So, I have this idea...
The conversation usually goes a little like this:
Her: "So, I have this idea I've been dreaming about forever."
Me: "I love it! Are you working on developing it?"
Her: "Well, I want to, but I don't know...."
Me: "You don't know what? Is something holding you back?"
Her: "Well....I just don't know if it is good enough. I mean I'm super excited about it, but what if no one else is?"
Does that sound familiar? If it does, you are in the right place because today's post is all about figuring it out.
Find out what they want
Every night making dinner for my kids is a guessing game. I know what they should eat and I know what they like to eat. But, they won't always eat either of those things. Usually, I take a poll from my kids about what they want for dinner. I'll give them some options and suggest new things. But ultimately, they decide.
Yep, I'm that mom.
If I choose their meal for them, I run about a 50% chance of my picky eaters refusing to eat what they are served. If I ask them ahead of time what they want, or if they are willing to try something new, and get their buy-in, I get that down to about a 5% refusal rate. Pretty good, right? Not only do my kids actually get food in their bellies, but it saves me money in the long run because food does not go to waste. Happy kids - happy mom!
"Gee, thanks Kathy, for the parenting lesson," you might be mumbling to yourself, "But how does this apply to my idea?" Simple. Ask your audience what they want before you create something major. Your audience will be happy and use what you are creating for them AND you will not waste your money and time creating something no one wants.
Makes sense, right? So how do you do it?
I dare say that you probably already listen and interact with your audience. You are actively commenting on Instagram and in Facebook groups. Keep up the good work! However, you can learn even more about what your audience's needs by changing the way you listen to your audience. During your interactions, look for common themes in your audiences questions or comments. An easy way to do this is to search keywords in your Facebook groups. You can also scroll through questions and comments and make note of commonalities.
If you don't know something, simply ask. You may think this is easier said than done, but I beg to differ. There are loads of people out there who are more than willing to offer their opinion - sometimes unsolicited. So, ask. You can put it out there on Instagram or in your Facebook groups. This works particularly well if you just have one question. Recently, I couldn't decide if I should put lines into the idea planner I was designing. I sent out a quick poll to a couple Facebook groups and got an instant response. (btw, they voted for lines.)
If you are interested in more in depth responses or have a lot of questions, I have two suggestions:
Surveys are useful when you have an established mailing list or highly engaged audience. The more engaged your audience, the more likely they are to respond to your survey. It even helps if you can offer your participants a little incentive for taking the survey.
Virtual Focus Groups
Now, if you don't have a mailing list or a highly engaged tribe, virtual focus groups are the way to go. In fact, I prefer this method for getting input from people who might be in your target audience but aren't in your tribe - yet. Here's how I do it:
- In one or more of your Facebook groups, ask the other members if they'd like to participate in your group. Set some criteria and ground rules for participating. I also recommend including a "thank you" gift or incentive for their honest feedback.
- Set up a private Facebook group for your virtual focus group. Pin a post outlining the rules for the group. I including things like no self promotion, please be nice, etc. Just be clear about your expectations.
- Start a thread for each question. Try to only ask one question at a time. Open ended questions work the best because your members are forced to explain more.
- Reply to your members' responses with follow-up questions if necessary to get more detail.
If you feel like you've got a good idea that your audience will love, start testing it. Put out the leanest, most basic version of your idea. Start testing before you invest ton of time, money and effort. Start testing before you make a bunch of changes or add on to your business.
Seth Godin calls this thrashing. He talks about this in his Startup School podcast (which if you haven't listened to, you should). Seth says to thrash in the beginning before you've laid the foundation and made a bunch of changes you can't un-make. If you thrash early, testing out what works and what doesn't, you are more likely to ship (aka finish your project). And shipping is everything.
So there you have it. Find out what your audience wants through listening, asking and testing. To get you started, I made this workbook just for you! Enter your name & email and I'll send it right to your inbox. Don't worry, I hate spam and promise to keep you information safe.