Today, I'll be sharing a process that would help you target the buyers within your market and reveal key influences of purchase along the way to a sale, so you can scale your campaigns asap. This process has been successfully applied to eCommerce and SaaS niches, but I believe it is industry agnostic, so it should have no problem applying it elsewhere.
If you are wondering why I do this, the reasons are two-fold. First, I believe in giving back to people as I've also been helped earlier in my entrepreneurial journey. Second, we are currently looking to work with 1-2 new clients who prefer a done-for-you solution to the process below. With that out of the way, let's get to the substance.
Targeting is a make-it-or-break-it type of thing. You either sell to the right audience by telling the right words, or you end up with disappointment.
The process below follows a top-down approach to research. This means, we start broad and narrow down as we find more data points.
Let's get into it
Step 1In this first step, you want to spend about 1-2 weeks researching and coming up with hypotheses on:
1) The ultimate problem that your product solves
2) The target audiences that exhibits that problem.
Here's how one case study began: The client was in the pre-product stages, had funding and wanted to help with household paper organization. She knew the audience might be housewives, but that's as far as her knowledge went.
We'll work on expanding that knowledge quite a lot. The goal is to find insights that would help you convert more and ultimately, drive revenue.
Let's continue to step 2.
In this step, you want to dive deeper into the audience. Here's an action list on how to do it:
It's a lot of work, but this lays out the foundations for later on. You want to be 100% sure you nail it here.
To continue the case study, we began by finding articles about paper organization. Then, we found YouTube videos on the topic and it turned out there is a whole corner of the internet devoted to creating paper organization systems. It was a jackpot! After we found 1 influencer, then it was easy to find 10 more. The titles of their videos were speaking to the Minimalist mom. We also checked the keywords related to the video and it included things like "the Minimalist mom", "paper management systems", and a lot more. GOLDMINE!
At this point, we had a strong sense that the Minimalist mom is the one. The more we observed the comments under the videos, the Facebook groups, and the subreddits, the clearer it was that it was moms who identified with Minimalism were interested in having a paper organization system.
At one point, it became obvious we had to go after them.
You want to spend about 1-2 weeks in this step. You'll know you are ready to continue once you start seeing the same information over and over again.
Researching online is one thing, but talking directly to representatives of that market is where the true gold is.
Since we have already identified the communities in which these people circulate, you want to create posts asking for a 30-40 minute interview in exchange for a gift card. You need to interview about 5-10 of these people.
In our case, we received an overwhelming response of 55 comments.
I know some people believe offering a gift card could bias an interview. But we haven't found that to be the case. It's all about the frame you set during the interview. In our case, we make sure we create a safe space for them to talk. If they want to curse, curse with them. If they want to laugh, laugh along with them. You want to mirror them, so they feel safe and open up. But whatever you do, DON'T JUDGE THEM. If you do that correctly, people will lose themselves in the conversation and give you what you want.
Just be sure to ask qualifying questions before you schedule the interviews. You want to speak to a specific persona. In our case, it was Minimalist moms who had developed a paper decluttering system.
So, you've scheduled your calls, but what do you actually ask them?
To make things easier, we've come up with a simple "you vs them knowledge framework".
"You" knowledge is when the conversation is focused on your product, your company, your life, your children, and you. It doesn't tell you anything about them.
"Them" knowledge is focused on their lifestyle, their fears, and their thoughts. That's what you want to focus on.
A mistake I see many people do is focusing the conversation too much on "your" product. The reason that is a mistake is that it won't give you any actionable information to use in your campaigns.
With that out of the way, you now want to create an interview guide with up to 16 questions. It's just a piece of paper with a bunch of questions on it that you can refer to during the conversation if you freeze or get stuck.
You want to ask them about their lifestyle, their decision-making framework, and their processes related to your product (note, you still don't speak about your product, rather you speak about the problem that your product solves- but they don't know that). Ideally, you want to pinpoint at what stages in their process they exhibit the most pain/friction.
The lifestyle is important as that is something they identify with. Usually, their decision-making framework originates from their lifestyle. And you need their decision-making framework so you can display the right information in front of them, so they can convince themselves to buy. It's all connected.
Also, record the calls. Always ask for permission before you start recording!
Now, it's time to analyze these calls. What we are looking for is patterns. Use the questionnaire as a guide to what patterns to look for. You want to find patterns in their lifestyle, in their decision-making framework, in the problems they exhibit, and in anything that would be relevant to you. I can't tell you what that would be, as this slightly differs from company to company.
Back to the case study, we conducted calls with people identifying as Minimalist Moms who had also developed a paper organization system. We found these people found Minimalism to help them boost their mood and declutter their minds, giving them more mental space to enjoy their life. Can you see how this can already be used in some of your campaigns? (hint: they see your product as something that would give them even more mental space)
Since they were Minimalists, their decision-making framework was tied to that. Minimalism is about not making impulse decisions. So, whenever they wanted to buy something, they would wait it out a few days and if they still thought they needed it, they would purchase it. In their case, they had to clearly imagine how the thing would improve their life. They reported that in many cases, after waiting for a few days, they would realize they don't need the thing and thus, not purchase it.
Another interesting thing we found is that Minimalist Moms who had children going to school were the ones most in need to be on top of their time. So, they were actively looking for solutions that would help them get their time back. We also found that Minimalist moms who had infants had no interest in organizing their time, and those whose children were already grown-ups also had no interest in time organization. It makes it clear who to target, right?
It's these types of insights that fuel your marketing campaigns. You know what language to use, you know what pieces of information you need to put in front of them, you know THEM.
If you wanted to convince your best friend to go on a night out, you know what to say to convince them, right? If you've done step 5 correctly, you'll be best friends with your target market :)
Still, we have more work to do.
Now that we have found the patterns, we want to quantify the important bits. We want to have a broader look at the market and see what happens at scale. So, we create a survey that we will run to at least 250 people (preferably more). You can use software such as Pollfish and Survey Monkey to run your survey and find the right people.
You want to create a survey with about 10 questions. You also want to add 1-2 qualifying questions to make sure you survey the right people.
One of the things we wondered was the connection between Minimalism and household organization. In our survey, we asked people to identify themselves on a scale from 1 to 100 (1 being a complete hoarder and 100 being a complete minimalist). Most people fell into the 60-70 score, meaning they try to be minimalists, but are not strict about it.
That also meant an easier sale. They only needed to see how the product is aligned with their minimalistic views and how it would help them stay on top of their time (and paper clutter).
Other things we surveyed included their marriage status, and some of the problems we found.
The key here is to validate the important patterns you found during your analysis. It could be nerve-wracking to do, as you might be completely wrong. But if you've followed this guide closely, you shouldn't have that problem. That's why spending time on Step 2 is crucial. It sets you up for success.
We want to analyze the survey and conclude our analysis. Software such as SurveyMonkey or Pollfish allows you to filter through answers. For example, if question 2 asks people if they are a "stay-at-home mom" or a "working mom", you can filter out the responses of people who identified as a stay-at-home mom. Then you can compare it against the working mom. You want to play around with the survey and compare different segments like that.
I can't tell you what to do here, as this largely depends on the questions you've asked during the survey. The best thing to do is rely on your common sense
Finally, we want to document everything so we can share the findings with our team. Again, use the questionnaire as a framework for what to document. You want to create the document in such a way, that it would allow the reader to become best friends with the target market. You want to explain the logic behind each insight. Be as thorough as possible. Also, be sure to provide ways for how each insight can be directly used in campaigns.
They don't have to necessarily use the insights the way you suggested. It's more about giving them ideas and helping their minds see how the work can be used. This way, you inject information into the brain of the reader, and then you help their brain process and start using the information. You help them integrate it.
By the end of it, you'll have numerous ideas on how to approach your market, what to say, what NOT to say, who to target with surgical precision, and what they need to see to purchase. Makes the game easy.
I hope that was useful to at least 1 person on here. It's a process that would take anywhere between 4 to 6 weeks, but the rewards are highly worth it. You'll have learned more about your market in a month, versus 6 months of trial-and-error.
In 3 months after this research, you'll already be scaling your campaigns and business will be booming.
If you are interested to check us out, you can visit our website by clicking here