052: Do this One thing to get to know the real needs of your audience

Do this one thing to get to know the real needs of your audience: Ask them!

For the longest time, I thought that understanding my audience meant researching the type of questions my target audience is asking on online forums, in Facebook groups and on blog comments of other businesses. But I didn’t look at the golden opportunity that lay right at my finger tips - my own email list.

Today, I will show you the exact email I sent to my email list to get to know their real challenges and I invite you to emulate it in your business.

Watch the video below:

I didn’t ask my email list because I felt that it was too small and I needed at least such and such number (most marketer’s throw the number 1000) of subscribers in order to get any real results. But that really is not taking your list seriously. Whether you have 5 people, 500 people or 5000 people on your list, these are real people and a certain outspoken group will respond to you.

You, too, may be in this boat where you think your list is too small to send them a survey or ask them about their challenges. But that’s really not giving importance to the folks who are actually there on your list. If you think 40 is a small number, imagine 40 people in your living room all present there because they want to hear what you have to say. That means something!

Follow these 6 Steps below to make it easy for your audience to respond to you:

So just before Thanksgiving, I sent out an email to the people on my list asking them what their real challenges were in their business. Here are four things that I want to point out about that process.

1| I only asked one question.

In the email I sent, I asked my readers to simply answer one question about their current business challenges. People can always write more and I had some folks write multiple paras. But having one question lowers the barrier to respond and you rather get a short, quick response than no response.

The question I asked was: “What video tutorial, workshop or articles would be helpful to you right now?” That’s it. One Question.

Audience survey Target Audience

2| Surveys are Intimidating. ‘One question’ is inviting.

I didn’t call it a Survey. I called it "One Question”. I didn’t ask them to fill out a survey but just one simple question. This feels un-burdensome, light and fun. In the subject line of my email it just says, “One question” not, “Please fill out this survey”.

May be it’s just me but I run from surveys. However, I have filled out tons of them helping my fellow entrepreneurs whenever they ask me for feedback - it’s all in how things are phrased. I always want to be of help so when they ask for my help, I am happy to fill out “surveys”. Knowing my dislike for surveys, I decided to just skip that word all together. The reader knows what we are talking about without calling it a ‘survey’.

3 | I made a lovely landing page.

Finally, I created a nice landing page with just that One Question and added the link to that page in my email. This creates a nice custom user-experience and keeps folks on your website while they answer your question.

This is what it looks like when it is all done.

4 | I used a form.

Often I get emails inviting me to simply “hit reply” and answer back. Now that may work for some readers who will just write you an email reply. But for many that is a bit intimidating. Having a form instead is more inviting I find, personally. Also on the form, I make it optional for folks to write their name and email which gives a sense of anonymity which writing an email doesn’t.

On Squarespace, you can simply use the in-built form and link it to a Google Spreadsheet. Or you can go even more fancy and use Typeform which gives an awesome user experience to your audience. I used a form and it looks like this:

If you’d like to share with me your business challenge, and see the landing page, go on over to the live page and add your thoughts to my One Question: sophiaojha.com/oneq

5| The One question is open-ended.

As you can see in the screenshot below, I asked the question but kept it open-ended. Folks can write as much or as little as they wanted. This is good because it’s open and unrestrictive. Structured questions certainly help guide the reader but having several open questions let’s the reader answer to the question that best resonates with them.

question to ask your target audience

6|I created a virtuous cycle with my request.

I asked my readers to help me create content that would be useful for them. So I framed it in a way that they knew clearly that they were helping me. But I also stated that this would ultimately help them. They are helping me help them, thus, creating a nice virtuous cycle that benefits all.

As you see on the landing page, I titled the section with this headline:
”Your Unique Opportunity To Direct The Content I Create”. That sounds exciting because now with their responses, my audience is telling me what they need help with and what would truly benefit them which is a true win-win.

Here’s the exact email copy I wrote to my readership. Use it to inspire your own version:

Email copy for audience survey

Asking your audience what they really want is a surefire way to get to know your audience. Yes, not everyone will respond. But those who respond will give you nuggets of insight that will prove invaluable.

Here you see the landing page, the form and the email - so go ahead, give it your own spin and ask away.

Do share with me in the comments how you are getting to know your audience and what you think of this blog post!

~ Peace, Sophia

Hello there! Glad to meet you.

Sophia Ojha Squarespace Web Design ConvertKit Mailerlite

I am Sophia - the person behind this website. My intention is to provide useful content that helps solopreneurs, small businesses and not-for-profit organizations to build trust with their audience, grow the number of beloved fans as well as happy clients. I'm a Squarespace Authorized Trainer and a Certified ConvertKit Expert.

I love helping people through producing my weekly video tutorials and blogs, live workshops and online courses. Also, I work directly with clients in all aspects of content and email marketing strategy + implementation as well as designing high-converting Squarespace websites.  Let me know in the comments if you've got a question and I'd be happy to help.