Step 8: Step-by-step Customer Research
1. Go to www.amazon.com and type in a category that you’re interested. Find the books that your target market is interested in. Read the description of the book. It is normally written by a professional who knows that market and who uses words strategically to connect with the target market.
2. Another great place is to visit the forums that we talked about earlier. Visit them and listen and observe.
• What are people saying?
• What are they looking for?
• What common themes emerge?
Look for the visitor profile on these forum sites and record your findings. Keep a profile of each individual forum. Then when you visit the forum in the future, you already know what they want and what frustrates them.
3. Do the same on Facebook. Do a search on Facebook for a group that is in your industry or field. What types of questions are the people in these groups asking? What are they looking for? What type of language do they use? Look at the profiles of the group members.
4. Visit the most popular blogs. You can often find this information by going to www.technorati.com. Just type in your main keyword in the search box and make sure you choose the “search blogs” and not “search posts”. Follow the same pattern as you did with the forums and on Facebook. Here’s another great tip: Note which posts on the blog received the most comments. Now you’ll know what gets people excited and talking. Skim the posts and record what gets them excited and what words they use when they’re excited.
5. Visit the question and answers sites on the web. Here you can find out what questions your market is asking?
Here’s a brief profile that is a simple example that you might come up with, if you are selling beauty products. Your profile might actually be more detailed, but I want you to get the picture.
“I want to introduce you to Jane. She’s a mother of 3 children who are in junior high school and high school. She’s a wife to a husband who is rarely at home and watches too much TV. She’s in her early 40’s and is starting to notice the sags and wrinkles that come with overeating, age, grief and laughter. She’s tired and can never seem to get enough sleep. She works in an office with several colleagues who don’t appreciate her enough. She makes $50,000 per year, wears outfits that are a little out of date, and wishes every day that she could just take an extended vacation. She goes to church every Sunday morning with her family but is unhappy with the service. She wants a change. She’s looking for fun and often wishes for “her old life” back.”
Your profile will probably look completely different, and in the end should be even more thorough. But this profile on “Jane” is much more complete than many businesses have on their customers. It’s a great start.
Create your customer profile and cite your references. It should be between 250 and 500 words. If you prefer, you can use bullet points so that you … and your teacher … can scan your list quickly. If you choose to use bullet points then make sure you have a minimum of 15 key points (or bullets) on your list.
This leads us to our final step.
Section 5: Research
Step 8: Customer Research
Compile these descriptions in a file and you’ll have a good cross-section of the most powerful words to attract your target market.
Next you read the reviews of each book by the people who actually bought them. Again, record the common themes. Note the language used. Note the frustrations that come up. For example, a reviewer might write: “I really liked a b c about this book, but I was frustrated because he didn’t talk about x y z.” Compile a list of what people like and what they don’t like. Create a spreadsheet in Excel that gives the author, title, publisher, date, summary, and pros and cons.
• What are they consistently asking advice about?
• What words do they use to describe their problems or successes?
• What are their goals?
• What feelings do they use or describe as they talk about their goals?
• What gets them excited?
• What words do they use to communicate that excitement?
Here you can accumulate a ton of information. What are they posting in the course of their day? The advantage of this is that each person in the group has their profile posted so you can read all about their education, their background, their religion, their preferences.