Welcome to another episode of Coffee Break Blogging!
So, today again, we are going to continue on our series to creating and growing a profitable blog-based information business online.
In order to be able to go into a market with your blog and make a dent (and make money), you need to be pretty in-tune with what they need and want.
In this episode, we talk about how to learn what they want. We talk about how to use surveys to find out, and ways to get people to answer your survey – even when you don’t have a blog yet.
And so now, what we are going to talk about is the next step in evaluating a niche. And in this one, we are going to get a little bit into surveying; which is actually a skill that is going to become handy to you throughout your career in this particular business. But what we are going to talk about specifically today is how to find out what your market needs and wants. It’s a very important thing because we have looked at demand, we have looked at what the level of money flowage (I know it’s a made up word, but I’m going to use it anyway) 🙂 in this space, but now, if you are going to personally enter that particular market you need to be really in tuned with what people need and want.
Table Of Contents
There are two forms of what I call “intelligence gathering” that you can do here. They are indirect and direct intelligence.
Indirect intelligence is by you sitting back and observing the marketplace. You are going to go out on the competitors’ sites in the forums, in social media groups, on other blogs; and you are simply going to participate as a very active member of that community. And you are going to learn all about what these people are interested in, what they are reacting to, what kinds of questions they are asking… and you want to NOT just be sitting there as a member of the audience but you want to be a very active and acute observer of that audience while you are participating in it; in fact, while you are actually seeing people’s comments on other blogs and seeing their questions in social media groups… and this is going to include LinkedIn, Facebook, Quora.com where they ask lots of questions, Yahoo Answers; whatever.
You need to be sitting there and making records of what people are asking. And you could do that in a spreadsheet, you could do that in an Evernote note; whatever works for you. But not just be participating like a typical reader but actually being a very acute observer on what is going on. And by doing this indirect intelligence you can learn a lot about what people are looking for, what is making them tick in that particular space, you can also spot gaps where you can potentially enter and offer something that other people are not, just simply by observing what is already going on in the marketplace. So that is indirect intelligence. And it is indirect because it is not really to your own audience or anything like that. You are not really doing much except being a very active member of the community.
This one is a little bit different. In this case, you are actually going to be doing your own active work potentially even to build your own audience in the space. You are going to be actually asking questions and you are actually going to be getting feedback directly to the questions that you ask.
Now, one of the ways that you can do this is through the use of survey. Now, survey is another science in and of itself. You can be as informal as private messaging somebody on a forum that is in the potential market that you are looking to go to and just be like, “Hey, can I ask you a few questions?” or if you see a very active member of a particular blog’s audience then trying to get them on a quick Skype call where you can ask them some questions.
There are a lot of very one-on-one personal ways that you can go and play an active role in learning about the potential market. But then there is also survey. And survey is typically where you are asking a set of questions to a group of people and seeing what the results are.
Now, the thing about survey is that we are looking for things like what their feelings are with regard to what they are trying to accomplish. We are looking at what their barriers are. What are the things that are bothering them about what they are trying to accomplish. What are their buttons?
Now, a button in marketing talk is essentially a slang. It basically means that it is like you press a button and you get a particular reaction. When it comes to marketing, then on a human level you can press a particular button by way of talking about a particular topic or getting their blood pressure up by talking about some things that are bothering them. Those would be buttons. And it gets a fairly predictable reaction on a larger scale. That is what a button would be.
So, for example with my audience of bloggers, I know the technology part of it like the confusion of customizing a WordPress theme and stuff like that. It is a pretty typical button for my space. It is something that frustrates a lot of people in my audience. And that would be a button. And I did find that out through a lot of surveys including the kind of what we are talking about here and also because I have a lot of very informal surveys coming to me all the time via people actually emailing me and I see comments on the blog. All those are valid forms of survey. So, those are feelings, barriers and buttons.
We also want to find out what their challenges are. And the big thing about when they are telling you what they are struggling with and what their challenges are, you want to pay attention to the language that they use to tell you about it because that language is important when it comes to matching up your future content with what they are looking for. You have got to meet your audience where they are at. You can’t force something down their throats. So if they are saying something in a particular way, you are going to have to say it in that particular way so that they will realize that what you are looking to produce is a match. So pay very close attention to the language that they use. How do they describe the problem? How do they describe what the goal is for themselves?
Now, one thing about that; if you want to know what their language is, is you want to ask open ended questions. You don’t want to have them do fill in the blanks type of stuff. You want to ask them a question and give them an empty slate where they can type anything they want. Because then you are not putting them into a particular box; you are actually allowing them to talk the way that they want to talk. That is where you can find out a lot about the language that they are using.
- What would you like to learn about [fill in the blanks] next?
- What is your biggest fear or frustration when it comes to [fill in the blank]
- What are you most struggling with when it comes to [fill in the blanks]
- What are you most trying to get out of [fill in the blanks]
So in my case like, when somebody starts a blog… I can ask them, “What are you trying most trying to get out of starting up this blog?” You get the idea here?
Another question, “What might happen if you are not able to [fill in the blanks]?” Find out what the negative part of it is. What are they trying to avoid?
Here is one that goes right into the idea of potential products down the road… You could ask them, “What free product would you love to download about blah-blah-blah?”
Another one: “What would be your perfect outcome from [fill in the blank]?”
And then lastly, if you are going right into the heart of the matter in terms of potential products you could actually; once they have led up to something they want to download for example or something that would help them get the outcome that they want, you could ask them “What would you expect to pay for this?” That’s pretty much it.
There are obviously a lot more types of questions that is going to go beyond the scope of this particular episode of Coffee Break Blogging but those are the types of questions that you could ask.
Now, here is the thing…
What do you do with that survey?
Now if you already have a blog and you’re doing it, then you can go to your existing audience. But if you are following in line with this Coffee Break Blogging, you are just getting started you may not have an audience right now. Or let’s say you have a blog and your audience just isn’t that large and you feel like you would be asking these questions to such a small sample of people that it wouldn’t be worth it; well, what you can do is think a little bit outside the box when it comes to conducting the survey.
You can still set the survey up; you can use free tools like Google docs. Google has got the thing where you can set up a form and all the responses will go to a free spreadsheet right there on Google Drive, so that is an option. There are other surveying options there as well. To set that thing up, you don’t need to have a website for this because you can just simply use Google. And then, you can actually set up a page with it. And that page can be on the domain that you own, it could be pretty much wherever, that doesn’t really matter.
And then, how do you get traffic to that page? Well, all the ways that you would typically get traffic. You can go to the social media groups in this market and be like, “Hey, I’m really trying to find out more about this market” or I wouldn’t call it a market but “I’m trying to find out more about what you guys are really looking forward to see what might these some avenues here to help you out; could you go and fill out this quick survey for me?”
Obviously, and especially if you are on a forum or something like this, make sure that it is okay with the owner of that forum; that you are not breaking any rules. So you can go to forums, you can go to social media groups but here is another really direct way that you could go in and that is you could literally set up the survey on a page and you could go to things like Facebook and run targeted paid traffic to it. You can actually run a simple one and put that survey in front of the kinds of people who will be most interested in it. (Don’t spend a lot of money on this) You could target other pages that are interested in it; you can target their interests… There are all kinds of targeting options on Facebook. And just dedicate a little bit of money to gathering this information in sending them directly into a survey. So you don’t really need a blog in this case. You would literally be going direct into some paid traffic into finding out the direct answers that you need. And you could do all these without a blog.
So, that is… again, summarizing two quick ways of learning about what your market needs and wants. There is the indirect intelligence and then there is the very direct intelligence which is where we are going to be doing things like surveying. And then again, it is a very important skill. We have more information that you can learn about at blogmarketingacademy.com on how to actually run surveys.
You could actually use surveys as a very effective marketing tool. They are very powerful. You just have to know how to do it right. And then, some of the psychology behind surveys. There are a lot of really cool things you can do with surveys. But in this case, we really just want to find out what people need and want because that is a very important thing to you getting into a market and becoming a player in that particular space. Okay?
Hopefully that episode is helpful to you. This is Episode 39. I will talk to you again in Episode 40 of the Coffee Break Blogging Podcast where we are going to talk about how to verify your business idea and get some proof that what you are about to do is not going to fall on deaf ears. Okay?
See you in Episode 40 next time!