What is your niche? Who are the people that are most impacted by your message? If you are not sure about your answer to these questions, this message is for you.
In this Focus2Finish session with James Robor, you will get ideas on how to narrow down your target audience and make your message heard by the people who need it most.
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Shelley: Welcome to this episode of Author Audience. This is a Focus2Finish session with one of my Author Audience Academy members, James Robor.
James: Thanks, Shelley. It’s nice to be in the session here today, thank you.
Shelley: Yeah, so today our goal is to clarify your target audience and use this time to tighten that up and talk about that, right?
James: Yes. I want to clarify my target reader and market.
Shelley: Sounds good. The way I normally open my sessions is in prayer. So let’s just pray and then we’ll dive right in.
God, thank You so much for today, thank You for James and what you are doing through him. I just pray that You would use this next thirty minutes to just really help him clarify what he wants, the target audience, the target reader he’s going to reach, and that it would really bring insight for him, and that Your Spirit would speak really clearly. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Typically, the way I do it is by answering the following questions:
What is your goal? What have you done, and what are the next steps?
So, your goal is to clarify your target reader. But I know you from the Author Audience Academy Facebook Group. You’re very active there, and I know you also want to earn income, is that correct?
James: Yes, that’s true.
Shelley: Do you have a specific goal for that?
James: Concerning income?
James: Ultimately, I would like to drive a full-time income from the work that I have the greatest passion, skills, etc. So, my long-term goal may be for this next year is I would like to at least make a certain amount of money per month. I think anytime sooner is not realistic yet.
Well, I don’t know if I should say how much, but I have a certain amount of money I would like to make per month, at least as a milestone to building up, going forward at least, something that would be an improvement of past years, etc.
Shelley: Yeah. The reason I asked that is just to know what your immediate goal is – your long-term goal. You don’t have to share your number necessarily but is it hundreds of dollars, or thousands of dollars per month next year?
Just kind of a ballpark so I can know if it’s a small amount, medium amount, or large amount.
James: I’ll take a million dollars a month if I can get it. But if I could get $300-400 a month on a consistent basis that would definitely be a significant improvement. That would be a good place to build from and something worth continuing.
Shelley: That makes sense. Obviously, the sky is the limit – we’re never limited to that. I see what you’ve done in there. I wrote “see other documents” because you did a lot of research in other documents.
You had started to clarify a little bit on your brand and your target audience. Tell me just a little bit what your main focus is for your target reader and the niche that you’ve chosen.
Identifying Your Niche
James: When I think about the target reader, I often think that each book has its own unique target reader. So that’s the thing I wanted to talk about. I think there are different kinds of target audience or market, in general, and then I think each book has its own unique target reader.
Like, I know you write some books that are targeted towards authors and you have some books that aren’t necessarily about writing or authoring in general. The next book I’m working on is about hearing God’s voice. So there are a couple of different groups that would probably benefit from a book like that.
One would be someone who is not hearing God’s voice and one who is sort of feeling disconnected from it and needing to hear from God. Then the other group would just be those who just want to learn more about the subject and just want to grow.
Shelley: So, there’s a lot of stuff going on here. You’ve probably been part of author Audience enough and you’ve heard me share about the acronym FOCUS, Follow One Course Until Successful.
I have multiple niches, but first I started off in the Christian Teen Girl niche. I did that exclusively for a few years. Then, I started getting into Christian Living books.
It wasn’t until I had really been successful in that and had experience that I started really into the author niche. By then I could show people, “OK, I’ve actually done this. I’ve sold books”. So, it was gradual.
It wasn’t like I tried to do all of them at once. So, what I was trying to say is that right now, at this point in your career, really try to focus in on one major niche and one major thing. And just as a reminder, if you want to make income with this, you really need a hungry market.
So, you need a market that has the money and is willing to spend that money on what you have to offer. That’s something that is very important.
It may be the best book in the world but if you don’t have that hungry market, or you don’t have a market that has that extra expendable income to spend on what you have, then it’s a dead-end street as well. Does that make sense?
Shelley: The two types of target audiences you are going to look for are either people with a burning problem and people with a burning passion.
So, me, with the self-publishing niche, it’s like people want to get their books out, so they have a burning problem. The second group of people is more of hobbyists. So, with my art classes that is more of that, they have a burning passion. They want to be more creative and they want to learn art. So, that fits more into that category.
That’s kind of what I want you to think about. Instead of trying to go into a million different directions, say, “OK, what is the major niche.”
I know you’re already working on your first book How to Hear God’s Voice. Do you think that it is going to fit into a niche that you’ll continue to write for and you’ll continue to create products for?
Or do you think that will be a stand-alone, one and done, type of, “I’m doing that and then there won’t be any other products for that niche.”?
James: For one thing, it’s not my first book. I wrote another book before that, but in general, I’m a minister and I felt like I’m called to preach. I have been since the age of 19. So, to me, these Christian books I’m writing are just kind of another way of preaching and teaching. It’s just reaching a different audience of people who like to read books, obviously, and a different format.
These Christian books, which I have written are more of, essentially, a ministry. That’s something that I kind of had to come to a point where I had to think, “can I really make money from this?” I think in the long term I maybe could, but maybe not in the short term, not in the near future.
That depends, too, on how much effort and a lot of different things. I’m actually developing a different business idea where I’m looking at, probably, being more of a financial income, more than these Christian books which I’m writing. I’d definitely like to get some income from them, but I’m not expecting to make a lot of money from these Christian books, necessarily.
It’s hard to make money anyway, and with Christian books, it’s even more difficult. I don’t know. I have another passion that is sort of related, but I think it has, maybe more money-making potential, but it very much is related in there is some connection there. But, they are two different markets, I suppose.
Starting Your Businesstry
Shelley: Well, you should know that if you’re having two different things that you’re doing it’s going to split your time. So, you’re not going to be able to devote your full amount of time to either one, that is going to maybe not make your success as quick in either one.
So, that’s just something to keep in mind, does that make sense?
James: Yeah, I totally understand. At the same time, it’s very common for someone to have a ministry and secular job, or ministry and secular business. To me, I see it as very common to have a work and a ministry. And if you’re fortunate to make money from your ministry that’s great.
My business idea could be considered a ministry as well, just to a different market. Then, we kind of get into a different conversation into what is and isn’t ministry, marketplace ministry, and where I’m coming up with “businesstry”.
Shelley: Yeah, well Author Audience Academy is like that for me too. It’s my business, but it’s also my ministry, so they both overlap in that. A lot of people do both, but they might have a 9-5 job that they’re not starting from scratch, you know what I mean?
So it’s a little bit different when you’re starting two things up from scratch. Yeah, you can totally be successful at that – go for it, try it, do what God is telling you to do. But I just wanted to remind you that it’s definitely going to be a little trickery.
I know, and I, myself, have been struggling with having 3 different niches right now, and even with a team – with VAs, and all these people, I am stretched to the limit. So, just a reminder.
The Christian Living Ministry niche, is that what you want to focus on for the rest of the time, just narrowing that down and deciding what you want to do with that in the next steps?
James: Yeah, and what I want to talk about is, generally speaking, who would be the kind of person that would be interested in reading my books or attending one of my speaking events, you know?
Who should be my target reader? Who should I be focusing on?
My idea was that people who you have the most in common with could be – not necessarily but could be – the ones you should, perhaps, focus on. For example, people of your same gender, age, or even locality.
There’s a lot of things that you can kind of focus on. But I think there are certain aspects in my personality, my story, my skills, and my interests that I think should play on who my target reader or target audience is. That’s just in my opinion. So, I’m just trying to clarify that.
Who You Impacted and Enjoy Working With
Shelley: In real life, who are the type of people that tend to be attracted to your ministry or have been impacted by what God is doing through your life?
What kind of people tend to have testimonies of how you have touched them, people who have been in your church before, or in your ministries? What kind of person would that look like in real life?
James: That’s a tough question. To go back, I wrote a book called Keys to Massive Breakthrough and the book is all about getting a breakthrough and overcoming obstacles in your life.
Then, I also should mention that I studied psychology at Liberty University and specialized in Christian Counselling. So, there’s definitely an emphasis in my ministry and teaching about overcoming personal challenges and hardships. I get people who have a significant amount of hardship in their life, and I have had to deal with quite some challenging people, circumstances, and issues.
I don’t know if part of that is because I wrote a book called Keys to Massive Breakthrough and maybe they thought that if anybody can help them I can. I think it’s partly just about when people know your story and they know what you’ve had to go through then they connect.
I’ve had to overcome quite a lot of challenges and I didn’t have a very easy life. So, the thing is, I don’t necessarily want to be only around people who have had an easy life and got it all together and didn’t have to overcome very much.
I want to help people overcome huge challenges because it’s like a challenge to me. If I can help that person and they can overcome that, imagine the testimony, it’s like a reward.
Shelley: With your background in counseling and helping people with challenges, are there specific additions, challenges, or abuse, or any specific types of challenges that you notice people coming to you with more often than others?
Is it financial, sexual abuse, a sexual addiction, gambling, eating addictions, or is it something completely different? Maybe I’m not even thinking on the right lines.
James: Honestly, I almost don’t want to say it because it’s like I’m going to open up a can of worms and I’m going to get married to the thing. But I’ll go ahead and say it.
There’s been a significant amount of people with mental disorders and issues that have come my way or just significant problems mentally and emotionally. I’ve tried to help them, but the thing is I don’t necessarily want to target those people, do you know what I’m saying?
Shelley: It’s like, who do you enjoy working with as well? So, that’s another thing. That would be the next question, who do you enjoy working with the most? Ministering to or working with.
James: Well, I don’t mind working with mentally ill people. The problem is that most people are mentally ill because of genetic reasons, reasons they have no control of or environmental things which they are so oppressed that it’s so difficult to overcome.
I really like to work with people who have some kind of a challenge and who are motivated to overcome that challenge. I think that’s the thing that I really love.
Like I said, I don’t necessarily want to just be with people who have it all together and don’t have any problems. I can’t relate to them, and I don’t think they can relate to me.
So, I think I’d like working with people who have some kind of an issue, but at the same time are very motivated to overcome that issue.
Shelley: Yeah, so I think of people who have hit rock bottom, they’re like, “I have nowhere else to go, something has to change.” Would you say that kind of person or not?
James: I would include that person. But at the same time, I don’t want to necessarily focus 100% on the people who are at rock bottom. A lot of the rock bottom people are just beyond what I can do for them. A lot of times I feel helpless with them.
Shelley: Alright. So how would you describe the person in a little bit more detail?
James: They definitely have some challenge or issue. My ministry is called Kingdom Glory Ministry, so there’s an emphasis on the Holy Spirit, and there’s a real emphasis on prayer and worship.
My ministry model, my philosophy, is that when you seek God and He touches you and feels your heart and mind then amazing things can happen.
So, it’s one of the strong components of my teaching and belief system is that when you seek first the Kingdom of God all the other things are added to you. So, that’s one of the things that I really teach and preach.
Shelley: It would need to be someone that is open to the things of the Holy Spirit.
James: Yeah, absolutely.
Shelley: No judgment, I’m not saying anything. But I just know that there are certain churches and certain people who that’s not them. That would be a question there, who do you enjoy working with?
Then, what is it about you that you think would attract someone? Hobbies, like have you been in the military before? Things like that. Is there a certain group of people that might relate to you?
James: That’s the kind of thing that I was trying to get a better grasp on. If we just think about who is like me, because I think a lot of times in life you’re attracted to people who are like you.
People who would be like me, that would be a man of my age, a man who has similar interests. Like I’m a big MBA basketball fan. I did spend a few years in the military, but that’s not really my highlight of life. But I do understand the challenges of being in the military.
I think one thing that is maybe unique about my life is that I did grow up in quite extreme neighborhoods and background – poverty. I lived in literal ghettos and a lot of my family didn’t graduate from high school. So, I have a bit of a rough past.
When I was 15 I got born again and filled with the Holy Spirit, and a few years later I went to Bible School. I very much understand people from that kind of background, and I think my testimony could be powerful for that kind of people.
Shelley: What kind of ministries do you think would have that type of person that maybe grew up in extreme poverty and sports fan? Because then we want to start to think about if there are groups of people you could connect with that already have that target audience.
I’m thinking there have to be ministries and things that really minister to people in poverty, and maybe you could connect with them and somehow, they could use your books or resources in their bible studies.
Do you understand the train of thought I’m thinking on with that?
James: Absolutely, it’s a very good suggestion.
Shelley: What other ministries do you know? Because if you’re that type of person you’ve probably been ministered to by some of these people.
James: Well, a lot of what you would call the charismatic teachers and preachers. I would say quite a lot of them that you see on TV really attract those kinds of people. Jesus said it’s hard for a rich man to go to heaven. It’s not impossible but it’s difficult.
The thing is people who are, especially in poverty, come from extreme backgrounds. A lot of times that’s all they have – God – that’s the highlight of their week, to go to church, be with other people and pray with each other.
Shelley: Yeah, I know there is a lot of charismatic teachers and preacher, but for what kind of ministries? Is there a prison ministry? I want you to start thinking more like groups of people.
Is there a youth or Teen Challenge? Would that be a good fit for you? I know those are more teens versus someone your age, but those are kids who have been through a lot.
What kind of ministries might you be able to reach out to build relationships and connect with, that they might be able to even use your books? Those are just some things I want you to start thinking about.
Usually, a charismatic teacher or preacher will usually have their own books, so it’s kind of hard to break into that. What I’m thinking of is marketability. My bible study for teen girls is bought by a lot of youth group leaders for bible study groups, moms, grandmas, and things like that as well.
I don’t know, I just wanted to throw that out there. I don’t know if you can think of any right now, or if that’s something you can brainstorm later.
Targeting Down Your Niche
James: Another thing is when you asked me who do I enjoy working with another thing to, add to that is that I have a desire to either one day start one, or at least maybe teach in a Bible school. I particularly want to help people go forward in their ministry and their calling.
That’s sort of related to my business idea, which is helping people get started doing the thing that they’re called to do. So, maybe the niche would be someone who comes from a difficult background that has a calling to ministry because that’s exactly.
Shelley: There, you see how you’re starting to target it down a little?
James: That’s exactly who I was. I don’t know if that’s too small of a niche.
Shelley: When we talk about niches we’re talking about who you are going to speak to, the people who you are going to talk to. Anyone and everyone can still buy your book.
So, a woman in a suburban, wealthy neighborhood that has an encounter with God and wants to learn to hear God’s voice can still buy your book. However, your marketing and the investment of your time trying to connect with organizations, Bible schools, and things like that would focus with this more targeted audience. Does that make sense?
James: Yeah. This is something I’ve kind of been working on, and you explained it very well just now. It took me a long time. My analogy was that McDonald’s sells salads, but they’re not targeting vegetarians.
Shelley: I always suggest that you always target the person that you enjoy working with. That’s going to make it more fun, and more rewarding, but be open to what God has for you. He may give you a twist in the road. He’s given me many twists in the road, but this is a starting place for you.
When you know this, maybe this will help you as you write your next book. For your next book topic, you could maybe choose a book topic that’s more specific to this more niche of an audience and really speak to them.
How to Hear God’s Voice is a very general topic, and anyone can for sure benefit from it. Overcoming Breakthroughs anyone can typically benefit from something like that, but you may even want to have one book, at least, that’s really targeted to this type of a person.
So these are people that have got a calling to ministry, had a rough time growing up but God wants to use them, and their story matters, or their life matters. There may come a time when you want to really target down one of your books to really speak to them, or maybe not. But this is at least a starting place.
What I always say is knowing your target audience is key, but always a work in progress. So, as you write books, as you connect with people on social media, take notes. You’re really good at that.
Who are the people that are responding to your Facebook posts? Who are the people who are emailing you? Who are the people who are saying they’ve bought your books and were impacted? Who are you meeting in real life that is impacted by your testimony?
As you start to pay attention to all those clues it’s going to start building an even clearer picture. Does that make sense?
James: I just realized that there is quite a lot of people who contact me and follow me that are both struggling with poverty and called to ministry.
Shelley: Okay. That’s another confirmation, I would say.
James: I know a lot of people like that actually.
Shelley: It may be that you even niche it down further. What part of that calling to ministry are you going to help them with? What part of that, what aspect of it?
As you get to know people, you’ll be able to do this more. That’s why I always say get to know people in real life and social media one-on-one. In the beginning, reach out to people, ask them, “What is it you need help with? Where are you stuck? How can I pray for you? What is it that you’re struggling with?”
The more you reach out and know a real person’s issues and problems, the more you are going to know how you can help them through your books and products.
James: Thank you, Shelley.
Shelley: Did you feel like that helped you?
James: Definitely. There are definitely some things that you talked about that gave some highlights for me. I wonder, can I get a copy of the mind map you’re doing there?
Shelley: I always send it out. For the next steps, I’m going to say maybe start researching groups that also minister to that target audience. See where you can start developing relationships.
Maybe you can be a resource for them, offer book discounts, or do other different things. Pay attention to the people who contact and follow you. Just keep adding to this picture, to this puzzle, and I think it’s going to become more and more clear as you go.
James: Thanks, Shelley.
Shelley: Thank you once again, James, for sharing your case study. Where can people go to learn more about you?
Shelley: It was nice discussing this with you, James. I hope that you got a lot of insights from this.
I hope that all of you found this helpful.
Finding your target audience is one of the hardest things; it can be so difficult, but it is so key. When you really get those ah-ha moments and find the specific audience you want to reach it can really help you move forward.
So, I would love to work with you inside Author Audience Academy if you need more help with this.
Until next time!
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