go get my 100k balloons blown up at the Dollar General so I can take my pictures in my house.)
Your audience will tell you what they want from you.
I got a dm this morning on Instagram from someone who had a really great topic for an episode of Passive Income Playbook. I went onto ClickUp to check out what was on my podcast content schedule for today, and because this idea was so good, I immediately changed what one my podcast episodes would be about. Listening to you guys is important to me.
I am always here for somebody telling me what they want to hear and need to hear. Sometimes, I think I know what you guys need to hear, but then you tell me what you need to hear and it makes it even better.
When you learn how to listen to your audience, then your audience will tell you what they want. And we are CRAZY if we don’t create what our audience tells us they want!
What type of audience should I be creating?
When we’re creating an audience, ideally we create an audience around ONE ideal customer. At that point, you absolutely choose who that person is – moms, business owners, whatever. We create our first ideal customer avatar from our own brain. But I think that the first time is the only time we get to do that. From then on, our audience should and does dictate what we do and where we go.
Maybe you’re starting out as a VA who wants to help bloggers. So you put out content that attracts bloggers, and now you’ve got an audience full of them. Now, if you go out and create a course on how to garden, your audience doesn’t want that. Your audience wants blogging resources, not gardening tips.
If you cultivate a whole audience of people who don’t actually care about what you’re putting out, then that’s a problem. Once you build your audience, you have to listen to them.
How do I know what to create?
Ideally, we build an audience who wants every single thing we have to sell. Maybe you’re a product-based business who sells horse supplies. If you create an audience of people who have horses, then they’re probably going to want everything you sell.
There could be an added layer here. When I say you should build an audience who will want everything you have, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll want everything you have right away or in order. It could be that you have levels within your offerings. So, when they come into your audience they need one offering, and as they grow they need another, and so on. You can either create a suite of products/courses/whatever based on everything being accessible by this one audience, or based on the fact that you will capture your audience at one point and they will need other offerings from you as they grow.
For me, the easiest example to give is about teaching courses for business owners. If I get you in my audience as a beginner, you’re not going to want some massively complicated course on Facebook Ads or scaling your business for instance. So, I could either create an entire suite of products for the beginning entrepreneur, or I could create one program for beginners, another for those same people as they grow, and so on.
This can be the case regardless of what your industry is. Let’s say you’re a fitness instructor who does online programs. You could have a beginner program, intermediate program, and an advanced program. You have all these levels, so even if people come in as a beginner, they could work their way through. Or, someone comes in at a higher level and that’s where they say.
Let’s summarize. First, we want to make sure that we’re building an audience of people who share a similar quality. Then, we want to make sure that everything you sell is wanted by your audience. And if you learn how to listen to your audience, you'll know what they want.
Sometimes, we want to create something that our audience doesn’t need or want yet.
This is the thing that I have messed up most with during my business. I am releasing a course on Black Friday called Insta Sales School. I’m running it live and it’s going to be amazing! If you want to be one of the first people to find out about it, you definitely want to be in my pop-up Facebook group. The group has already started, but we’re really getting into the main work today.
You can go ahead and request to join the pop-up Facebook group here! You won’t be behind if you join today.
I’m launching the course to the pop-up group first – and with some exciting bonuses you don’t want to miss.
The course is called Insta Sales School, and I’m going to teach you how to use Instagram to convert your followers into money. Not only am I going to teach you how to grow on Instagram and how to attract the right people there, I’m also going to teach you what to do with them once you get them there! That way, the people on your Instagram will be the ones buying your products, participating in your courses, and doing all the things with you.
I had planned to launch a new course on Black Friday for months now, since August. The whole time I had been planning to launch the course, it was going to be about how to evergreen your offers.
So, what happened?
You guys told me that that’s not what you wanted.
Again, sometimes we want to create things that our audience doesn’t need or want yet. I want to create a course about how to evergreen your offer – but 90% of my audience doesn’t need that yet. They’re not to the point where they are consistently selling their offers, so to put it one evergreen seems really far away.
The question I got the most was, “how do I sell on Instagram? Growing is great, but how do I turn that into money?”
People know I don’t believe we should just be growing on social media with no plan on how to filter that growth toward your bottom line. So I saw these questions, I realized my audience might not be ready for that course yet, and I did some polls.
I went to my Instagram stories, polled you guys, and gave some options for you to choose between. I did it in a way to where you wouldn’t know exactly what I was going to do, but it helped me shift towards the right thing.
When I put up a poll on what you wanted me to create, the number one response was how to sell with social media. That really surprised me, but I get it – so many people teach you how to grow on social media but they don’t teach you how to sell.
The evergreen course idea got the least amount of picks.
That right there told me what I needed to know.
Once I got the social media sales idea, I focused it even further. I am not an expert at all social media. While I don’t consider myself an Instagram expert and that’s not where I want to niche myself into, I can help. And I have really made sure that my audience on Instagram is carefully curated in a way where we have a relationship. I know that the people who follow me on Instagram are loyal followers, and that’s where I can come in and show my expertise. So, that’s how I went from an evergreen course to an Instagram course.
This has happened to me often in my business. I will want to create, sell, or make something and my audience tells me that they don’t want that.
I’ve discovered this with YouTube Rockstars, which has been my signature course for years now. It’s not that nobody buys it, because it does sell. But it taught me a lot of things. The audience I had cultivated had found me through tutorials I was putting on YouTube, and I got wrapped up in being the YouTube expert.
Don’t get me wrong – I love YouTube, and I could teach you about it all day. While a portion of my audience wants all the YouTube content I put out, the vast majority of them DON’T want to be on YouTube. They find me on YouTube because they Google something I had a video about – not because they want to be YouTubers. Me putting out a course about YouTube was more about what I wanted than what my audience wanted, and I saw that in the launch numbers.
Learning how to listen to what your audience wants will help your sales, too.
It is okay to pivot and change as your audience needs you to.
That’s worth repeating – it is okay to pivot and change as your audience needs you to. I didn’t say it was okay to pivot on a whim, because you saw someone else doing it, or just because you saw something else you want to do. I can promise you that your audience will not follow through with that pivot.
But, if you pivot based on what your audience needs you to do, then that pivot will feel really natural to your audience and they’re going to go with you.
In one of my early podcast episodes, I talked about how someone who views themselves as a competitor of mine has been ugly to me over the past few years. I don’t see anyone as a competitor – there’s enough business to go around. I have reached out to try and rectify the situation, and it hasn’t helped. Right when I launched the podcast, that person reached out and pretended to rectify the situation. In that conversation, that person said, “Well, I can’t follow you. You have a bad reputation for changing and switching all the time, and it’s not good.”
That was someone who wanted to hurt me. When that person said that, it took me back for a second. I KNOW that any pivoting I’ve ever done is because my audience asks for it – it’s not because I just want to go into left field. WIth the exception of the first year-ish of this podcast. When I started Grit in 2019, I started to shift into a business development/personal development broad spectrum category. I don’t discredit myself in that category, and I still want to put out that type of content. But that was a pivot I made on my own – you guys did not ask for it. That was me changing because I thought I needed to be someone else.
Besides that exact shift, I have never pivoted just because I wanted to – it has always been because of my audience. I had to learn really early on in this infopreneur space that my audience would tell me what they wanted, and that I couldn’t constantly squirrel based on what other people were doing.
I don’t follow hardly anybody in my industry online. The reason I don’t is because I will get sound bites in my head with unhealthy ideas. I don’t want to skew my own knowledge of what my audience and ideal client wants. So, I had to learn how to listen to my audience over other people in the industry.
When I say it’s okay to pivot and change when your audience needs you to, that might be frowned upon by your peers. But I can promise you that if you shift and change as your audience asks for it, they will never lead you down the wrong path.
My audience has continuously asked me to niche out. While I may have started in the tech space and merged into the YouTube space, you all have asked me to and encouraged me to niche out. You guys come to me with so many questions, and I really treasure that.
It’s because I’ve built an audience who all wants the same things. You’re all business owners, you all want to know how to do the same things. So I am willing to pivot!
Now, my instance of turning this evergreen course into an Instagram course one month before launch is NOT ideal and I do NOT recommend it. The reason I was okay with it is because I’m going to be creating the course in real-time and running it live over eight-nine weeks. It didn’t cause me to back up and punt too much. It only set me back a bit on planning the pop-up Facebook group and the sales page.
Secondarily to that, I knew this would be a soft launch. I am launching the course on Black Friday. The way I prefer to sell is on a webinar because I can sell the pants off of something on a webinar. Knowing that my preferred method of selling was not available when I’m launching on Black Friday, I knew this would be a soft launch. So, I was okay with pivoting.
Here’s how to actually listen to your audience.
Whether you have a teeny-weeny audience or a big audience, you can listen to them. This isn’t something that’s just applicable to people with giant audiences. Sometimes, I actually think that having a small audience can be better in this arena. Your conversations with a small audience can be so intimate.
The whole point of my pop-up group actually is to get you in the right space to cultivate a small following so you can have a big impact. It’s not just about having a small audience or a big audience – it’s about cultivating the right people.
GATHER with your audience.
After you know who your audience is, you HAVE to create a way to gather with them. You need to be able to have conversations with them.
How you gather with them depends on what you enjoy doing. This could be a free Facebook group, Instagram like it is for me, your YouTube channel, a textbot, or your email list. The method doesn’t matter. You just have to find a way to gather with your audience and open up a stream of two-way conversation.
If you’re gathering with your audience via email, then you’re going to have to reply to your emails. If it’s on Instagram, you need to be checking and replying to your dms. You have to find a way to gather with your people.
One you have a way to gather with people and start building your numbers, just LISTEN to them. I didn’t come right out and say, “hey, anybody reading this come dm me an idea for a podcast episode on Instagram,” but someone did. I didn’t ask for that – she literally came and told me. And that is the magic of gathering with your audience.
Now if I literally just gathered people who didn’t actually know my expertise, they would never know what to tell me. If I went viral for something that had nothing to do with my business, then I would get a lot of dms from people who didn’t know what to ask me for.
In general, if you are cultivating the right people and find a place for them to gather, then they will tell you what they want. Learning how to listen to your audience will come naturally here!
I have had this happen since the very beginning of my infopreneur career. The reason I started with tech tutorials was because the audience I had built was asking me to. And my audience was TINY at that point. I’m talking like 200 people total in my audience across all platforms.
Don’t just listen to your audience – go out and ASK them, too.
Also – you can just ASK them. We don’t have to wait on our people to come to us. We need to ask people what they want from us. It goes hand-in-hand with the theory that we shouldn’t just assume that our partners know what we need – we need to tell them. Same thing with our audience.
I have a personal example here. Hitting 100,000 subscribers on YouTube is a big deal to me. And I have tried to make sure that I’m not talking myself out of it being a big deal, because my natural inclination like I said in the beginning is to make it negative. But to me, it’s a big deal.
So, I told my husband it was a big deal. We have literally never celebrated milestones in my business. My husband’s natural inclination is not to take me out to dinner after a big launch – it’s not his personality. So I just flat-out told him that I wanted to celebrate in some way because it’s a big deal. If I wouldn’t have told him that, he wouldn’t have done it.
While yes, your audience will come to you and tell you what they want and need, you’re going to get a lot more and a lot better results if you just go out and ask them. You can do it with polls on Instagram or polls on Facebook. It can be in dms or replies to emails. Any format is fine!
In truth, the thing that they tell you they need might not be the thing you are best at. This goes back to my “selling on social media” course change. When I found out that’s what my audience wanted, I had to sit back and see where my expertise was in that field. I can sell with Facebook, but it isn’t my main strategy. I can sell on YouTube, but 90% of my audience isn’t on YouTube. So I knew I needed to focus this on Instagram, even though my audience didn’t flat-out tell me that. If you learn how to listen to your audience, they'll never lead you the wrong way.