Ep. #672 - How to Identify Your Target Users
In this episode of Startup Hustle, tune in to Part 30 of “How to Start a Tech Company,” as the Matts are back to talk about how to identify your target users.
Covered In This Episode
Who should you sell your product to? Should you try to target everyone? If you do, you’ll run your startup aground. This is why it is critical for a founder to know how to identify your target users. Matt and Matt share how startups can properly identify their target users.
Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson tackle how to identify your target users. They discuss why it is important to understand and empathize with buyer persona to cater to their needs. The Matts also gave examples of how to use data, such as firmographics, to produce targeted marketing.
Join the Matts to learn how to identify your target users in this Startup Hustle episode.
Missed the previous episode? Click here to listen to the 29th episode of the “How to Start a Tech Company” series. Or join the Matts in the 31st episode here.
- Startup Hustle reached 2M downloads (0:08)
- 30th episode: Trying to understand your actual users (2:26)
- Identifying your target users (3:38)
- The importance of knowing your audience and scaling (9:03)
- What’s a buyer persona? (12:56)
- What is firmographic data, and how does it work? (17:15)
- Saying “No” (20:26)
- The importance of understanding your buyer persona and budget (23:55)
- How can you use the data to improve your marketing (28:45)
- How to pick buyers from the crowd (34:32)
- Reducing risks and Hedging (41:57)
- Founder’s Freestyle (43:28)
- Wrapping up (44:26)
It’s the death to a lot of companies—trying to do too many things for too many people. And they never ended up being good for anybody. And I think it’s a really common mistake.Matt Watson
If you can be that hyper-targeted, you’re in a great spot. The ads are going to feel more expensive to deploy, but you’re also not wasting it. You’re not showing your ads, your impressions, or your approach to a bunch of people that will waste your time.Matt DeCoursey
The biggest thing is figuring out who your audience is and what you want your product to do, right? So many people struggle with product market fit, defining who their exact market is, and can the product serve them. And a lot of times, it’s because they just don’t say no. They keep doing all these things for all these random people. Instead of saying no, this is what we want to do.Matt Watson
I’m gonna challenge people to be very, very critical in your depth and in your process and ability to define who your target user is. Always look at it. Don’t just assume that you know what the target user is like. Look at the data. Look at the facts. You got to continue to evolve your definition of a buyer, the persona, and all of it.Matt DeCoursey
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Matt DeCoursey 0:00
And we’re back. Back for another episode of Startup Hustle, Matt DeCoursey, here, with Matt Watson. Hi, Matt.
Matt Watson 0:06
What’s going on?
Matt DeCoursey 0:08
Well, I normally don’t timestamp things because I know this is not going to come out on the same day that this happened, but I’m celebrating the two million download of Startup Hustle. How about that?
Matt Watson 0:18
Right on target.
Matt DeCoursey 0:21
Yeah, totally. Of all things. I couldn’t believe that three and a half years ago, when we sat down to determine our goals, to discuss who our target users and listeners were. And we literally said, I mean, it was like the oracle. I’d figured it out August 27, 2021.
Matt Watson 0:41
The day we do an episode about our target audience, we hit 2 million that was perfect.
Matt DeCoursey 0:45
Yeah, yeah, actually, we probably saw what we didn’t probably we did statistically hit 2 million before today. But I I trimmed the number down to guarantee a higher level of accuracy. Anyway, for those of you that have been listening, thanks. I mean, really, like I just I’m so humbled, and it’s just we continue to get people that reach out. And they’ve been joining us in the Startup Hustle, Facebook chat and having lively and entertaining conversations, like Charles Howe the 69-year-old tech entrepreneur who said, who thanked us for being his digital guide. And that certainly means a lot to us, for those of you that have been following now, tonight’s series about how to start a tech company, we’re going to this is episode 30. And today’s episode of Startup Hustle is brought to you by FullScale.io, helping you build a software team quickly and affordably. That’s a business that Matt and I own together. And we work with all different kinds of companies to help them solve the problem related to the talent shortage of IT and programming help. Now I just saw the thing, there are 350,000 open tech jobs in the United States. So
Matt Watson 1:58
I think they’re like 10 million open jobs United States, because literally every single place I go, they don’t have people to work. Like I don’t know, I’m at Starbucks today. And they’re like, they’re like, Yeah, we need to hire three people. And then they start trying to hire me. Like I’m there to buy coffee, and they’re trying to hire me to work at Starbucks. She’s like, it’s great. It’s the greatest part-time job ever.
Matt DeCoursey 2:19
Did you talk it out? Yeah, I was gonna say, did you talk it out? Like, yeah, let’s see what’s up.
Matt Watson 2:23
I got an interview tomorrow.
Matt DeCoursey 2:26
Oh, yeah. I mean, that’s, by the way, whenever your interview is on a Saturday morning at you might that could be a red flag. So anyway, back to what we’re talking about today, Matt, you know, we’ve we’ve, we’ve made it through the series, we’re the 30th piece here. We’ve been launching products, and we’re talking about how to get things to market faster. And you know, some of the things that occur along the way of any of this process is a you’ve heard me say you kind of rage, rest, and repeat. But there’s there’s some there’s some space in between for a refinement, and understanding like who you’re talking to where things are effective, what what’s a priority, what isn’t. And some of that does revolve around trying to understand like who your actual users are. We’ve talked a little bit about this, and the episodes that are prior to this as well as other episodes were recorded. But a lot of people get this wrong.
Matt Watson 3:24
I think it’s the death to a lot of companies of trying to do too many things for too many people. And they never ended up being good for anybody. And I think it’s a really common mistake.
Matt DeCoursey 3:38
Well, and I’ve heard you say before, when we were talking about sometimes our own products, meaning Stackify, GigaBook, Full Scale, or whatever. And sometimes you’re the first person that I that comes to mind here, you say, well, it’s just not what it was built for. Right? But this is the same kind of thing with target users. So do you think when it comes to identifying your target users, that’s the first step? Like, it’s like, Who is this belt for? Or who are we building it for? Are they one and the same? Are they completely different?
Matt Watson 4:09
Well, you gotta understand the market, you’re going forward to, right? Like what, you know, I built a product, and I potentially could use it, and in maybe this specific industry, or this industry, or for this persona role, or job title or whatever, right? And potentially, it can go multiple different directions, but to some degree, you got to pick one, and be really successful in one before you try to be really successful in like, 100 of them at one time. And, you know, frankly, at Metro we have some of these challenges, right? Like, we have a lot of big enterprise clients. And we already have a roadmap, like we know, we all we want to do all these things for the next two years, whatever. And then some new big client comes by and they throw $200,000 at us, they’re like, We need you to do XY and Z. And we’re like, okay, shit, what do we do now? Throw away our entire roadmap and go do that thing. Like it’s hard. It’s all it’s all hardest decision right? Now it’s easier when you’re a really early stage startup because you’re like, I have zero revenue. So that 200,000 Sounds phenomenal, let’s go do that. But even as you get to be a bigger company, it’s a distraction, it kills your ability to get to the market, you want to get to, and serve the type of customers who want like, maybe Netro will be this wildly successful company, if we focused on one thing, and we’re really good at it. But if we keep getting pulled around and doing all these other things we never get there.
Matt DeCoursey 5:29
So I think it’s more dangerous and difficult and distracting when you’re an early-stage company. Rather than that, like, I want to challenge the approach there a little bit because we’ve talked a lot about like that entrepreneurial ADD, and like, So certain things is, I think, when you start establishing who your target users are if you’re iffy about that, you can, like the thing is, is not all opportunities are worth chasing, you know, so like, depending on like, you know, the kind of the why and the how of the opportunity, you could derail yourself by going to chasing certain things. And then the earliest stages that can have a definitive could really define what your company becomes or doesn’t become because one shiny thing got you distracted and took you down. And one of the things too, so I went through this with GigaBook early, we were building our platform, we’re building to be customizable. And we had a very large online clothier like, and I won’t say exactly who, but it’s one of those things that, like, send you clothes every month, you pick out what you want to keep, and like you have like a stylist that like talks to you. And they wanted to integrate our stuff in there. And we got way off track. We spent like three months messing around with this whole thing. And it didn’t end up becoming a business. And honestly, and I’ve talked about this in past shows, it just really felt like we got used to a science experiment. And I learned I learned at that point. I made a rule going forward that we would never ever again develop anything, just so someone could try it. Yeah. Right. So like now, past that, we’ve also used GigaBook and have made custom platforms with it and done really well with it. But we made sure we got paid to build it along the way, not like, hey, we’re gonna build it, and then hope that you’re going to buy it. I learned a tough lesson from that. Looking back at it, it was just night night.
Matt Watson 7:34
Well, here’s is. Here’s a perfect example that weaves into what you just described, right? So go back to where you were before you started doing this for the clothes, drying on service. If you’re sitting there thinking, You know what, I think escape rooms is going to be this massive marketing opportunity. That’s really what we should focus on. But then you spend three months screwing around with this other shit, and you totally missed your opportunity. They’re like, you’re totally screwed up. Right, like that’s what happened.
Matt DeCoursey 8:02
I talked about, I talked about that, too. Like that was part of that was actually right around the same time. And that was the thing is like, how do we now that would have been worthwhile of chasing? But had we done that? My point with this with the target users is that would have very like that would have probably turned us into being an escape room booking platform. Because that’s because we have a small team, we had, I want to say somewhat limited resources, because it was my bank account. I wasn’t just throwing, you know, tons of money at it. Now, would that have been bad? I’m probably not. But we also might have failed to do that. I don’t know, you can always fail to do other things. But at least at that point, in the context of what we’re discussing here, we would have identified target users. And honestly, the specificity of that would have made it so much easier to build a tech for it’s way easier to build tech for a specific purpose than generalized, right.
Matt Watson 9:03
And the key is, is you got to figure out how to scale it right. So it’s not about just the one customer when you’re building a SaaS based product, you want to sign up hundreds and 1000s of customers. And you don’t want every one of them to be like a special snowflake. You want it to be scalable, right? So you sign up the first one, and the next 100 can sign up and the product does exactly what it needs to do. And you don’t have to make a bunch of customizations. It doesn’t require a bunch of special customer service and all that stuff, right? It’s scalable. And that’s the key and you’ve got to pick an audience and kind of double down on it. But the other side of this comes down to sales and marketing, right? It’s knowing what audience are you really marketing to and doing sales to? And you told me this week, I think, did you say that, you know, obviously Full Scale helps people develop software development teams, but didn’t you tell me this week you found we have 87,000 companies you’ve identified that are hiring software developers
Matt DeCoursey 9:53
That have had that we have found a job post for because they’ve been tracking that for Oh, that’s over. That’s over 18 months. So that
Matt Watson 10:06
Who do you call? Who do you call? Yeah. If I have a salesperson and I say, Go call 10 People, who do you call? There are too many, you can’t call at 7000 of them, you got to figure out which ones are the
Matt DeCoursey 10:17
email all of them? Well, there’s another side to the two. So let’s take that 87,000 lists and say that we’re only right, about 1/10 of a percent, right? That would be at IKEA. I mean, hey, we wanted to, but I can’t take 87 new clients starting now at Full Scale because, based on the average number of team members they start with, that would instantly double the size of the company. And the problem is people aren’t scalable, like software. Now in a tech company, that might be a very welcome thing, sir. Like if we were selling Stackify, GigaBook, or anything else, we’d be like, how do we do it again? You know, like, but, but depending on what you’re selling, that might not even be a possibility. So part of like what you mentioned, we’ve talked about the same subject as well, you said, like, we were talking, we were kind of comparing with GigaBook. And I was like, man. Anyone can use this. And when I sat down to try to market it, I was like, Oh, shit. Anybody could use this? Because it’s like, who are you? Who are you speaking to?
Matt Watson 11:21
It? Well, it’s another example of this is, let’s say you want to advertise on on Google Pay Per Click, right? If you if you want to advertise for, you know, appointment scheduling, like those keywords are probably really expensive, right? But if you want to do appointment scheduling for magicians and kids, birthday parties, like oh, that the pay per click on that is low, right? Like, the more you can dial in your audience, the lower your cost of marketing will be do
Matt DeCoursey 11:52
You want to talk about that, man?
Matt Watson 11:57
No, we won’t go there.
Matt DeCoursey 11:59
I’m going to cuz I’m gonna just, I had a birthday party for one of our kids five years ago, it’s good. And my wife hired a Batman actor to come over. And the dude showed, the dude showed up. And it was the worst Batman that we’d ever had. And then we realized that his intent was to be in our house for an hour with a bunch of children. And we made the best of it. We’ve got a lot of who we should pit maybe post some of those pictures. Show you how not to do it. You paid them to leave there. We did. I kicked them out after like 20 minutes. I had been, he had been dropped off and his phone was dead. So we actually had to help him charge his phone. So he could call someone to have him come pick him back up. Sorry. You mentioned like the booking for we would my point was we would have been better had to have booked a magician to come and do that. So
Matt Watson 12:55
it was a magical time. I will never forget.
Matt DeCoursey 12:56
Hey, we made a good we had a good time with that cuz we made everyone get their picture taken with the worst doubt me. The ears were bent like yes, like what who are you? Like, are you drunk and back out? Oh, no, but poor guy. He’s just trying to make a living. He had, he had not identified the right target users know that way. So okay, so you know. Alright, so we talked about the who we’re trying to reach. Now with that sometimes. Okay, so you get these big segments of users? And under, under which some have personas? How do you like, tell everyone? When like, what, what’s a buyer persona?
Matt Watson 13:43
Well, so at Stackify, we would look at, say, a software developer? Or is it somebody who works in the, you know, IT department that works more on the operation side? Or is it a manager? Is it like an executive, you know, these are all kinds of different personas, and how you market to them is different, right? Like we’re more likely to build a market to say an executive, totally different than we would market to say a developer, right? Like developers don’t answer the phone, they probably don’t use LinkedIn as much stuff like that right or an executive, it may be easier to get them on the phone, maybe easier to get to them on LinkedIn, or different, you know, different marketing channels.
Matt DeCoursey 14:22
So but that’s important, because in the end as a salesperson, the closer you get to those that make the bot the deciders, the better off you are, so I’m still using real life examples. So at Full Scale, the people that reach out to us our founders, CTOs. And that’s like the overwhelming that sometimes the CEO like an operations person that it is overwhelmingly like a CTO or a founder. So when, when we so if I need to create like a target user or target audience, I may not in terms of marketing, I may narrow this down. And you can be hyper specific on places like LinkedIn, I can advertise, I can only show ads to people that have specific job titles with comp and specific locations, specific industries, specific company sizes, like you can get real exact. Now one of the things that I think people make a mistake is with is they look at the cost of what those ads are to deploy. And they’re like, Oh, my God, that’s like $100 per 1000 impressions. Well, you’ll find you’ll probably get more results out of that than the overly broad. So like,
Matt Watson 15:43
like you got the sniper rifle, do the exact people you need. Yeah, so.
Matt DeCoursey 15:48
So that’s the thing is like so. So some of it is, if you can be that hyper targeted, you’re in a great spot, the ads are going to feel more expensive to deploy, but you’re also not wasting it, you’re not showing your ads and your impressions and your approach to a bunch of people that are going to either waste your time. Because that’s another thing, too is like you can fill up your sales pipeline with garbage, and are you going to spend more money and you will, either dealing with all those people that aren’t going to buy aren’t your target user or whatever. So like, we’re going back to Full Scale. And today’s episode, Startup Hustle is brought to you by FullScale.io. Once again, we help you build teams of software professionals. So there are certain people that if they reach out, like if, and if you’re a cashier at McDonald’s, you’re not a good lead for us. You’re unless you, you’re you’re not because you’re not going to make a buying decision on behalf of that company. Right? That’s not what we’re looking for. Maybe you’re a founder with a great idea, guess what, you’re still not a good lead, because we need you to be a little further down the road. So there are things that you can also do to you know, like I said to hyper target this stuff, but really begin to think about so like you mentioned with stack of phi that has there are multiple personas that could be users, but only some of which are likely to be buyers.
Matt Watson 17:15
Right? And so there, yep. And there is a name for this, that ever anybody listening needs to know. Okay, so the name for all of this is called firmographic data, data. So you have demographic and firmographics. Okay, wow, you know that? Did you
Matt DeCoursey 17:29
notice? But no, how do you spell that?
Matt Watson 17:32
F I R M O graphics? And so that’s where you can filter by things like how long have they been in business? How many employees do they have? How many locations do they have? How much revenue? Do they have? You know, is it a publicly traded company, a privately traded company their market size? Are they an industry leader? Is it b2b? Is it B to C? You know, what industry? Are they in like all these different things? Right? This is the thermographic data that helps you narrow down to say, look, we only want to focus on software companies that do b2b software. And they have 50 employees, and they have more than $5 million a year in revenue. And I want only the CTOs at that company, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, here’s your list.
Matt DeCoursey 18:17
firmographic data is types of information that can be used to categorize an organization, such as geographic area, number of clients, type of organization and industry technologies used and so on, which as well. So I have really been I’ve spent the last year obsessing over firmographic data for Full Scale without knowing what I was actually focused on. So thank you for clarifying that.
Matt Watson 18:42
You should listen to the Startup Hustle podcast,
Matt DeCoursey 18:44
I guess I should, yeah, you never, you never cease to amaze me. So in this, so as you as your business grows, this is the identification of your target user and, and the development of your firmographic grasp, needs to evolve. And this is important. So like we often share our real life experiences on the show. And hopefully they’re useful, especially when we don’t get it right. But so Full Scale is three and a half years old. And we now have 225 employees, we’ve grown pretty quickly. But so much of that has helped us understand which accounts and what type of companies benefit the most from our services. And you know, I’m a benefits based seller because that’s what people buy. So the thing is, is, is we have tried all different kinds of accounts and all different kinds of clients. And really, in the end, what we’re trying to do is build teams that stay with that company and stay a team for the longest amount of time. Why? Because it’s a triple win. It’s a win for us. It’s a win for our employees and so when for the company we’re doing business with so based on that we have evolved away from doing super short term projects, we don’t do part time stuff and different things that just weren’t a good fit for us. We figured out what works, what is stable, what is the easiest to deploy and the lowest maintenance, and that triple win. And, you know, if you talk to me, I love the triple win, because for us, it’s about people. It’s about, it’s not just about software, it’s also about people. So if people in any part of that process are unhappy, it all falls apart.
Matt Watson 20:26
One of the hardest, it’s one of the hardest things to do is to learn to say no, right?
Matt DeCoursey 20:31
Yep. or Next. Next. Yeah, no. Next. Now, that said, there’s nothing better. There’s no better word that you can learn as a business owner than no. Yeah, for so many things. Because if you suck at saying, No, you, you’re gonna have a lot of problems. So
Matt Watson 20:50
if I call you up tomorrow and tell you that I need to hire 10 COBOL. Developers, what are you going to say?
Matt DeCoursey 20:55
I’m going to tell you now. And and I’m and the reason is, well, I don’t employ them. And B, I can’t sustainably keep that. Yeah, a winning team for you. Well, that’s part of like, I mean, honestly, that’s like, so we don’t we don’t do Salesforce development at Full Scale. And it’s not because we’re not willing to, it’s because where our offices and where our business setup, I don’t have a talent pool. I can find like, five and
Matt Watson 21:22
there’s not a steady number of customers that want it right. It’s also about the demand. Yeah.
Matt DeCoursey 21:26
Yeah. And some of it’s also Yeah, and so the thing is, is like, you know, we’ve got, we’ve really narrow down some of the scope of what we do. Because what happens is like, in our case, we’ll end up with like three people that will just be sitting on the bench not doing anything, we’re paying them to not work, they’re not generating revenue. And then we began to feel like we’re beholden to making very specific efforts to find one client, rather than other efforts that could yield clients in batches. Yep. Right. So that’s focusing on what we can, what what our strengths are. And And now here’s the things so you kind of shed these things over time. It’s kind of like, throwing it off the side of the boat or shoving it out the side of the airplane. So you have enough so you’re not carrying extra weight and doing other stuff. Now, I think that’s the, the key evolutionary element of the biz business before it really takes off. Like, so event solutions. And for those of you that don’t know, that was Matt’s first company sold for down 150 million bucks. Okay, so something went right there. But at some point, do you guys like them? Can we talk about that for a second? Because I feel like you probably really focused on that. And then it just went gangbusters?
Matt Watson 22:51
Well, we knew exactly who our target customer was. Right? It was automotive car dealers that were franchise dealers, right? So not little independent dealers that had three cars. It was a big franchise dealer in major cities. It wasn’t even franchised Deere dealers in rural markets, right? Little the little Ford dealer in a rural market doesn’t really care a bunch about their website and their internet business and how they market online, right? Like they’re only a Ford dealer and 100 miles like they don’t care. Right. So we knew exactly who our market was. And it was like, say, 10,000 car dealers. So if you hire 50 salespeople, you’ve only got 10,000 to call. You just keep calling the same 10,000. Right, you have a very defined market. And then, for a while, we can only support certain types of car dealers, right? It’s like, oh, we do really, really good with Ford dealers. Just call the Ford dealers right, and oh, they are now our software certified for Honda. Okay, blitz all the Honda dealers right like, and we could geographically blitz them. We would call city by city like region by region and Blitz, Blitz the region’s right. And it was all about having a focused audience in our marketing and our sales efforts.
Matt DeCoursey 23:55
There was something else in that story that I’ve heard you tell over the years, that game that had a strong understanding and empathy with a buyer persona, though, because at one point, you’re a competitor that was this was a while ago, this is before you guys were on the cusp of the cloud, and one of your competitors how to have required like some pretty extensive investment in local servers. And yeah, so. So here’s the thing is understanding that buyer persona, because realistically, in the end, it’s the owner of the dealership that needs that or someone there that’s making that decision. So through understanding the buyer persona and going, we have a specific advantage, and that starts with the fact that you’re not going to have to spend $50,000 on equipment that you are not able to maintain or deal with without hiring someone just to do that. So So, that’s, but that’s a that is a masterful grasp on you. Your strengths, the benefits for the buyer, and then also understanding the persona. Because when you knew at some point you guys sat around and said, I mean, think about it, like, why would you pick the one that required that disgusting amount of investment as opposed to the other one? So that’s understanding your buyer.
Matt Watson 25:19
And so a great example of this is actually thinking about their budget, right? So no matter what your product is, think about who your target audience is, and what they can afford and what their budget would be. So if somebody called Full Scale and said, Hey, we have this, like, most complicated ever content management system that can do all these whiz bang features, and it’s $50,000, we’d be like, Nope, we’re gonna keep WordPress, we’re good. Right? But if you call some big hospital or whatever, they may be like, oh, yeah, that’s exactly what we need. And yeah, sure, we’ll spend that much money, we don’t care, whatever. And it’s a knowing who the buyer is, right? And how much money they will spend. Because why waste your time with a market? That’s not can’t afford your product?
Matt DeCoursey 26:03
Yeah, and that’s another thing too, is, you know, one thing I’ve learned with with when you get to the actual buyer, is the oftentimes the worst buyer persona, or the people that are shopping for the cheapest, yes, you know, like, they’re like, Hey, I gotta have the, it’s all about price. And, you know, the thing is, is price is relative man, like, and now you know this as well, like, well, that’s why we specialize in senior talent. And inexperienced people at Full Scale, like we hire one out of 40 applicants man, like, and that’s because we specialize in expertise. So sometimes I get on the phone, because I talk to a lot of our most of our clients before they become clients, because I want to make sure it’s a good fit. And because we’re doing business with people for years upon end, and so when I hear certain objections to that, I’m like, Okay, this, what about quality? Now, the thing that I’ve learned is that the best clients that we have, they only want that they don’t have they’re not, they’re not at all fazed by the pricing. And so like, some, and sometimes the lawyers say, say, you’re gonna, you’re, you’re more expensive than the other people tell me why? Well, it’s a quality thing. You know, like we have stricter hiring standards, we don’t hire as many people like we go through, you know, so what are you paying for, but that’s part of understanding that target user, and like, who’s willing to do that. So what I found is that like, for people that don’t have a business at all, and they want to literally start a tech company from day one, they’re gonna make them the same mistake I made 13 years ago, and be obsessed with the least expensive people that they can find. And that’s why we have to do episodes about how to not create technical debt, and stuff like that. Because, you know, so understand the persona. So, yeah, now I’m out, we talked about identifying the target users, I think we should target a little Okay, so once we identify it, like we did allude to this a little earlier, like, how do you deploy it? Well, obviously, targeted marketing is key. And then also, like, I think you got to, like we mentioned having a list of 87,000 companies that we’ve seen post a job ad related to something that we sell at Full Scale, but you got to begin to then really refine it and figure out like, okay, so of 87, elicit 87,000, there’s a way to determine who is possibly the top priority there. And begin to dissect that and move forward like you use you use a strong definition of your target user to do exactly that. Target the user, what have been some of your favorite ways to do that.
Matt Watson 28:45
So at, we used to get pretty sciency about the firma graphics, right? So we knew that we were most successful with people that had more than two, you’re
Matt DeCoursey 28:53
showing that word off. Now, by the way, we knew we were
Matt Watson 28:57
we did the best with companies that had more than 200 employees and the type of industry they were in and all that kind of stuff, right. But so let’s talk about how you can actually use this though. And I know lately, you love HubSpot. You’re all about HubSpot. Did you know you can do all of this and HubSpot. So
Matt DeCoursey 29:16
spell town was part of what I like about it. But
Matt Watson 29:19
it you can do more. So HubSpot has some of this information in it. But you can actually connect it to third party services that will give you even more data. For example, Clearbit is one of them. So you can actually hook it up to clear a bit and then when you get somebody’s email address, then based on your email address, it will go out and figure out oh, here’s their job title and how long they’ve worked there and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And so then you’re like, oh, okay, well, this person that came in now I know their job title like, you know, now I can change the lead scoring of them. Or if I’ve got 87,000 I can filter it down to just the CTOs or whatever. So depending on the type of tools that you’re using, you can clean the data and append that data and get get more data so you can then hone in better and better filtering.
Matt DeCoursey 30:06
And in some cases, you don’t even need the data. Like you can still like the show, remember LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram, all of them are built to help. Like, those are marketing businesses. Yep, those are advertising platforms. They aren’t social media, they are advertising platforms. They exist to sell advertising. That’s how they create revenue. That’s how they make money. So they pay the bills. And that’s how they get neg evaluations. So in order to do that, they have to figure out how to help you be effective now. So some of that, like you, and it’s good to have the data if you want to, like for actual contacts. Good luck getting people to pick up telephones because that I have given up on I mean, I really have I’ve given up on the concept that that just cold calling is dead.
Matt Watson 30:58
Can you imagine? Yeah. Can you imagine doing direct mail these days? Yeah, like everybody works remote. Everybody works remote. I’m gonna mail all the CTOs in the country, you know, how many of them are gonna get that piece of mail? Yeah, none.
Matt DeCoursey 31:13
Right, right. Dude, every time I get my mail, I just literally like stay, I walk right. I sometimes don’t even make it out of my garage. Like back up the driveway. Yeah, throwing 90% of it away. I’m like, I look like I’m making it rain ended the trash can with junk mail. So
Matt Watson 31:35
direct mail is has had to be killed by the pandemic, because nobody’s in an office to mill to them.
Matt DeCoursey 31:43
So I think part of it is like is the deployment of it and how you’re going to utilize it. And then so Alright, so we’re talking about how you target it, man. I like a multi pronged approach. I like the ability. So there’s a few things that, well, first off, you can do targeted digital advertising. Now, if you sell b2b products, LinkedIn is a great place for that. Honestly, it’s expensive, but highly targeted man. Like I can literally like I said, I can I well, I created. Okay, so I created an advertising campaign. Just the other day that said hire software engineers, that was three words on an ISIL image. And I showed it only to US based chief technology officers or Chief Information Officers kind of the same thing in some organizations only and the computer software industry, which is LinkedIn is version of that. And then to companies that had in between 11 and 50 employees. Because that’s our that’s, that’s our that is our target place. Now. I got that down to that was only like 9000 people. Okay, right. Now, that said, those ads, LinkedIn was suggesting that I spend anywhere between 75 and $150 per 1000 impressions.
Matt Watson 33:07
That’s only 9000 people,
Matt DeCoursey 33:09
right? That are literally one. And then some of it, you can even like you i Okay, I didn’t make it this specific. But I could even make, I could have even trimmed it down to people that said, current job title of right, and that might have gone down. Now I didn’t do that. Because someone that may have been a past CTO may have actually evolved into a different role. They’re still the Target Viewer. But that said, I don’t mind paying more for that. And the funny thing is, I ran that. And LinkedIn has a hard time even selling me over 1000 impressions a day. Yep. Because that’s even with that audience 9000 Now you need them to actually be in there and using the platform or looking so but the thing is, is so well, that will feel expensive. It’s not what’s expensive, is doing it on Facebook, which isn’t made for that, where people don’t always say what their job title is, and I don’t, I can’t, I can’t do company size. I can’t do a whole lot of other things. And now it only feels like $10 per 1000 impressions. But it’s like flapping in the wind showing to a bunch of people that who now at
Matt Watson 34:24
least LinkedIn seems expensive, but probably for a few $100 a month, you can target the exact audience that you need. And yeah,
Matt DeCoursey 34:32
yeah. Now LinkedIn on the flip side is a terrible place to promote this podcast. Because there are so many types of listeners, so many different job titles, all of it. It’s a little expensive. So if you’re listening to this, you probably saw an ad on Facebook. And you probably use Apple. And I’ll tell you why. Because it If I advertise to people that aren’t using Apple, where do you listen to a podcast? So I do I point you at Spotify? Do I point you somewhere else? So that’s another thing, another variable you may have to consider, with what with the targeting is all the way down to things like device? Where are they buying? Where do they look at it? So the thing is, is, and this is a problem, you got to think about this. So if you click that ad, and you’re not, if you click it, and you’re on Apple, it opens the podcast app right up. If you if I don’t show it to people that are on Apple, then it’s like Facebook’s Like, literally, you’re leaving Facebook, that’s probably the worst decision you’ll ever make. Are you sure you want to do it? If you lead people to something that they may have? So I click YouTube links all the time, and then it opens up the thing in Facebook, I’m not signed in on YouTube, I’m seeing an ad, I’m seeing something else I like, you also have to think about how do you get you want to remove any and all obstacles on the way to the cash registers? Yeah, then it down even more. Anyway, this, the more precise, the more exact, the better off you are. And the thing is, is you also put less weight on the string. So let’s flip this around the other way and look at it like a job ad. So like when I’m recruiting developers, LinkedIn is great, because if I have to run an ad on Facebook, I get, I can get a bunch of applicants that don’t even stand a chance. Right? Like, I’m looking for experienced people, not just people. Yeah. And so some of that the problem is is, is you can wait down your process by having more, you know, like, like, if you look at a holster, or all those people that are in the Apple Store every day all day, are they actually buying shit there? Or they just they’re doing something else? You know? So like, you look at that it’s like the same thing. How do you pick the buyers out of the crowd? And how do you be precise, it might look a little less entertaining, you might be like, Hey, I didn’t get as many signups or as many registrants, yeah, well, what do you sell what you sell. So
Matt Watson 37:08
well. Another another big tip I can give you is, anytime you’re doing any kind of advertising, you got to really focus on what geography that you’re targeting. And if you’re thinking about going worldwide, don’t do it. You need to pick specific countries. And sacrifi was an international business. You know, we have customers in 60 countries, but like 90% of it came from like 10 to 15 countries. And if you looked at our website traffic, we got as much website traffic from India, as we did for the United States, but hardly ever sold anything to India. And so we don’t ever, ever would have spent a dime advertising the people in India. And so depending on what you’re selling, you’ve got to really stay focused on the geography. And if you’re if you’re going international, what countries you’re you’re targeting.
Matt DeCoursey 37:54
One part of it, too, is what? So we ran into the same thing at Full Scale, because some countries like for example, for Canada, there’s some currency exchange things that begin to reduce the value. And then also, like you mentioned, like some of these countries where, you know, I mean, you might your product might seem just ridiculously overpriced. You know, like, oh, yeah, well, I mean, what one of the reasons that there are so many open source software developers in places like India and the Philippines is because they didn’t have to buy licenses to learn how to do that stuff when they were younger. So they learn how to do open source stuff. But it’s it’s a good example of what steered, you know, people to do certain things and buy certain stuff. But really, in the end, everything about the target user is also about considering who makes buying decisions, how you’re going to get in front of them, and how you’re going to keep them entertained. Not nothing, nothing about having an amazing identification of your target users matters if you are terrible at defining your value proposition, though. So while you do that, you got to understand that and that’s part of the persona thing, like we were talking about with your past history within solutions, like I mean, if your salespeople weren’t all over the fact that like, hey, we don’t require massive investment in servers, just to try us out like dude, that I mean, that’s that’s what I would have heard first off and foremost, that could have in fact, maybe been the only thing you needed to say to me if I was a car lot owner, because I sure I’m going to try the one out that doesn’t require me to write like a five figure check. Yep, you know, so, I mean, some of that is understanding what you’re at. So do you understand your actual like benefits. By the way, I noticed someone in the Startup Hustle Facebook chat had posted something the other day and they shared their website and they tagged me and they said, Hey, Nate, Matt DeCoursey noticed that My website is showing the features, advantages and benefits. And I went click the site and went there. And that’s it. So like when you remember, regardless of how precise your firmographic stuff is, I’m going to use that word like all weekend to the point that I go like, Hey, it’s me. But, but one of the things is that it is all a waste. If wherever you land people sucks. Yep, you still have to, you still have to have like, what are the features of what you do? What are the advantages compared to your competition? And what and then the main thing is people buy things because of the benefits. You know, and that could Hey, it’s better, faster, cheaper. You know, and I’ve mentioned this before, like, we went from trying to sell Giga book as like, hey, this increases business efficiency to like, hey, there’s a little more peace of mind. Let you know like, that’s a benefit. Like, don’t you want to have to stay up all night, replying to text messages and stupid emails of when you’re available, and why you’re not available. And doing a lot of that. And that’s, you know, the peace of mind thing is an example of benefit they selling so focused on what that is, and coupled that with the buyer personas and the targeted user. So like in sacrifice case, it was still a peace of mind issue, right? It was like, have the peace of mind of knowing that there’s something working in the background here that’s going to tell you about the stuff that’s broken, that you don’t even know about, because as a tech company, that’s the stuff that will give you the loudest facepalm slap ever, is when a user is like, hey, so you know, something important is broken. And then you sit there and you go, Oh, wow, how long? Have I not known about this, but that’s peace of mind. So peace of mind is a great example of a benefit. That is not tangible. You can’t put in a spreadsheet. Well,
Matt Watson 41:57
and a lot of companies will pay a lot of money just to reduce risk, right, you know, come down to your embarrassment, yep, compliance and risk. And, you know, Netro, we do that we buy things, it’s like, well, we have to be worried about different compliance stuff, and, and we buy these tools to help us prevent problems, that probably will never happen, but they’re like an insurance policy to make sure it can’t happen. You know, at least there’s a 90% less chance it’s going to happen, because we’re doing these things. And we spend a lot of money on this stuff and a lot of time on it. And it’s all just reduce risk.
Matt DeCoursey 42:29
And that’s hedging, though. I mean, you just described hedging. I mean, that’s what it is. All right. So once again, today’s episode, Startup Hustle is brought to you by FullScale.io. Talked a lot about Full Scale today. So don’t feel like I need to get too in depth with that ad. Once again, we’re recording this on the day that we got our two millions download. And thank you to so many of you that have taken the time, we’re very aware that you can choose to spend your time energy and focus doing anything other than paying attention to what we’re doing. So thank you, we do appreciate that. I know Lauren, and Andrew do check out our 2 million app download episode where we talk about some of that stuff. And just some of some of the the ups and downs of what it took to get to that. You know, now as as we do a quick founders freestyle on the way out, I mean, what’s your what’s your? What’s your biggest takeaway from today? Or what’s your best advice?
Matt Watson 43:28
The biggest thing is figuring out who your audience is, and what you want your product to do, right? So many people struggle with product market fit, and defining like, who their exact market is, and my product can serve them. And a lot of times, it’s because they just don’t say no, they they keep doing all these things for all these random people. Instead of saying no, this is what we want to do. An example of this would be like Instagram or Twitter, right? They’re really simple. They don’t do anything else. They didn’t like grow to be a competitor to Facebook. They’re like, Nope, it’s a tweet, and it’s 140 characters. And that’s it. That’s all we do. Nope, the answer is no to everything else. Right. And it’s really hard to do that. And most people don’t. And sometimes that’s the reason they don’t succeed. So you always have to keep in mind, like, where are you really trying to go? And how competent in that? Are you and are you getting distracted? And is that preventing you from where you want to go?
Matt DeCoursey 44:26
I think rather than a recap, I’m gonna instead challenge people to be very, very critical in your depth and in your process and ability to define who your target user is. And when I say that meaning like, always challenge it. Always look at it. Don’t just assume that, you know, the target user like look at the data look at the facts like at Full Scale. That’s exactly what we did. We look at the account answers that have stuck the longest, that have the biggest teams and that on top of that also have the happiest teams meaning like a high level of stability. And that is a little different than who we originally assumed our buyers might be. And if we hadn’t really challenged that notion and looked into the, into the depth and maybe the complexity of that, and challenged ourselves against like, hey, are these other things really worth it? Like, that has to evolve and change over time? So I want to challenge you to not just settle in to like, I mean, I think the mistake that if you start if you start hearing things set in your business, like, well, that’s always the way we’ve done it. That’s always that’s always been our target, like, I mean, so theoretically, if your target user is 25 years old, five years later, is that a now a 30 year old or is it still 25 year old? It’s like, you gotta you have to continue to evolve your definition of a buyer, the persona and all of it. And then I just think you’ve also just never been in a time where it’s easier to be precise. Yep. So, all right, I’m gonna go see how many times I can use the word firmographic and my family because I want to feel smart. So I’ll see you next week.
Matt Watson 46:27