Content Marketing – How to Identify Customer Needs

Part 2 of 3

identify customer needs

In our previous article in this series, we covered The 3 Main Reasons Why People Buy. Our next step is to identify customer needs so that you can create products that your customers will buy, from you…

When it comes to content marketing, you must know how to determine customer needs. Once you’ve mastered this, then you must learn how to get inside the mind of your potential buyers.

Obviously, mastering these two fundamentals of content marketing will help you create the best product to solve their need. It will also ensure that your time is spent wisely, versus wasting valuable time and resources creating products and then testing them in unknown markets.

[clickToTweet tweet=”The customer’s perception is your reality. ~ Kate Zabriskie” quote=”The customer’s perception is your reality. ~ Kate Zabriskie”]

How to Identify Customer Needs

Your first, and most important, step to identify customer needs is to conduct in-depth research on your ideal customer. The more you know about your customer base the better your results: both in being able to identify customer needs and in your ability to reach out to them.

For instance, if you were a content marketer who was interested in creating an information product focusing on teaching newbies content marketing strategies, you would want to conduct market research to:

a) determine demand for such a product, and

b) identify a unique angle or focus to set your product apart in the market.

Your research should give you valuable information about your market, such as:

  • Competition
  • Traffic Sources
  • Potential partners
  • Existing products
  • Leaders (authorities in your market)

In-depth research can make all the difference between wasting time on a product only to get few or no sales in return. Research also plays a critical role in identifying whether there is a hungry audience just waiting for a product (like yours) to help solve their problem.

[clickToTweet tweet=”You are serving a customer, not a life sentence. Learn to enjoy your work. ~ Laurie McIntosh” quote=”You are serving a customer, not a life sentence. Learn to enjoy your work. ~ Laurie McIntosh”]

Now, let’s take a look at 3 tools that you can use to best identify customers needs…

Using SimilarWeb For Market Research

 

Identify Customer Needs

SimilarWeb is a simple tool used to quickly analyze your market so you can better understand what people are looking for.

Here’s how to do it:

When you reach the main page of SimilarWeb.com, enter the site name in the search box provided then click on the search button. On the following page it brings back a plethora of information that you can use for research purposes.

For our example, let’s use the website ContentMarketingInstitute.com. One of the stats it gives is what their audience interest’s are, along with a tag cloud of related topic terms. See screenshot below.

Identify Customer Needs

With this information, you can see how trends are an important part of your site research. For instance, there are three (3) different topics that include the word “video” (video tutorials, online video, interactive video). Obviously, people are coming to this site for instructions and help with videos.

What else do we see in the screenshot above? Under “Audience Interests” we see the first gray circle (the one with what looks like a briefcase icon) with the purple dial is marked “Business and Industry > Marketing and Advertising“. If I put ‘2&2’ together, I could conclude that there are consumers who want help in marketing and advertising their products and services using video!

Does a particular product come to mind that you could create to fill this need?

When you have a potential product in mind for a specific audience, you can explore different sites that already cater to that audience and evaluate overall traffic, audience interest, as well competing websites already in your market. If you glance down the left-hand side of the graphic above, you’ll notice there is additional tabs you may click on that contain more information to help you identify customer needs.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. ~ Damon Richards” quote=”Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. ~ Damon Richards”]

More Tools to Identify Customer Needs!

Quantcast.com

In many ways, Quantcast is even more in depth than SimilarWeb.com. You can plug in the name of a site you want to analyze and see just how many visits it receives per day, week, or month, depending on your needs.

The demographics available on this site tell you a lot about your target audience, as well as other important information that will help you to identify customer needs. For instance, let’s say you want to find out more about the people who use Copyblogger.com. Scroll down the results page and you’ll find all sorts of valuable information under the Demographics tab about the audience.

Identify Customer Needs

Looking at the next graph we find even  more valuable information:

  1. Do more college grads use the site than grad school users?
  2. How about the ethnicity of those who visit the site?

Identify Customer Needs

A quick look at the next graph and we learn even more valuable information, such as:

  1. What percentage of people visit this site who have children in their household?
  2. What is the average household income of site visitors?

Identify Customer Needs

You’ll get plenty of great information you can use to identify customer needs and market the right products to the right people using Quantcast! Incidentally, it’s worth identifying any peak trends that hit your market at certain times of the year.

For example, gardening will always be more popular during the main growing seasons. November is when things really take off for anyone selling festive products for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season.

These two are obvious, but you’ll find plenty of other ideas as well. Do any of them apply to your audience?

Clicky Analytics

If you’re wanting to create a product that is specific to your audience, Clicky Analytics is a valuable resource for analyzing a plethora of information pertinent to your site visitors.

Identify Customer Needs

Clicky Analytics displays detailed info and statistics about: online users, number of visits, number of actions, bounce rates, organic searches, time average directly on your website Admin Dashboard. Obviously, this information will go a long ways in helping you to identify customer needs!

Clicky Web Analytics automatically inserts your tracking code in each page of your website. Also, if you should so choose, authorized users can also view Clicky statistics – like visitors and top searches – at the end of each article. Again, this is optional.

Clicky Admin Dashboard features include:

  • Access to your website’s basic statistics in your Admin Dashboard
  • Cache feature (improves loading speeds)
  • Access level settings
  • Display top 30 pages, referrers and searches (sort by columns)
  • Display Clicky Analytics statistics at the end of each article (optional)
  • Multilingual support, a POT file is available for translations.

Clicky Tracking features include:

  1. Enable/disable Clicky Web Analytics tracking code
  2. User names tracking feature
  3. E-mails tracking feature
  4. Video actions tracking for YouTube
  5. Video actions tracking for HTML5
  6. Asynchronously load of Clicky Web Analytics tracking code

Obviously, with all the information and statistics that you get from using Clicky, the ability to identify customer needs and create a product specific to that need is much easier. Clicky offers numerous plugins, apps and browser extensions.

In addition to all the incredible information and statistics at your fingertips using Clicky, you also have access to “Heat Maps” (premium feature). Heat Maps are a complete and detailed visual snapshot of your website, so you can improve your marketing campaigns and make changes that will increase conversions.

Identify Customer Needs

A Heat Map provides you with the opportunity to take a look at your website in a whole new way. You’ll see a darkened view of a particular page – and your Heat Map will show you which links and areas of your page are the most popular.

So if someone clicks on a link only occasionally, it would show as a bluish color. However if one link is very popular, producing a high number of click-throughs, it will appear in red (a red “X” indicates exactly where their pointer was when they clicked). In other words the warmer the color, the hotter that area of your site really is.

Heat Maps are a paid service at Clicky, but well-worth the measly investment of $14.99 per month (even less if you pay yearly) for all the in-depth marketing information and tools at your disposal. Clicky premiums features and benefits include:

Identify Customer Needs

If you haven’t guessed already… I really like Quantcast and especially Clicky Analytics!

[clickToTweet tweet=”War is ninety percent information. – Napoleon Bonaparte” quote=”War is ninety percent information. – Napoleon Bonaparte”]

Conclusion

In part 2 of this 3-part series on Why People Buy and How to Get Them to Buy Your Products, we discussed the need to identify customer needs by performing in-depth research. Performing such research is vital to your success, because doing so will help you create the best product to solve their need. This ensures that your time is spent wisely instead of creating products and then testing them in unknown markets.

We spoke of several key pieces of information that you are looking for while performing research, such as:

  • Competition
  • Traffic Sources
  • Potential partners
  • Existing products
  • Leaders (authorities in your market)

We discussed using tools such as SimilarWeb to check on your competitors, and how to use this tool to evaluate overall traffic, audience interests, as well competing websites already in your market.

Additionally, we spoke of using Quantcast and Clicky Analytics to really drill down deep into your sites and your competitors; analyzing to see just how many visits they receive per day, week, or month, depending on your needs. With both Quantcast and Clicky, you get detailed information about your online users, number of visits, number of actions, bounce rates, organic searches, time average directly on your website, etc.

However, Clicky Analytics has numerous plugins, apps and other tools that gives you direct access to this information in the admin panel of your blog or website. Clicky also has a heat map feature for premiums users, which gives you a visual of exactly what and where your site visitors are reading and clicking (Personally, I use both Quantcast and Clicky Analytics for most all of my marketing research needs).

Are there tools or methods I missed that you use to identify customer needs?

In my next post, we’ll wrap-up this 3-part series with more on How to Get Into Your Buyer’s Mind. Until then…

God bless,

James

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