“Until you understand your customers — deeply and genuinely — you cannot truly serve them.”
~ Rasheed Ogunlaru
In this blog, I tell you about the best way I know to connect with your ideal client and the business benefits of doing so. That way is audience research and I’ll be sharing not only my approach but 4 important benefits you can enjoy when you employ it.
In my experience, doing market or audience research is one of the most overlooked activities in the online business world.
So many business owners sit behind a screen trying to figure out the answers to questions like:
Who is my ideal client?
What is my ideal client struggling with?
What products and services should I create to best support them in that?
How much should I charge?
What language should I be using on my website to appeal to my ideal client?
What should I be sharing about in my content and marketing?
I’m going to let you into a secret. You won’t get these answers from client avatar exercises and/or pondering branding questions.
Our audience (or if we don’t yet have one, our market) knows the answers to all of these questions and more. Those answers are available to us, if only we take the time to ask.
The approach I teach my clients is to run what I call, 30/30 research call campaigns.
This is where you put out an invitation to your audience, via your newsletter and social media. Or if you don’t yet have an audience, in places your people already hang out such as Facebook or LinkedIn groups.
In the invitation, describe who your ideal client is and a few bullets on what they might be struggling with and then offer 10 x 60 minute conversations.
Share in your invitation that the first 30 minutes will be dedicated to market research (this is where you’ll ask a number of research questions — see list above for inspiration) and the second 30 minutes is where you’ll support them with their greatest struggle, this might be through coaching, healing, teaching or whatever modality you specialise in.
There is so much to be gained from running a campaign like this but here are 4 of the biggest business benefits.
1. Clarity on your niche
I’m a firm believer that your niche evolves over time and with experience. I don’t believe niche is something you can figure out intellectually or through doing branding exercises and answering journal prompts. For me, clarity around niche comes from being out in the field talking with people and testing various niches out through working with people or when you don’t yet have enough clients through research calls and/or offering gift sessions.
Often when business owners come to me, there are several types of people they could help and several things they could help them with. I often work with people who have a range of skills and work with more than one modality. They also tend to do the kind of work that would be beneficial to everybody and so niching can feel particularly tricky.
The problem is that when you offer services to everybody, nobody really sees that service as relevant to them or their specific issue.
In these situations, I recommend conducting market research calls with a specific group of people who might be struggling with a specific set of problems. This way, you get to test out niches and talk to people in those groups to see if it’s a problem you really want to work with.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say you are a life coach who can help people with a wide range of issues such as relationships, facing fears, achieving goals, breaking bad habits and so on. Instead of putting out a generic post that talks about general life coaching and helping people to “live their best life”, hone in on one of these. For example…”I’d like to have conversations with 10 people who have a clear and specific goal that they want to achieve but are finding it hard to get started. Perhaps you struggle with procrastination, self-doubt or a lack of ideas on what action to take, but at the same time you feel 100% committed to doing what it takes to achieve your goal.”
Can you see how much clearer this is? After talking to 10 people about this specific problem, you’ll soon know if this is something you want to cover in your niche or not!
2. Language and topics for your content and copy
How many times have you heard the advice to use your ideal clients own language in your web and sales copy? And how easy have you found that to be so far?
When we get into conversation with our ideal clients and ask them specifically about what it is that they are struggling with, they tell us! This means that they give us the exact language they themselves use to describe the issues they are looking for support with.
When we can describe what we do in terms that our ideal clients would themselves use, we create a deeper connection that makes sales far more likely.
It’s for this reason that I recommend recording research calls so that you can go back over the recording and jot down the exact wording used.
These conversations are also a rich source of content ideas. If you are talking to the very people you’d love to work with and they are telling you what they need help and support with, you can then go write posts and articles on these very topics, meaning that your content is also going to land much better than it otherwise would.
3. Input, ideas and suggestions for your products and services
Similar to the content point I just made, research calls can provide us with ideas and inspiration for our products and services but more than that we can ask direct questions about what people truly want and need.
I like to do research calls when I’m considering a new product and service so that I can be sure that there is a true need for what I’m thinking of creating. All too often, I see well-intentioned business owners pouring their heart and soul into making something fabulous for their people only to be met with zero or very few sales. Why? Because for whatever reason, it wasn’t what their people really wanted or needed.
You see as practitioners, who in all likelihood have already overcome the struggle our would-be clients are facing, we’re not always in the best position to know exactly what our people are looking for. I see lots of business owners putting forward the solution to the problem in their product and service when their people don’t yet know that’s what they need. If you don’t know you need something, then you’re unlikely to buy it.
Yes, you read that right! Conducting research calls can and does bring in new clients — I see it all the time with my approach. Why? Because first of all, you’ve hopefully described your ideal client well in your invitation, which has the people who respond feel seen and heard, and it also signals to them that you are someone who helps people just like them, with their specific struggle.
Secondly, when you use the second half of the call to deeply serve the person and demonstrate your expertise in your field, people get a real and tangible sense of what it would be like to work with you and if that experience is positive, often they will enquire about working with you.
I have had several clients get multiple clients from a single research call campaign. And even if people don’t sign up for your services there and then, in having this conversation, you’ve built a deeper relationship. One that may well result in future sales and/or referrals down the line.
So there you have it, 4 pretty big business benefits of conducting research calls. I’m such a huge fan of these calls and it’s often one of the first things I get new clients to do. Do let me know in the comments if this piece has inspired you to run a research campaign yourself.
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