Do you really know what your customer wants? Have you asked them? Did you ask them the right questions? This month’s book club pick helps you find out.
I got a series of emails from a company recently. They had a product that they wanted to sell me and they were offering me a demo. This product wasn’t relevant to my business so I ignored the first email. They had me in some sort of automation system so I kept getting emails, each one becoming a little more insistent.
After ignoring all the emails I eventually got one asking if I was the right person in the company to talk to. I responded to this one telling them that they were barking up the wrong tree and, at last, the emails stopped.
Perhaps setting up this system was time and cost effective for them but it’s annoying for me. How many people got these emails and marked them as spam? How many went through the demo process just to make them go away?
As small businesses, it is crucial that we are targeting the right people both with our sales and our inbound marketing.
In fact with inbound marketing, we are wasting even more time and resources if we aren’t creating the right content for our audience. Each blog post we write, each video we shoot, each image we create takes valuable time. Making sure that it is properly targeted ensures that this isn’t time wasted.
This is why I’m a big fan of the ‘Customer Persona’. A fantasy customer that we build content for. A customer whose needs and problems we understand. Someone who we know needs what we offer.
I covered customer personas in a recent podcast episode but I knew there was more to creating a persona than guessing who they were.
I decided that to get to know my customers and readers better I’d need to survey them. Enter Ryan Levesque and his book ‘Ask’*. I can’t remember which podcast I was listening to that recommended this book but it coincided with my decision to run a survey and I decided I’d read it before creating it. I’m glad I did.
The first half of this book is about Ryan, how he got where he is now, what motivated him and how he developed his system. Although he says you could skip this section it’s an enjoyable read and it’s convincing. He really wanted to create something that would work.
The second section is the system itself. It’s a workbook taking you step by step through the process and how to implement it. There’s nothing too techy here. If you can use simple survey software like SurveyMonkey and know your way around the basics of Excel you can follow the first steps. You may need a bit of help for the next stage, creating landing pages and videos, but there are tools out there that can make this easier too.
The key to finding out what your customers really want is asking ‘What is your biggest challenge’ and this question is at the beginning of and the heart of the Ask system.
I can see exactly how I can implement this book in my business. I know that I will be able to create better personas and this means I’ll be producing better content as a result.
I don’t need the full system. Although I can see how it will work for marketers the bit I really need is the ‘Deep dive survey’. The cost of the book is worth it for that alone.
The only thing I didn’t like about this book was the introduction. If it hadn’t been recommended I’d have been put off by the ‘Get rich quick’ language. It seems that every business book has to persuade you with the promise of dollars or euros to read on. It’s a shame really because the rest of the book is well grounded.
If you are serious about creating better customer personas this is the book for you. If you are committed to taking your online business further the whole book will be a valuable workbook.
*Affiliate link – I get a small cut of sales if you buy after clicking this link