Have you ever been told that you can read your prospects and customers’ minds? Well, nobody can read minds, of course; but, you do need to know what your prospects and customers really want in order to sell to them.
So how do you find out what they want? You collect data that tells you!
This data can be mined from a variety of sources. I’ve listed the top five for you below!
1. Your Competitors
Your direct competitors, as well as others within your industry, can offer vital information about your market.
Take a look at their websites. What products and services are they selling? What are they offering that’s new? How are those new offerings being received in the market place?
What are they offering that’s old? If they’ve been offering something for a long time it’s selling well. Otherwise they would no longer offer it and something else would take its place.
Do they have testimonials on their website? These can be a gold mine of information. Read them! See what people liked about their products and services.
If your competitors have a blog, this can be another valuable resource for mining data about your market. Look at the posts that received the most comments. That tells you what your market is interested in. Then, read the comments. You’ll find a few nuggets of information there too – often times including what their customers don’t like.
Do your competitors have a Facebook page? This is another place to mine for data on your market. Take a look at the comments on the posts. And if they have a special page for reviews you should read that too.
Once you’ve done this you’ll start to get a good sense of what your market really wants – and what they don’t! You’ll see testimonials, reviews and comments that will mention the same things over and over. Pay attention to the repetition! The repetition is more important than the stray comment here and there.
The repetition tells you that a majority feel a particular way or want a particular thing. In marketing the majority rules! You don’t want to sell one widget. You want to sell one (or more!) to as many people as you can.
Keep track of the data you collect by creating a chart or writing it down. That way you’ll be able to spot the trends which will help you when you’re trying to create your own products and services or improve them.
2. Your Prospects’ And Customers’ Hang Outs
Whoever your particular market is, there are blogs, forums, websites and social media pages just for them. You can easily find these through a Google search.
You’ll want to look for the most active blogs, forums and social media pages you can find. You can’t mine data from a dead zone. So, wherever you decide to start looking, make sure there are no crickets chirping!
If you’re looking at an active blog, you’ll want to do it just the way I described above. Look at the most popular posts – the ones with the most comments, and then read the comments too.
In forums, you’ll want to look at the posts that got the most views and comments for information. The topics of the posts will tell you what people are most interested in, and the comments will give you some good information about those topics – such as what people think about the topic or their experience with it.
Niche websites can be a good place for research too. If you’re targeting stay at home moms who want to make money from home, there are a ton of websites you can look at – from those offering jobs to stay at home moms to those offering information on how to leave the rat race to become a stay at home mom.
And then there’s social media. Facebook is great for this because Facebook has groups. Look at the Facebook groups where your market hangs out. Join the ones that have the most members and become part of the conversation. You can ask questions here and get answers.
If your market is comprised of businesses, go to LinkedIn as well and do the same. Here is the LinkedIn directory of groups. There are hundreds of different groups listed so you’ll most likely find more than one group that will help you with your research.
When you’re joining various groups keep in mind that you’ll receive emails from each group. If you’re joining a lot of groups these emails can stack up. Therefore, it’s a good idea to create an email address just for the groups you’ll be joining. This not only keeps group emails from clogging up your personal inbox, it keeps all your data on one easy to find place.
Each of these will provide you with a look inside the mind of your prospect or customer. You’ll get to hear not only what they like, but also their complaints. Most people consider these groups and forums a safe place to discuss their needs, likes or dislikes about the forum topic.
Once you join a group don’t be shy. Watch the group and read posts and comments for a bit. Then, introduce yourself and ask some questions.
3. Print Media
Does your market read magazines, printed newsletters, or special publications? These are all good sources for collecting data on what your prospects and customers need and want.
Magazines exist today for just about every topic imaginable. If you’ve got a local bookstore with a large assortment of magazines, this is a good place to start.
Your local library is also a great place to find magazines, as well as other publications, written specifically for your particular market.
Look at the front cover of magazines. This is where you will find all the teaser copy. That teaser copy is meant to grab attention, and the only way it can do that is if the people the copy is meant to attract would have a genuine interest in what the teaser copy is about.
In other words, if the teaser copy says something like, “6 Tasty Main Dishes You Can Make In Under 10 Minutes,” you can bet the audience this magazine is meant for will be interested in time saving recipes. So, if your market and the market for this magazine are one and the same, your market will have an interest in time saving recipes.
Printed newsletters don’t usually have teaser copy on the front. But, what they do have are in depth articles. Newsletters usually come at a premium price, so they have to print articles their market really wants to read in order to attract them and justify their high price.
If your market is the target for any newsletters, the articles they contain can be very helpful in understanding the wants and needs of your market better.
Amazon is another great place to find information about your market and what they want – especially if you’re selling books. But, any business can benefit from the knowledge found here.
Amazon has been around for a long time and they’ve collected a lot of data. And all you need to do is go to the Amazon website to get that data.
But once you’re there, what do you look for?
Look for the best selling books for your market. You’re specifically looking for non-fiction titles. These titles will tell you what your market wants to know about and what their needs are.
For example, if you own a financial company you’ll want to look at the best selling titles on finances.
Read the reviews for these titles. Often the reviews will give you great information as well.
If you sell products, find similar products on Amazon and read the reviews for them. You’ll discover what customers like and don’t like about the products they are currently buying. You can use this information to improve or create your own products.
5. Surveys and Polls
Last, surveys and polls are one of the oldies but goodies. They’ve been used to collect customer data for thousands of years.
You can do a Google search to find surveys and polls that other companies have done for your market. If you come up short, the US government is also a good resource for surveys. These surveys may not address your particular market exactly, but they can give you some insight as to what is happening on a broader scale – such as when unemployment is high or prices drop.
These things are good to know because they affect the spending habits of consumers.
You can also conduct your own surveys and polls. You can create a new poll every week, for example, asking your customers which product they like better, A or B. This will tell you which products your customers prefer so you can advertise those products more heavily.
I like using the survey method. I send out a survey to my list a couple of times a year. This helps me create blog posts, products and services that my own list wants and needs from me.
But I don’t limit my survey to my own list. This is because I am constantly growing my list and I need to know what people outside of my list, who are in my target market, want and need so that I can attract them.
You can see my latest survey here and use it as an example for your own survey. And, while you’re there, feel free to answer my survey. It’s 10 simple questions and you can skip any you don’t want to answer. I don’t ask for your name so it’s anonymous.
The answers I receive in my survey are a great help to me in creating more of what my blog readers want, so thank you for taking a moment to fill it out.
These five ways of mining data on your prospects and customers will help you create blog posts they’ll want to read, and products and services they’ll want to purchase.
Can you think of more ways to find out what your prospects and customers want and need? Leave your comments below!
To your success,