How great would it be to know what your customers wanted before they even asked for it?
Can you imaging what it would do for your business and your reputation to always have a collection of highly sought after products or services?
You’d quickly become the go-to expert in your field and customers would know they could count on you to solve their problems quickly and easily.
What Does The Customer Want?
But unfortunately, this isn’t the case for most.
Something I hear all the time from entrepreneurs and business owners is how it’s getting harder and harder everyday to know what the customer wants.
Tastes and preferences seem to change overnight and there appears (on the outside at least) to be no rhyme or reason to why certain products sell while others collect dust on the shelf.
Back in “the day”, customers relied on the almighty salesperson to provide guidance, input, and advice on choosing the best product or service for them.
The salesperson could then collect and interpret what the customer was saying and offer a solution.
Now the salesperson has in many cases been replaced with Google, Amazon, YouTube, Social Media, and a variety of online review sites.
This is great news, and here’s why…
Free Market Research
Where once we had the salesperson collecting info and interpreting customer requests, we now have billion dollar data collection agencies working around the clock and providing you with more information than you could ever imagine.
Not only this, for the most part, they’re completely free!
Sure there are more detailed and complicated systems available but the 5 resources I’ll list below are more than enough to get you started down the road of satisfying customer desires, before they even know they exist.
1. Google Trends
In my opinion one of the least utilized and most valuable tools available in determining current market trends is none other than Google Trends.
Google trends allows you to track which keywords are increasing in popularity and provides suggestions for other terms that are rising in search volume.
This is a hugely valuable tool and for the most part is largely ignored, which means that by using it you’re gaining valuable insights that your competitors are likely not using.
2. Google Keyword Planner
The next way to learn what customers are thinking is another valuable tool from Google.
To use the keyword planner you first need to sign up for a free Gmail address and Google Adwords account. Even if you’re not planning on advertising it’s still a good thing to have.
From there you can access their free Keyword Planner, type in a keyword and receive not only the number of searches for that keyword, but also a list of suggested keywords that people are looking for online each and every month.
3. Facebook Insights
Facebook Insights are another great resource to learn what kind of material resonates best with your current market.
Of course to do this you’re going to need a Facebook business page, but a Facebook business page is a good asset to have anyways so if you don’t have one already, nows the time.
The best way to use Facebook Insights is to post a variety of different content to your business page (all related to your business of course) and see which posts get the most engagement (likes, shares, comments, etc).
From here you can determine what type of content your audience is most interested in so you can start to create more similar content (and eventually products and services) around those subjects.
If you have a small Facebook following or want to increase your testing even further you can set up and run a simple Facebook Ad campaign to test your ideas and headlines on a bigger scale.
4. Twitter Insights
Just like with Facebook, Twitter also has the ability to view which tweets you send out are receiving the greatest engagement.
And again just like with Facebook, you can use this tool to test out what types of content and headlines seem to invoke the most audience response.
Twitter also has a pretty powerful tool called Audiences.
Twitter audiences allow you to really drill down on the types of things your customers are interested in.
As an example, for my @AdamErhart page I can see that my audience is made up mostly of people interested in entrepreneurship, marketing, and technology.
I can also see that they’re interested in exotic food, are online buyers, like premium brands, and fresh healthy food.
This is only the tip of the iceberg however as the details go a lot deeper and the ways to use this information to better understand your customers and followers is almost endless.
5. Google Alerts
The final piece of our customer understanding puzzle comes again from search engine giant, Google.
This only makes sense though. As the most used search engine in the world, Google is well positioned to actively understand consumer trends, behavior, and online activity.
While all of the previous tools help to uncover thoughts, trends, and messages that have resonated with customers in the past, Google Alerts allows you to monitor what is happening with customers right now.
The way to use Google Alerts is to enter a keyword that you would like to track into the search bar at the top of the page, then Google will email you either as it happens, once a day, or once a week (depending on your settings) when this keyword appears online.
You can use this to track your business name, the industry you’re in, your name, your competitors, or pretty much anything else you can think of.
Using even one of these tools can help you gain a better understanding of your customers.
But when you combine all 5, you’re really able to create a clear and compelling picture of your customers wants, needs, and behaviors.