The lyrics to the Spice Girls song Wannabe “tell me what you want what you really really want” is something businesses think every day. What do our customers want? What do they really, really want?
Thanks to a variety of tools and public audiences that are at your disposal, you don’t have to rely on creating a focus group to find out. Here are some great ways to find out what your target customers really want from your business.
Look at What People Are Asking For
There are lots of searches you can take advantage of that can help you find out what your target customers want. Twitter is a great site to start. Take this search for “I wish Nikon.”
Lots of great ideas for camera manufacturers can be found with this one search. You can take your competitors’ names, products, etc. and do some similar searches to find out what people long for in your industry. Searches like…
“I wish [store] sold”
“Why doesn’t [company] make”
“What [product] needs is”
You can modify the searches as needed and include your own brand in the mix. These searches will usually let you in on some great business ideas.
Obviously, your own product or service reviews can provide some insights into what your customers want. But be sure to read reviews for your competitor’s as well.
If similar products to what you offer are sold on Amazon, that’s a hotbed of great customer insights, especially since you can find not only reviews, but also pre-sales questions on many products.
You can find the same insights on other large retail sites, like Babies ‘R Us for baby products or PetSmart for pet products.
Monitor Your Competitors
No one likes to capitalize on a crisis, except when it comes to businesses capitalizing on their competitor’s misfortunes and bad press.
When you monitor your competitors on social media and on the news, you’ll likely hear about a major crisis they are suffering.
If a competitor’s email marketing service goes down, it gives you the opportunity to market your reliability, because that’s what people will want.
If a competitor’s credit card database gets hacked, it gives you the opportunity to market your security, because that’s what people will want.
Use competitive monitoring to find out where your competitors are have suffered a blow and make it a point to market how your business is doing a better job in that area. It may feel sleazy or mean, but it can be effective.
Survey Your Customers
Customer surveys (especially anonymous ones) allow your customers to tell you exactly what they want. There are lots of ways to survey your customers.
If you have your customers on an email list (which you should, if you don’t) you can periodically email them about their input on new products or new services. Maybe even send them a quarterly or annual “how are we doing” survey.
You can also survey your customers directly on your website. Google offers a Consumer Insights Survey that allow allows you to target specific audiences and ask them questions on specific parts of your website.
At $0.10 per question answered, it’s an inexpensive way to get important feedback about your products, services, checkout process, pricing, and other factors that affect your conversions.
Ask Your Social Media Audience
For businesses that don’t have a lot of customers yet, you can always rely on polling your social media audience. Facebook allows you to target posts to specific audiences, so if you want to make sure a question you ask gets answered by your local customers, you can.
You can further ensure that more people see it by boosting the post with a specific audience targeted. If you have a Facebook group for your customers or fans, you can use the Question feature to poll them.
If you don’t want to survey your audience on Facebook itself, you can always create a survey with SurveyMonkey or Google Drive forms and share it with specific audiences on social media.
How do you find out what your customers want? Please share in the comments!
Updated November 22, 2017.