Sep 03 2012

Engagement From Scratch: Danny Iny Interview

Category: businessTom Shivers


An interview with Danny Iny, author of Engagement From Scratch. Get the podcast below.

Danny, If you had to start over and build an engaged audience from scratch, how would you do it?

  1. Get clear about who I want to serve and align with them
  2. Where can I reach these people? What blogs do they follow?
  3. Create content for those blogs that interest and attracts them to engage with you and escalate that connection

What performance indicators should I be tracking to measure success or failure with audience building?

  • Audience size
  • Audience engagement

Let’s say one of the goals is to build up a niche audience that advertisers would want to get in front of, how do you know when you are ready to let advertisers in or not?

When the audience is large enough and engaged enough to be attractive. However, I don’t advocate advertising as a business model in most cases. It’s a business model people come up with when they can’t come up with a better business model…

What business model do you recommend?

Your time, advice, products, as long as the audience is aggragated around a shared interest, they should have similar needs that you can address.

In addition to blogging, what other activities complement or help grow an engaged audience?

It’s not blogging per se, find the 10% monthly growth activity that you can do like guest blogging on popular blogs. Once your audience grows over a certain size, you want to look at higher leverage activities like partnerships and webinars. There’s always a limit on how much you can grow your audience, but focus on things that will grow it by 5-10% per month.

What are some engagement strategies that reward an audience for small commitments and warm them up to a big commitment offer?

You want people to be invested in you and what you are doing. It’s not about getting people to spend money, this is where a lot of marketers fall down, thinking “how can I make a sale.” When people don’t know you, like you or trust you, they’re not committed to you and selling stuff is hard. When they do selling stuff is easy.

You want to keep asking them for commitment and then rewarding them for that commitment… You keep escalating that ladder, so by the time you ask them to buy something they know they will be rewarded and receive more than they expected. They’re almost waiting for it.

It could be free offerings as well as things that are not free.

Yes, the fact that it is free or paid is almost secondary. It’s more about are they getting more than it’s costing them? Do they feel this is awesome?

The ladder you are describing seems like providing “ah ha” moments that lead to a bigger commitment.

Part of it is leading up to that commitment and part of it is preparing them for it. It’s all about the relationship, not the words. You are setting the expectations of that relationship and creating the context.

Can you give an example?

People often create a product or membership site and say to their audience, “hey I made this, who wants it?” They get 3 buyers; total waste of time.

Versus, building that audience first and making them care about what you have to say. Then, “I’ve noticed a lot of you have this type of problem and I’m thinking of putting something together to help you solve it. Who here would be interested in that?” It’s almost like the crowd funding analogy. If people aren’t willing to put their money to it, it’s too soon to be selling them stuff.

Listen to the podcast to get all the great illustrations…

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3 Responses to “Engagement From Scratch: Danny Iny Interview”

  1. Sian Phillips says:

    Really interesting post with some great points to take onboard. Can I ask though, in your first answer “Where can I reach these people? What blogs do they follow?” – how do you do that?

    Thanks for sharing on
    Sian Phillips recently posted..Blog Awards Ireland 2012. Meet the Women Behind ItMy Profile

  2. Tom Shivers says:

    @Sian, umm how did you answer the first question?
    Tom Shivers recently posted..How User Experience Impacts Search Rank (SEO)My Profile

  3. Heather Stone says:

    I love the holistic approach to engagement here. Not simply looking at one or two platforms but at how they work together. Great interview!
    Heather Stone recently posted..Human knowledge is finiteMy Profile