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What marketers mean when they say “hang out where your audience does”

One of the biggest tropes in the wild world of online marketing goes a little something like this:

“Hang out where your target audience does online”

Now, most courses, books, and gurus leave it up to you to decide how to figure that out. But if you’ve studied copywriting, for example, and wanna help other copywriters learn copy, then this means joining the scum-of-the-earth, sciolist-filled, and straight up lame copywriting Facebook groups like:

* Nothing Held Back Job Board

* Cult Of Copy

* The Gary Halbert Copy Club

And the list goes on.

I’ve spent tons of time in these groups, and they all suck. In fact, upon further speculation, you realize that the copywriting guru is telling you this piece of advice, so you join their groups, and they can hope to sell you more of their Super-Awesome Copywriting Courses™.

Behind this piece of advice is another insidious “lesson:”

By joining these Facebook Groups and forums is how you can succeed as a copywriter, business owner, etc.

Well, that ends today. As one of the perks of being a subscriber on my list, I’m gonna tell you what marketers really mean when they say “hang out where your target audience does online.”

And I have two wildly different stories for you:

The first is of a massive—and I mean YUGE—Facebook Group one of my clients started, and has yet to make a single cent from it.

The second is of a much smaller—tiny in comparison to the first example—Facebook Group that I’m a part of, where the guy who started his Facebook Group runs the vast majority of his business through said Group.

We’ll start with story #1:

I’ve told this story before, but it bears repeating. A few years back, one of my clients told me about a “hidden” Facebook Group he started years ago with well over 100,000 members in it. He started it because he fell for the typical guru advice — “hang out where your target audience does online… and then build them a Facebook Group.”

This client runs an online health store, and created the group focused on a main pain point our target audience has.

He’s run this group for years, with varying levels of involvement. Years ago, he moderated everything, asked interesting questions to the group, told them about products that could solve their problems, the whole nine yards.

Annnnd nada.

Actually, it was worse than nada. Each time he mentioned a product, he got accused of being a shill that’s only trying to make money from this group. Sure, he does want to make money. But he also has decades of experience helping other people overcome this problem.

But he attracted the worst type of people—Karens who would rather complain on Facebook instead of part with a few shekels to actually solve their problem.

I don’t think one sale has ever been attributed to this group.

As for story #2

I’m a big Grateful Dead fan. They’re my favorite band. Their music—and specifically their live shows—is one of my secret productivity hacks for writing banging copy. And since most Dead Heads are much older than yours truly, their fans actually spend a massive amount of time on Facebook.

Well, one of the Grateful Dead Facebook Groups I joined is from someone who owns a fan-art Dead merch store. His hoodies and shirts slap. They’re comfy, look great, and are original.

From my outsider’s vantage point, this dude runs mayhap 90% of his business through this Facebook Group. Every time a new piece of merch drops, people cannot wait to whip out their credit card and order it.

He runs contests where he gives away free merch. He runs polls to figure out which Dead tune he wants to turn into a hoodie or shirt. And the engagement is rabid.

He’s in a few other Grateful Dead-related Facebook Groups, and everyone knows who he is and respects him.

In fact, his business is one of the few that may actually make more money from being active in Facebook Groups than from having an engaged email list.

Which brings me to the point:

That’s what marketers mean when they say hang out online where your target audience does. The dude in story #2 exemplifies that because his target audience actually hangs out on Facebook. Most people fail because their target audience doesn’t actually hang out on Facebook. Instead, the guru tells you that, so you join their group (and they can sell you more of their products).

Just sum food for thought today.

If you need help making your emails more persuasive and profitable, set up a quick call with me here.


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