Over the past several weeks, we’ve been talking about the factors that come together to create a successful blog. Successful blogs, in this case, are blogs which generate money for their owner.
This week, we’re going to talk more about providing what customers want so we can make our business blog a success.
Discovering Your Perfect Audience
Successful businesses, whether brick and mortar or online, became successful because they were the right business at the right time picked up by the right audience.
There are two main ways to make money with a blog. The first is to create a blog with content that is so useful and interesting that it generates an audience large enough to catch the interest of advertisers.
The second is to sell your own products or affiliate products, through the blog, this is the one I prefer when it comes to generating a blogging income. However, many blogs leverage both revenue streams.
If you are establishing your first blog business, the first thing to do is some market research into your niche. This research will help you pinpoint where your online audience likes to hang out on the internet and learn about them.
This in turn will help you develop products which help your customers, as well as blog posts that will capture their attention.
Provide what customers want.
All successful businesses are customer driven. You have to give them what they want, or else they will go somewhere that gives it to them. Learning about your target demographic and what they want, allows you to be ahead of the game: you know what questions are bugging your target demographic because you are IN your target demographic.
Are you able to complete these sentences?
• Most of my audience feels they’re falling short in this area…
• Most of my audience has no idea how to…
• Most of my audience has the need to…
• Most of my audience would like to change…
• Most of my audience is frustrated about…
How do you find out what your customers want?
Customers usually gather in groups of like-minded people, talking about the products and services which interest them. As long as you’re not pushy about it, you can enter these groups to gather more information.
Here are some areas I’ve found to be effective for research:
No matter what you’re planning to blog about, honest reviews of related products can help you make crucial decisions. You can find out thing like:
• Are people interested in this type of product?
• What are the shortcomings of my competition?
• What specific things about my competition does my niche like?
• How long should I make my book?
• Who is buying what is being sold?
Many blogging businesses sell information products to generate income. If you are creating an information product like a book or a set of DVDs, search for the books or DVDs which are in your broad subject on Amazon.
The items which show up first are usually the ones which are selling the best. Choose the books, DVDs, or tapes which have the most reviews.
• The more reviews a product has, the less biased the overall rating will be. Larger numbers of reviews also make it easier to discern the outliers about a product.
• More reviews mean that there is a larger base of people who are interested in this type of product.
Forums are places where interested users can chat about specific questions that they have surrounding particular niches. If you look hard enough, there are forums for everything under the sun, from the creation of the best home gyms to finding the perfect tools for a DIY plumbing project.
To start out with forums, go to Boardreader or Omgili. These two sites will give you an excellent launching point to find some of the most talked about forums in the world. Find the most popular forums and join them. Start reading, and delve deeper into your potential customers’ lives to understand them.
If you demonstrate that you’re genuinely interested in helping, people will start coming to you to read what you have to say.
This is also a great way to overcome a problem that many business bloggers face: the need to create constant interesting content. Study which questions are asked a lot on forums and you’ll have plenty of blog fodder.
As you learn more about the community, then you can start asking questions of your own to gain further insights which can be turned into future blog posts and even future information products.
LinkedIn connects professionals with other professionals. It’s the place to get business advice and to find movers and shakers within your niche.
If you’re selling a B2B solution, most of your marketing can be done through this portal. LinkedIn also has some of the best forums for people who run a business.
Reading the archives of LinkedIn groups provides excellent insight into what your customers want. Most of the available groups are open to the public to read and enjoy. Questions are asked and answered, advice is given, and problems are discussed. Be cautious before starting to ask questions. LinkedIn is one well that you don’t want to poison accidentally! Learn your group’s culture and conform to it.
Another measure that I intentionally left off of this list about discovering your audience is the art of keyword research. I discuss this more fully in the Profit Blogging Blueprint, but I feel that your first step when starting a new blog, product, or service for your business should revolve around figuring out how to get people what they want, and not which words to place within your post.
What are some of your strategies on finding out what your audience likes ? Are there any websites that help you target your audience better? Please share your experience, ideas and questions with my readers in the comment section below.