3 Steps to Build an Audience BEFORE You Have an Offer to Sell

Jenna Kutcher 

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May 31, 2023


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It probably doesn’t surprise you that in 2023, building a loyal audience is critical to the success of any business. Most entrepreneurs and creators know that they need an audience to sell their offer… but what if I told you that BEFORE you even have a product or service to sell, you can – and should – start building your audience?

In fact, doing so can help you better understand your target market, build relationships with potential customers, establish your credibility, and ultimately, increase the chances of success when you do launch your product or service.

In this episode, I’m sharing some practical strategies for building an audience from scratch, even if you don’t have anything to sell yet. If you’re someone who has a dream or a vision or you want to start your side hustle or you know that sommmeeday you want to leap into entrepreneurship, this is where you should start. And if you’re someone who’s struggling to sell your offer or grow your audience, this will also work for you.

From becoming a trusted source while leveraging social media platforms and growing an email list, this episode has everything you need to know to get started on the right foot. So, whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or a seasoned business owner, sit back, relax, and get ready to learn how to start building your audience before you have an offer to sell.

Step 1: Identify Your Target Market

Let’s start with the basics. You know you want to start a business (working from home in yoga pants, here you come!) but you’re not ready yet. Perhaps you still need to create your website to showcase what you do, get invoicing software to take payment, or you’re still perfecting your craft to ensure you’re ready for launch. 

Just because you haven’t launched your business yet doesn’t mean you can’t start making moves… but first, you need to identify your target market to ensure you build the audience that will be perfectly positioned to love your product or service when you DO launch.

Here are 3 tips to identifying your target market:

  • Conduct market research: Research the industry you’re thinking of entering to identify trends, customer needs, and the competition. This will give you a better understanding of the market and the potential customers you can target.
  • Create customer profiles: Create profiles of your ideal customers, including demographic information such as age, gender, income, education, location, and lifestyle.
  • Identify their pain points: Identify the pain points or problems that your potential customers face and how your content can solve those problems.

Step 2: Become A Trusted Source

Once you’ve identified your target market, start showing up and talking about the things you love before you have something to sell. For example, if you know you want to start a cooking blog, start sharing your favorite recipes and behind-the-scenes cooking content now, before you have affiliate links.

A lot of times people will tell me: “If I had your platform, I would talk about X Y and Z” and I’m like… You don’t understand. I got my platform because I was talking about what matters to me when nobody was listening.

So even though it may seem like nobody is listening to you (YET), creating content and sharing early on can help establish your credibility in your field later on. So become a trusted source on whatever platform you feel comfortable with, and don’t overthink your content.

People love being a part of a journey and they love hearing about what you’re passionate about. Just begin sharing NOW, before you have something to sell, and see how loyal your audience will become!

Step 3: Start Growing an Email List

So a lot of times people don’t start this until later on, but I say it’s never too early to start growing an email list. In fact, I bet if you asked 100 entrepreneurs if they wished they’d started building an email list sooner, at least 99 of them would say yes… and the other 1 would be my husband Drew. Let me explain!

Years ago, when we were in our season of waiting to become parents, we were really at a tricky place when it came to Drew’s career because he had expressed to me that his deepest desire was to be a stay at home dad, but we didn’t have children yet. Since he loves health, fitness, and nutrition, he thought he may become a personal trainer, a nutritionist, group coach, or something else in that space. 

At the time, I told him: before you even create a business, have a logo, or a website, we have to start growing your email list. He didn’t even have a website, but he was able to make a simple landing page using Flodesk, and started his email list with two different opt-ins: Five At-Home Workouts for 20 Minutes or Less (No Equipment Required) and a Weekly Grocery List for Healthy Eaters. 

We couldn’t believe that when we shared both of these opt-ins the same amount of times with the same amount of promotion, the nutrition side performed three to four times better, meaning three to four times more people signed up to learn about the nutrition side than the at-home workout side!

This information was so valuable to us because it totally changed the way that we wanted to position his business. It helped us shape the type of offers we wanted to create, the branding, everything! 

Months later, when we finally had the name, the site, branding, etc. Drew had an entire email list of people to launch his business to. It was critical in the success of his business!

If you need help growing your email list or getting started on it, I have an absolutely FREE 5 day challenge that helps you start from zero and grow your list. I walk you through ALL of the steps from creating a freebie to the sign up form to knowing what to send and it’s totally free, head to www.listbuildchallenge.com. This is a totally free mini course that is complete with tech tutorials and walk-throughs on how to do this! 

When you don’t have an offer yet, your email list is the perfect place to share your journey, behind the scenes content you don’t share on social media, and start building relationships. This way, when you DO have something to sell, your email list will already know, like, and trust you and be way more likely to buy your product or service.

Moral of the story, Goal Digger? It’s to START! Start identifying your target market… start becoming a trusted source… start posting… and start growing an email list. Your future self will thank you for the work you put in today to get to where you want to go tomorrow. Don’t be afraid to build an audience before you have an offer to sell, because if you’ve heard me say it once, you’ve probably heard me say it a thousand times: DONE is better than PERFECT.

Thank you to our Goal Digger Sponsors

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Before you get any further... Hi! I'm Jenna Kutcher!

A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life). 

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