If you want to increase subscribers, attract visitors, or sell more products, you need to know how do market research. Knowing your customers’ needs, desires, and wants will position you to better help your followers or customers, and therefore, better help yourself.
In this article you are going to learn about the value of market research and why your business needs it in order to be a success
Not many people want to do the work that is market research. Many new bloggers start their blog with intention of building a business, but take action solely on emotions and intuition, leaving numbers out of the equation all together.
You may be moved from a point of passion to build your blog or to build your website, but passion isn’t always enough.
Let me explain…
Years ago I learned the skills needed to build a blog. My thought was, this is great. I can build a blog about ANYTHING. I was really thinking I would get traffic just because I posted my passions. Every thought imaginable poured on to the page, everything!
I filled my first website with every thing writing. I love to write. I love to teach people how to write. I even love to teach teachers HOW to teach writing!
Certainly, people would want the information I was so passionate about! Boy was I wrong!
I wasted time and effort sharing my expertise, not because it was a terrible topic, and not because it was poorly written.
The reason why that blog failed was because I was totally clueless on how to engage the visitors on my site. I was more concerned about unleashing the information I wanted to share and less about what my readers needed or wanted.
In the early stages, I had a mentor who gave me the worst advice ever… “Just blog about anything and you’ll get direction over time. Your brand will reveal itself!” he’d say over and over again.
Clearly my “mentor” was wrong.
I should have started with a few essential steps before I spend over a year and a half creating content that lacked direction, purpose, and impact.
I want you to learn from my mistakes. You can avoid being misled like me. want you to be misled like I was. This is why I’m sharing the preliminary steps of creating a viable, sustainable online business with you BEFORE you commit to anything, Here are some times to get you moving in the right direction
5 Step Action Plan for Future Online Entrepreneurs
- Identify your niche.
- Do research
- Identify a sub niche
- Create your avatar
- Keep your avatar in mind when creating content
This may seem like a simple list. But here’s the mistake too many people make when they jump into building their online presence. They end up creating content and resources based on their own desires, not the desires of their audience.
Steps 1-5 above are not meant to be a mental list of tasks, but rather an exercise of data collection though interaction and observation. This porcess needs time to complete. It may take you days, weeks, or even months.
Be patient. Move through these steps with positive intention. Be mindful of your observations of yourself and of others. What you’re creating is a partnership. You’ll understand better once you read on.
Let’s move through the list above one at a time, starting with identifying your niche.
1. Niche Selection
You have lots of interests. It’s important to take time to think about what is the BEST topic to share with the world, and ultimately build a business around.
One of the greatest mistakes of new bloggers, you tubers, and influencer want to be’s is that they try to address more than one niche. Or, they cram a few different niches into one trying to create a contrived connection across their areas of interest.
Taking this apporach make your information all about you. Here’s a secret. What you share is never about you. You’re information is always about your audience.
The question is, how do you shift your attention off of you and onto your audience while still presenting what you want to present to the world?
The answer is to be super focused. You have to do a brain dump. Get all the possibilties out of your head and on paper. List everything you’re passionate about on a sheet of paper. I mean EVERYTHING. No topic is off base. Record even the silly things.
You are going to have a long list. You can’t do it all. Cirlce the top three to five things on your list that you know really well. If you’re an expert on a topic, cricle it. Now select one of the circled possibilties. Reflect on it. Spend time thinking about what you could do for people in this niche.
Here are some questions to help you generate your list if you’re feeling like you’re stumpted.
9 Questions to Help You Idenify Your Niche
- What do you do on your free time that you really love?
- What skill do have that you talk about all the time?
- What one thing do your friends and family say you’re really good at?
- Is there a passion you share that nobody knows about?
- Do you and a group of friends share a passion that drives your social interaction?
- If you could spend time doing one hobby or activity without worrying about going to work and making money what would it be?
- What do you spend your money on when you know you really shouldn’t be spending money?
- What do you do that get you in the flow state where you lose track of time?
- Is there something you know so well, you could write a book about without doing much research?
Use these questions to help guide you through the process. Make a list today. Review it tomorrow. Keep adding to it over the course of the next week. This task forces you broaden your vision.
Let’s say you narrowed your list down to the one thing that points to both passion and knowledge or expertise. You come up with basketball.
If you like basketball, that’s great. But, basketball is not your niche. That is your topic. Your niche needs to be a subtopic of that niche with a focus on one particular population.
In the niche of basketball, what areas of will you focus? Training, skills and drills, news, athletes, coaching, products… the list goes on and on.
Think about your particular area of interest and expertise. If you are an expert at training to improve free throw stats, then focus on that to begin with.
Google is too big and broad these days. You are writing for an audience and want traffic, but google will only deliver traffic if it knows who to send to you.
Think of it this way. Your piece of online real estate is where you’ll be hosting online parties. Your party has a very particular theme: How to improve stats of their free throw shots on the basketball court.
Who would you want to come to this party? Your list of attendees to this part should be peopled who love basketball, play basketball, and would want your information.
If you invite a group of jewelry makers, mechanics, and web designers to your party, you will only find interested people on accident. You have the power find boatloads of interested people on purpose if you do proper market research.
Remember: Your online piece of real estate. Your party. Your theme. Your audience. They all have to be congruent or you will get frustrated. This holds true when you build a blog, create a YouTube channel, or create landing pages for affiliate marketing.
2. Market Research
Step two should take some time. You will be foraging for facts like a squirrel digs for nuts.
Observing personalities, and recognizing their needs, these are your goal. Researching really means interacting. Researching means creating real life experiences where potential readers and clients spend their time.
Get to know them either as an observer or a participant. Your task isn’t; to sell them anything. You’re on a mission of understanding. Find out who they are, what they like, what their frustrations are, and what their needs are.
If you don’t do this, you’ll be left to guess what your potential. You will create your blog, your channel or your social media accounts on assumptions. Like my experience long ago with bad mentor, you will be left with a boatload of content with no audience.
Go to social media accounts and forums where people like your area of interest hangout. Read posted comments and questions. Leave some comments and questions, too. Dig in to the culture of the groups you’re visiting.
6 Places to Conduct Market Research
- Facebook group
- Yahoo Questions
Read the posts, Read the comments. Follow threads. Pay attnetion what people are saying. Their questions and frustrations they reveal are priceless! These are the insights that have the power to give YOU direction in defining your purpose.
You’ll get to know the collective culture of people in the niche, too. This insight gets you connected.
Think of it this way. If you go to party where you don’t know anyone, it can be uncomfortable to start interacting. This is because you are unaware of what you may have in common so conversation is strained.
You don’t know anything about them or the culture of the group. As a result, there is a disconnect between you and the other people at the party.
Get to know them, and you can have meaningful conversations. The more meaningful conversations you have, the more meaningful conversations you’ll have.
The natural progression of your followers is rooted in meaningful relationship.
Let’s face it, that’s what life is all about, meaningful relationships. The same goes for your online business. You can’t just sell stuff to anyone. You can’t be successful on your own.
Your success is determined by how supportive others are for your goals. If you have peopled who know, like, and trust you, they will buy from you. Your services will be more valuable, and so will your products. This because they have had experiences with you, and they know you have something to offer them.
Through market research, you’ll know who the attendees should be at your party. When you create this clear vision of who you want to surround online real estate with, you help google, too.
You will end up creating content for a very specific audience with very specific needs and interests. Now google will help you by sending a better selected group of attendees to your party.
I hope my analogy makes sense!. Market research is the first step to becoming an awesome online party planner!
3. Refine Your Sub-Niche
Above I specified basketball as the topic, but the niche is how to improve your free throw stats. That was you initial decision in order to get familiar with your potential audience. After interacting with your potential audience, did it reveal a better possible sub-niche?
Review the data you collected and the observations you made.
Maybe the original idea of vertical jumps wasn’t an area of interest. Maybe you discovered more people online were concerned about their vertical jumps. Rather than accuracy of free throws. Listen to the people who are you niche. They will reveal their needs if you listen to them.
Creating a survey for a group of like minded people helps to further target their needs. ask them specific questions. The questions should relate to their needs, concerns, desires, disppointments, and their goals.
My suggestions would be to use as free online tool. You can learn how to use Google Doc to create a survey. Sent this to people you know personally who are skilled, avid basketball players. Ask people in forums or Facebook groups you’ve joined if they’d be willing to ask some questions for you.
You might even want to throw our one questions at a time and follow the thread as people respond. This is free and managable.
7 Generic Survey Questions to Understand Your Market
- What’s your biggest challenge you face over and over again?
- If you could accomplish one thing this month, what would it be?
- What do you want to accomplish in the next six month?
- If you coudl learn anything, what would it be?
- Name one skill you just can’t get right.
- What’s one thing you could learn from a mentor that would be life changing?
- Do you think you’re successful? Why or why not?
4. Generate Avatar
An avatar is simply as specific description of your ideal customer. The more specific you are in your description of your ideal customer, the more likely you are to attract them to you.
This is because the messages you deliver and the services you provide will both consciously and subconsciously be directed to the image you’ve created in your mind.
Creating a clear avatar will lead you to greater success faster. You should be able to answer the following 12 questions about this very important imaginary person.
- Where does my avatar hang out?
- What websites do they go to?
- What do they read?
- What do they watch on TV?
- What do they do in their free time?
- What are their goals?
- Who are their heroes?
- Who are their enemies?
- Who do the want to please?
- Who are they responsible for?
- Who might they let down or fail?
- What keeps them up at night?
Most importantly, focus on the answer for the last question. Think about what their last thought of the day is just before they drift off to sleep. Then counter that with the first thing they think about in the morning.
The answers to these questions should be addressed and possibly solved by what you have to offer. You may need to refine this image as you better identify you sub niche and begin generating content.
Give yourself the opportunity to get into the creative mode with a general understanding of your avatar. Continue refining your description as time goes on.
In fact, find a head short of someone that meets the criteria of physical looks. Search sites where you can find free photos online for an image that reflects those criteria.
Print up the photo. You need a physical copy. Create a poster listing details of your avatar. Tape the picture on the poster.
5. Create Targeted Content
Are you worried about running out of ideas to write about or coming up with content for videos? Yo’re not alone. The vision on a sustainable stream of information can be overwhelming.
Whatever you do, just start creating content. If you have done your research and created your avatar. You will have enough to create some momentum.
A boat in motion is much easier to turn when its motoring along. With a small adjustment, the direction can easily be changed. But, a boat docked int he harbors… it’s virtually impossible to alter its direction.
At the start of your content creation, you are the boat in the harbor. You’re going to need to move a bit more slowly, reversing a bit before you can go forward.
You’ll need to move slowly to respect the wake. You need to withhold the potential energy that is harnessed in the engine until you’re in open waters.
Once you’re in open waters with some speed, you can make small adjustments to make significant changes.
The message here? Be patient, but get moving, no matter how slowly you get start. Just begin creating content no matter what form of content you’re creating.
Here’s my suggestion to you.
Create a Best Photo Friend – a BPF
If you’re a blogger, keep the photo nearby every time you create a post. Keep that picture next to you as you generate your post. Do the same when you create opt in offers for email marketing. Be Always looking at that photo and thinking about your avatar.
This person will become more real over time. Call them your new best, imaginary friend.
If you’re creating a video you should do the same. Keep the avatar’s photo in frame by your computer.\
Better yes, try this…
Tape the photo on your camera so it’s hovering over the lens. When I first started, I would tape the photo right next to the camera on my Mac. This way when spoke to the camera, I talk to the photo. It seems silly. It works.
The photo is a set of training wheels of sorts. When you get more comfortable talking to camera naturally, you can get in this state of natural conversation without the reminder of the avatar staring back at you.
I actually did this. I thought I was ready to be without Jenny smiling back at me, but realized I still needed her. Use this strategy for however long it takes.
It seems childish. Put your ego aside for your greater goal of creating meaningful content that will impact that one person.
The Golden Principle of Content Creation
Speak to one person and one person only!
Write for one person. Create a video for one person. If you try to speak to everyone, you speak to no one. The best way to ensure your success as you build your online presence is to follow the steps presented in this article.
Planning is an important step in your sustainable existence online. Here’s a review of the steps you need to take.
- Identify your niche.
- Do research
- Identify a sub niche
- Create your avatar
- Keep your avatar in mind when creating content
Don’t move one to step 2 until you’ve finished step 1. Don’t move on to step 3 until you’ve finished step 2, ans so on. Hold yourself accountable for creating meaningful experiences in each step. Your longevity in your business will solidify, and you will move forward with greater confidence. And, confidence, along with understanding of your purpose and your ideal audience, is essential to attracting the right people to your party!