Your Customer P.L.A.N. is broken down into four sections, in this specific order: 1. Problems 2. Language 3. Anecdotes 4. Needs After you discover your Customer P.L.A.N., you’ll know exactly how your target idea fits into your target audience. You can then align and adjust accordingly before we test vidbuilderfx review out to give yourself the best chance of landing on something they’ll buy.
Although we’ve talked about our target audience, end-user, reader, listener, viewer, and subscriber throughout this book, it’s important that we switch our mindset at this point into discovering and describing our target customer. We are, in fact, creating a business, and it’s important that we make sure you will be able to generate an income from the service and products that you’ll be providing.
When you serve you get paid back in return, but only if you give those you serve a way to pay you back in some way, shape, or form. Before we get into the Customer P.L.A.N., you might be wondering why we waited so long to finally begin learning about the target customer. Shouldn’t that have been done first? My answer is no.
This was not a mistake and careful consideration has been taken to include this section where I felt it would have the most impact. Let me tell you why. If you were to start a business completely from scratch, with no ideas in mind, then my answer would be the opposite. I would say, yes, you start by seeking out a particular market and honing in on their pains and problems and extract a solution from there.
The potential consequence, however, may be that you enter a niche that you’re not really interested in, nor care to serve. But that isn’t what’s going on here. You aren’t starting from scratch. You had an idea in mind before you picked up this book. Or maybe you had a lot of ideas. Most people who express interest in starting a business of their own have not one, but several ideas racing through their brain, and the challenge becomes which one to focus on first. It’s a dilemma that keeps a lot of would-be entrepreneurs from starting at all.
I forced you to pick one and then run it through a series of thought experiments and exercises designed to define and refine your vidbuilderfx review. At the same time you were honing in on what kind of business worked for you. As you progressed into market research, every new exercise you completed became further validation that this was a market you were interested in serving.
Will your initial idea match the needs of your target customer? Maybe. We’ll find out as we move through this book, but if it doesn’t that’s okay. What’s important is that you know what works for you, and you know this is a market you’d like to serve. Using the Customer P.L.A.N., you’ll be able to align the two in a way that gives you confidence and energy moving forward. So let’s not wait any longer.
Let’s start to map out your Customer P.L.A.N. PREPARE YOUR MASTER SPREADSHEET To help you organize the research you’re about to do, we’re going to add one additional sub-sheet to your master spreadsheet. Title the sheet P.L.A.N., and then add headings to four separate columns: Problems, Language, Anecdotes, and Needs. Then, keep reading.
P: PROBLEMS A business idea is really just a potential solution to a target customer’s pain or problem. The better you can solve that person’s problem, the more successful your business will become. So of course, this all starts with finding the pain. When you can extract the pain, the marketing almost takes care of itself.
Unfortunately, too many people just dive into their business without a true understanding of their potential customer. They might have an idea, but they never take the time to get to the core of the pains and problems plaguing the people they’re trying to serve You’re on the right track though, because you’re about to learn how you can figure that out.
1-to-1 Real Time Conversations By far, the best way to research anything related to your target customer is to have a real-time, one-on-one conversation with them. Emails are okay, but an inperson or over-the-phone conversation will serve you much better. In Part 2 you had conversations with all kinds of people to help poke holes in your idea it and refine it, but in order to get to the true pain point of your target customer, you need to speak to your target customers, and you need to ask the right questions. In Episode #46 of my podcast (smartpassiveincome.com/session46), Dane Maxwell from The Foundation spoke about how important asking the right questions are in extracting the true pains that you could potentially solve as an entrepreneur.
In that episode, he listed a number of fantastic questions that you could ask anyone to learn more about what they potentially need: What’s something about [topic] that frustrates you? If you had a magic wand and could change anything related to [topic] what would it be? What problems are costing you the most money right now? What’s the most important activity related to [topic] that you do? Is there any frustration associated with that? What related to [topic] takes up the most time? Do you use anything to help you with [topic] already? What do you like about it? What do you wish was better? What’s something related to [topic] that you have to keep doing over and over again? Most importantly, when having these conversations, always dig deeper.
Follow up their replies with, “how come,” or, “why do you feel that way,” and you’ll be able to understand the true drivers behind any frustrations or pains the person may have. Where do you find your target customers that you could speak to? You have a spreadsheet that already lists the places where these people exist, which is where I would start.
You could potentially get to know people on those forums and get to a point where you could ask for a one-on-one conversation with them over the phone, on Skype, or through a direct messaging system on that platform. The best place I’ve been able to find people to speak to, however, are offline at conventions and other events where I know those people will exist.
In my opinion, there is nothing better than face-to-face interaction. Keep note of which people you speak to and what their pains and problems are in your vidbuilderfx review. These people could become a great sounding board for various items related to your business, and of course, a future customer. And again, make sure you give them something in return for all the help they’re providing you.
Surveys If it seems like a one-on-one conversation isn’t going to happen anytime soon, another proven method for learning about the pains and problems of your target customer is to conduct a survey. Surveys are powerful because you can potentially collect a load of data about your target customer (and their pain points) in a relatively short period of time.
By far, the top resource for learning how to conduct a proper business-related survey is a book titled Ask, by Ryan Levesque. After reading Ryan’s book twice, I ran a survey on my blog in mid-2015 that revealed that I wasn’t doing nearly as much as I could to serve my audience in the best way possible. I made massive changes to my overall content strategy based on the results, and it’s one of the major reasons why this book even exists today.
If you’d like to hear a condensed version of his book, and its impact on my own business and brand, you can listen to my interview with Ryan Levesque in Episode #178 of my podcast (smartpassiveincome.com/session178) We’ll get into the basics of how to promote your survey in just a minute, but like with the one-on-one conversations you’ll be having with your target customer, the most important element of any survey are the questions that you ask.
There is one question in particular, however, that is the most important question you can ask your target customer. You should never ask questions about what people will buy, but you can ask questions like this one that will help them tell you the answer. What’s your #1 biggest challenge related to [topic]? As you can see, this question is similar to questions we ask in our one-on-one conversations.
In Ryan’s “Deep Dive” survey (one of four important survey types he shares in the book), this is the very first and most important question you can ask, and if you had the chance to ask only one, this one would be it. What’s nice about this question is that it’s simple, but at the same time, amazingly powerful. It’s open-ended so it’s going to take time to analyze the results, but your answers will almost always come back in a form that is useful for you, with real accounts of your target customer’s struggles.
A byproduct of this exercise will be that you can take note of the language that your target customer uses in their reply, which will be useful in the next section of your P.L.A.N. On many occasions, parts of their reply can be directly inserted into future promotional materials for your business, like emails, product descriptions and sales pages.
Tip: As you collect responses from your target customer about their pains and problems, add any notable words and phrases into the Language column in your P.L.A.N. spreadsheet. If you already have a following related to your target market, send emails to your list or messages to your social media following with this single question.
Include context about why it’s important and why you’re asking, but keep it short and sweet so that you will get more honest replies. If you don’t already have an audience, a following, or an email list, don’t fret. You can still conduct an extremely revealing survey with your target customers with no current contacts. I know, because I’ve been able to do this too.
Back in Part 2, I shared how FoodTruckr.com evolved through several conversations I had with all different kinds of people, including local food truck owners here in my own neighborhoods in San Diego. Even before the site went up, I was able to survey hundreds of food truck owners from around the country to determine what their struggles were and what product I could potentially create to help them. How was I able to reach them? By emailing them.
Some had their email address posted on their website, while I had to ask others for an email address through Twitter. Because I was creating this site for both food truck owners, and those who were just starting out, the single question I came up with was: What’s the ONE thing you wish you’d known before you started your food truck? After compiling a list of 250 food truck owners’ email addresses, I sent emails oneby-one, personalizing them as best as I could based on the name of the truck, location, and anything else interesting I found through my research. After a week, I received about eight responses.
That’s not a huge percentage (3.2%), but the responses that did come back were quite eye-opening, especially considering I didn’t know much about this industry beyond the fact that garlicparmesan french fries were my kryptonite.
Here are a few responses to that email below: Response 1 I wish I would have known what all went into the permitting process and how involved it is so that I could have been more prepared and ahead of the game. Response 2 One thing I wish I would have known before getting into the food truck business would be all of the needed back-end permits, licenses, certifications, and insurance requirements that are all needed in order to operate.
As an owner, it can get quite confusing trying to keep up with and understand all of the different mobile vending laws and to obtain all of the required credentials. Response 3 Always prepare for the unexpected; truck breaking down, selling out too soon, preparing too much. The best advice I can give is just like any other business you venture into: Do your homework and write a solid business plan! Already you can see golden information from these responses, not just for potential content, but products and services, too. But I didn’t stop there.
After another week, I sent an email back to everyone who had yet to respond, the remaining 242 food truck owners, and of those, I received 42 responses back. 42! That’s a 425% increase! The riches are in the niches, but the fortune is in the follow-up