Have you ever read a social media post, or a blog or listened to a podcast that resonated so strongly with you that it drove you to seek out ALL the content produced by that person?
Of course you have. Discovering great content feels like a lottery win and if it’s done well, it’s also the beginning of a new relationship. One minute you’ve never heard of this person, then suddenly you’re their number one fan.
The reason we connect so strongly with certain pieces of content is because the writer or creator almost seems to know what we’re thinking before we’ve been able to articulate it even to ourselves. Great content connects emotionally and the only way to really connect emotionally with your ideal client in order to lead them to purchase from you, is to know the challenges and perceived pain points that they face intimately.
In fact, every purchase, no matter how large or small, is an emotional decision. We might think we make rational decisions when it comes to spending money, but the actual moment of commitment is always based on how we feel.
For example, the largest purchase most people are likely to make is buying a house. We start our search for a house by making comparisons based on factual data. Does the house have the correct number of bedrooms? Is the location suitable?
But the minute we walk through the front door of a house, we immediately switch to ‘emotion-based’ decision-making. We start to visualise ourselves living in the house, being happy, enjoying the space and how we can make it work for us. We start to ‘fall in love’ with a particular house, making the decision to buy based on ‘gut feel’. We leave rational behaviour behind and make the biggest purchasing decision of our life, based entirely on emotion.
EMOTION BASED RESEARCH
The best way to find out about the thought processes and emotions directly connected to the way your ideal clients make decisions about buying from you is to ask them.
Analysing their answers to a set of carefully crafted questions will enable you to identify their most pressing pain points or needs, which you can then use as a foundation for creating content that will resonate emotionally with your audience.
Not only will their answers give you the general topics you need to create content around, you’ll also be able to build up a rich and appealing selection of words and phrases that you KNOW will engage your audience. Yes, you can plug their actual answers straight into your website, social media and ad copy.
THE QUESTIONS TO ASK
When it comes to conducting effective client research, you need to make sure you are gathering data about their behaviour and about their emotions.
It’s the ideal opportunity to confirm some of your own assumptions about where your clients hang out online (you might be surprised!), how they searched for your business as well as how they felt before, during and after they worked with you.
Most importantly, if you ask the right ‘magic wand’ questions (eg. What do they wish they had known before booking / working with you), you’ll get a valuable insight into the special ‘hook’ that’s likely to resonate with your audience and position you as a uniquely good fit for them.
THE PERSONAL TOUCH
Before we get down to the questions, I want to encourage you to think about picking up the phone or scheduling a video call and actually speaking to some of your favourite past clients. I know some people hate talking on the phone, but speaking to people in real time will give you an opportunity to dive deeply into their experience and allow you to probe for valuable information that you are unlikely to get when you simply send them a survey link.
I make 2-3 quick research calls every week to make sure that the content I’m producing is working effectively.
Even if you’re conducting all of your research over the phone, you still need a system to record and analyse the answers. One of the easiest ways to do this is to create your survey using a free online tool called Typeform. Typeform is easy to use, allows you to fully brand your form experience and you can even embed your form directly into your website.
More importantly, you can easily connect your Typeform to a Google sheet so that all of your answers are collated into an easy-to-read spreadsheet.
If you do phone interviews, you can still record the answers in your Typeform to make sure all of the results end up in the spreadsheet.
THE TEN MAGIC QUESTIONS
These are the basic questions you should make sure you include, but of course, you can tailor these questions and the wording to fit your own business model and social platforms.
- When you were first looking for a [insert profession], where did you look?
- If you used Google, which phrases or words did you search for?
- If you used Instagram, which hashtags or accounts did you follow?
- Before we worked together, what were your most pressing concerns and why?
- When it came down to making a final choice, what made you choose me over another supplier?
- Having worked with me, how do you now feel about those concerns and why?
- What do you wish you had known before starting your search for a [insert profession]?
- Is there anything about working with me that surprised and delighted you?
- What unique contribution or difference did I make?
- Any other thoughts?
Armed with your results, you should be able to identify 2-3 key points of concern that you can use whenever you are creating content for your audience. Whether you’re writing a blog post, creating a lead magnet or simply posting on social media, challenge yourself to make sure that your content addresses at least one of your key themes of concern.
You can even use some of the exact words and phrases that you find in the answers to connect more deeply with the ideal clients in your audience.
If you’d like to watch a free webinar which dives into this process in detail, head over to https://thedesignspace.co/emotion-based-research.