How to Build a Network of PAYING Customers – Ep. 3

In this week’s episode of “Inside the Mind“, we talk about Content Development That Gets Them Salivating.

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How to Build A Network of Paying Customers


Hey what’s up guys, welcome to inside the mind where we talk about online marketing strategy, what it is, why it’s important, and why you should care.In the last episode we talked about content development as it relates to blogging, but really a lot of what we talked about could be applied to many different forms of content.

This week, we’re going to talk about strategic networking. Because what’s the point of developing content if no one sees it?

Now, believe it or not, somewhere in the world, there will always be someone who could benefit from the content you develop. In fact, at this very second, someone is posting somewhere online a call for help that you can answer.

(image of someone shouting for help from a mountain top)

The trick is you need to know how to find them.

Now we’re going to talk a little bit about “Keywords” but don’t clam up and think I’m going to start talking about Search Engine Optimization. (Clamed Up SEO Face :In text, Dear in the Headlights look”)

“keywords” when it comes to building your strategic network, is really about understanding what phrases your potential s are using. You’ll use those keywords so you can find and infultrate communities closely related to your own product or service.

The key here is you want to be thinking like your .

You want to avoid is limiting yourself to finding communities of others who are just like you,  this will only suffocate your chances for success, and when there are a bunch of people with the same skill set trying to sell in the sames place it looks like this.

(Many Tommy’s standing around looking at each other in the same spot)

To grow, you need to stop thinking of yourself as part of a niche. Realize you’re a small part of a huge networks of topics that all overlap with each other.

To free yourself, you want to get creative with your community finding. You want to find communities that are the peanut butter to your jelly, the macaroni to your cheese, the Joni to your Chachi.

Here’s a tip I got from one of my mentors Jon Morrow. The best way you can do this is to take a notebook and draw two overlapping circles, and on one side you write down your topic, and on the other side you write down as many related communities that you can come up with.

For example, let’s do this with sales, so we have our topic on one side, and on the other we can have marketing, because any marketer knows that their job is only half of the equation and sales is useful to help close the deal.

Public relations because how you relate to the public can have a huge impact on how people perceive you and can influence their interest in your business.

Advertising- Direct advertising such as Ppc, radio, television etc has a huge impact on what people’s expectations are when they enter your funnel,  and if the advertising doesn’t set expectations properly, it can kill a sales conversation before it ever takes place. You can tell advertisers what kind of words to use to increase your chances of making a sale.

Blogging – When you’re writing a blog, it’s usually a smart move to make your content to get people more interested in buying your product. When your focus is on sales, you can give very valuable insights on how to get readers to say yes when they’re reading articles to ease the decision to spend money with you. And making more sales is a huge problem a lot of bloggers have.

And you can go on and on like this, if you sit there and brainstorm on your topic for a while, you can usually come up with 5 to 10 different angles that connect with it.

Go ahead an pause this video and write down 5 of your own so you can get started.

Ok next, we’re going to fill in this middle circle by finding communities that are related to each of these topics.

The best way to do that is to search Google with your keywords then “forum” or “community” to the end, or find active blogs by searching Alltop or Technorati. You can click on these videos to learn more about these two platforms.

Now when you find a potential place to start building your strategic network, you want to make sure that place is actively receiving comments from other community members.

Once you find an active community, read through as much of the content on there as you can. In forums, look through the threads that are the most active, and with blogs look for the articles with the most comments.

All that’s left is to start engaging with any new updates people make.

Now, there’s a right way and a wrong way to engage. The right way looks like this…

(show right way, two people talking, one expresses a need, and someone else comes over and says, you know, I think I can help you with that.)

And the wrong way…

(two people having a conversation, one expresses a need, and Josh comes in and says “Buy My Stuff” then hits me over the head with the sandwich board)

Also, with blogs, adding an insightful comment to the end of an article can help you to stand out to other commenters and the owner of the blog. Because when a blog post looks like this…

(great post, awesome article! Well done!)

Coming along with some fresh insight to add to the conversation will go a long way in helping you to stand out.

(Warning! Warning! Warning!)

Do not call a popular blogger out, or tell them they’re wrong. Even if you’re right, telling someone they’re wrong in their own house rarely ends well, and in the end can do you more harm than good.

Alright, that’s all I’ve got for today’s episode of Inside the mind, thanks so much watching.

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  1. says

    Hey Tommy,

    I’ve been drinking the online marketing Kool Aid for about six months now, and I’ve recently worked up the courage to attempt some serious guest blogging. I’m not terribly concerned with content or writing (I don’t mean that arrogantly, I simply have faith in what I’ve learned), but I’m really having a hard time figuring out how to ‘free myself from my niche’. My target audience is CMOs, COOs, etc. and all I can think to write about is social/email/digital marketing for social/email/digital marketers. Not good.

    The problem, I guess I’d say, is that my target audience could be anywhere–from soccer parent communities to golf enthusiast blogs. So should I just….pick some?

    Any suggestions for some branch-off niches I can explore?

    • Tommy says

      No it’s not. Try and think about the types of businesses these CMO’s and COO’s run. Are they in real estate? Do they run restaurants? How about car sales? Do they run large graphic design firms? How about the Music Industry?

      Online marketing for online marketers is already a very messy field (full of crap) BUT if you start looking within specific industries, you can apply this lesson in a much more practical way.

  2. says

    As always, Tommy, a truckload of useful information! The tip on keyword search with the words ‘form’ or ‘community’ added is as fantastic as it is simple. What do you think about Digg, Reddit, Stumbleupon shares and their impact on finding an audience for your blog? Are they worthwhile, or is engagement via commenting on the front lines more effective? Combination of both?

    • Tommy says

      Thanks Mike :-)

      I think that Digg, Reddit, and Stumbleupon can all be great traffic sources & some are better than others for actually finding an “Audience” Stumbleupon traffic generally bounces really quick and is pretty anonymous, and there’s a cap on how many people you can follow for example.

      I’ve had really good luck (and a ton of fun) interacting with the Reddit community, but both Reddit and Digg are both places where you have to be willing to put a ton of time in sourcing new content and bringing that to the community as well as your own.

      My suggestion would be to not spread yourself too thin. Find a community that’s more your style (I like Reddit because it’s a little weird) and contribute as much as you can there. Don’t try to manage too many networks at once, lest you risk burning yourself out and not giving this network strategy the proper time it needs.

      Commenting on the front lines can be very effective with building one on one relationships within a blog centric community, but again effectiveness really depends on the level of commitment you have to that strategy. Also, realize that these are means to an end. The goal to comments for example should be “get a guest post” and with sites like Digg or Reddit, should be get front page. Don’t let that make you too hungry or overly ambitious, but keep that in the back of your mind, otherwise it becomes really easy to lose focus.

  3. says

    I really like this! I feel the circle exercise is clear, simple, and powerful, and I like how you gave some basics on HOW to comment – great stuff Tommy.

    (lol, I once gave an hour long tutorial just on superior commenting :D)