Do you struggle to know if what you are working on is going to go down well with your audience? Perhaps you’ve had a great idea for something new but you’re not sure if there’s a market. Or you’re building a following on social media but struggling with engagement. How do you find out what your audience wants? I’ve got some top tips right here.
You have data at your fingertips
First things first, check your analytics. On social media and on your website you will have data being collected in the background that will tell you all kinds of useful things, in particular which posts or articles are getting the most eyeballs.
If your website isn’t already hooked up to Google Analytics then you need to have this. It gives you a real deep dive insight into where people are coming from, how much time they spend on your site, what they are looking at, when they leave your site (are you keeping their interest or do they read one thing and head off again), and a whole lot more.
Take a look at what it says and take an inventory. What are your most read posts? Is there a pattern there? Is there something which hasn’t got people’s attention at all?
As well as Google Analytics there is also Google Search Console. This is another fantastic free resource. Yes, free! It will show you where you appear in search rankings and what people are typing in to find you. No more guesswork. You can see the search terms they are using so you know there’s an audience for those topics. Google is not the only search engine. People do use others. But we talk about googling things now so it’s a great place to start looking.
Your Twitter, Facebook page, LinkedIn, Youtube and Instagram, if you have signed up for business, will also give you data about what has been seen most often, how much people engage with it. You will also be able to find demographic information as well. This varies from platform to platform.
Find online conversations
You can also search social network sites to see what people are talking about that relates to your niche. This is where hashtags come in useful. These index posts for you. You might need to use some trial and error but hit on the right hashtag or search term and you have a rich vein of information about what people are asking about. I love using Facebook for this. Hashtags aren’t so big here so try search with and without # but a quick search means I can easily see what people are talking about.
Ask people what they want
If you’re an introvert, then so far this post will have been music to your ears. All these ways to find out about people’s interests and knowledge gaps without you having to speak to a single person. Here’s the thing: at some point, you are going to have to talk to people. You can do it on social or email as well as face to face but you do need to approach people directly.
People are following you on social media, signed up to your newsletter or a member of your group for a reason. You have provided them with value in the past. They are following you because they want to hear from you. They want more! So don’t feel awkward about talking to them about what they would like from you.
This can be as simple as an A/B question on social media like: what should my next blog post be about? Topic A or Topic B? These direct questions are not only great for giving you a steer on what people want but they also increase engagement. They get people used to responding to you. And when you publish that post, you can go back to your audience and give them the content they wanted.
Another great conversation starter is to ask: “What’s the biggest problem you are facing right now? If you could swallow a magic pill what one issue would it solve for you immediately?” You will be surprised what people will open up about.
Get in touch with people directly
You can call up or message anyone. There’s nothing stopping you. I message people I’m talking to on Twitter directly. I also really like to talk to people face-to-face. If I can’t do this in person then I book a Skype call with them. You can’t know why something hasn’t worked, or if it’s going to, if you don’t ask real people for their honest feedback. You might feel nervous about doing this, perhaps that you’re taking up someone’s time but don’t forget it’s an opportunity for them to speak to you as well. They may well be looking for someone to sound something out with too.
People like to help, especially if it’s going to result in them getting something they will find useful. They want to get solutions to their problems.
Take the opportunity to catch up with members of your audience. Build that relationship and get some much valuable knowledge about where you are going right and wrong at the same time.Take the opportunity to catch up with members of your audience. Build that relationship and get some much valuable knowledge about where you are going right and wrong at the same time. #Youpreneur Click To Tweet
Survey your audience
I survey my audience once a year. I respect my audience’s time which is why I don’t do it more often than that and I only ask 10 questions. It needs to be straightforward for them to take part and I explain that by helping me, in the long run, they will benefit themselves as I tailor what I’m offering to meet their needs.
You don’t need anything fancy to run a survey. I use SurveyMonkey. I ask about what kind of content they like and what issues they are facing. How people consume information and the places they look for it is always shifting. Having an up to date picture of your audience’s habits is extremely useful.
Doing your research and finding out what your audience wants from you saves time and means you know you are solving your audience’s problems.
Chris founded Youpreneur® in 2015. He is a serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker and author of the bestselling books “Virtual Freedom” and “Rise of the Youpreneur”. He hosts our podcast, live events and coaches our clients inside the Youpreneur Incubator. Chris is based in Cambridge, UK.