Monday, June 20, 2011

How to Use Research to Develop an Offer Your Ideal Customers Can't Resist

One of the terrific benefits of DIY market research is that you can reach out to more of your audience more often and get to know them better.  As you profile your audience and learn more about them, you can use their feedback to develop new product and service offers that will blow the competition away -- simply because they didn't take the time to get to know their customer.

Use your subscription list to begin the profile

Many companies have "subscription" lists that they've collected from their blogs.  People subscribe to newsletters or download a free e-Book or white paper and then they often just sit there.  Take the time to get a profile of these folks that starts the process to see if they are your ideal customer.

  • Use the MicroPoll feature to build an advisory panel of people.

  • Send them a profiling survey that includes all the standard demographic info and some psychographic questions.

Find out what they want

If you have an existing panel - you can start sending them short surveys either via email or maybe even using their mobile device and the SurveySwipe app.  If you already have a list of customer wants that you'd like to prioritize, then these apps are a dream - you can literally have an answer to a quick question in less than an hour!

If you aren't sure if what your customers want - try using IdeaScale to start that discussion.  Get your audience to register and start contributing ideas.  IdeaScale is a great way to use crowd sourcing to collect voice of the customer phrases that you can use in your surveys later.

Sometimes your customers will give you "features" and sometimes they will give you "capabilities" and sometimes they will give you "benefits", your job will be to scrutinize their answers and be sure to classify them accordingly.  Here is my cheat sheet:

  • Features are actual "objects" such as a button or a software function. 

  • Capabilities are what the feature allow you to do

  • Benefits are the value they offer

Here is an example:

The RX 100 has a 30 second saving function (feature) that saves your work as you write (capability) so that you never lose hours of your creative work (benefit).

Your goal is to separate their "wants" from the "features" and the "benefits" -- you will use this in developing a great offer, so you want to make sure that you've classified their feedback correctly.


The next step in developing your irresistible offer is to match up your customers' wants to the features that you offer and the benefits.  I like to use this handy template that you can download here:  Irresistible Offering Template

The "What if..." Column is your secret competitive weapon

The template I've provided has one last column called "What if..." .  This is a very powerful component of the offering development worksheet.

Here's how the "what if" column works.  As you go through each customer want, features, capability and benefit your brain will get very engaged into the customer's world.  Suddenly you'll find yourself asking questions like "what if we were able to let our customers  _______"

Here is a real example - a local lawyer had clients that were over 65.  The work they did required these clients to drive downtown to get papers signed as well as drive to various banks and offices to sign documents.  Left to their own devices, they often put this off too long and often their legal work didn't get done in time.  This was a problem for them and the lawyer.

As a part of this exercise, the lawyer asked himself "What if I hired a limo to drive them downtown and to all the other offices?"  This option was actually cheaper than letting them wait too long and miss out on the legal timelines.

So what will you come up with for an irresistible offer?

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