Audience versus Channel

As a solopreneur, your niche Audience will determine the Channel you use.

Today I want to talk about the difference between Audience and Channel.
I see an awful lot of people I work with confuse the two, and there’s really a big difference, particularly when you’re a small business owner or a solo business owner.

You really cannot forget the importance of your Audience.

A lot of people, when they think about a new business idea, they think “Okay, this is what I want to sell”, or “I have this idea for a product or service”, and then they immediately think about Channel: selling their product on Etsy, or starting a consulting business and selling services in person to local small businesses…

They are thinking Channel.

But you can’t think about Channel until you know first and foremost who your Audience is. Audience is the most important thing.
What do I mean by that? Really what it comes down to is Focus: it’s so important to be laser focused on your ideal target customer – having a detailed image (Persona) of the ideal person for your product. Who’s the perfect person that you envision using it? If you’re offering a service – who’s your ideal client? Who are the ones not only that can use your service, but who are going to be super excited about it, who can’t wait for your new product or service. Who are going to be the brand ambassadors because they love it so much?

As a solo business owner there is nothing more valuable than your time and your focus. So know who your ideal customer is, and always be delivering and speaking to THAT person. This is just so important.
You might think that because you have a service or product that works for anyone, why shouldn’t you try to appeal to absolutely everyone? And that sounds great at the beginning, because that does sound like that makes your audience larger. Isn’t it better if your potential audience is larger? But the truth is it’s actually not, which I know sounds contradictory.
As a solo or small business owner, if you try to target absolutely everyone… there’s no way you can compete with the big companies out there. There’s no way you can compete with the brands who have access to big budget marketing and advertising.

So how can you compete as a solo business owner or a small business? It’s by really knowing your niche, really knowing who that ideal customer is. Get in their head… Know what they want… Know what they care about… Deliver that to them.

Never forget that your business is to serve that Target Customer. Make your audience believe that you care about them and their needs. That is what will differentiate your small business from the big brands.
Really only after you know exactly who your target Audience is can you then start thinking about Channel. Because then you can say… Okay, my ideal target customer is this person – where are they online? Are they buying things on Etsy? Are they buying freelance services on UpWork? Are they on Google searching for something and if they are then what keywords are they using? Are they on YouTube? Are they looking for videos on how to do whatever it is they want done, or how to solve a particular problem? Then that’s where you need to be. But until you know your Audience you don’t have enough information to decide on the right Channel.
Also, don’t necessarily limit your business to a single Channel. And definitely don’t define your business by the channel. Don’t say “I have an Etsy business” or “I am an UpWork freelancer”. It might be that those are your primary platforms, but first and foremost think of your audience, think of everything that they need and want, and then give that to them. So instead, describe your business as “I deliver XYZ products to ABC customers” or “I solve XYZ problem for ABC clients”.
Give your target customers (Audience) what they need and want (Products), where they are looking for it (Channels).
So you might have a product that you sell on Etsy, but maybe there’s a service around that product that you can sell on a freelancing platform, and then maybe you also have your own website where you have ebooks that provide helpful tips for that same audience, etc.

So these are just a couple of points to keep in mind when it comes to Audience versus Channel:

  1. Focus on your Audience first (target customer persona), then Channel second.
  2. Don’t define your business by your Channel (eg, “I have an Etsy business” or “I am a Youtuber”), but define it by your Audience, and deliver what they need across multiple Channels.

Need some help figuring out your target audience, or narrowing down your marketing channels? Feel free to contact me.