Knowing your audience inside and out is essential. It’s the key to knowing how to approach them, understanding their problems, and eventually closing the sale.
Some of the greatest products are created by people who had a problem themselves, and worked out a solution. They share so many characteristics with their audience, it’s easy for them to connect with potential buyers, and they go on to sell millions. But we don’t always get to market products and services that we’re intimately familiar with or passionate about.
When I was contracted to rework a landing page targeted towards people in need of international and cross-country vehicle transportation, I knew NOTHING about the market. If I was going to successfully sell this service, I was going to have to get to understand what made people who are in search of such a service tick.
If you are unable to understand and connect with your audience, and if they won’t listen, well, you’re screwed.
Below are a 3 tools that can help you understand your audience, which will help you excel in all areas of your business.
- Quora – Quora is a social questions and answers that brings people together with similar interests, and covers just about every niche you can think of, and more. Plug your niche, product, company name, or competitor into the search field (registration required), and in most cases it will return a string of different conversations, all with deep insights into what your customers are thinking. Particularly, what concerns and fears they have. Yahoo! Answers is a similar service, but not as well organized.
- Quantcast – Quantcast is my favorite tool out of all these, and although I have no idea how accurate it is, it has yet to steer me wrong. Quantcast won’t provide you with your audience’s deepest most secrets, but it will give you a general idea of who they are. Simply type in the URL of one of the leaders in your industry, and you’ll be presented all kinds of interesting demographic info (age, gender, ethnicity, education, etc), some of which is sampled here:
- BoardReader – It’s amazing what people will reveal when they’re in their comfort zone. Niche forums are a hotbed for niche product discussion and general banter, both of which can be very useful. The general banter will help you define your tone when talking with your audience, and the benefits of observing product discussion should be pretty obvious (I hope). BoardReader aggregates discussion board content into an easily searched, regularly updated database.
These few online tools will make researching your audience easier than ever before. Don’t be afraid to get involved in the discussion. Can’t find the answer to your question in what’s already being discussed among your customers? Just ask!
Get involved as a peer, not as someone selling something or a creep, and they’ll give you everything you need.
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