There are loads of ways to conduct research in an effort to learn about your client’s target audience or a particular demographic. Some marketers use research facilities that provide statistical information, which is helpful; however, statistics do not tell you the whole story. Below, I have listed five ways to ascertain your target customer’s personal feelings. When you are crafting a piece aimed at particular groups, it’s a great idea to take a quiet stroll around the edge and through the center of their individual frames of mind. You want to know what they think and how those wonderful statistics, if any, came about.
Google the name of your target audience demographic and the term “blog.” For example, enter the following in your search box: “stay at home” “mom” “blog”. I always recommend visiting blogs that cater to very specific groups. People who participate in narrowly targeted blogs/communities tend to be more candid with their real views on the subject in question. They come to these communities to genuinely talk and let their hair down. The comment providers are more inclined to be themselves too. If the blog has a search feature, enter terms related to the subject of your copywriting project, e.g., “summer camp,” “teachers” “husbands,” “bullies,” etc., and read the posts and comments connected to those tag words or keywords. Consumer mindset is key. Customer psychology can provide insight into what motivates your consumers. When you conduct marketing research, customer psychology is more important than statistics. Statics are important, but they only reveal a fraction of the truth.
2-The Online Version of Magazines and Newspapers
Look for stories directed at your market – pet owners, baby boomers, the unemployed, small business owners, yoga lovers, techies, joggers, etc. The beauty of using online periodicals is that they are often written in blog format and allow readers to comment. Find magazines whose readership is your client’s target audience. If, for example, you are writing about a fitness machine designed for women, visit the online version of Women’s Health Magazine, Women’s Fitness, Oxygen, Muscle and Fitness – Hers, Shape, etc. In the cases, where the articles don’t have an area for commenting, check for the magazine’s blog, which may be found on its Home page.
3-Your Personal Facebook Account
If you have a Facebook account and have a diverse group of “friends,” you may be in luck. Find all the friends you have who fall into your client’s target demographic and poke around on their walls and profiles. Don’t worry; it’s not snooping; it’s there for you to see, unless their settings prevent you from poking around. The idea is to listen to the conversations and exchanges they are having. See what products they like or don’t like. What books are they reading? What games are they playing? What “pisses” them off or gets them hyped? What content are they sharing with their friends? And visit their friends who fit the demographic . . . rinse and repeat. You’ll be amazed at how much a Facebook page can your clue you in on about the individuals in a particular group/category.
4-Forum and Discussion Boards
Forums are a great way to become privy to your demographic’s mindset while they are busy being themselves. Find threads that relate to the subject about which you are writing. In the way you searched Google for blogs, you can do the same with forums. What’s nice about researching on a forum is that you get a large number questions being asked by folks who are allowing their guards to come down; folks who are saying here’s what’s wrong; help me. Forums tend to bring out vulnerabilities and insecurities, which help lend shape to unexplained findings. Watch especially for threads with many answers, because often, the person asking the question engages in an exchange and you really get to see various thought processes, etc.
Type in the name of your product in the Amazon.com search box. If you want to know how people feel about your product, Amazon has some of the most outspoken customers on the planet. They are verbose and love being on stage and sharing their honest, raw and sometimes, hurtful opinions of a product. If they love it, you will know it. If they dislike it, you will know it. You can also type in the name of a book that your target audience is inclined to read (based on what you learned about them from your client). When critiquing books, you can often discover people’s most important concerns.
It’s very helpful to have an idea of a consumer’s attitude about topics related to what you are writing about. Additionally, as a copywriter, you will want to address probable objections, and Amazon, for example, is a great way to find out what those objections are likely to be. The social media resources mentioned above allow you to be a fly on a “concrete” wall!