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What motivates your customers to buy? The answer might surprise you.


Somewhere near the top of the list of what I like to call “small business probs” is a general question we’ve all screamed at the universe at some point: WHERE ARE MY CUSTOMERS AND WHAT DO THESE PEOPLE WANT FROM ME???

Whew! Feels good to get that off your chest, doesn’t it? Group therapy for the day complete! ☑

But let’s channel our collective angst into something more productive here…😅

There is a secret to figuring out how to find your people and give them what they want and it’s got an official-sounding name: market research.

Yes. It sounds riveting, doesn’t it?

Don’t worry! All market research requires is that you become part statistics wizard, part behavioral psychologist and part Steve Jobs-esque market prophet and EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE. 😜

It’s really not that bad. I’ll be giving you some practical strategies to get you started. But first let’s start by rephrasing that big question, minus the existential angst.

Who is my customer and what do they want or need?

This question is at the heart of market research. According to Google (that all-knowing, digital guru), market research is “the action or activity of gathering information about consumers’ needs and preferences.”

So now that we know what the question is and that market research holds the key, let’s talk about some real-world ways that you can make this work for your company.

Market research doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated.

Large corporations with ample budgets to spend can afford to throw a lot of money at complex marketing efforts. But smaller companies don’t have that luxury. Don’t be discouraged if your budget is modest! There are a lot of things you can do yourself that won’t break the bank.

Start with a detailed profile of your ideal customer.

If you take nothing else away from this post, remember this: knowing EXACTLY who you’re selling to is the key to marketing success!

So who’s your ideal customer?

“Anyone who wants to buy your product?” Way too broad.

“Adults over the age of 30?” Not specific enough.

How about …. “Busy working mom, mid-thirties to mid-forties, avid Facebook user, owns a home in the suburbs and makes around 70K a year.” Yep, now we’re getting somewhere!

Why does this matter? Targeting a highly specific demographic (the one most likely to buy your product) means a better return on your marketing dollars. And knowing exactly who you’re selling to will help you develop better product offerings in the future.

Don’t sell to ALL the customers. Sell to the RIGHT customers.

Lucky for you, I recently wrote an entire post specifically on finding your dream customer. Did you miss it?? You can learn everything you need to know about creating a detailed customer profile and more – check it out, right here!

Do a little research on your competition.

Okay, ready for some detective work? Identify a few competitors in your industry. Scroll through their websites. Visit their Facebook pages and scroll through their Twitter feeds. Read their Google reviews.

Competition research isn’t a perfect tool, because your competitor’s marketing efforts might not be spot-on either. But it is a useful means of evaluating what you may be doing right and what you could do better.

Looking at your competitor’s customer feedback can be especially enlightening. What type of customer are they selling to? What do those customers love about the product? What do they dislike?

If you see a pattern of disliked elements emerging, that’s an opportunity for you! Marketing folks call those dislikes “pain points.” Pain points are customer problems and concerns that haven’t been solved yet. Brainstorm some ways that your company could solve those problems and tweak your product offerings accordingly.

Ask for feedback from your current customer base.

Sometimes, the best way to answer a question is to be direct – just ask!

There are a few different ways you can get some direct feedback from your existing customers.

If you’ve been active on social media, you can pose questions directly to your followers. You could also create a formal survey with multiple questions and email it out to your contacts. Another simple way to get some input from customers is to send a follow up email after a purchase with a “What did you think about X product?” type question.

In all of these cases, you aren’t likely to get every customer you have to respond, but even a few responses may provide a clearer picture of what you’re doing right and what you can improve on.

Your market research might surprise you.

Here’s where things can get interesting … it’s totally possible that you’ll get some answers you weren’t expecting.

The funny thing about owning a company is that sometimes you get a little TOO close to your product. You think you understand all its benefits and you can be SO SURE that you understand what motivates a customer to hit that “Complete purchase” button on your site. You might think that every dollar you’re throwing out there on advertising is bringing you business – but you might be totally wrong.

And that’s the beauty of market research. It clarifies customer motivation. It helps you prioritize and redirect your energy. And it gives you an opportunity to grow as a company! 🌱

Control Yours is constantly challenging our clients to really dig into their marketing strategies – we want to make sure you’re not missing your chance to take even better care of your customers.

See? Not so bad. You can totally win this whole wizard/psychologist/prophet thing. 😂

Honestly, we have total faith in you and there are tons of resources out there online if you’re looking for more ideas.

But if you could use a helping hand (cuz we get that you’re already pretty busy), we’re always available to help you strategize your online marketing plan. Just pick up the phone or shoot us an email! We’d love to hear from you!

Related: How Metrics Can Save Your Business (Part 1)


Author: Rebekah Pike