Finding your audience
A teacher is nothing if they have no students, so before you even start thinking about what you’re going to teach, or how you’re going to teach it, you should give some pretty serious consideration to on question...
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Who are you going to teach?
In answering this question, you will be defining your audience. Here are two aspects you can think about to help you describe your audience:
How do they identify themselves in broad terms? Here you’d consider things like age, gender, family roles, geographic location, occupation, interests, hobbies, etc.
These are the more abstract things that define your audience, for example, their values and priorities, their worldview, where do they get advice?
Your audience persona
Now it’s often intimidating to talk to a whole auditorium full of people, but talking to just one person feels a bit more comfortable. So talk to Heather, or Mike, or Ashley. Or whoever you choose as your audience persona (also known as your Ideal Customer Avatar or ICA). Your audience persona is one fictitious person who embodies most of the characteristics of your audience. When you’re writing your course, your marketing material, and your emails, talk to this person – you’ll find that the words flow a lot easier than when you’re just typing into cyberspace!
Your audience persona is one fictitious person who embodies most of the characteristics of your audience.
You can also get creative when “designing” your audience persona. If they were on a TV show, what would it be, and which character would they be (and why)? What’s their favourite childhood game (and why)? If they had one hour to do anything they wanted to, what would it be? These kinds of questions help to shake out the mental cobwebs and get you thinking about your audience in a more creative way – you never know what you’ll uncover!
Finding your audience
Now you’ll need to think about how you are going to find your audience. Where does your audience hang out?
Examples of meeting places online include Facebook (try to list several Facebook groups), Pinterest (again, try to identify specific group boards), any other social media channels, online forums, and maybe even Slack groups.
Offline meeting places will vary widely – the school staff lounge, a local moms’ group, a quilting guild – think of all the groups you are a part of or have access to. You can plan to find your audience in your current “offline” circles, but you will need to have quite a wide network to leverage. I recommend finding at least half of your audience members online because that just widens your reach significantly (how does “the whole world” sound?!). Also, if you have found people online, then they won’t need as much convincing and on-boarding to take an online course.
What are your audience's pain points?
A “pain point” refers to anything negative in your audience’s lives, from the mildly irritating to the pull-your-hair-out infuriating.
Think about your audience’s “pain points” by answering questions like:
- Where do they feel they are wasting time?
- What worries them?
- What frustrates them?
- What do they wish for (in terms of your “subject expertise”/niche)?
- What would make their life easier?
- How could they make more money?
- What is their ideal lifestyle?
And don’t just take guesses – draw up a few questions and ask people in your audience directly. You could send individual emails, or set up a survey on Typeform*.
Who is your audience persona?
If you've identified your audience persona, I'd love to know about them! And if you haven't yet identified your audience persona, then use the prompts and questions in this post to write them into life! And when you're done, how about sharing a description of your audience persona in the comments?
Would you like to go the whole 9 yards with your online teaching business?
This post is "Yard 1" from my e-book, "The Whole 9 Yards of Online Teaching", where I go through the nine steps you need to take to set up an online teaching business. Would you like your very own copy of the e-book - for free?! I'd love to send one over to you - just tell me where I should send it to.