3 Powerful Customer Research Questions for Better Blogging

“Your customers don’t care about you, your products, or your services. They care about themselves.”
― Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute

This quote by Joe Pulizzi says it all. You can only attract customers if you know what’s on their mind. If you know what compulsions drive them you can touch your prospects at the core of their being. If not, you’re missing opportunities. You need customer research.

Let me share a hard lesson I learned about what happens when you don’t know your customer.

Avoid This Content Marketing Mistake

Early in my career I took a job in industrial sales and learned how important it is to know your customer. My job was to pitch welding products to industrial companies.

My employer taught me how I should a perform a weld cost analysis and use logic to make the sale. But the prospects I met with could care less. After several months of rejection I felt like giving up.

To my great relief a senior salesperson in our company decided to help out. He told me something about our customers that ended my suffering.

He reached in his pocket and gave me a handful of welding caps. He said I should hand these out to prospects. Welders use the caps to keep weld spatter out of their hair while they’re welding. Since the caps get dirty fast, new ones are always in short supply.

Welding managers liked to give them out as rewards to their welders. This gave them an edge for managing their employees. It sounds simple, but customer insight instantly resulted in more leads and sales.

How to Magnetically Attract More Leads

It’s not uncommon to see a company posting blogs that are all about them. While you want your website is to showcase your products, the job of your blog is to help your prospects through their buyer’s journey.

RELATED: The 4 Content Marketing Types in the Buyer’s Journey

As Joe Pulizzi points, people don’t care about your products. They care only about solving their problems. If your blog isn’t focused on your customer’s problems they’ll have a hard time relating.

To best way to create content people care about is to use a buyer persona. This is a composite sketch of your most probable customer that can guide your copywriters to create effective content.

To get started, choose your most profitable group of customers and start collecting information about them. Here are three powerful questions that can help. Keep in mind your persona will always be a work in progress.

Question 1 – Where can I find my most profitable customers?

Demographics and Firmographics are the two most common types of business information that can help you identify prospects. Once you have this kind of information about existing customers, finding new customers will be much easier.

Demographics are pieces of personal information used for marketing to consumers. They include age, gender, education and personal interests.

Firmographics are used for marketing to businesses (B2B). They include industry, company size, and product lines. Demographics and Firmographics help you easily find your most likely customer in a crowded marketplace.

Question 2 – Why do my customers buy?

Now that you’ve made some general assumptions about your target audience, you can start zeroing in on specific details to make your content more influential.

What motivates your most likely customer? How do they see themselves? What is their personal image? What do they value? What are their functional needs? How do they justify their purchases? What is their world view?

Most people tend to live life as if they were starring in a movie. Movies have a plot, characters and a story line. The characters are introduced, they face a challenge then finally succeed.

Someone in the C-Suite is starring in a completely different movie than a mid-level manager. My point is that’s it’s critical to know what story your prospects are they telling themselves and how your product will help them.

Question 3 – How do my customers prefer to communicate?

Everyone has their own unique personality. There are some things you’d rather spend your spare time doing such as meeting with friends, or spending time alone with a book. This reveals your personality.

Do you make rational decisions or are you driven by your emotions? Are you inventive and curious, or consistent and cautious? Are you organized and efficient or easy-going? Do you love a good story, or would rather people were more concise? Your preferences determine which types of content you’d rather read.

Your targeted group of customers have a common set of preferences. If you don’t understand your customer’s personality you risk losing their attention. Done right, your blogs will be popular with the right people.

Bonus Question – What Marketing Tactics Should I Use?

Based on what you learned from gathering research on the first 3 questions, you can now decide how to best attract your target audience.

Will they respond best to facts and long content, or should you use less logic and more rewards? Should you use fun and friendly stories, or go with an altruistic appeal for making the word a better place. Or, should you patiently help them analyze their options, or pressure them to get down to business with a limited time offer?

Success can be yours if you use the right approach. Push the wrong buttons and you’ll could lose them. Or worse, you may even offend them. Solve the puzzle of your customer’s mind and you’ll start getting better results.

Turn Your Blogs into Customer Magnets

If you haven’t identified your most profitable group of customers it’s impossible to target them. Focusing on your product instead of your audience will result in your content being ignored. Focus on the wrong audience and you’ll waste time and money. If you don’t understand your customers it’s impossible to influence them.

Your business and customers are unique. To attract the right customers you must focus on their needs and speak their language. By collecting and curating customer research over time you can bring your buyer persona to life – and your business along with it.

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