One of the main things that is needed when you have a blog or business is people. You need readers, customers or both. You need an audience. Without these things, you will have a lonely place on the web. A major thing that needs to be determined before trying to start a blog/biz is who your target audience is. Once you determine who it is, you have to go out and find them. This is a step that many people tend to get stuck on. Where is my audience? How can I find them? I have created a simple way to find your audience and even find out their needs by performing market research on autopilot. Today I will be discussing three reasons why you need to automate market research and how to do it the smart way.
First things first...what is market research? To keep it simple, it’s essentially when you put in some work to find out what your target audience needs/wants. The problem with this is that it takes time. You can do this by researching trends, sending surveys, stalking comments on tons of blog posts, combing through comments in Facebook groups, etc., but when you work a 9-5 you are already strapped for free time. This is why I have created a way to perform the research without having to be there 100% of the time. My outlook on this is instead of scouring through the internet looking in all of these random places, just find out where your audience hangs out the most and research their issues there. So here are three reason why this is the smart way to do your market research:
1. It's a direct way to find and interact with your target audience.
A large portion of my audience hangs out on Twitter. I know this because I check my traffic sources regularly. If you don't know who or where your audience is, just check Google Analytics because they keep track of who is coming to your site, how they found you and what they looked at while they were there along with plenty of other useful things. Because I know that Twitter is a main traffic source, I can perform market research by checking out certain niche related hashtags and phrases on Twitter. Since I focus on solving problems for bloggers, I search for the hashtag #bloggeproblems to see what I may be able to help them out with. It also makes the interaction more personal because I'm respond directly to them on the tweet where they were asking a question or sharing their problem.
2. You can use your search results to create new content.
Another great thing about this is that you start to find out what the common questions and problems are in your niche. I have found that the most common blogger problems are losing blog posts while in the middle of working on them (ugh, this is the freaking worst, been there done that!), finding the free time to blog and not being able to take photos for their blog because the weather was being a hater (aka it was rainy or cloudy). Of these three problems, I have solutions for the first two. I now have blog posts that directly resolve these issues. I got the idea to create the posts that resolve these issues from my market research. Now whenever I offer assistance to those two problems, I link to the posts that solve it. I have found content for new blog posts and ideas for new products/services just from searching twitter hashtags and phrases, so this is a great place to start when you’re looking for content to create.
It’s also smart to do some market research before creating new products because you will know if your product idea is even something that is wanted or needed. Nothing sucks more than putting time and energy into something that no one ends up buying. Perform the research to see what void you can fill first before working on something that isn’t even needed.
3. You can gain new followers, readers and/or customers.
By searching for niche related hashtags and/or phrases, I have been able to offer blogging solutions for plenty of people and have also gained new followers, readers, customers and email list members as a result. This was all because I was helpful by giving them a solution to their problem in a friendly and convenient way. By doing this, I was also showing my knowledge to them on the subject matter, so it was easier for them to trust me (especially if they loved my solution). It helped me get through the know, like, trust cycle easier. People are more likely to rock with you if you appear valuable and knowledgeable in their eyes.
Now, how exactly can you do all of this on autopilot?
So the deal with this is that I do not stalk Twitter all day to find these people to help. I let my Blogging Automation Extraordinaire do it for me (BAE for short. I call my automated processes Bae...like literally, I have a calendar called Bae where all of my automated processes are scheduled, lol!). I created an IFTTT task to do the stalking for me, so whenever someone posts to twitter with the hashtag #bloggerproblems, their tweet and profile info is added to a Google Sheet so that I can check it at my leisure. From there, if I have a solution for them, I tweet back at them and give them the goods.
This can work for any niche. If you already know popular hashtags or phrases that are related to your niche, you can also perform market research on autopilot. In fact, you can set up this automated task for free using IFTTT. Here is the task that I created that is available for everyone to use. You only need a Google account and a twitter account to create this automated task (Applet as IFTTT calls it) for yourself. If you have no clue what IFTTT is, it’s a web app that allows you to create various automated tasks for free.
Related: Zapier vs. IFTTT
If you would like to set up this free IFTTT applet, here are the steps:
1. Navigate directly to the Applet by visiting my IFTTT page then click "Get Started".
2. You will be prompted to either sign up for a free IFTTT account or sign in to an existing account.
Note: If you are signing up for a brand new IFTTT account or if you have an existing account but have never linked a Google Drive or Twitter profile to it, you will be prompted to link and allow IFTTT to access your accounts at this point.
3. Once you are logged in, click the "Turn On" button at the bottom of the applet.
4. You have the option to be notified every time the applet runs, so if you want that click the "Receive notifications when this Applet runs" switch. Also, you will need to enter your search criteria in the "Search For" box. This is where you will type the hashtag or phrase that you want to search for.
5. The "Spreadsheet Name" will already be pre-populated with the name Twitter Market Research. This is what your spreadsheet will be named in your Google Sheets/Drive account. You can change this if you want. When complete, click "Save".
6. Once saved, you will see that the Applet has switched to "On". You are complete with setup!
7. To view your spreadsheet, log into your Google Sheets account (sheets.google.com) and once the Applet has ran once, you will see the spreadsheet appear in your account with your search results wrapped in a nice bow :)
I hope this post has helped you to understand why market research is important and how you can do this even if your schedule is packed from the beginning to the end of the day. Do you currently perform market research? If so, how do you do it? Let me know in the comments!