(📈 Pro) indicates exclusive Trends Pro insights
You need to understand and reach customers.
Build trust before you build products.
|Userlist||SaaS||Jane Portman & Benedikt Deicke|
|Bite-Size Python||Book||April Speight|
|Earnest Capital||Fund||Tyler Tringas|
|The Tim Ferriss Show||Podcast||Tim Ferriss|
|Power-Up Podcasting||Course||Pat Flynn|
|Chicken + Beer||Restaurant||Ludacris|
|Roc Nation Sports||Agency||Jay-Z|
|Ministry of Testing||Community||Rosie Sherry|
|(📈 Pro ↓)|
|SEO That Works||Course||Brian Dean|
|Empathy Wines||E-Commerce||Gary Vaynerchuk|
|Refactoring UI||Book||Adam Wathan & Steve Schoger|
|Fathom Analytics||SaaS||Paul Jarvis|
|MAKE Book||Book||Pieter Levels|
|RemoteOK||Job Board||Pieter Levels|
|Tech Ladies||Community & Job Board||Allison Esposito Medina|
|Zero to Sold||Book||Arvid Kahl|
|Build Once, Sell Twice||Course||Jack Butcher|
|Forget The Funnel||Workshop||Claire Suellentrop & Georgiana Laudi|
|Weekend Club||Community||Charlie Ward|
|Tailwind CSS||Framework||Adam Wathan|
|Kylie Cosmetics||E-Commerce||Kylie Jenner|
|No-Code MVP||Course||Bram Kanstein|
- Startups will seek founding influencers like Justin Jackson of Transistor.fm.
- Audience-first funds will become popular. Ben Tossell and Sahil Lavingia will leverage their audiences to get deal flow, find LPs and help portfolio companies.
- (📈 Pro) More audience-first products will come from brand extensions. Ryan Hoover carried credibility from Product Hunt to YourStack. Quip went from toothbrushes to dental insurance.
- (📈 Pro) Marketers will capture most of the value. Other parts of the value chain are essential but commoditized.
- Choose your channel and build an audience. Use YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook. But don’t stop there. To reduce platform risk, use these as funnels. Not destinations.
- Get feedback from your audience. Failory surveys subscribers to find pain points. Bram Kanstein used Twitter to get 135 pre-launch subscribers. Kalo Yankulov used a blog to get $4,000 in pre-sales. (Via Nico)
- Leverage your audience to find investors, suppliers and employees. Ben Tossell uses Twitter to find customers and hire. Now he’s raising a fund.
- Use an audience-first approach to find your dream job. Iheanyi (Github) and April (Microsoft) have audiences, optionality and side hustles. Social profiles are replacing resumes.
- Use gamification to grow your audience. Pieter Levels gained more than 10,000 followers with a giveaway. See the Makerpad Challenge.
- (📈 Pro) Take your audience between products. Dan Rowden helps Ghost users with Cove, Substation and Gloat.
- (📈 Pro) Interview others and curate knowledge to build an audience. KP does this with Build in Public.
- (📈 Pro) Monetize with services. Dan Runcie offers a free newsletter and consulting services.
- (📈 Pro) Use your audience to go viral with referral programs.
- (📈 Pro) Bring people together. Build an audience through community. This leads to user-generated content. And takes less effort than newsletters or podcasts.
- (📈 Pro) Leverage your audience for social causes. LeBron James started the I Promise School. And partnered with JPMorgan Chase to fund college scholarships. (Via KP)
🔑 Key Lessons
- Audience-building is a forcing function to find and understand customers.
- Your audience is your moat.
- An audience gives you optionality. You can sell products, raise funds, hire employees, get jobs, endorsements, affiliates and more.
- (📈 Pro) Personal and corporate brands have a natural advantage. They extend trust from one person or product into others. See serial founders like Pieter Levels and David Cancel. Or brands like Quip and Virgin.
- (📈 Pro) Audience building leads to compound growth. Paid acquisition leads to compound costs. See Casper in Subscription DTC.
“This isn’t new.”
Common knowledge isn’t common practice.
“You mention agencies, restaurants and conferences. These are not products.”
🤷♂️ Use your imagination.
“If I build it, they will come.”
Tell that to Stephen King. Who wrote under a pen name in relative obscurity. Until his identity was revealed. Audience outweighs product.
“This doesn’t always work.”
Indeed. There are broke celebrities. Blame execution not efficacy.
“What if I build the wrong audience?”
Start with the end in mind. Who do you want to help? Who do you enjoy spending time with? Educate or entertain them.
“Gamification only attracts those who want prizes. Not my product.”
Make your product the prize.
- On Linear Commerce • Media and commerce are merging.
- 12 Startups in 12 Months • Pieter Levels built an audience by building in public.
- My Journey From Quitting My Job to Building 7 Apps and $1,000+ MRR • Andrey Azimov followed in Pieter’s footsteps.
- (📈 Pro) Master P on Entrepreneurship • Master P transfers trust from music to movies, shoes, chips, pancakes, syrup and more.
- (📈 Pro) $1m Annual Run Rate • Pieter Levels hit a $1m run rate with $0 in ad spend.
- (📈 Pro) Should you build an audience first? • The upsides of an audience-first approach and things to watch out for.
- (📈 Pro) Building An Audience • Practical tips on audience-building.
- (📈 Pro) The “Audience First Strategy” • Audience-first examples from Bryan Moran, Joe Pulizzi, Bryan Harris and more.
- (📈 Pro) How to Build a Large Audience From Scratch • Tim Ferriss shares tactical advice on building an audience from scratch.
- (📈 Pro) 1,000 True Fans • Kevin Kelly on why you should specialize and build a direct relationship with your audience.