194 FS Building an Audience

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02:52 - What do I do with an audience?

09:15 - Growing Your Audience and Keeping Them There

17:03 - How do you get the traffic?

25:19 - Churn

32:33 - How do you monetize the audience?

51:33 - Email Courses

55:11 - Changing a Lead Magnet

Practice Makes Regexp (Reuven)The System Club Letters: 57 Big Ideas to Transform Your Business and Your Life by Ken McCarthy (Philip)Drip (Chuck)SumoMe (Chuck)Freelance Remote Conf (Chuck)All Remote Conferences (Chuck)


[This episode is sponsored by Hired.com. Hired.com is offering a new freelancing and contracting offering. They have multiple companies that will provide you with contract opportunities. They cover all the tracking, reporting and billing for you, they handle all the collections and prefund your paycheck, they offer legal and accounting and tax support, and they’ll give you a $1,000 when you’ve been on a contract for 90 days. But with this link, they’ll double it to $2,000 instead. Go sign up at Hired.com/freelancersshow.]**[If you're someone who runs your own service-based business, then spending less time on pesky admin tasks means having more time to focus on your clients’ work, which is why you need to give FreshBooks a try. FreshBooks is the invoicing solution that makes it incredibly simple to create and send invoices, track your time and manage your expenses. It allows you to quickly see and track the status of your invoice expenses and projects, and allows you to keep track of your expense receipts in FreshBooks. For your free 30-day trial, go to Freshbooks.com/freelancers and enter the Freelancers’ Show in the ‘How did you hear about us’ section when signing up.]**[This episode is sponsored by Nird.us. Do you wish that somebody else would handle all of those operation details when it comes to hosting your client’s web applications? Nird.us is a Ruby on Rails managed hosting designed to make your life easy. They migrate everything for you, and new sign ups referrals come with a $100 discount or referral fee. To sign up, go to freelancersshow.com/nird, and enter ‘freelancer’ into the contact form for a discount.]**[This week’s episode of the Freelancers’ Show is brought to you by Earth Class Mail. Earth Class Mail moves your snail mail into the cloud giving you instant access 24/7 and integrates with the tools and services you use everyday. It’s crazy that we’ve moved everything we do for the business over to the digital world but still need to pick up, sort and manage physical mail. With Earth Class Mail, you can get all of your mails scanned and accessible online 24/7. You can search your mail, send invoices over to your accounting software, sync important documents into cloud storage, deposit checks and really just make running your business a whole lot easier. You also get real professional address to share publicly with customers, business partners and investors, and you’ll never need to worry about someone showing up at your door if you run your business from home. Visit freelancersshow.com/mail and you’ll get your first month of service free when you sign up.] **CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to episode 194 of The Freelancers’ Show. This week on our panel we have Philip Morgan. PHILIP: Greetings. CHUCK: Reuven Lerner. REUVEN: Hi everyone. CHUCK: I’m Charles Max Wood from DevChat.tv. Just coming off of Freelance Remote Conf, which was awesome. I’m working on a way to get the recordings up, but if you want to watch them right now, you can actually just buy a ticket to the conference, and then when you go into your dashboard, just click the Watch button, and it will take you to [inaudible] where you can watch the recordings. This week we’re going to talk about building an audience, which is kind of a thing if you have a blog or a podcast or video series or something like that. I’m curious, Reuven and Philip, what's been your experience. What kinds of things have you had to build an audience for? PHILIP: I think that’s a great starting point. To me, it speaks to the question “what would I do with an audience? What good is that?” [Chuckles] right? CHUCK: Make them give you money. I mean, that’s the idea, right? PHILIP: Well, I think, implicitly, that’s the idea, is that yes you are going to – I want to punch myself already for even thinking about saying this, but the idea is you want to “monetize” that audience. You want their presence to be a way to make money. But I think that we can think – even think more broadly about it, like for the person who is starting out in freelancing or who’s a very happy freelancer who has 15 clients a year and makes a bunch of money from those 15 clients is do they have a reason a build an audience? And I think the answer is yes. I think an audience is helpful to all of those situations for different reasons. It’s not – I guess what I want to avoid is for people to think “I don’t have a book or a product, so I don’t need an audience. I just want to say that as like maybe you do; maybe you could benefit from having an audience. So to answer your question, for me, I want an audience so that I have people who trust me a lot who will think of me first when they need either a product I sell or a service that I sell. That’s kind of generic; the services I sell are I help people build marketing funnels for their software development shop, and I have a couple of books and working on some other products. So that’s my answer to that. What about you, Reuven? REUVEN: I heard for a few years, I guess, about people saying – think it was Patrick McKenzie who said something like “the most valuable asset I have is my mailing list”. It’s like “what is he talking about?” [chuckles]. I just totally did not understand what he was saying at all. And little by little – and I said “I don’t need a mailing list. I've got a column on Linux Journal and I write on my blog, and if people want to find me, they’ll find me, and that’s good enough”. And I, of course, discovered in the last, say, 2 years or so just how incredibly wrong I was. First of all, as we say all the time – I guess as you, Philip, say all the time, there's like – everyone has a different specialization. Everyone has a different personality. You're going to have difference chemistry with different people. And just finding an audience allows you to connect with people who are interested in doing things your way and hearing what you have to say, and in the same way, it allows you to get reflections back from them about what's good and what's bad. So suddenly, you're tapped into people who like what you're doing and want more, and will give you a direction in which to go. And that, for me, has been exceptional. I get comments from people who I've never heard of before – and first of all, it’s just very faltering. But second of all, they say “I would like it if you did X or Y or Z”. Well, I never had that [inaudible] in my business. Someone telling me “if you do X, I will pay you money”, and then of course there's the aspect of [inaudible] I will be able to hopefully use that and use their support to sell things by not selling them things because I’m just sort of spamming them; I’m selling things that they have told me they want to buy. CHUCK: I will be your spam bot. REUVEN: Right [chuckles]. CHUCK: [Chuckles]. That’s, I think – [crosstalk]. I talk to people and they're like “aahh, just email marketing. Urgh!” and that’s the thing. And I want to go back to where Philip was – he said it feels kind of crass to say monetization, but that’s really the point. But the thing is that the most effective way that you're going to be able to sell is to actually help people. And so it’s not crass; in my thinking, it’s “I’m giving good value, and then I’m giving more good value that they have to pay for”. PHILIP: Yeah. That’s exactly how I think about it. That gets into – this is a very tangential thing, but there's this idea that I think comes from a Gary Vaynerchuk book called Jab Jab Hook or something to that fact. CHUCK: Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. We’ll put a link to the show notes. PHILIP: And he is talking specifically about social media there. So that’s the first thing to know about this, but he kind of puts out the idea, and Gary is great at putting these kinds of sound bite-like ideas out there. Seth Godin does a great job at that too, that you should put in 3 deposits to your account of goodwill with someone who’s in your audience before you ask them for anything. And I like the way you phrase it right now, Chuck, where it’s like there's value that’s free, and then there's value that you pay for, and neither one of those is like a withdrawal per se; there's just – there's the free value and then there's the kind you have to pay for. I don’t know what that’s really [inaudible] to, but I just want to call out that I like how you look at that because it’s not like you're thinking of the audience as a bank account that you withdraw from. There's just different segments on that audience; some who are just there for the free stuff, and some who are willing to go further and give you some money for even more value. CHUCK: Well, then it’s totally fair to think of it as a bank account so to speak. You can’t withdraw more than you deposit. And so if you haven’t deposited enough on your list or on your podcast or on your blog, then you don’t have enough to withdraw. PHILIP: I agree to the point that I think anything you put in front of your audience should have value. I guess that’s – maybe it’s semantics at some point, but if everything, even the sales pitches, have value. They're just – their value is leading to a sale, but they still should have value. They're not like taking away anything from anybody. CHUCK: Right. PHILIP: They're net positive in their value. CHUCK: Yup. And I think we should do an episode on how to manage your mailing list or what kinds of things to send them and stuff like that. But what we’re specifically talking about today is how to build your audience. So your audience could be the people on your mailing list. They could also be readers to your blog or subscribers to your YouTube channel or subscribers to your podcast. So at least for me, the ultimate direction that I want people to go from the podcast is to go to the website, and on the website they get prompted to join the mailing list, is the way that I move in to that. So how do you get people in? How do you bring people in so that you're growing your audience? PHILIP: There's a lot of answers to that question, aren’t there? CHUCK: Yup. PHILIP: Some of that is technology dependent. So some of it is like – are you doing a pull thing where people have to subscribe to an RSS feed or they have to like your page on Facebook or yada yada. So I guess what I’m saying in a very inarticulate way is that some of this depends on the media. I’m so email-centric in how I think about marketing that I think that’s the gold standard is that you invite people to join your email list with a very explicit –[crosstalk]. CHUCK: Yeah. But I think you're right, Philip. I think focusing on email is, at least for right now, the most effective way to go. PHILIP: Yeah. I mean, I only see social media as like a complimentary channel to email. And there's other ways to have an audience too. You can have – you can send out a physical newsletter. You can have like a physical mailing address list. There's tons of ways to do it. You can become a personality on a radio station, a new broadcast radio. I can’t help but see things through this email filter and feel like it’s the most reliable profitable way to build an audience. REUVEN: Well, hold on a second because I think there's two different things here and I sometimes confuse them. One of them is getting people onto your list, like building up your list and your audience. And the second [inaudible] is keeping them there. PHILIP: Right. CHUCK: Right. REUVEN: So I’m not sure if [inaudible] maiing to your list is not necessarily a good way to get people on because they don’t know about you. You're speaking to the people who are already on your list. But you have to – once they're on, you want to keep taking care of them; you want to keep making them feel welcome. And for that, you need to keep writing to your list. CHUCK: Yes. The other thing is that it helps people get used to hearing from you. Because if you just email them out of the blue every 6 months when you have a new product, you haven’t built any trust. You haven’t – they're not an audience at that point. There a place where you go and you – [inaudible] at your shotgun and then you fire into the crowd and hope you hit something that gets you money. If you're building that relationship where people are consistently reading your stuff and getting the value that they wanted out of the list, then when you come out and you say “here’s a little bit more value, and if you want a whole lot more value, you can go buy the book or you can sign up for my coaching or you can hire me to come train at your company” or whatever it is that you're trying to sell, then they just see it as another layer of value that you’ve added to  the relationship and they're willing to buy it. So yes, you have to keep emailing them, and you have to email them good stuff. PHILIP: Yeah. The other thing Reuven mentioned is getting people on your list. This is very tactical, but I have had some of the best luck with things like email courses. So these are teaching-based activities or the so called lead magnet. And the key, I think, is people that you want on your list need to be naturally incentivized to care about whatever your offer to join your list is. So one of the worst performing offers is “hey, join my newsletter and get updates” [chuckles]. That’s not a very compelling reason for somebody to join any email list. REUVEN: [Crosstalk] for how long I tried that. PHILIP: How did it work for you? [chuckles] REUVEN: I was so frustrated because I was like “I don’t understand”. People come into my site, they want my information, right? Why are they not signing up for my list? So then, I make it more prominent: “Sign up for my newsletter” and it was equally miserable in its results. And only when I started saying to people “I really spend some time fine-tuning this” and I've worked with some people, talking to some people about it, like “how can I get them to join?” and people pointed out what in retrospect is so obvious. They don’t want to get your newsletter; they want to solve problems. So what pain are they having that you're going to help them solve? And so, I kept thinking “ok, what do people do? What do people do?” I know I do technical training, and people are constantly telling me on my classes that thanks to my class, they're no longer spending as much time on Google and Stack Overflow. So it’s like “that’s it”. So now, you go to my site, it says “do you want to spend less time on Google and Stack Overflow?” and bam! Right? [Chuckles] It changed everything. PHILIP: Oh, that’s awesome. CHUCK: I can back that up with another story. And I actually have my email system hold up in front of me. I just looked to see how many email subscribers I've added over the last month, and I've added 868 subscribers over the last month with what I’m doing. REUVEN: Holy cow! How do you do that? CHUCK: [Chuckles] So it was the same thing though. I've had people come in and they’d say “which episodes are the best for the podcast?” And yeah, how do you tell that? It’s “well, I can tell you which ones are my favorites”. And I might actually put that list together some time. But a lot of people wanted to know “ok, well which ones were the most popular?” and that’s pretty easy to pull up if you have the numbers on your episode downloads. So I pulled those numbers, crunched them together and I came up with the top 10 of each podcast. Now, the secret is that the first email gives you actually the next 10, and then you get one a day for the next 10 days. So you get the top 20 effectively. So I put those together for each of my list. Now, the first one I did was actually The Freelancers’ Show. And so I put that up and that was actually converting pretty well. And then, the next one that I put up was Ruby Rogues, I think, and then Adventures in Angular, and I just got JavaScript Jabber up. But the thing is that that’s something that people want. And so I’m – I can totally back you up on that, Reuven, in saying that this is what people said they wanted, so that’s what I put out there. The other thing I did is I did actually make it if you go to freelancersshow.com, it’ll actually slide down a sign up form, and then you can click away from that or whatever. But the reason I did that was that since so many people had asked for it, and I didn’t have any good way of telling them where it was, I just put it there. It shows up once and then it goes away for a month or two and then it comes back, and then you click it away for another month or so. But anyway, by putting it up front and center when they're coming to look at the content anyway, they get the best of the content up front, and then they can actually go look at the content they wanted to go look at. And it doesn’t keep bugging them every time they come to the page. So that’s what I've done. I’m using AppSumo to make that happen. And anyway, so that’s worked out really well, and as I've gotten it more specific – so initially, the Freelance one, I think I got 50 or 60 sign ups the first week. But then, as I've added the other shows’ top 10 to those shows, the number of sign-ups has gone up exponentially from there because each group is then getting what they want. And again, it gives them the content they want. Now, there wasn’t a whole lot of extra work that I had to do because I already had that information; I had the show notes. But at the same time, it gave people something that they wanted. And now I’m working on the next round of things where it’s “hey, are you looking for a good way to level up on Ruby? Here’s a course” and then at the end it says “we've got a whole bunch of people coming to speak at Ruby Remote Conf”. But it’s the same kind of thing, and it’s those email courses. One thing that I have seen though is you don’t want to give away everything; you want to leave them wanting more if you want them to take an action at the end. So it’s “here’s 10 bits of what you were looking for, but if you want the all-encompassing strategy or the over-arching thing or whatever it is that’s the big thing at the end, then you have to buy the product”. And so it does give them value, but it also shows them that there's a whole lot more value to be had if they want to drop some money. REUVEN: Right. PHILIP: So here's the next question that I know a substantial portion of our audience is asking. Great, ok, so that’s how you invite people onto your email list, and I think variations of that could absolutely work for – if you're just so good at social media that that’s your sweet spot, I think variations of that thing could work for social media. “Like my Facebook page to get updates” blah blah blah, or “get this free thing”. But how do you get – the back question is always: how do you get traffic? How do you get people seeing that offer to join your list or whatever it is? What’s your answer for that? CHUCK: Well, I can tell you what I’m doing and you're listening to it. [Chuckles][crosstalk] That’s why people come to DevChat.tv is because they want the podcast. And so they’ll listen to a podcast, and then they’ll say “hey, it’d be – what was that pick or what was that thing that they talked about” because we put the links in the show notes so people realize that and they come to check it out. The other thing that I've done is I've made it easy for people to subscribe to a mailing list where they get the episodes every week and so then people will then click through and click back to the episode. And between the two, what happens is then people are coming to the website and they're seeing the content, which is what they're there for, and any other offers that I have there including social sharing and things like that. So that’s how it works for me. A lot of it also happens through word of mouth so people will tweet about an episode or they’ll share it on Facebook or whatever, and then people they know will come in and listen to the episode. And so they're coming back to the site, they're getting what they were looking for in an hour-long conversation about whatever it is that they were interested in on that particular topic. And so we gain subscribers that way and we also gain just visitors; some people just come, listen to the one, and then don’t come back until another one gets pointed out to them. But yeah, it’s the podcast, and we have content there that people want, that people are interested in that they're going to come in and pay attention to. PHILIP: Yeah. What about you, Reuven? What's – how do you “drive” traffic to your opt-in offer on your website? REUVEN: So we have some on the podcast a while ago – I don’t remember who – [inaudible] for this several times for different people that you just blog enough, you will drive traffic and you will get a lot of people. And so there was actually a period – I think it was when I was working on my dissertation and I needed something to distract me. I was living in Chicago away from my family, so I blogged everyday. I was like “this will definitely drive traffic”. Yeah, I did something; not at all. So I realized I needed to do something else. And by the way, [inaudible] it was what I was writing and how I was writing that was not bringing the traffic. So I tried a few other strategies, and those seemed to have worked better. First of all, webinars; I do a free webinar probably once every, now, month and a half or so. I try to do it every month; it’s not really [inaudible]. And when I announced the webinar, because if I announced about a topic that has blogs, that has mailing lists, that will often get picked up and then people hear about it there. So they might have heard of my webinar on my blog, they might hear about it on Twitter or social media, but they’ll almost certainly hear about it especially if it’s on Python through one of the 3 weekly Python mailing lists, like “this week in Python” sort of thing. Similarly, I've managed to get my blog syndicated on some of these planet aggregators. And so I think it’s like 8,000 people on the Planet Python Aggregator. So when they – when I have a blog post there, it’s not just people reading my blog, it’s people reading lots of other places. And I've seen that by using the combination of, first of all, offering content with the webinars, offering content on the blog, and then making sure that it’s getting out to – you know what, I’m using someone else’s audience – borrowing an audience as some others have said, and it works beautifully. And that audience is there for the taking. They want to have that sort of thing. Chuck, did you just ask [inaudible] planet aggregators. Let me describe that because it might not be well known to people. So if you have a blog and you have an RSS feed from there, then you get picked up by people using all sorts of different feed readers. But there are some sites – typically, I've seen them for technologies like languages, but they can be for other things – where they collect as many blogs as possible on a given topic. So you have Planet Python where they collect all the RSS feeds for as many Python related blogs as possible. And Postgres does the same thing. Ruby has a small one. Php has one. I’m guessing there are 10 of them. And those planet systems are then read in term by many people with feed readers. So it’s like a massive amplification system for your blog from people who want to know about a topic, but not necessarily read what you're writing. CHUCK: Gotcha. That looks interesting. REUVEN: Yeah. I actually – I had a guy in my coaching program who does Python and he wanted to know how you could reach out to more people. I said “get your blog on Planet Python”. And instantly, he found that he was getting many, many more people coming in because of that amplification. It’s really quite staunching to see how well it works. And then it just feeds on itself. So the more people you get there, then people read your thing, and then people read your thing directly, and so they’ll re-tweet the next time and then so on and so forth. CHUCK: Gotcha. Yeah. You mentioned stealing other people’s audiences or borrowing other people’s audiences and that’s another good way. In blogging, you see it as guest posting. I've also seen guest posting on other people’s mailing list which is also very effective. And some people will actually let you pay; if you have good enough content, they’ll let you pay to post to their mailing list and you can – you borrow a lot of credibility and you get right into people’s inboxes that way. But you guest post or you post to some semi-prestigious or prestigious places; I mean Linux Journal definitely probably helps. I don’t know that you get tons and tons of traffic, but – [crosstalk] – you're out there in front of an audience that is curated by someone else. Podcasting, you guest – you make a guest appearance on somebody else’s podcast. YouTube, you put together something that somebody composed to their YouTube channel. There are a lot of ways that you can get out there and in front of other people’s audiences and have them essentially promote you while providing value to their audience. PHILIP: Yeah. That’s – that particular approach has been one that’s produced the best results for me is borrowing an audience. You hear success stories in any one of these tactics. You hear about people having great success on talk radio or traditional print media. Those things – some of them I've never tried, and some have not worked very well in my experience, but yeah, just the general technique of finding an audience that you think would be interested in what you have to say, and getting in front of that audience physically or virtually in some way is just a wonderful technique. It works better if you don’t try to sell something immediately to that audience, but your next step is to invite them into your audience. CHUCK: Yeah. I was going to say that that works really well. There's the flipside to it too, though, and the reason that this works is because you effectively provide exposure to your audience as well as providing value to their audience in doing the guesting. So when you guest post on somebody else’s blog, for example, you're probably going to share it which sends them over to that blog and they may subscribe to that blog’s RSS feed. Or the way that I got traction early on with my podcasting was that I had guests on my podcast that people wanted to hear from. And it worked out that after the episode, those folks would go out and they would post to Twitter or whatever and say “hey, I was just a guest on Chuck’s podcast”. It was called Rails Coach early on, and then Teach Me To Code and finally, Ruby Rogues, but we got some names; we got some people that people recognized onto the show and then they went out and shared with their audience and then they said “well, if you're getting people like this, then I want more” and that was another way to grow the audience. So you can guest on other people’s platforms or you can have them come guest on yours and both are effective. REUVEN: Right. PHILIP: One of the things that came up, I think, earlier on where I made a note to return to it, is the idea of churn because as soon as you build an audience, if you’ve never done this before, one of the – maybe a rude awakening or one of the facts of life of having an audience is that people come and go from an audience based on changing interests and all kinds of other things. I’m curious to hear comments from you guys about what was it – was it the first time somebody unsubscribe from your list, were you offended? Did they hurt your feelings? REUVEN: Oh yeah. Still. So doing these webinars – I guess last month, I did a webinar on data signs on Python. And I think from the advertising for that for people signing up, I added a 150 people to my list. I was like “well –” and of course, I still get the – I probably should filter these out at some point, but I’m too distracted, I’m too excited; I get the individual notifications another people signed up. Another person signed up. And I am, of course, on cloud nine. And then I send out a broadcast. So just say I sent out a broadcast to my list, and 10 people unsubscribe, and I was like “oh, that hurts so much” and that’s so terrible, but that’s the nature of things. I can’t expect a hundred percent of them to stay with me. And I have to keep telling myself that’s ok, that people who like what I’m writing and want to get more are my most likely audience and potential customers, they're the ones who are staying. So I should be happy that these people are leaving because I’m whittling it down to a more fine-tuned group that’s aligned with me, but it still hurts. CHUCK: Yeah. And there are people that come in, they kick the tires, they get a couple of emails and they decide “you know what, what I’m getting here isn't what I want”, and then they unsubscribe. Or they’ll be offended because you actually did send them a sales pitch. It was like “value, value, value, value, value, value, sales pitch”, and they were like “uh, trying to sell me stuff” and they’ll – [chuckles]. I mean, there are all kinds of people out there that have all kinds of opinions, and if that’s part of your – the way that you operate your list, and they're going to leave, and that’s just the way it is. But yeah, I remember early on I had a hundred subscribers and then it was “ahh, two of them left” because that’s large percentage, right [chuckles]? And so – but eventually, you just realize “look, the people who are staying on are the people that I really want to be talking to anyway”. And when people drop off, they're going to do find somebody else is going to provide them the value that I can’t. And it works out. But yeah, initially, it’s kind of hard especially you make serious forward progress, and then serious backward progress, and it affects you because it’s a much larger segment of your list that’s leaving. I have a friend – I’m not going to share his name mainly because I don’t have permission to talk about his particular situation in those kinds of specifics, but he was looking at his mailing list and he wanted to increase it from a few thousand to several thousand. And he was looking at the number of people subscribing versus the number of people unsubscribing and realized that he was keeping probably 30, 40, 50% of the people that were subscribing to his mailing list, and it was just – it was frustrating to him that – “it feels like I’m making all these forward progress because I see hundreds of people sign up every week, and then I go and look and realize that actually only a few hundred actually stayed”. And so it’s – I’m not making the forward progress I need to make and it’s going to take me many years before I actually reach the number of subscribers I want to have. And so – [crosstalk]. It can be something that does affect the way that you look at things, and I think the cure for that is really just talking to the people on your list and making sure that you're providing what they want. REUVEN: I was just going to say I am – it’s probably like a year and a half ago, I had a great conversation with Markus Blankenship who we had on the show. And I was talking to him about my list, and he said “well, how do you know what your list wants?” I was like “I don’t know” [chuckles]. I sort of figured they’d sign up and they're happy, and he said “why don’t you ask them?” And one of the best things I ever did was to take his advice and I went to SurveyMonkey, and I set up a quick survey of like 10 questions: What topics are of interest to you? And I was not open; it was a multiple choice, and it was fascinating, absolutely fascinating, to see what people were interested in. And it gave me such a clear window both into my consulting career, like what direction should I be going in, and also why are people on my list and what do they want to get out of it. And I very strongly encourage people to try this out. It was a great experiment and so worth the effort. CHUCK: Yeah. It’s definitely worth it. And the thing is that if you – so for example, let’s say that you do have a – I’m going to use the term lead magnet, which is whatever you offer to get people on your list in exchange for their email address. So it can be that email course or whatever. After you send that out, you can actually follow up with that exact survey. So it’s “it’s obviously you're interested in basket weaving or whatever [chuckles]. Here’s how you weave a basket in 5 emails. So obviously, you're interested in basket weaving, but what other areas of craft are you interested in”, and then either send them to that survey, or have them reply to the email or things like that, and you’ve already got their ear; you’ve already got their trust, and at that point, you're just asking them to tell you what they want so you can give them more of it. It’s a total win. REUVEN: Right. PHILIP: Yeah. Some of the things we’re attaching on are really like mindset issues about having an audience. And I think that’s actually a big deal. So much so I’m going to do a series of webinars with Drip on – Drip, the email marketing provider – on setting up a list and using a list as [inaudible]. And one of the segments is going to be on just the mindset stuff because tell if this sounds familiar: the first couple of times you email let’s say a hundred people that you don’t know who joined your list for whatever reason, I felt like a spammer like I was going to [inaudible] them. And I realized that that was all in my head; they were happy to receive this valuable free content, and it was something I had to get over. And I think the whole idea that someone hates you because they click the Unsubscribe button [chuckles] is part of this mindset that you have to shift over time in order to really build an audience. CHUCK: Well, the other thing is that you have to realize that people get a ton of email these days. And I, in particular, go through my inbox probably twice a year, and I unsubscribe from everything except for the couple of things that I actually read every week or every month when it comes out. PHILIP: Except for my list. I know what you're saying. CHUCK: Yeah, exactly [chuckles]. Yeah, I cry everyday that Philip doesn’t email me. REUVEN: What [inaudible] email everyday [chuckles]. PHILIP: Now, down to just two days a week. REUVEN: Oh, is it? [Inaudible] PHILIP: [Inaudible] I don’t email on the weekends, but I email every weekday. CHUCK: I know the weekends are just black times for me. But anyway, so in a lot of cases, it’s not that they don’t like your content; it’s just that they're not reading it and they don’t want to see it show up in their inbox anymore. PHILIP: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. People’s interest change. They move on. You email every month, once a month, and then they finally – you’ve reminded them that they’ve been meaning to unsubscribe. I’m curious how – so another question that comes up when you have an audience is like ok, how do you monetize the audience? How do you grow your double horns and decide you're going to become an evil person who sells something to your audience? [Inaudible]. How do you do that? How do you approach that? Where do you start? CHUCK: Well, the thing is, and I’m going to go off – well, I guess it’s not really a tangent, but anyway, if your list has been getting emails from you for the last few months about how to set up, let’s say, set up continuous integration for your web applications. If you're not technical, it’s a tool that does the stuff that makes your website works right, is generally how I use it. But anyway, you don’t need to know that so much; it’s just understand that if you’ve been talking about something for a while, and then you come along and you actually sell a service or sell a product that’s related to that, it feels very natural. But if I am talking to you about programming topics and then I turn around and say “hey, go buy this desk”, even though it’s tangentially related because it’s work conditions and ergonomics and you can feel really good about it, if I turn around and sell you something else, it’s going to feel weird. And so if you are going to monetize your mailing list, if you're going to reach out to them and offer them the opportunity to buy something that will add value to them, make sure that it’s something that has been discussed on the list as time goes forward, and that way they will be primed and ready not only to accept that you're offering them the opportunity to buy this, but they’ll be interested in it because they’ve been hearing why you’ve had it or reading what you had to say about it for the last few months, and it tends to just flow a whole lot better. If you do a baton switch on your audience, a lot of times they feel a little bit weird about it. They may not put it into exact words, but it’s going to feel off. “Ok, he’s been talking to me about X, Y and Z for 3 months, and then he tried to sell me Q”. It’s just going to – it’s “well, I guess this mailing list I just have to put up with sales pitches periodically”, or is if it’s “hey, here's X, Y and Z, X Y and Z, X Y and Z, and now here I have a product for Y”, then it’s going to feel like part of the conversation. REUVEN: [Inaudible] more explicit than that. I definitely try to put out interesting, useful titbits for programmers, and things that I've learned. The way that I describe it is “let’s learn together”. And I've said, I think, many times on the podcast even here, I've been writing for Linux Journal for 20 years, believe it or not, just by every month, and easily the amount of email that I get from one message – let’s say 2 or 3 messages to my mailing list dwarfs the amount of email I've gotten over those 20 years from my Linux Journal readers. PHILIP: Wow. REUVEN: [Chuckles] right? Which may be I’m just putting off my readers in the magazine – I don’t know – but it’s not uncommon for me to have someone subscribe to my list, and then they get the automatic thing saying “thanks for subscribing. Please tell me about yourself” and they will email and say “I've been reading your column for years. I’m so glad I have a chance to be in touch with you”. Now, they could’ve done this before, right? It’s not like my email address is a secret, but they're much more likely to communicate and be a part of that. And so I’m on my list constantly giving them insights and ideas into programming, but I’m also saying “my current project is –” so people in my mailing list know that for the last 4 months, I've been putting together this book on regular expressions. And how do they know it? Because I've been mentioning it and because I've been giving them sections of it, sample, exercises, things I’m planning to do, and so not only do people know. Like just today, I sent a broadcast saying “I’m about to publish this in 2 days. Here's another sample from it”, but I've been – it’s very natural and so I’m constantly telling people “so this is what I've learned, and I’m working toward a book. I’m working toward a project of some sort”. And so people email me and they say “we’re interested in this. We want to see this”. And so when it comes out, it’s a very natural part of what I’m doing in a list and they're not surprised. It’s “oh, here's the book that he’s been talking about for a few months, and I've seen parts of that. Wow, I’d like to get that”. Or worst case, they say “ah, not so interesting, but I’ll stay on the list”. But no one’s offended by it. CHUCK: Right. PHILIP: Right. The thing you're talking about is alignment. The offer is aligned with everything else you’ve been doing. CHUCK: Well, it is not a surprise either because he’s been talking about the book, and then he finally just sends the email that says it’s out there if you want it, right? And so it’s not this “surprise! You can buy something from me”. Even if you’ve been talking about regular expressions the entire time, they know the book’s coming. It’s not a shock. And so when you say “oh, by the way, it’s out there. Here’s where you go to buy it”, then it’s “oh, I kind of been following along with this for a while”, so it’s reached the climax of that story as far as putting the book out there. REUVEN: Right. Let me talk about – since we’re already talking about my list, let me talk about a different list, a different set of problems that I’m having that – and then I have different set of solutions I've been trying to deal with. So I also ran a list called Mandarin Weekly which I think I've mentioned which is sort of modelled on Peter Cooper’s list. This week in JavaScript this weekend, he’s got like 10 different things going on now. CHUCK: It’s all about oranges. REUVEN: [Chuckles] Right, exactly. So for those of you who don’t know, those who are new to the podcast, I’m somewhat obsessed with studying Chinese. And I said “you know, there are 40 million people out there studying Chinese. There are some blog that no one is aggregating them. What if I would put this together; partly because if I’m already obsessed, I might as well put my obsession to good use to the public, and partly, well maybe I could turn this into a business of some sort, even a small one. And so there, I don’t have any natural way of building an audience. And there, it’s been like some posting on blogs and some posting on Reddit to tell them about it. I've even started taking out some advertising, which has turned out to be phenomenally successful once targeted the right way. But the interactions I have are very different because I’m no longer writing and asking people for call-backs, and I’m no longer asking people for reaction, I’m no longer selling them anything. And so it’s just like every two weeks [inaudible] gotten big enough that every 2 to 3 weeks, I get email from someone saying “I just want you to know this is really useful to me”. And so maybe it’s a size thing where you have to get over a certain amount, or maybe it’s a style thing. It’s been a much longer road than I expected to build the audience to where I’d wanted it to be. CHUCK: Yeah. One thing that I can think of right off the bat is if you're featuring blog posts in your weekly newsletter, then you should be emailing all the people who are featured in your weekly newsletter and telling them that they’ve been featured, and give them a click to tweet .com link that will allow them to quickly and easily tweet “hey, our blog post was featured in Mandarin Weekly and here's where you get it”. REUVEN: You know, it’s funny how these things are so obvious in retrospect [laughter]. It’s like I did try emailing a few of them, and I got nothing and nowhere. And because the way that blogs works, so sometimes they’ll notice, but the idea of sending them email and saying “click to tweet”, it seems so obvious and simple and yet, why don’t they do it? CHUCK: Well, it’s obvious once you’ve done it, but – and so I've done that for other products, but when I first saw it, I did the same thing. I did the forehead slap and then it was “oh my gosh! That’s brilliant and completely obvious now that I know it’s there”. REUVEN: Wow. Right. And I can even automate that. I've got a little program that I use to generate the HTML for the newsletter each week, so I can easily add an email address for you to site. And if they appear, even send it automatically. Yes, I can be a spammer, for sure. CHUCK: Yeah, but I mean, it’s – again, it’s the same kinds of things. You could also do the same thing with the people who are subscribed. So you put a link in there that just says “hey, if you like this, please click here”, and again you give them a real easy way to share it. REUVEN: So let me ask about that, because I've said now for months, I think, at the top, “if you enjoy this, please share it with your friends”, but what you seem to be indicating is that’s not enough. I need to make it like blatantly obvious. Give them a button. CHUCK: Yeah, you want a specific call to action. “Click here for pre-written tweet that you can use to share this with your friends”, or “click here to like us on Facebook”, or whatever. But what that does is then if they participate on Twitter and you can even say “take 2 seconds and do it”, and then it – but then it feels like something simple and easy and gives them the chance to do it in a very easy and controlled way. REUVEN: Excellent, excellent. PHILIP: Reuven, are you taking this sort of old emails and posting them as blog posts on the site where people could opt-in for this list? REUVEN: Funny you mentioned that. Yes, but it took me a while to realize that. So for a while, I thought I've got this great content. And then the few people who are subscribed were being like “this is amazing”. So I wanted people to sign up on the mailing list and I didn’t want to [inaudible] on the blog. So at first, I would just have it the blog; I would just tell them the headlines. “So you want to see more, you can either go to the AWeber archive or you can click here to subscribe”. And at a certain point, I guess it’s about 6 months ago, I said “this is nuts”. And I started producing the complete content and putting it on the blog about a day later. So if you get the email subscription, it comes to you on Monday, and if you're on the blog, it shows up on Tuesday. And basically, I found that people were finding it, that people were linking to it, and I was able to take advantage of the fact that it was on a blog and now it’s indexable and searchable and everything. So I think that was definitely a wise way to go. CHUCK: Yup. PHILIP: Yeah. I think – I’m sorry – I was going to say I think the SEO value of that outweighs the exclusivity value of having it just on your list. CHUCK: Yup. And then you just make it really, really easy and very obvious. “If you want this a day sooner and you want it somewhere you're always going to see it, then sign up for the mailing list”. REUVEN: Right. So I've done a few things just in the last week or two that had dramatically changed things. First of all, I've started taking out some Facebook advertising. And it took me a while to fine-tune it so I was getting to people. At first I was like “I’m going to target this at anyone who’s interested in Chinese. And if they indicate that, that’s great” and I got an incredible number of likes on Facebook and a very small number of people actually subscribing. So I said “ok, how should I do this?” And so Facebook is amazing in terms of being able to target. So I’m now targeting people who teach Chinese between certain ages in certain countries. And boom! [Chuckles] A lot more people are signing up. It’s really amazing working [inaudible] with that. And the other thing is that I added the pop-up which everyone hates, but I get to say that it works that when you're about to leave a site and you're about to leave, it says “no no no, before you leave, didn’t you know that you can get this delivered to your mailbox every Monday?” and I think it’s got now a 20% success rate on that box. It’s really quite something. PHILIP: I don’t have any great data to back this up other than my year or two of experience working on a corporate helpdesk. But I can tell you that at least a substantial portion of people use their – this was always with Outlook where when the pst file would get over a gig, just everything would get very fragile and – anyway, a lot of people use their email inbox as their permanent record of everything. It’s the CYA file in case something – they get blamed for something at work, they can show you the email. And I think it’s like a convenient place for them to say “you know what, I don’t have time to read that now.” It’s like their Instapaper account if they're not [inaudible] Instapaper. You know what I mean? So I think even if you use [inaudible] content that you want to be somewhat exclusive and just put it on your blog anyway, I think there's value in doing that. I think people still sign up and say “you know what, I don’t want to” – it’s like bookmarking a site almost. REUVEN: Right. CHUCK: Yeah. My hang-up on that kind of thing has always been if I write a blog post and then I want to send it to my list, there's certain segments that are probably looking at both and they're going to go “well, I could’ve just seen this on the blog post or I could’ve just waited for it to come in on my email” and – but I think for the most part, you have different audiences for both and it doesn’t matter as much. PHILIP: Yeah. You're describing what I call the panopticon problem with content, which is you see all the content – you're the guy who makes it, so of course you see it all – but sometimes people have a much more siloed segmented view of your content, like they only are going to see what's on the website or they're only going to see it if it shows up in their inbox. So I think it’s ok to do [inaudible] across different channels. CHUCK: Yeah. The other thing is you can stagger the timing. On a newsletter like Reuven’s, you probably don’t want to, but in my case where I have a blog and an email and everything else, definitely it is something that I can actually get away with. PHILIP: What are the like getting in front of audience options that might be out there for your – for this list we’re talking about here? Are there – [crosstalk]. REUVEN: It’s not obvious to me. PHILIP: Host a webinar or –? REUVEN: Well, the thing is like I’m not – I’m just quite a beginner in Chinese. I've been doing it for a year and a half and I've made what I think is very good progress, but I’m still a laughable newbie, which in many ways is, I think, makes me useful for putting this list because I’m like “oh, that is interesting” as opposed to “pffft, everyone knows that”. But I don’t think that a webinar is necessarily appropriate. I’m just doing aggregation of interesting content from other people. So it’s not obvious to me how I could leverage other people to build my audience, except that here and there some other blogs have said “oh, here’s some resources for learning Chinese. This is one that you should get to”. Part of my strategy now is paying for advertising on Facebook is, and maybe I’m just fooling myself, but I figure I’m willing to put in some money here to get to a tipping point of a larger number of people and people who are more influential. For instance, teachers. For instance, people who are involved in – I don’t know – teaching communities that I’m just not associated with. And they will then start to spread the word more. I might be fooling myself there, though. PHILIP: It makes me wonder if you could contact language departments at universities and get your thing listed as resource for students. REUVEN: Interesting idea. Yeah, that’s [inaudible] going to do. CHUCK: The other thing that you could do is you can also – hopefully their professors are publishing, and you may also may be able to work that out so that you can also say “and if you have any interesting content that you think could go well on the list, let me know about it” and so you get [inaudible] of it and they get you some goodwill because you're actually doing them a favor. REUVEN: Right. PHILIP: [Inaudible]. And public and private schools, I’m sure there's probably some private schools that teach Chinese that would be eager to know about a resource that they feed their paying students, but they don’t have to maintain themselves. REUVEN: Right. And it’s been fascinating for me in starting off some of these advertising to teachers. And not everyone’s a teacher, but I've seen – or I can’t necessarily tell, but I've seen some people come in from schools, form different school domains, that I’m thinking “hmm, I wonder if I’ll put it on a list to filter the students [inaudible] print out every week”. It would be interesting for me to hear how to use it, and I think [inaudible] bigger, I may do a survey to find that out and get people more interested in that as well feel more connected. PHILIP: Yeah. CHUCK: Yup. REUVEN: It’s fun to me to see these two different audiences that I’m dealing with, and there's no overlap between these worlds and how I’m building them differently and I’m working with them differently, and just the feel is different. PHILIP: Yeah. It’s a whole different landscape of who is the authoritative person or group of people that could really amplify this and what were the watering holes. It’s one of the reasons why I enjoy the mentoring people with their positioning is it’s always different in almost every industry. It’s always different and always interesting. CHUCK: Yeah. The other thing that comes to mind is if there's some kind of Stack Overflow or something for Mandarin. I know several people who have built audiences by going and answering questions on Stack Overflow or Quora or websites like that where they come in and they basically answer a question, and then people go check them out and find out “oh, they’ve got this other thing that answers the question” or “oh, they’ve got this blog post that gives a more in-depth answer” or something like that. So I don’t know if there are existing forums or other communities for Mandarin that you could actually go into and participate in, and then on the sly or even directly say “I found this blog post that will also explain it better and I put stuff like that in my newsletter all the time”. REUVEN: So first of all, there are a bunch of them; there's Reddit and there's Stack Overflow on Chinese and then also like a Chinese forum site. And I just – there are people there who really, really know what they're talking about, and I am not one of them. So I feel like it would be a combination of not a good use of my time and or disingenuous and just giving people bad information. That said, someone just signed up for the list like 2 days ago, and he sent me a grammatical question. I was like “wow, I can actually answer this. I’m so proud of myself”. CHUCK: Yup. But you could also even just pile on. So if somebody comes in and says “well, you actually conjugate this verb in Chinese this way”, and then you go in and you say “here’s a really great blog post on that in more [inaudible]. So then you don’t have to be the expert, but you can be the resource and again, you just have in your signatures something that says “go sign up for my newsletter, blah blah blah” and so you become the encyclopedia without actually having to know all of the facts. REUVEN: That’s a really good point. Very clever. And by the way, there are no conjugation in Chinese, but that’s like a [inaudible]. CHUCK: Ok. Well [chuckles]. I studied French for 6 years and I lived in Italy for 2 years, so conjugations are kind of a thing there. REUVEN: Right, right. Now, that’s one of the nice things about it. Pronunciation’s a killer, but at least you don’t have to conjugate. CHUCK: Yup. [Crosstalk] I want to put out there a few other ideas. I’m just going to throw them out there really quickly. So with the podcast, one thing that I've done is I've used FFmpeg to convert the audio into video with just the album art and then put it up on YouTube. And I've gotten some pulling some people in there. Also, having a Facebook page has really helped. But ultimately, all of those things are built up just to pull people back to the website so that I can capture email addresses and things like that. The other thing that I did early on was RubyFlow which is a website where people post information news about Ruby programming, and so if you can find a place like that or Reddit or Hacker News or whatever that does that kind of thing, those are also great places to get the word out and you're probably not going to get a huge torrent of traffic unless it’s something that that entire community really wants, but you'll still get people who are interested come check you out. What were you going to ask, Reuven? Sorry, I didn’t mean to cut you off. REUVEN: I’m just going to ask Philip. You’ve been asking some great questions. I’m curious to hear how you built up your list and how you build up your audience. Because I’m on your list and I've been reading it for a while, and I love it, but is it – have you found that these email courses that have lead people into it, or are there other ways as well? PHILIP: It’s pretty simple. I try a number of things to find what was going to work for me, and what's been really good for me is – the real mouth of my funnel is appearing on podcasts as a guest and talking about positioning. That – at the end of any one of those guest appearances, I say “hey, if you want to learn more, go to positioningcrashcourse.com and there's an email course you can opt-in for there” and that’s how people get on my list. So if you go on my website and certain pages of the website have an opt-in for that positioning crash course as well. All of it just funnels to that one simple email course. I am working on ways to scale that up and develop a – I would refer to that email course as a lead magnet. I want do develop a lead magnet that’s a little more broadly interesting than just positioning. If that’s not a paradox; I don’t know what it is [chuckles]. I’ll probably add another lead magnet at some point. But right now, it’s a super simple funnel. And then once you're on my list, I email a lot and I’m just always trying to provide value and lets you know about the ways you can pay for value. So it’s not really the kind of thing, but I see a lot of Facebook ads of people like “I’ve developed a lead generation system that brings a $100,000 a month of business to my coaching practice”. And I look at those and I’m like “yeah, maybe, I guess” and I do checked them out because I’m always interested in the lead generation techniques that are working. But I feel like there's a quality of unrealism to those things. It just feels a little slimy to me. But I know my system works. And in contrast, my system is not very sexy and appealing, but it’s quote reliable [inaudible] a podcast and a certain number of those people will click over to the called action and end up on my list. And some of them are very happy to be there. So it works, but it’s quite simple. REUVEN: Very neat. CHUCK: That’s really interesting. PHILIP: And it is also probably leaving a lot of potential subscribers on the table. There's more I could be doing. I definitely want to experiment with stuff like Facebook ads; I just honestly haven’t had the time to really do it right. REUVEN: Philip, your taking has been positioning for technical firms also I see you starting to edge out in doing other things as well. Have you thought about – talked about positioning for other people or doing a – I mean, not in a separate list, but separately [inaudible] for them? PHILIP: Yeah. I get plenty of graphic designers and writers and people who are not custom software developers on my list, and that’s fine because I think a lot of what I talk about is directly applicable. But really, anything that’s a services business where the primary factor is increasing trust and you want to get away from the hustle approach, to me, you're going to benefit from being on my list. But at the same time, I really – I just keep my message focused on a particular audience because it makes so many other things easier. So yeah, of course I've toyed with the idea. There's a little devil on my left shoulder that’s whispering to me all the time “oh you should change your focus. Find a bigger audience” or whatever. But I don’t believe it. CHUCK: So one question that I have is periodically, I intend to change my lead magnet. So I think the top 10 episodes is probably going to run for 6 months or so, and then I may do something different. I’m also looking at – because not only pops up maybe once a month for people. It’s what I have; it’s set to right now. I want something else that pops up periodically too that’s going to prepare them for a product that I am working on. And so I want to give them a lead magnet and things like that, but I already have a bunch of people on my list. Do I just email those folks and give them the opportunity to basically opt-in for that lead magnet and get tagged with whatever I’m using to keep track of people that are interested in that as well so that I have different segments on my list? PHILIP: Maybe. When you get down to it, there's a number of ways to handle that. It’s like with a system like Drip or other marketing automation software, you can change the content of an email based on things like how someone is tagged. So you could do it that way. You could send the same content out but have a different called action. I do that. Or you could have a different list segment as you indicated, and the way that you get on that segment is from the list you click a link inside an email and that signed you up to that different segment and you start getting new emails as a part of that segment or it could just be the opt-in to that lead magnet on your website. Those are those that would work. It’s kind of a question of how much complexity you desire to manage and which one will accomplish your ultimate goal better. CHUCK: Yeah. Ultimately, I just – for that particular thing – and so I’m writing an ebook on how to find a job as a coder. It’s mostly aimed at new developers because those are the people who tend to be asking me the most. And so I would like to put a, basically, a little pop up that comes up after they’ve been on the page for a little while or maybe when they're leaving that says “by the way, I’m working on this book. Enter your email address to get the 5 Steps to Getting a Job” or something. But if I put that out there, I know that some of the people that are currently on my list for the podcast episodes and other things are going to be interested in that, and so I thought maybe I just email them. I could email them and have them go to a landing page where they can opt-in. There are a lot of options. I guess part of it is just paralysis by analysis because I don’t know what the best way to go is. PHILIP: Right. Well, just know that whatever you choose is going to have – is going to be somewhat of a compromise. Are you on Drip? CHUCK: Yes. PHILIP: Ok. Well, you could just set up a trigger link in an email and say “click here if you're interested in this thing”, and the trigger link is what adds somebody to that second segment. CHUCK: Yup. That was what I was looking at doing. PHILIP: Yeah. You don’t even need the landing page. CHUCK: Yeah. I’m thinking about putting a landing page up because I've shared a URL with people that it’s going to be published soon. PHILIP: That makes sense. CHUCK: So I could just send them through to that. PHILIP: That makes sense. Here's the thing I guess that most people don’t think about when they say “I’m going to add a second audience or a major segment” is are you going to be able to produce content for – specifically for that new audience, specifically for that new segment at the required rate. And I don’t know what that rate is, but are you going to be able to sustain that over the long term? That’s exactly why I have a conditional called action where I don’t produce different content for people who are interested in positioning versus lead generation.  I just have a different called action. And it’s because I just don’t have the bandwidth to make that much content right now, which I did, but I don’t so I got to be realistic about that. And that’s the one thing I guess I would tell people to look out for when they're thinking about adding a whole different second audience or third audience. CHUCK: Yeah. This is mostly a segment within my existing audience. PHILIP: Yeah. CHUCK: And I already have 5 or 6 segments of my existing audience now. PHILIP: It tells me like you know what to do. You just need to do it. CHUCK: Anything else we should talk about about building an audience or managing a mailing list? REUVEN: Let me just add one thing, which is we had a suggestion for this topic from one of our listeners, which is great. And I’m not taking this personally at all, but he said “oh, well, it probably wasn’t that hard for Reuven because he’s got this [inaudible] Linux Journal already”. Everyone, everyone including me, starts with zero people on their list and it was an uphill battle for me and a learning curve for me just like everyone else, and I still hear about people getting “oh, I don’t like someone I just heard say that he got 800 people in the last month”. And I say “well, how could that possibly be?” And so everyone can learn here and everyone can start. Everyone starts from the same point. If you don’t have a list, you can start one and it will take time to build it up, but it’s totally, totally worth it. PHILIP: Yeah. I just want to tag on to that and say absolutely. No one’s born with an audience unless you're in the royal family in England or something and then maybe you're born into an audience, but everyone else has to build it. And I think it can be a tremendous source of stability and security for almost any business. I think it’s a wonderful asset. But it is an asset and you have to build it and you have to contribute the value. Sorry, my cat’s agreeing with me [chuckles]. REUVEN: [Inaudible] there was a cat outside of the [inaudible] of the podcast. [Chuckles] CHUCK: Alright. Well, I think that was well said. So we’ll go ahead and do some picks. Reuven, do you want to start us off with picks? REUVEN: Sure. So here I’ll do a – since we've already talked about it, I’ll segue into a self-serving pick. So when this podcast actually drops my new book Practice Makes Regexp. The least pronounce of a book ever written [inaudible]. Anyway, it’s 50 exercises in regular expressions with solutions in Python, Ruby, JavaScript and Postgres. And the idea is many, many people try to learn regular expressions. Many people end up cursing, hitting their head on the wall, turning off their computer or worst. And so the idea is by doing lots of exercises and looking at the solutions, you can improve your fluency and see why there are actually a useful tool and not just a way for consultants to extract lots of money from their victims. So if you're interested in regular expressions, if you're interested in improving your fluency with them, take a look at my book, and give me a feedback if you think it’s the sort of thing that you're interested in. Anyway, that’s my pick for this week. CHUCK: Alright. Philip, what are your picks? PHILIP: I just have to say that I use regular expressions once a year for some reason that seems to be the frequency. And so I’ll go Stack Overflow, I’ll figure out how to use the one aspect of that crazy thing that I need to, and then I will have forgotten it completely about the next time I need to do anything with it. REUVEN: Everyone, I’ll just add – I mentioned I guess about a month or two ago in some class that I was teaching that I’m working on this book and I teach some of those regular expressions classes. And this woman in class says “well, I just go to Stack Overflow” and everyone’s nodding. And she says “besides, the only thing you need to know is .*. “.*” does everything.” [Laughter] And I was like – [crosstalk]. CHUCK: Yes, by definition. REUVEN: Right. You could be a little more precise than that. [Chuckles] PHILIP: Yeah. So here’s one vote for your book. Anyway, my pick is from – since we’re talking about audience building, from the world of internet marketing scumbags, I read a book by a guy named Ken McCarthy who is apparently the sort of the founding father of selling stuff online. And he wrote a book which is really a collection of newsletters that he sent to his list called The System Club Letters: 57 Big Ideas to Transform Your Business and Your Life. Cheesy part of the world to be receiving information from, and maybe not the greatest title, but it’s actually a really, really good book. It’s half inspirational and half educational and was totally worth the $9.99 Kindle price. One of the exercises in that book to get you out of when you're stuck in your business is to ask what's working, what's missing from that, and based on the answers to those two questions, what's next. And I found this very interesting and powerful way to break down blocks and problems in a business, and so that’s one tidbit from that book and it’s full of other good stuff too. That’s my pick for this week. CHUCK: Awesome. I was exposed to Ken McCarthy a little month or two ago and great stuff. He’s got some good stuff. I've got a couple of picks as well. We talked a lot about email so I’m going to pick Drip. I know it’s been picked on the show before probably by me, as a matter of fact, but it’s such a great system and I really, really enjoy using it. To collect the emails, I mentioned AppSumo or SumoMe – that’s where it is, sumome.com, and that works terrific for putting up all of your email capture stuff and everything else. So that works terrific as well. Finally, I just want to shout out last week, I mentioned it at this top of the show, but we did Freelance Remote Conf and both of these gentlemen spoke, gave great talks. We had a whole bunch of other stuff. I have actually had a few people ask me for advice on how to run a freelance business and I keep telling them “look, just go buy a ticket at the conference because there's so much great stuff there and then I’ll help you fill in any gaps that you run into”. So definitely go check that out. We are doing conferences all year long. So it’s March now; Ruby Remote Conf is coming up this month. IOS Remote Conf is coming up next month and we’re lining up some speakers for that. It’s super going to be fun. React Remote Conf is the month after that, then Git, then Newbies, then Robots – so you kind of get the idea – Angular. So yeah; so if you're interested in any of those topics or if they appeal to the people that you're trying to sell your services to, by all means, go check them out. They're all listed at allremoteconfs.com and you can check all that out. I’m also working – I think I’m going to work that into a platform now that I've got it clicking along for me. So if you're looking at running an online remote conf, then check that out as well. And yeah, I really want to do an episode on webinars now because both of you have mentioned that you’ve done them and had some success with them and my experience with the webinars has been less than successful. So anyway, we’ll go ahead and wrap up the show and we’ll catch you all next week.[Hosting and bandwidth is provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at BlueBox.net.]**[Bandwidth for this segment is provided by CacheFly, the world’s fastest CDN.  Deliver your content fast with CacheFly. Visit cachefly.com to learn more.]**

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