How to Know What Your Market Wants

Who Drives Your Business?

When you start, it’s all about getting traffic to your site and building your list. But, getting traffic or accumulating names and e-mail addresses does not mean you are making sales.

No matter what stage you’re at, to increase traffic, to increase page views, to increase conversions, you have to remember to do this one thing that will make your content, your site, your offers and your business relevant to those who count.  Oprah did it, every successful enterprise does it, and you should do it . That one thing is knowing your customer.

Customer Focused All The Way

What does your customer want?

©Nikita Sobolkov/www.123rf.com

To drive your business on the road to success, you have to be customer focused. All of your content, products and services including your sales copy has to be about the reader or you’ll crash and burn.

As professional copywriter Michel Fortin says, ” Researching your customer in depth is vital to the success of your copy. It’s not only an important component of targeting and qualifying the best prospect for your offer, but also an effective way to discover new ideas, different angles, captivating storylines, unsought benefits, and appropriate length and language of your copy that will convert more.”

See how you can easily apply what Fortin says about customer focus and copy to your blog and your business?

Using what your customer wants to pick blog content topics, design features, ways  to communicate,  and to provide services or products will keep clients coming and help them choose you to meet their needs.

How To Know What Your Market Wants?

To identify your target market and discover what they want, what they like, what they fear, and more, you have to do some digging. Here are:

7 Free and Cheap Ways To Get To Know Your Customer:

#1 : Ask Them.

There are many ways to ask. You can email a question or two to your subscribers, you can add a poll on your website. Polldaddy can easily do this to your WordPress site. You can also conduct a survey with such plugins as Survey Gizmo.

Internet and mobile business consultant, angel investor, and blogger Haig Kayserian says that learning about your market this way is priceless.

” Typically, the people who answer your surveys and influence the end version of your product will become the earliest adopters of it, and your volunteer evangelists.  Moreover, you end up moulding your product to your market’s needs, increasing your chances of success.”

Just remember, it’s a good idea to give your readers something such as a freebie in return for the time they spend answering your survey.

#2 : Use Analytic Tools.

Use analytic tools like the free Google Analytics to discover how readers use your site. Which is the most viewed page? Which page do readers most often use to exit your site? What are popular and unpopular activities on your site. This tells you a lot about what your readers want and don’t want.

You can use these to improve your site design and layout as well as your content and product delivery. For instance, if readers are always leaving your blog on a particular page, there may be something there that frustrates them or causes  them to lose interest. If a popular feature is a product download, then you’ll want to include more of these types of products or offer the download on other pages.

#3 : Conduct Searches.

You can identify your target market with the help of search engines. Type in a topic and see what searchers are looking for. Most times, the Google intuitive search field will display many searched options, as will the related terms  listed at the bottom of the results, giving you clues as to your customer’s concerns.

intuitive search field gives hints of customer wants

knowing your customer

related searches hints to what customers are searching for

In her post, 8 Methods + Lots of Tools for Getting to Know Your Audience, marketing consultant Laura Lippay from How’s Your Pony suggests making these searches on Google:

hate + topic

like + topic

I wish + topic

Plus, you can easily replace “topic” with your brand  name, a feature you provide, a competitor’s brand name or provided feature. Be creative and you’ll come up with a few of your own.

 #4 : What’s the Competition Up To?

A good way to knowing your customer is to visit top competitor sites and blogs. They are among the best in that market, which means they are meeting their customer’s needs. Examine their products, services, and skim through their articles and blog posts. What are they talking about? What are they selling? What’s their site’s layout and customer-friendly features? This gives you insight into your target market. Use this information to guide you in creating relevant content and products,  and for designing a market-friendly site.

#5 : Search Forum Discussions.

Searching forums is also an excellent way to dig-up some customer dirt. You can do searches using Google,  simply by entering the topic and keeping your fingers crossed that results will include forum discussions. But to save time, you can search via niche-specific forums, such as Warrior Forum for internet marketing or Diaper Swappers for parenting. Read this, if you don’t know how to find niche-specific forums. You can also use forum search engines like boardreader.com. Forums will tell you what your target market is talking about or struggling with.

#6 : Read-Up In Your Market & Industry.

Find industry market research sites and magazines. Explore what they are talking about and how this may affect your customer. Are there trends? Are there new products? You can use this information to create customer-relevant content and products or as part of your marketing strategy. For example, you could visit sites like eMarketer for some marketing research and statistics by industry. Conduct a search with your keyword and you’ll get results, both free and at cost.

#7 : Target Books and Magazines.

One traditional way to discover  who is your target customer is by leafing through niche-related books and magazines. You may have to actually leave your desk for this one and maybe even venture out of the house.  So, grab a coffee and start digging.

With books, whether it’s an ebook on your PC  or a hardcover in your favorite bookstore, what you want is the table of contents. Skim through it by paying close attention to the chapter titles. Dig a little deeper and head over to the chapters and look at the headlines and sidebars. These tidbits are clues to what concerns your customers.

With magazines, you’ll want to look at the topics and angles of different articles. Plus you can take it a step further by examining the ads. Who are the ads talking to? What are they talking about? What needs are they addressing? What problems are they solving? The answers to your investigation will reveal some juicy customer characteristics that you can use in your business.

 

If you’re lucky, you’ve intuitively identified your target market and didn’t need to read this post. But if you aren’t getting enough traffic,  subscribers, or the conversions you expect, then you probably need to revisit and update your customer profile.

And if you haven’t even identified your target market, then save yourself some time, effort and disappointment. Reread the above points and identify your target market today. Then, let it drive all aspects of your business.

How about you? Do you have and use a customer profile? Do you have other ways of getting to know your customer? Leave a comment.

 

Keep moving forward…

 

 

 

(PS – Want to read more on this topic? Check-out my Biblios page and scroll down to August 30, 2011)

 

7 Responses to How to Know What Your Market Wants

  1. Hi Louise
    All too often people target the wrong market. For example you can’t use the same excercise programme for the over 60’s that you use for youngsters.
    All too often things aren’t specific enough.
    Dee

  2. Hey Dee,
    Age is a big factor in determining what type of content or product/service you provide, as well as the platform you use. Teens for instance would probably prefer to visit sites via their mobile. Therefore, you would have to consider that in your site design and layout.

    Thanks for visiting!
    Louise

  3. Definitely 1 of a lot of challenges which individuals starting a brand new on-line company face is that of obtaining visitors to their net site.

  4. Thanks for the comment!
    Louise

  5. Great Article! Quick read and informative.

  6. Thanks! Keep visiting!

  7. Hi there, You’ve done an excellent job. I’ll certainly digg it and in my opinion recommend to my friends. I’m confident they’ll be benefited from this site.