by Christine Gallagher
When you have your own business, one of the things you’ll hear over and over is to get clear on who it is you serve—also known as that all-important target market.
But knowing who these people are is only part of the equation. You also need to know what it is that they want.
Sounds simple enough, right?
Generally, it is simple—but notice we said want, not what we think they need.
People tend to buy based on emotion first, and logic second. So, even though we may be absolutely convinced that we know what our prospective clients and customers most need, that doesn’t mean it’s what we should be offering them.
Many business owners make the mistake of going to great lengths to create a product or craft a service or program they think their audience needs, only to offer it with very disappointing results.
The key is to find out what your market wants first, so you can then create it and offer it to them. It makes your job a whole lot easier!
There are several different ways you can find out this valuable information, but here are four of the quickest and easiest methods.
1. Hang out where they hang out—and then listen and ask questions.
This could be in local community or networking groups, in online forums or on message boards, or in social media or on blogs.
2. Ask via your newsletter.
The best newsletters are those that allow you to engage with your readers or subscribers, so if you include a personal note section, consider using that to ask what they would most like help with. Then tell them to just hit reply and let you know.
3. Make it part of your autoresponder.
If you are offering a freebie on your website that’s delivered via an email autoresponder (such as a free report or free e-course), you can add an additional message to it. Since the recipients are going to be new members of your community, you can simply tell them that in order to serve them better, you’d love to get their input on how you can best help them.
4. Set up a survey.
This is simple to do with free tools like Survey Monkey or Google Docs, and it doesn’t have to be in-depth or complicated. Simply email your list with a link to the survey, and keep it to 1-5 questions.
The way you choose to ask for the information will depend on your market and the type of product or service you are selling, but as an example, you might ask things like:
What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to X?
What is it you would currently most like to learn about X?
Keep track of your responses, and over time, take note of common threads that emerge. As people’s needs tend to change over time, it is also a good idea to ask these questions periodically so that you keep on top of what people most need help with.
Don’t worry that you’re bothering people by asking—in fact, most of your prospects will appreciate that you care and are taking the time to find out their needs.
So, before you create your next offering—make it easier on yourself by performing a bit of your own market research. People will literally tell you exactly what they would be willing to buy from you—if only you’d ask!
Christine Gallagher, MLS, MSIS, founder of CommunicateValue.com, teaches small business owners and professionals how to conquer the overwhelming aspects of online and social media marketing to increase business and maximize profits. For FREE tips on how to build profitable relationships, leverage technology and create your own successful online business. Find Christine on her site: http://shesgotclients.com OR do you tweet? Follow
@ChristineG on Twitter.
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