Your audience vs market vs network

~ 3 min read | Category: Newsletters

I’ve been in the online business world for more than a decade and I still get frustrated by all the jargon.

One area that endlessly tangles people up is that whole cluster of ideas around audience, market, tribe, following, network, etc.

If you’re confused too, try thinking about it like this:

Your NETWORK is the collection of people you’re connected to, both online and offline — the people in your address book, your friends on social media, your connections on LinkedIn, etc.

These are people who, if you contacted them, would have at least some idea who you are, and you know who they are too.

Your AUDIENCE (if you have one) are people who’ve explicitly raised a hand to say: “Hey, I’m always happy to hear from you about Topic X”.

So these could be folks who’ve signed up for your email newsletter or subscribed to your podcast. (And they could be total strangers by the way.)

Your MARKET is the collection of people (from anywhere in the world) who happen to be a great fit for your course or product.

In other words, they have a problem or a goal that your course could help them tackle. (You’ll never reach the vast majority of them — but just a small slice will be enough.)

Now, where it gets really interesting is where they overlap:

  • Zone A contains the people in your network who have also chosen to be in your audience. (And people in your audience who’ve subsequently joined your network.)
  • Zone B contains people you’ve attracted into your audience, who are also in your market. (This is obviously the whole point, but it won’t be true all the time.)
  • Zone C contains the people in your network who also happen to be in your market. (Your goal here is to get them to become part of your audience.)

The more overlap the better, and the fun part is that you can use one area to grow/enhance another:

You can use your NETWORK to build your AUDIENCE. For example, by promoting your email newsletter or podcast on LinkedIn.

You can use your AUDIENCE to clarify your MARKET. For example, by running a survey to discover what problems people are facing that you could potentially solve.

And you can use your MARKET to build your NETWORK, by following and connecting with people in and around your target market and hoping they follow or connect with you back.

Phew, that was intense! But we’re done. 🎉

If you were in the confused zone, I hope this clarified a few things. And if not, let me know where you’re still stuck!

See you soon,



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