The Step-by-Step Guide to Building an Audience Before Your Business Launches


It starts with a simple question:

How do you create a profitable business?

And while there are many answers, there are two basic models that all businesses follow.

The traditional method involves creating a product first and then finding customers to buy it.

And while it’s always been used to some extent, the second method typically hasn’t been as popular until the last few years.

As you might have guessed, the second model involves finding customers first and then building a product you know they’ll buy.

Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

With the first model, you’ll start bringing in revenue quicker. However, you’re more likely to have a poor product-market fit and create something that not many people are interested in.

With the audience-first model, you build the audience first. The best way to do this in most cases is with content marketing.

You build up a readership in a particular niche and then find out what its biggest problems are.

Finally, you solve those problems with a great product, which can lead to unbelievable conversion rates.

The downside is that it can take several months before you start seeing significant revenue.

But which model is better?

The answer is that neither is better in all cases.

Both models have been used successfully to build tons of successful businesses, so what’s best for your business depends on your preferences, skills, and investment capital.

If you can afford to delay revenue while you build up an audience, it’s the safer option (although it’s never a sure bet).

And if the audience-first method sounds interesting to you, you’ll love this post.

I’m going to break down the 7 steps behind building an audience with content and then creating a successful product for that audience. 

Step #1 – Find a customer in the right types of markets

You don’t often build an audience by accident.

It takes a methodical approach to find an audience and then build things (i.e., content) that they appreciate.

When it comes to picking an audience, there’s only one rule I recommend you follow: pick an audience you care about.

You’ll be creating high value content and tools for this audience for several months with no real benefit to you other than the promise of future profit.

It’s really tough to stay motivated if you’re creating content for someone you don’t care about.

Personally, I love marketing, and that’s why I write marketing advice for marketers, small business owners, and entrepreneurs of all types.

I care about my audience, and that’s what motivates me to continue to produce great content even if money wasn’t an outcome.

So make a list of potential audiences that you care about and could see yourself helping for months on end with no return.

You might have more than one audience that could work, but you’ll have to pick one at the end. Try to get as specific as possible (i.e., find your niche).

For example, if you like marketing, don’t just say your audience is “marketers.” Narrow it down to something like “small business owners who are trying to start using content marketing.”

That’s a very specific audience, which allows you to focus fully on helping them. You can always expand later (like I have, over time).

But there’s also one huge mistake that you need to avoid making:

Don’t build an audience full of people who don’t want to buy a product.

The simplest example of this would be building an audience full of minimalists. Minimalism is the practice of getting rid of as many consumer products as possible.

Obviously, minimalists are tough to sell to.

So while it can be done, it’s very difficult.

Compare that to an audience full of home decorators. They are constantly looking for new cool things to buy. If you create something great, you’ll have no problem selling it down the line.

So, how do you know if your audience is a good one?

See if there is a demand for products by them.

This is commonly called validation.

The basic idea is to determine whether your audience is already buying a decent number of products—competition is NOT a bad thing.

Competition means that there’s something worth competing for.

And when it comes to most niches, most products suck. You’re going to create a product that is head and shoulders above the competition, so you’ll stand out.

If there’s no competition at all, that almost always means that your audience simply doesn’t buy anything. In this case, find a different audience.

To validate your audience, you need to consider three types of audiences.

Product type #1 – Physical products: Some audiences only buy physical products. Usually, this will be an audience that consists of hobbyists.

For example, let’s say I really wanted to help swimmers.

Just going on common sense, I can guess they probably buy physical products so they can actually use them.

To validate demand for physical products, head over to Amazon, the biggest online store.

Search for a few keywords around your audience so you can examine the results. In this case, I’ll look for “swimming equipment”:


The good thing about choosing an audience you care about is that it’s usually one that you know pretty well. Finding the types of products they buy won’t be difficult.

There are two main things you want to look for:

  1. Demand for products
  2. Reasonable prices (mostly $10+)

To see the demand for these products, look at the number of reviews most of the top products have. If they have over 100, they’re pretty popular.

Obviously, if your audience is interested in potentially embarrassing products, those products won’t get many reviews, no matter how many of them are sold. So, use a bit of common sense when evaluating whether there is a demand.


In my case, the top four products all had a significant number of reviews. The fact that so many products on the results had a high sales volume means that there is demand for swimming equipment.

So that’s a good sign: it means swimmers will buy physical products.

Secondly, many prices start at about $10. As long as there are at least a few products with a high price and decent sales volume, it means that your audience cares more than just about getting the cheapest product possible.

Product type #2 – Informational products: I probably don’t have to tell you that most people are willing to buy products on the Internet.

This includes informational products such as e-books and courses.

Again, you can validate the demand for informational products through Amazon.

Search for your topic in the Kindle book store, or use the categories on the left side:


A search for “swimming” revealed one book with over 263 reviews and another with 16.

Typically, Kindle books don’t get as many reviews as physical products do, so even 15+ reviews is a decent indicator of a sales volume (although not great).

You’re looking for at least a few high selling books.

You can also click on an individual book and scroll down to the product details to see its ranking in the Kindle store.


Anything under 100,000 means they’re selling at least one book a day. Under 50,000 means they’re selling at least five per day.

The Kindle marketplace doesn’t represent your whole audience, so all you’re looking for here is some demand. Find at least three books made for your audience with a ranking of under 100,000.

If you can’t, your audience isn’t really interested in digital products.

In our swimming example, the demand is right on the edge. There’s some demand, but nothing special.

Product type #3 – Software products: Finally, web apps and tools are another type of product you should look at.

These products are usually bought by audiences whose interest lies in using the Internet.

Think of audiences such as marketers, freelance writers, designers, DJs, etc.

They all use computers for most of their work, so it’s logical that they’ll buy tools that help them do their work better.

In this case, go to Google, and search for your audience (e.g., swimming), followed by “tools” (or something similar).

Shockingly, there aren’t any online tools for swimmers. All the results are for things other than tools, and there aren’t even any ads (showing low commercial intent).


Let’s look at an example of a high demand.

Consider my audience: marketers.

One thing I know they might be interested in is keyword tracking, so I could search for keyword tracking tools:


This is a great sign. There are ads everywhere for paid tools, which shows that there’s a big demand for these types of products.

Try searching for a few different areas of interest that your audience may have to evaluate the demand.

After validation, narrow it down: If you went through all three types of products and found no significant demand for any of them, your audience isn’t a good one. Try a different one.

If you went through all three and found one that was good, you have a decision to make. Are you potentially interested in creating that type of product down the road?

Most people are drawn to one type of product. Some people love the idea of selling a web app, while others hate it and would love to sell a physical product.

The best case scenario is that there’s a demand from your audience in all three areas. If there is, you know that you’ll have your pick of options in the future.

Once you’ve gone through the process of validation for all your potential audiences, cross out those that won’t work, and then pick one that you’re happy to go after.

Step #2 – The audience comes first in more ways than one…

The audience comes before the product, but understanding the audience also comes before ever making any content.

Unless you understand your target audience really well already, take some time to research some basic demographic and psychographic information.

I’ll show you how…

Start with demographics: As you might know, demographics are statistics that can be used to describe a person or group.

The most common ones are:

  • location
  • age
  • gender
  • income
  • education level
  • religion
  • ethnicity
  • marital status
  • number of children

Your goal is to define any relevant demographics for your audience.

If you are looking at an audience interested in high heels, then gender is probably important. However, gender is not important for other audiences such as marketers or chefs.

Evaluate which parameters are relevant to your audience.

One way to find some of these demographics is with Alexa.

Search for any big sites in the general niche your audience is in using the top search bar.

That will bring up quite a few useful estimations, including gender, education, and browsing location:


Alternatively, head over to the Adwords Display Planner.

In the “your customers are interested in” text field, enter something that describes your audience.


After you submit your query, you’ll get similar to Alexa data, but likely with a few additional insights.


You may have to leave some demographics blank, and you’ll be able to make an estimated guess about others.

The purpose of this is to try to define a reader persona so that you’ll be able to come up with content ideas that they’ll be interested in later on.

Continue with psychographics: This data is about what your audience thinks and believes.

For example:

  • Why do they want to learn about (your niche)?
  • How important is (your niche) to them (i.e., is it a hobby or part of their job)?
  • How do they like to learn (e.g., video, text, audio, etc., and on what type of device)?
  • What common questions do they have about (your niche)?
  • How knowledgeable are they about (your niche)?

You should try to answer each of those questions with a concise description.

Remember, the purpose is to build a profile of the way the people in your target audience think.

It’s very important and leads to the next step: positioning.

Step #3 – (Positioning) How you can eliminate your competitors

After step #1, you’ve picked an audience that is willing to spend money on products.

That means you will have competition.

Don’t be scared.

You can still be successful; it just depends on your positioning.

What’s positioning? Positioning is a way to make your audience associate you and your brand with a particular aspect of their interests.

An example will clear things up.

Let’s say you wanted to target social media marketers.

There’s only one problem…

If you just write about social media tips and techniques, you’ll have a tough time building an audience.

Why? Because people already associate social media marketing with sites such as Quick Sprout and Social Media Examiner.

If they just want to learn about social media, they’ll stick with the big sites they’re familiar with.

But those sites have weaknesses (gasp!). In fact, all authoritative sites have weaknesses.

While they might appeal to a large percentage of the overall niche audience, they can’t appeal to everyone.

For example, there are many people who like short, quick tips about social media marketing.

Considering the typical Quick Sprout post is at least 4,000 words, it doesn’t really work for them.

Others want social media marketing help, but only on certain types of networks, e.g., image-based networks such as Pinterest.

Obviously, all the big sites cover pretty much all the major networks, so it’s not exactly what these people are looking for.

Do you see where I’m going here?

There are many ways of standing out to a specific portion of the audience, which is more than enough to get you started.

You position yourself to appeal to a specific audience by creating content in a way that they want but no one else is providing.

For example, you could position yourself as the go-to person when it comes to quick tips about Pinterest marketing.

If someone’s interested in quick tips about Pinterest marketing, they aren’t coming to Quick Sprout—they’re going to you.

The beautiful part is that once they find you (I’ll show you how later), they’re going to LOVE your content. Since you’re producing content specifically for them, they’re going to think you’re reading their minds.

This is how you get loyal readers that not only read your content but help you grow your audience.

How to find your position: To figure out how to position yourself against the competition, fill out something called a positioning matrix.

A positioning matrix is just a simple plot.

You specify something to measure on both the X and Y axes. Then, you plot all of your competitors on it. This makes it really easy to see where there’s a gap.


Step #1 – Identify differentiators: First, brainstorm all the things that your audience might find valuable.

A differentiator is anything that a reader may like or dislike.

For example, some readers prefer advanced content, while others want beginner content. The differentiator here is difficulty.

Here are some common differentiators; see which ones apply to your audience:

  • Difficulty: Easy vs Hard
  • Detail: Brief vs Step-by-step
  • Type of content: Mainly text vs Lots of images vs Rich media (videos, gifs, etc.)
  • Experience level: Beginner vs Professional
  • Cost: Cheap vs Expensive
  • Length: Short vs Long

Those are the most common, but there are others, so give it a bit of thought.

Step #2 – Identify competitors: Your next step is to list your biggest competitors.

This is pretty simple, especially if you know the niche already.

If not, just Google:

Top (niche) blogs


Then compile a list of competitors from the top results.
For our social media example, this list would include:

  • Quick Sprout
  • Buffer
  • Social Media Examiner
  • Convince and Convert
  • Rebekah Radice

Ideally, you want a list of about 8-10 competitors.

Step #3 – Plot your competitors: Now, you need to pick two of the differentiators you identified before.

Then, create a basic matrix, with those differentiators as the axis labels. You can draw it by hand, create it in a spreadsheet or Paint, or do it any other way that works for you.

Here’s what it should look like:


Now, you need to go through your list of competitors one by one and figure out how they fit on this scale.

For example, Quick Sprout posts are very long, so they’ll fall near the top of this plot. On top of that, my posts are written on somewhat advanced topics, so Quick Sprout also falls near the right side.

You want to plot all of your competitors on the matrix:


Hopefully, you’ll see at least one big gap.

In this case, you could create either long or short content, specifically for beginner marketers.

And now you have your position.

Sometimes, you won’t see any gaps. Then what?

Then, you pick a new set of differentiators and repeat the process. You can find an open space for just about any large audience.

Step #4 – Kickstart your audience

Now that you’ve defined your positioning, you’re ready to start blogging, right?

Hold on a second!

If you just start blogging, you won’t have any readers (unless you have a large personal network).

There’s no point in blogging unless you can drive people to your posts.

While you can use promotional techniques to do that, they’re much more effective if you already have readers coming to your content.

So, what can you do?

The answer is to go where your audience hangs out on the web and get them to come to your website.

Then, you have two options:

  1. Write one or two amazing blog posts so that they subscribe to your email list
  2. Send them to a landing page offering them an awesome lead magnet

The basic idea is to get at least a few hundred regular readers and then start blogging more frequently on your own site.

That way, your readers can help promote your content, and you’ll grow much more consistently.

In this phase, we’re looking for high growth tactics. How can you get hundreds of visitors and subscribers as fast as possible?

There are two main proven strategies.

High growth tactic #1 – Guest-posting: You figure out which blogs your readers frequent and guest-post on them.

But don’t just post about any topic. Post about a topic that you would write about on your own blog (remember your positioning).

The people that love that post are the ones you want to subscribe to your site.

We’ve written extensively about guest-posting effectively, so start with these guides:

High growth tactic #2 – Paid advertising: If you have money to invest and you want to save time, go with paid advertising.

It’s not too hard to get subscribers for $1-2 each once you practice a bit, which means you can build a solid following of 500-1,000 readers for $500-2,000, which isn’t too big of an investment.

The great thing is that you can do this in under a month.

Step #5 – How to grow your audience by 5-15% every month

Now that you have an audience of a decent size, you can grow it just by posting on your own blog.

Now, 5-15% isn’t a lot, but it adds up quickly due to compound growth.

Here’s what it looks like if an initial audience of 500 grows by 10% every month for 2 years:


After 2 years, your new blog would have about 5,000 readers. That’s a solid audience.

And that’s a pretty conservative estimate. You might grow faster than that, but this is an easy minimum growth target that you can almost guarantee.

So, aim for 5-15%.

How do you do it?

It’s really not that complicated. There are three parts to it.

Part #1 – Come up with content ideas: Now that you need to write a lot of content, you need to build a content bank of great ideas for your audience.

Everything is about consistent growth here. That’s why you want a content bank.

If you’re just coming up with ideas as you need them, it’s easy to procrastinate or skip publishing content. It’s also difficult to have any connection with your other posts.

So, come up with as many good ideas as possible—ideally enough for at least a couple of months. Use these resources if you get stuck:

Part #2 – Create a sustainable content schedule: Once you have content ideas, you need to figure out when you’ll write and post them.

Again, you want to do this on a consistent basis.

We post on Quick Sprout multiple times a week.

That’s a pretty aggressive posting schedule.

If you’re worried that you’ll be stressed out and might not be able to produce that much content, go twice a week or maybe even once a week.

Whatever you choose, just be consistent, and you’ll grow over time.

It’s important that you put these posts into a content schedule:


It doesn’t have to be anything fancy.

You can use a simple spreadsheet to map out your schedule.

Part #3 – Figure out how you’ll stay in touch: I’ve alluded to it already. You need a way to stay in touch with your audience.

No matter how great your content is, people will forget about you if you don’t remind them.

The best way to do it, by far, is email marketing. Start building an email list of subscribers from day one.

You can also decide if you’d like to build up your followers on a social media platform as a secondary means of communication, but I’d say that’s optional.

It might help you grow a bit faster, but as long as the email list is in place, you’ll be okay.

Step #6 – Building products your audience begs you to buy

Now you’ve got an audience of at least a few thousand subscribers.

They love your content, and you’ve given them a lot of value up until now.

Now, you get to use your audience to generate product ideas that they’ll love.

No one will understand your audience that you’ve built better than you. This is how you’ll create a better product than anyone else can.

On top of that, you’ve built a relationship with your audience, and they will be happy to give your product a chance and give you valuable feedback.

How do you come up with product ideas this way? There are three main options.

Option #1 – Pitch product ideas to your list: There’s a good chance that you can come up with 5-10 good product ideas at this point in your business.

The simplest way to see if they’re actually any good (i.e., something people will buy) is to simply send a pitch to your subscribers to see if they’re interested.

Bryan Harris at Video Fruit =posted an amazing behind the scenes write-up about how he did this very thing.

I’d recommend bookmarking that post for later reading, but here’s the gist of it.

He created a basic proposal for a product—a teaching course:


He then sent it, but not to everyone on his list—he sent it to just 50 subscribers.

Why send something to your whole list if it could end up sucking?

He sent those 50 people this simple email:


Remember that you can do this for multiple product ideas to different groups of 50.

When it goes well and your subscribers are interested in pre-ordering the product, it’s a good sign.

You can then send it to slightly larger groups to verify that you have a winner.

In total, he sent the product—that he ended up creating—to a group of 50, then 75, and then 100.

Out of those 225 people, 39 pre-ordered the course.


When Bryan sold the course to the rest of his list, they loved it just as you’d expect.

Option #2 – Survey your readers: Surveys can be a useful tool as well to gain insight into your readers’ biggest problems.


Once you know their problems, you can propose different products as solutions to those problems and see which ones they’d want to buy.

Surveys by themselves won’t often reveal great product ideas, but you should use them in conjunction with option 1 or 3 to gather extra data.

Option #3 – Pay attention to comments: Sometimes, your readers will tell you what they’d pay for.

For example, in a comment on one of my posts about using videos in marketing, Jessica said that she’d be willing to spend money to solve her problem of not knowing how to create professional videos:



Product idea right there. I could create a step-by-step course that shows customers how to create an amazing video.

Pay close attention to comments and emails that you get from subscribers. Once you start to get 5+ about the same topics with the mention of spending money for a solution, offer the solution yourself!

Step #7 – Turning readers into buyers

Once you have your product, you just need to sell it to your audience.

You don’t really need a fancy sales pitch because you’ve built a relationship with your audience over time. That’s one of the biggest benefits of this method.

However, on top of a simple email sales pitch, I’d also recommend using webinars to sell any expensive products.

I’ve had a huge success with webinars at KISSmetrics in the past.

The basic idea is to teach people something about a topic that’s related to your product. At the end, you do a quick, no pressure pitch of your product with some sort of an offer.

You can get conversion rates of around 20% with a good webinar, which is insane.


Here’s a complete guide to using webinars to convert readers into customers.


You can create a product and then find customers to sell it to.

Or you can flip that model on its head and build an audience first.

When you build an audience, you build relationships that allow you to learn about your audience and create products you know they’ll love.

Click on the image below to see a larger view:

How to Build a Loyal Audience on the Web

Click here to view an enlarged version of this infographic.

That’s how you minimize your chances of failure while getting great conversion rates and instant sales on any products you create.

I’ve given you the complete 7-step guide to building a business by starting with your audience, but it’s up to you to take action now.


  1. Hi Neil,

    What an amazing article! Thanks for this; I’ll make sure to read it over and over ;).

    I was wondering if for your next post you can create another awesome article like this, specifically teaching how to do B2B digital marketing? I’ve been looking for creative, out of the box B2B digital marketing strategies, but haven’t found one that really stands out.

    Would be awesome if in the guide you also outline what you’d do to build a B2B audience.


  2. Great article Neil, this is the exact approach I’m taking with my new blog. Good to see it gets the Patel seal of approval!


    • Tom, glad to help. If you need any specific help along the way please let me know. Looking forward to hearing much more from you!

  3. Michelle @ Modern Acupuncture :

    Neil, thank you so much for this step-by-step breakdown. I’ve been writing an eBook for my existing blog but my overall audience size is still quite small. My goal before the book’s release next year was to build my audience up as much as possible, writing the book with them in mind as I go along, and then releasing it after I have substantial engagement, probably next summer. This guide is such a relief to see, because although I have a (sort-of) plan to increase engagement and position myself ideally within my market, I really didn’t have actionable steps or the confidence that all my steps would pay off… Thank you so much for this guide!

    • Michele, glad to help. I was hearing a common thread with a lot of readers so I decided to create a post like this — I will try to get more out so stay tuned!

  4. Thanks Neil – as great as always: I wish I can create epic content like you! A quick question: it is easy to validate a niche market by researching and identifying products that already exist and sell well; but for something that’s relatively new, like smart phone (at it’s conseiving stage), CRM for marketers, Uber in its very early stage … things like this: sure they are everywhere now, but at their very early stage, you can’t validate the market of them by googling or Amazon searching; how can you validate the market potential of these kind of products/services?
    I do have an idea of something like this but it’s really hard to validate – the data simply doesn’t exsit.
    If you want to build a business based on products/services like these, how can you know that you’ll be winning? Based on belief and personal experiences, or if there is a way to validate it with data as well?

    • Those products are disrupting an existing market that is large.

      Uber… taxi market
      Smart phones… cell phones.

      It’s evolution… it’s not too hard to valid new ideas, assuming the market already exists and is large.

  5. Hi Neil, awesome stuff as always.

    I have read that being very specific with audience persona really does help in the content quality. In fact, it is best to have one specific person in mind when you are writing, then write as if only that person is going to read.

    Just wondering, is there any way where you can understand your target audience more before you start writing your first post on top of what you have outlined in your post? Particularly in terms of what they are interested in reading, and their problems that needs to be solved.

    Thanks a lot,
    Thiam Hock

    • Thiam,

      I would suggest surveying to get insights before you start writing and spending money on allocating resources towards content.

      It’s vital to figure out who your personas are and what better way than to survey and ask around. Let me know if you need any help along the way. Looking forward to hearing much more from you!

  6. Hi Neil,

    I don’t run a digital business. I’m a content writer and SEO-in-training at a UK-based company, who plans to blog about one of his passions/hobbies and turn it into an income stream.

    I wasn’t expecting pieces of advice or tips that are relevant to what I want to do in the very near future (which is to blog about my passion) when I clicked on your email link. But man, your post just gave me a ton of ideas how to create a GREAT blog by putting my audience first – steps 1 to 3 especially!

    Thanks a ton Neil! Sharing this on Twitter.

    Jabe E.

    • Jabe, glad to help. Everyone starts from somewhere — I had no idea I would be where I am today 10 years ago. I just engulfed myself in the field and the rest just followed 🙂

      Let me know if you need any other help along the way!

  7. Syed Abdul Mannan :

    Really Informative Neil!

  8. Hi Neil,

    Thank you for this good guide for selling the product. I have contact with a company which produced GI PIPES AND TUBES product.please can you give me some idea, how can i increase the sell of company product and increase the sale of the company. thanks in advance for your view and idea.

    • Sudhir, have you done competitive research. Sometimes the best place to look for ideas are the blog posts of your competitors 🙂

  9. Hi @Neil, Sorry for the #OFFTOPIC comment, but i have 2 questions for you.

    1) Why does your hellobar modal asks for facebook likes instead of email addresses?
    2) What’s the “Impression” to “Facebook like” conversion of this hellopop up?



  10. This couldn’t have come at a better time. We’re in the process of trying to build both an audience and a product at the same time. We’re trying to take a page out of the Lean Startup method and get an initial set of users, ask them loads of questions, build something small, get feedback, make changes, get more feedback, build more, etc.

    It’s going well, but it’s nerve wracking!

    • Brian, it definitely can be an onerous and long process, however, once you figure it out you should be good. Just be patient 🙂

  11. Neil your positioning strategy is awesome. A relevant audience is important for every business no matter what niche it belongs to. I’m currently building up an audience for my freelance related website and using your content marketing tactics to get exposure. So far I have some 300ish subscribers to my email list and I’m working to reach a 500 count at the end of this month.

    Here’s my website:


    • Shaiq, it looks good and I definitely think you are on the right track. Just keep it up and the rest will follow. Let me know if you need any help along the way!

  12. Fantastic post as usual Neil! Its seems like you always know exactly what I’m looking for, you certainly know your audience. I am working on exactly this strategy right now but wasn’t quite sure how to validate if I am building the right audience. Now I have some solid tactics to try. Thanks so much!

  13. Neil this post is just what I needed! I’m using many of these techniques to build my audience for a new blog I started, but the detail here is just astounding. It could be a course (& I would totally buy it). Gave me a ton of insight to improve my growth – thank you!

    • Candis, glad to help. If you need any other help along the way please let me know. Looking forward to hearing much more from you!

  14. Hey Neil,

    Thanks for touching this topic from strategic point of view
    Before reading your post, I’ve got some thoughts (based on information from non-digital production).
    And after having read your post, I’ve seen that you are pretty much on the same wave 🙂

    So here were the thoughts about physical production:

    – Creating a product and then promote it used to be the strategy in the past.
    Now you need to create audience and demand first (it’s very true for the digital sphere).

    – A bit different approach is agile production – product is released very often with small improvements or features (advantages over the competitors) . It is the driving force that make customers buy your new product and be “tuned” to you.

    – Also, there’s clear tendency that production (and not only in digital world) becomes not for masses, but for small groups of people.

    • Michael, glad we are on the same wave length for sure. Thanks for sharing those additional points:

      1. Demand and finding the right audience is definitely crucial!
      2. Completely agree. Customers want solutions that fit the needs of their specific business.
      3. Niche marketing is vital

  15. John JB Russell :

    Genius article and tactics Neil – Thanks for sharing. So… if you wanted to hack growth up to 10m community members in just 18 months… and have some investor milestones to hit along the way with a community that’s free to join about personal growth and self-development – (mentoring) with killer content that we will have videos and transcripts for that could be useful to build enterprise capability as well as for anyone looking to get ahead in life… what would be your top tips for growing exponentially, at scale and which automation platforms would you use to build an audience before launch in 6 months time? When do you think we could start drumming up pre-launch interest from whilst still keeping them engaged?

    • There is no right answer. It’s a tough question… I would just try tons of tactics and test what works. But you need some viral component (not sure what it is) such as an invite flow (and of course a sticky product).

      Or you would have to leverage tons of ads.

      Watch this video, it should give you ideas…

  16. Hi Niel,
    I am continuously reading you since last 2 years. Your new approaches and and innovative ideas are always beneficial.
    I also want to read something about b2b and c2c in future from you.

  17. Great Blog. I have read many blog on SEO services but this one is really amazing as your concentrating completely on those steps which are major factors for good ranking of any website.Its really important to gain the trust of the target audience and also we need to change our practices for our benefit. Many other websites also provide seo services – YourSEOpick , Ebizz Infotech , SEo Professionals.

  18. Hey Neil,

    The examples which you explained is really cool. (i.e) The way you made the difference exactly for online swimming tools and keyword tracking tool makes sense of it.

    One more great article for business start ups and finding the perfect audience.

    Thanks Neil!

  19. Jakarta Karoseri :

    Wow Neil, Just Wow….

    You really nailed it on this one. You’ve combined Your Content Strategy and Bryan Harris Strategy, awesome!

    Great insights on “how to build your audience first then launch”…

    Btw, do you have any update on Nutrition Secrets? Are you gonna launch guide or product for Nutrition Secrets?

    Thanks Neil

  20. Thanks neil once again another great example and lots of useful information. It is really helpful but neil currently I am working on a site based on nanotechnology and also has a blog. I have tried lots of seo tricks and content marketing strategy’s for last six months but cant getting high ranking could you please give me some tips on how can I rank better in this neiche.

    • Norman, I think you just need to pinpoint the painpoints of your audience. Have you gone on quora to see what questions people ask most in the niche and the ones that go unanswered?

  21. Oh My God!
    You are revealing tons of Secrets. Thats awesome. You are Simply Great Neil. Is there anything else you can do for digital community. Your research work is great. We are happy for these gifted articles. Yes! You are a Scientist.

    I Loved your content schedule calendar.

    Thanks Neil for the awesomeness.

  22. Neil, great article, so while all this blogging is going on is there just a blog at this point or is there a company “coming soon” landing page that the audience can see?

  23. Adrianna Roosey :

    A few questions about single page sites…

    If, for example you want to test an idea for a course / product etc and you put your single page site up, what are the best ways to drive potential customers to it?

    I understand that you can use social media, but if you don’t have a huge following then you are left to Google search right? Are there good ways to rapidly rank a single page site in Google?

    Otherwise, nice article and I really enjoyed to reading this article.

    • I would just run some ads through Google or Facebook. It’s cheap enough and you will get feedback fast. A $100 goes a long ways on these platforms.

  24. That moment when Neil Patel mentions you by name in a blog post. Huzzah! By the way the videos are done, but I’m already thinking about how to make them better so get on that product would ya? 🙂

    Anyway Neil, this post is full of great tips as per usual. I have two very different niches I want to build an audience for and your post contains lots of great reminders of things I already knew, and some perspectives I hadn’t thought of before. Thanks again!

    • Jessica, I recognize when someone does a great job — so no problem 🙂

      Glad to help and if you need anything at all please let me know!

  25. Priceless material. This is not just an article, but an education on building an audience,

    I have no questions, but a great big “Thank You”, for helping me move forward.

  26. Nikhil Jhunjhnuwala :

    Hey Neil, been reading your blog for a while now. It’s inspired me to start my own blogging experiment, similar to your 0 to $100k, although mine will be 0 to 100k monthly uniques. Not nearly as ambitious but I’m hoping once I hit that mark (if at all), I’ll start generating revenue. Thanks again!

  27. Seriously super article. If follow all the points, definitely win.

  28. Neil, the truth is everyone is doing business the same exact way. While your article has several valid points it fails to discuss how many more ways there are to initially grow. You said that you have to defer revenue for growth, but that’s not true. You can target 5-20 online or offline businesses to integrate within your own & create a valuable roll-up which will mitigate the risk & create an ongoing stream of passive income. Guest blogging is a fantastic idea if you have someone who is willing to let you write on their site but the case is that usually involves trust or proof of performance. Forbes won’t let anyone contribute & I’m sure you won’t either. I know this first hand. As an alternative you have content sites like Medium but that won’t solve the conundrum. Positioning is only one part of marketing & it won’t work without preeminence & risk-reversal after all why should I do business with you over your Competitors? Additionally you failed to discuss the single most vital factor which is measuring & analyzing. Until & unless you know what it is you’re doing wrong you can’t begin to see how much better you could be performing. There’s three questions you need to ask if you are concerned about growth: First, where is it coming from? where could it possibly be coming from (traffic) second, who stands to benefit more from me being successful & last but not least who already has what it is I need i;e audience, clients or products – in the digital realm I think blogs do hold the most value over time as an ROI but actually expecting other bloggers to help you at first is not a realistic expectation. If you don’t have any clients at all you need cash flow & that means you have to sell something or buy out an already existing business which I think is more efficient. The best thing is you can do it with no cash outlay whatsoever. If there was a formula to success I think it would be start with marketing & messaging, then focus on Conversions & last but not least focus on PR. Overall, you’ve been successful but your formula for building an audience has a lot of factors that you failed to include & I think it would be benign to your audience to know them in advance.

    • Jeremy, all valid points. I am going to continue writing on the subject so all these gaps that you mentioned will surely be addressed.

      If there is anything else you notice I’d love to hear them!

  29. Hi buddy,

    Love this article. Gonna read it about 3-4 times and take notes and implement them straight away. Thanks!

    A few questions though.

    What are your thoughts on building a subscription model membership site? Something like what Michael Hyatt does with Platform University and Tai Lopez does with his 67 steps. Do u think that it is a good model to follow? Or is it better to build products for a niche and then sell it at a premium pricing, like what Russ Ruffino suggests?

    There are so many ideas in my head that I don’t know which one to start and follow through with. Really could use some help. Cheers!

    • Either model can work… you just have to a/b test it. What works for one business isn’t always best for yours. Whatever produces the best life time value is what you should do.

  30. Shut up and take my money! Thank you Neil for an awesome article. I’m currently getting ready to launch an ‘online empire’ and I’ve been wrestling back and forth between creating the product first or get the audience first. I think building the audience first will take some pressure off getting a product out fast, and it will help me create a better product. Also…I used to sell Kirby vacuums door to door as well, tough job. Then I sold cars, Eventually got into selling entertainment, went on to get a degree in Human Services and just completed my Master’s in management. The people skills learnt from sales, and 10 years in the helping profession really lend to marketing and relationship building, excited to take on this venture and see what I can do! Thanks again Neil.

    • Jason, glad to help and thanks for the humor and insight…

      Sounds like you are a jack of all trades and a marketing whizz 😉

  31. Cedric Markwatson :

    Such an amazing stuff Neil! People will inspire to launches a new website after reading this great stuff. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with all of us. I really enjoyed you writing style.

  32. Applause! Excellent article. This is something very useful for the newbies to learn more about SEO. Good work!

    I have also written an article on the same topic: Complete Beginner’s Guide To SEO.

  33. This is a very very amazing and informative article! Thank you for this step-by-step breakdown. Amazing!

  34. This was a really good read. I’m currently in the process of starting a new business, so I’m having to deal with much of what you discuss in the article currently. Fortunately my background is in digital marketing, a far cry from the service company I’m trying to grow, but my focus has been on trying to grow my audience first (mostly through SEO/content marketing) because even if I don’t have the capacity to service that audience in the beginning, I can always refer to other trusted companies or even sell the leads for a little revenue.

    Even with the 4+ years of digital marketing experience I have, I still found some good, useful tips, and some reassurance that my approach is a good one.

  35. uploadable reseller paypal :

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  36. Christina Lynn :

    You should build a presence as early as possible for any product. You can’t just be done, go live, and say, “Hey world! Here you go!” … You’ll then say, “Wait, world? Where are you?”
    You don’t need to spend a lot of money to be frank. You’ll want to run a campaign targeted at getting newsletter sign ups or something. This is probably one of your goals anyway before product launch (and still should be after!).

    • yes and you’ll want to build those products with them, not just for them. The more involved your audience, the more likely they’ll buy. Even spending $100 on facebook can take you a really long way.

  37. One more suggestion, though all the below are excellent. Use it to target potential investors and journalists. Think big, but start small.

    • That’s a great idea, thanks for the suggestion. It’s like the saying, how do you eat an elephant? 1 bite at a time 🙂

  38. Charles Bosse :

    Perfect blog here! Before launching any business it is very important to establish your target audience. Always find the right types of the market. Identify your strength and weaknesses and have a research on your competitors. We specialize in helping businesses in the Adelaide area achieve their online goals. Internet Marketing Experts Adelaide offers a complete online marketing solution specifically designed to help your business achieve real results online.

  39. Definitely agree with some of your tips here. I have gone for the guest blogging approach in the past, rather than the paid advertising, but I am trying my hand at AdWords at the moment, we shall see how my ROI goes. At Internet Marketing Experts Canberra we understand that as a business owner or manager you know that an online presence is vital. Just visit our website at

    • Nice, it can be trick at first or maybe even overwhelming, but once you get the hang of it, everything changes.

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  57. I read this yesterday and taking action today! I’m on the part in validating your audience. I would like to add a great indicator of what people are looking for is the reviews. When you go to Kindle, please take the time to read the 1-star review. For example, I discovered that people don’t just want inspiring stories but they want specific instructions (like this guide!) and real-world examples. Hope this helps!

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