How do you come up with blog post ideas? How do you decide which new products or services to create? How do you find the right words to convince someone to purchase from you? How do you know if your product or service will be helpful? How do you know if people will buy it from you?
The answers to these questions and many others like it can be found in the results of your customer research.
Customer research is the process of identifying similar characteristics across your potential clients and their needs. It takes no special equipment or money and will only benefit your business.
I know you might be thinking, “But Dayooooooo. I didn’t do any customer research.”
That’s okay. I gotyouuuuuuuuuuuuuu.
Check it. I’ve been doing online marketing for doctors for a long time. This means they tell me the type of patient they want, whether it’s back pain, weight loss, knee pain, etc. and I create a marketing campaign for them. After a few days, VOILA, patients in the waiting room.
Needless to say, I know what I’m doing when it comes to doctors, but not so much for myself… You see, a few years ago I started to lose my hair due to stress and a nutritional deficiency. After successfully regrowing my hair, I created a hair growth system called Fulfillity Hair.
I was sure I would knock it out of the park. I mean who better to sell this stuff than the girl with the results right? I created a brand new website, filled my house full of product and big dreams about getting rich AF in the natural hair game.
I created some Facebook ads (MY FORTE) and $50, $100, $150 later and not a single purchase!
I tried again, this time sending online traffic to blog content.
Again, $50, $100, $200 and not 1 purchase!
I was about to pull out what little hair I had on my head!
I mean, I’ve done this for clients before! I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t it working for me
So after a day of ugly crying, deep life contemplation, and a season’s worth of Scandal, it dawned on me.
Maybe I am not my customer.
It was so easy to do marketing for my clients because the doctors have been treating these specific conditions for years. They know EXACTLY who their ideal patient would be. Age, interests, activities, pain points, etc.
For myself, I just assumed everyone was like me. Sure, I like hair. Sure, I like nutrition. Let’s just say that my ideal client is me. Right?
I was building the wrong audience based off of my assumptions and lack of data.
So, I started over from the beginning and began asking questions.
I did real research instead of guessing what women who buy hair growth vitamins want.
Low and behold… Money in the bank, FINALLY
Honestly, if more money isn’t reason enough to conduct customer research, then I don’t know what is. But in case you still need convincing, read on.
Why Should You Do Customer Research
Here’s how the data you collect about your potential customers will help you be successful in business.
Create Better Products – If you are able to identify the specific challenges, goals, and needs of your customer, then you can create products or services that solve them. Your data will help you create better blog content, write advertising that sells, create products that people want, come up with opt-ins, and market in a way that encourages clients to buy from you.
Save Time – Instead of guessing what works, you’ll be able to quickly identify a marketing strategy that connects with your ideal client. You’ll also be able to write effective content FASTER, spend less time brainstorming social media content, and use your time more wisely by addressing topics that people want answers for.
Increase Income – People will pay you for what they need. So if you build a product that addresses a desire of your client, create content that shows you know what you’re talking about, and create an ad with specific language about how your product or service addresses their need, then you’ve got an easy sell (a.k.a. more $$$)
Decrease Costs – All the data from your customer research will help you spend less money on marketing and pushing dud products. The more you know about your customer, the easier it will be to target them with paid marketing and identify where to place your ads. The more specific your marketing, the less money you’ll spend on advertising that doesn’t work. In addition, you won’t waste money creating and marketing a product that no one wants.
The reasons to conduct customer research is endless, but I wanted to point out some of the ones that matter the most. You’ll make more money, in less time, with better results.
How To Do Customer Research
The best way to conduct customer research is to connect with your customers to ask them what they want. Simple right? Yeah, it can be. The only difficult part of this process is choosing the method to connect and deciding the questions to ask. So here’s an easy guideline.
Step 1: Find Your Customer
The first step is to find your customers or potential customers. Look for your ideal clients or people who you are trying to market to.
If possible, you should also reach out to those who have purchased your product/services or other similar products before. You can email your list, find strangers in Facebook groups, or talk to friends. It all works.
Step 2: Ask The Right Questions
Your questions are very important. You’re looking for answers that help you identify common desires, phrases, and needs. That’s why your questions should be open-ended. When you create questions that are yes/no or multiple choice you will skew the results with answers based on your expectations as opposed to your potential client’s desires.
So what do you ask? Here are my 5 favorite.
What is your biggest challenge or problem with ______?
If people knew how to solve their own problems they wouldn’t need to pay you. With that in mind, this question will help you create products or services to address the problems that your customers are unprepared to address.
Ex. What is your biggest challenge in growing your hair? How about your skin or nails?
What have you already tried in this area? What has worked? What has failed?
The answers to this questions will help steer you away from dud ideas. If everyone has tried a planner to set goals, but didn’t stick with it, then you know that the traditional planner is not a method that your customers will respond to. This allows you the opportunity to reinvent a new goal setting method that works.
Ex. What products do you use for hair growth? What worked? What didn’t work?
What do you dislike about _____ ?
I love this question because it helps me provide the best service and product. Once you know what others are doing wrong you can work to improve your own product/services to avoid the annoyances.
Ex. What don’t you like about [insert product]?
What is your goal for __________ ?
This question is great too because it gets people talking. This answer will help you frame your product/service in the big picture of your customer’s ultimate goal. Look for language or phrasing that you can use in your advertising or sales letters. When you speak the language of your customer, you will create a connection that builds trust.
Ex. What are your goals for your hair, skin, and nails?
How would you feel if your [insert problem] was gone?
This is another question that will help you identify language to use in your content and advertising.
Ex. How would you feel if you had longer hair? How about better skin?
Step 3: Collect Data
The best way to collect data is in-person or over the phone. This can look like a coffee date or just a phone call. If you’re a bit shy like me, you can take a less intimidating route.
I first started TheSixof7.com in part because I didn’t have a community of female entrepreneurs of color. Coupled with my shyness to ask for help, doing customer research sounded scary as hell. So I did two things. In one of the Facebook groups I was in, I scrolled down the list of all the members and sent cold messages to 100+ women.
I also made a post on my Instagram asking a few questions. You can use any online medium to connect with your potential clients and ask your 5 questions. Of course, now I find it much easier to get on the phone with people, but I share this for those who may feel intimidated by the customer research process. Send a few messages to start off or post one of your questions on social media. Int terms of tools, I like to use Typeform or Google Docs to collect the information.
Don’t be afraid to get creative. (In fact, I’m doing a contest this week to do some customer research. If you want the low-down on this process, sign up for the newsletter on the bottom of this post. I’ll be sending out the deets next weekend.)
I also suggest interviewing 10 or more people. You don’t need hundreds of answers because 90% of your target customer base basically thinks the same. If you interview 10, you can make some pretty accurate assumptions of what most of your group wants. But HEY, the more the merrier.
How to Interpret Your Customer Research
Once you have the answers to the questions, copy and paste them all into a Document.
Then list them all in an excel sheet. This makes it a little easier to analyze.
Look through your document for duplicates or similar ideas and group them together. I also highlight phrases that commonly used. These are perfect for writing ads and blog titles.
After distilling the feedback down to some pretty core ones I save this list and refer to it to create content. You can also use the information to inform a brainstorm about new products ideas, target on Facebook, or plan your social media. The possibilities are endless!
What’s most important is that you are giving your customers what they want. That’s why I’ve started to automate my customer research. Every welcome email includes a Typeform that asks questions to new opt-ins on my list. This ensures that I always have fresh perspectives coming in.
If you need a little help, reach out to me in the Private Six of 7 Facebook group here. As mentioned above I’ll also be sharing the Customer Research Contest that I’m doing for Fulfillity and Six of 7 in my newsletter. Jump on the list below so you don’t miss it!
I can’t wait to hear about your results!