“One who never asks either knows everything or nothing.”
~ Malcom Forbes
Too often we’re so focused on trying to present a polished image to our people that we forget to ask them what it is they really need. In this post I talk about the importance of conducting audience research in your business and share 5 simple ways to do so in your business.
Let’s start with why research with your audience and ideal clients is SO important.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen brilliant and creative business owners pour their heart and soul into creating a new product or service only to see it flop when they launch it.
Why does this happen? Because they haven’t done enough market research to truly know and understand what their people want and need.
Doing market research is essential on several levels:
- It cultivates a closer relationship with your audience because they feel as though you care what they think and that you want to create resources that will truly help them.
- It gives you invaluable information about what your audience are struggling with and what kind of solutions they are seeking and prepared to spend money on.
- It raises the profile of your business and what you offer. Doing market research doesn’t just give you important information, it also gives your audience important information about the kind of work you do, which is a wonderful way to market your business without feeling like you are marketing.
Here are 5 simple ways you can start to get to know your audience on a whole new level.
1. Ask Questions on Social Media
This is super simple to do and can be done in a variety of places. On your Facebook page, in an Instagram story, inside relevant FB groups – yours or others. What you want to do is ask simple, relatively easy to answer questions that give you greater insight into what problem or struggle your ideal clients are dealing with.
So examples to give you a better idea:
If you’re a business coach, you might ask:
What about growing your business do you most struggle with?
If you’re a life coach, you might ask:
What do you think the number one thing that gets in your way of making progress towards your big dream is?
If you’re a Health Coach you might ask:
What is your number one health struggle?
If you’re a VA you might ask:
If you had the money to outsource one thing in your business, what would it be and why?
To make it even easier for people to respond you can create finish this sentence posts, a few example of mine include:
My number one wish for my business this year is…
To grow my business, what I most need to learn is…
People actually love these types of posts and you can often get some really great information from just a simple question.
2. Conduct Polls (FB, Email)
Once you have a better idea of what your audience / ideal clients are struggling with you can use polls to find out more. You can take a number of different answers you might have received from asking simple questions and then ask people to vote on the which option they most would love to have help with. Or you can narrow down the options to those which you feel qualified and want to help with and then ask people to choose the most important to them.
You can also find out more information about where your audience are at by giving them options to choose from.
So for example, I always ask people what stage of business are they at
- just starting out and not making any money
- making some money but not enough or
- making consistent income but ready to take things to the next level.
Knowing where the majority of my audience land on this business journey, helps me to tailor my content, products and services to the right level.
Facebook is a great place to do polls, but you can also do them in newsletters and other places. I recently discovered that you can even do them during a Facebook Live!
3. Run Audience Surveys
This is more detailed and requires a bit more thinking and also some incentive for your audience to complete as it requires more time from them. I like to do an annual audience survey and I offer an incentive such as a complimentary session for completing it.
You don’t want to make it too onerous or long-winded so I’d aim for no more than 10 questions. You want to give enough space for people to answer in their own words because it’s here that you’ll get the very language and specificity you need from your people.
To give you an idea of what kinds of questions you might ask, take a look at the one I sent out at the start of this year here, which you are more than welcome to complete, if you haven’t already! (There is a complimentary, pitch-free coaching session in it if you do!)
If you are offering an incentive (gift), be sure to give a deadline so that people know they have to complete it in a certain timeframe in order to qualify for the gift. You can see how I did that in my survey.
It’s here that you’ll want to ask questions that get to the heart of what your audience would like to see more of from you. What content would they love to see you create? What new products or services would they like to see from you? What is it that they most need help with etc.
4. Schedule Market Research Calls/Interviews
This is what I would call premium market research and that’s actually getting on 1:1 calls with people in your audience who you would consider to be ideal clients.
You can do these at any time although I’m more likely to do them when I’m in the process of creating a new product or service so that I can ask more specific questions about the problem, I’m hoping my offering will help to solve.
I like to do 60 minute calls where I dedicate 30 minutes of the call to asking them market research questions and then as a way to say thanks, I dedicate the remaining 30 minutes to coaching them on any issue they need help with (hint: this is also a form of market research!).
5. Regularly Issue Feedback Questionnaires
Gathering feedback from your clients and customers is also a form of audience research and an important one. It’s something you’ll want to integrate into your business in various ways.
You might send out a feedback survey after someone has completed a program with you. You might send 2 or 3 questions to someone after they’ve had a session with you. I like to do mid-program reviews half way through my coaching programs to make sure that we’re on track and the client is getting what they need from our work together.
The thing with getting feedback is that it’s not always so easy, so you want to automate it as much as possible. Have your feedback surveys or questions ready to send as soon as someone has worked with you. If you can automate it, even better. Keep your feedback questions super simple and easy to answer to ensure you get more responses.
You may even offer incentives for completion, such as a 10% discount on future purchases should they fill it in.
So there you have it, five simple ways to conduct research with your audience to help you make your offerings more aligned and tailored to your client and customer needs.
The most important thing to remember with this is to use the information you gather to inform what you put out for your people whether that be content or free and paid for offerings. Whilst it might seem like a lot of work to do ALL of this research, it will save you a hell of a lot of time and effort down the road, because you’ll have a much clearer picture of what your people want from you and your business allowing you to create truly impactful products and services that people want to buy.
To watch a video of me running through these 5 types of research, see below.
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