Remember that old Biz Markie song, ♪ "You, you got what I neeeed...." ♫. Don't you wish that every time your ideal client or customer saw your stuff online that song would just automatically pop up in their head?
If you don't, you should. Because that means you've made the right connection. See it works like this...
But often we just focus on the first part of the equation - what we want to sell.
The fact is it can be pretty time consuming to do market research, but it's crucial to your business. It's just one of those things you've got to do. Otherwise, you can spend a lot of time creating products and promoting services no one will every buy.
You know my answer to almost everything when it comes to saving time, right? Turn your research into a system, (my quick definition? a system is a set of repeated activities you can map out, delegate and automate to get similar results).
Where Should You Start?
Keyword research is the first step for most solo service providers. It helps you understand what people are searching for online and what words they are using. There are numerous tools that can help you do this research, including Google’s own AdWords keyword tool, a free and paid tool from Wordtracker, and a popular software program called Market Samurai.
It takes a little practice to learn to do keyword research well, but knowing the most commonly searched terms will help you target the problems that people are facing. It also means you can optimize any content you create, helping it rank in the search engines.
Study Problems People Are Facing
When you know the problems people are facing in your target market, you can create solutions. Solutions sell. Look at the questions people are asking and why they are asking them. Look for the places your target market hangs out, like forums or Facebook groups, and listen in. You might even create a list using a tool like Evernote or Google Drive. I call this list my R&D (research & development) list.
Other places people don't really think about are YouTube videos and Amazon books. What's popular? What are people talking about around the topic you're interested in promoting? Watch the discussions that take place and the questions asked. If there are problems that people consistently talk about, you’ve just found a great opportunity to provide a solution.
Paint a Portrait of Your Customers
It helps to paint a portrait of your ideal customer in as much detail as possible. This isn’t necessarily a visual picture, though some people do that, but one that describes little details about them. What are their demographics, such as age, gender, occupation, where they live, etc? What is some of the lingo they use? Do they tend to have similar interests or hobbies? Write it all down. Some marketers even keep this list in front of them whenever they write anything for or to their customers.
While it can take what seems like a lot of time, having a system you use to do market research can save you from sinking a fortune in time and money in a doomed project. The more market research you do from the start to understand your market, the less risk you face and the more likely they'll be singing your song loud and clear. ;)
In my lunch time series coming up I'll share a few more tips on how to create great, but simple systems for your biz. Get on the "notify me" list now so you get reminders.