“We know what people want better than they do!” is a phrase that we’ve all heard before. Most people think coming up with the right idea is the most important part of building a product. But it’s not always true.
A product idea could be the right one for a particular audience group but would fall flat for a different set of audience.
If you’re building a product and haven’t done any audience research yet, you need to read this blog post.
Audience research is essential for many reasons:
- to find out who your customers are,
- how they use your product or service,
- what their challenges are
- and more importantly, what their pain points are!
In this post, we will look at the top 7 reasons why starting with Audience Research (instead of the idea) is the right way to building a product.
1. Understand who your target audience is and their needs.
You first need to understand who your target audience is and their needs.
- What demographics do they belong to?
- Where do they work?
- Do they need the product whatever you are thinking of building?
- And so on.
The more questions you answer before starting your project, the better understanding you’ll have. Knowing this will allow you to build a much better product than your competition.
2. Ask them questions to find out their pain points, frustrations, and desires
Your audience might say they need something, but are they willing to pay for it?
Yes. We all want to lose fat and look like a model. But that doesn’t mean everyone will pay for a personal trainer. But if you have a problem in your heart, you will pay whatever you can to get it fixed.
You need to identify such pains so that you can focus on creating something that solves them.
Let’s say your audience is freelancers. And your idea is to build a CRM tool to manage their leads.
But only by understanding their pains you will realise that many freelancers already use Excel to manage their leads.
It’s not that they don’t need such a product, but managing leads is just one pain among many others, such as dealing with no leads, delayed payments, etc.
Understanding their most challenging pain points allows you to build products that solve the most acute pain that will make them pay.
3. Know what they’re looking for in a product
Getting the right audience makes sure you are building a product that is relevant for them.
Say, for example, if you build an online Photoshop alternative and expect all digital designers to switch over, it will not happen.
But if you find out web developers or WordPress developers doesn’t want to pay a subscription to Adobe CS. You can market your alternative to them.
4. Find out how big a market you have
Understanding whom you will sell to helps you understand how big your Total Addressable Market (TAM) is. If you can identify this, you can more accurately assess the size of your market, which is needed to build a business model.
There are a few tools that allow you to understand the market size without even talking to anyone. But if you spend some time talking to actual people, you can learn a lot more about them and the company they work for.
This is also great because this research will tell you what value to build into your product to charge more money per customer or what features you can give away for free to bring in more free users.
This research should be done BEFORE building your product and before you start spending money on anything else, as it’s important to know the size of the market that will buy or use your service so you can manage expectations appropriately.
The better researched we are about our audience, the easier time we’ll have when marketing and generating leads.
5. Find out what they’re already using and how they use it
However much you try to believe, you don’t have a unique idea. You are just trying to solve someone’s problem in a new and better way.
So unless you know how your existing audience currently solves their problems, you will be solving the wrong problem.
To find out what they’re already using and how they use it, start by asking them – send a survey or do an online focus group among your target audience. See what forums they hang out on. What do they discuss?
What’s more important is understanding why people do these things today. What pain points does their current solution solve for them?
Understanding these basic things will help you identify the best solutions and most important features that need to be built.
This is essential for building a product people actually want, not just what they say they want when you ask them via an online survey or focus group.
Most importantly of all, it helps save time by ensuring your team builds a useful product instead of one that’s useless because it doesn’t solve any problems.
6. Know how you can sell to them
Having these conversations with your audience early on will give you a good idea of how you can sell to them.
- What are the barriers they face while buying a product like yours?
- Do they buy it through a company or personal? What’s the purchasing process in their company?
- What kind of offers work?
- Do they buy a product only if a friend refers?
Knowing this early on will allow you to tailor your product and marketing messages accordingly, which will give you a much better chance at being successful!
This is also an excellent way to understand how to retain them as customers. Many products suffer from high churn. But if you know your audience from early on, you can find ways to keep them happy.
7. Build a community of True Fans
This is one of the most important benefits of building an audience early on before creating your product.
Every product needs a tight-knit community of True Fans or Early Adopters. These loyal hardcore users of your product are the ones who will help spread it through word of mouth.
These are the people who would be spending $1000 on your product before it even exists. They will go ahead and promote your product to all their friends, family members and colleagues.
The number one way to create such a community of True Fans is to build an email list and regularly sending them engaging emails.
Even though Social Media is also a great place to get fans, I prefer owning your list of customers to having Facebook or Twitter hold your customer base.
This will ensure that you have the most engaged people in your email list or social media followers who are interested in getting updates about what’s coming next for your company.
Once you have this community of customers, you can even use their advice to help drive your product decisions.
Audience research is fundamental, whether you are selling an ebook or starting an eCommerce store or a SaaS product.
And even more important is doing this research early on in the process. Doing research early on will help you create a product that people are willing to buy, and if it’s successful, it will make your life much easier down the road because there is already an audience ready for it.
Question for you: What is your product, and what kind of audience have you identified for it? Please leave them in the comments below.
Srini is an entrepreneur+developer who realised launching a successful product is much more than building cool features. He has helped numerous startups and businesses build successful businesses for the past 13 years.