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The Why Train Technique: How To Develop A Crystal Clear Understanding Of Your Customer

By Yaro Starak
77 Comments

I recently published a video on why it is important to develop a deep understanding of your customer. In that video I covered a brief overview of the different psychological elements that relate to you understanding your customer and how you fit in as a service or product provider, fulfilling their needs.

After reading the comments on that video I felt more explanation is required to help you come to a deeper understanding of this very important topic.

If you can develop an intimate familiarity of how your target audience operates, what motivates them emotionally, what language they use to describe their problems and how their problem impacts their life in real, external and tangible ways, the easier it is to succeed in that market. All aspects of your business are derived from your understanding of your customer, and if you are working off of assumptions, you’re making mistakes and not likely enjoying the level of success you could.

Are You Your Customer?

When I first started teaching how to blog in my Blog Mastermind program I related stories of how I began all my successful online projects.

For example, when I developed a site targeting Magic The Gathering card players, I was a card player myself, who know the game and the online environment for the game intimately well. I knew what motivated players of the game because it was what motivated me.

Magic players want to win tournaments and trade cards. My site was successful because we published content on how to win tournaments, including reports from people who had performed well, listing what cards they used to win with. Later I added a trading forum, the one element that really skyrocketed the success of the site because people kept coming back to list, sell and trade cards every day.

My proofreading business began as an idea in my head after I experienced working with international students writing group assignments at university. Group members who had English as a second language struggled with academic writing and I knew how important it was that they maintain a high grade point average, or risk losing their visa to study in Australia.

This insight led to developing a proofreading service that targeted a very specific need in a specific group. We never had a lot of traffic to that site, but those who did you use the service used it for every paper they wrote, resulting in a high customer value for the business.

If I didn’t understand the psychology behind the motivations of these groups of people, I wouldn’t have been able to meet their needs so closely.

It Always Begins With Keywords

When developing a niche most internet marketing teachers will explain how to do research online, which pretty amounts to developing an assessment of the supply and demand relationship for certain keywords.

Traffic on the internet, especially when it comes to tapping small niches with basic websites as opposed to building authority over time, is all about keywords. Knowing how many people search for things and the quality and amount of websites that currently rank for those phrases, is the difference between making it work and having a site with no traffic.

These methods assume you are tapping into organic traffic flows in search engines, the cheapest form of traffic there is. However it doesn’t change much if you are buying traffic with Pay Per Click, as the supply and demand ratio of keywords impacts the cost and results.

Almost all internet marketing products I’ve come across that attempt to teach beginners how to make money online start with keyword research, as they should, and usually focus on either search engine traffic or buying traffic with pay per click.

Some programs go so far as to not just assess the supply and demand ratio of keywords, but also look at the psychology behind the keywords so they know whether they are “money” terms. Not all search phrases are equal, as some searches are conducted by people researching to buy something, while others relate only to free information seekers, who may or may not ever prove profitable for you depending on how you monetize your site.

For those selling information or physical products, whether as an affiliate or producer, getting in front of the buyers is the most important thing. For bloggers focusing on advertising, increasing pageviews is more important, the quality of the keyword may not matter as traffic volume is more critical.

Are Keywords Enough?

As I teach in my programs, taking steps to research customer behavior beyond just keywords is important.

I recommend researching in forums, reviewing comments made to popular blogs, assessing what advertisers spend money on Google Pay Per Click and how long they continue to do so (the longer, the more likely they are profiting from it), checking out facebook groups, leaders on Twitter, and top organic search results to see what people are interested in.

In this case the important considerations to look out for are -

  1. Are there enough people interested in a subject to support large community sites and retailers who sell products (in other words are people making money in this niche already?)
  2. What sub-topics are currently discussed by people at these sites, what language do they use, what are the most common issues, and how do people currently go about solving their problems?

This is priceless information that is available simply by searching Google, so there’s no excuse not to do it.

A lack of information is a warning sign, and although you might think it’s a good thing because of lack of competition, it’s better if there are people already succeeding because that means there is a market. A lack of websites might mean there is no market, though it could also mean it’s an untapped opportunity too, you never know for sure until you test.

Get Personal

If you want the highest quality data about your potential customers you need to speak to them or collect information as directly as you can.

So many people want to launch information products in markets where they have never actually helped anyone before. If you really want to succeed as an information marketer, spend some time actually servicing real live people. You will learn so much when you go straight to the horses mouth, so to speak. Here are some ways to do this -

You can’t ever know enough about your customers, so using all of these methods is the best advice, but obviously you need to work your way through the methods as you build your reach over time.

Take Action

In my case the best way I have learned whether my idea works and refined my understanding of the psychology of my customers is to actually put something out there.

All my successful projects were created with NO KEYWORD RESEARCH. That’s right – I’ve never done keyword research for all my money making projects, at least not before I started them. This of course is not advice that you shouldn’t, but realize that if you really want to know the answer, take action and create a website and see if you get customers.

I wouldn’t recommend going in completely blind – I knew the people I was targeting and what needs they had. However I launched all my projects okay with the idea that I was experimenting for fun just as much as to make money, and I was fully willing to fail.

This is why speed of implementation is so critical. The most successful online entrepreneurs aren’t the best researchers, but they are the best at getting ideas out there, which ultimately is the best form of research you can do – a live test.

What Do You Need To Know?

On many group calls I’ve been confronted with members of my programs who show me websites looking for critical feedback and improvement suggestions.

In almost all cases, every website I review has a fatal flaw – It’s not obvious what the point of the website is.

If you want to assess your own website or any marketing materials I suggest you ask yourself the following questions, or have someone else ask you and then you answer them and see if they understand, or you ask them and see if they can answer by looking at your website.

The questions, or really it’s just a question, is – Why?

Often when you answer these questions you end up describing abstract ideas, so it’s best if you focus instead on tangible and external elements, and then ask why again.

For example –

My website exists to give information about healthy eating.

Why?

Because I want to help people lose weight.

Why?

Because if people have less weight they live longer and do more fun things like dancing, play tennis or run around with their kids.

I could drill down much further, but essentially we are talking about discovering the core, external, emotional and physical elements that motivate your customers to take action. Eating healthy is a concept, being able to play with your kids at the park and experience the joy that activity brings, is an external tangible outcome with a strong emotional drive behind it.

If you are concerned about how good a first impression your website makes, watch this video I made demonstrating some ideas to clarify your websites purpose to new readers – Can Your Blog Explain Its Purpose In One Second?

You Need To Know This

Every single would-be online entrepreneur – me included, and you too – does not have a solid enough understanding of their target customer. There is always more to learn, more to clarify and a deeper understanding to be gained from further study of who you are trying to help.

The best way to establish the necessary level of intimacy with your marketplace is to start interacting with the real live humans who make up the market. The more human contact you have, with your marketing brain switched on looking for the cues that reveal the psychology, the closer you get to nailing the needs and wants, so you can better sell to and meet these desires.

Yaro Starak
Meeting Needs

About Yaro Starak

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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77 Comments

  • Hi Yaro,

    Excellent piece of advice. All about research, research and research.

    I never knew about researching beyond the keywords, and you have expanded my horizon.

    Thanks a lot for clearing up your video with this post.

    Kindest,
    Nabeel

    • I agree. Without proper research, we won’t be able to come up an action plan, and will lead to failure. So proper research can give us a big advantage when it comes to business, online or offline.

  • Yaro this is GREAT post!

    Marketing will be very easy when we know our potential customers. We must think like client, talk like client and help them.

    Thks again for your AWENSOME content :)

  • I think that the combination of these things you mention is the sucess formula. Key word research can do really good things for you in order to not waste to much time on a niche that doesent monetize to well, but without understanding your audience you wont get anywhere either. Great post!

  • Great stuff, I also hugely recommend joining and participating in online forums as a way to meet and know potential customers. Don’t be shy, use the forum as a way to make contacts and introduce yourself to people.

  • This is spot on! Very well said. It is so important to work with your customer in mind – unless you’re just blogging for fun. I really like the concept of just getting out and doing something. It is important to do your research, but too often we get stuck in analysis paralysis and end up doing nothing because we are “still researching the market.” That being said, some good up front research into your niche and the needs of your customers can set you up for success.

    Thanks again Yaro for your help.

    • Even if you are blogging for fun, what’s the fun if nobody’s reading it?

      • Very good point. I guess the only reason to have a blog is to share with others, even if they are just close friends and family. The bottom line for any successful business – be it a blog, ecommerce site, or brick and mortar business – is to provide something of value to your audience. With that in mind, you absolutely must understand your customer’s and their specific needs.

  • A great post not only for yourself but for your customers as well. By showing your market that you are the go to guy for information they are looking for you are almost guaranteed success in that niche.

  • Sounds a lot like the salesman’s creed, eh ?

    “If you can see the world through John Smith’s eyes
    You can sell John Smith what John Smith buys”

    Thanks for the reinforcement . . . . .

  • Yaro,
    An afterthought: if anyone wants to really understand the underlying mechanism, or science, behind your well done essay, they need to look no further than:

    “How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less”

    A small, How to, book with a hokey title that speaks wisdom. Digest it.

  • Great post Yaro. I got a lot out it.

    However…I would like to argue against one tiny statement you made. Almost everyone says that making money online starts or should start with Keyword Research. I somewhat disagree.

    To me keyword research is the third step to making money online or starting any kind of online business for that matter.

    The first step I consider is just deciding what niche I want to go into. The second step is to start hunting for a proper domain name.

    I have a number of blogs in the health niche. I decided I wanted a new blog in the acne and skin care niche. Step 1 complete.

    Forget the keyword research for now. Next I went to Godaddy.com to their domain auctions and found a super 2 word domain name with the word “acne” at the beginning. Not only did I like the domain name, it also had a page rank of 3, 256 backlinks and some built in traffic…all without lifting a finger. The domain cost me $15. Yes, it took about 8 days before the domain name was finally transferred to my account, but that was ok because it gave me time to…

    …Step 3 – Do Keyword Research

    Joe

  • Hey Yaro,

    Awesome Post man. Fantastic advice.
    I think Keyword research is most important part and can do awesome things if done correctly. Thanks for sharing this great Post. Really Brilliant work Yaro.

    ~Dev

  • Thanks for the great post Yaro!

    A lot of great points and I look forward to the rest of the series.

    What you said about implementing is so key.
    For a year or so, I’ve been the world’s best researcher, but with no action on the information I gained, there were no results..
    Then last month, a big goal came to my mind and then I had to act! (Or else I wouldn’t get to travel to Los Angeles)

    I began to do really difficult things, like: stop watching IM videos and do things that will make money, cold call business owners in the yellow pages, create a workshop and then actually show it to someone (and use it as the framework for my offer)
    I’m happy to say, I accomplished my goal and will be doing the travelling I planned on!

    And now with the knowledge and the belief I can actually do this, when I get back I will be able to run my business properly! (And without the time crunch)

    Also, what you were saying about actually talking to your customers and finding out their real needs is crucial.
    I had become a little bit of a mad scientist in the lab, working on the perfect system. But when you need to sell, you need to get out there!
    Once I started making sales calls, on the phone and face-to-face, I could actually begin to understand what my market needs to hear and could start feeling their pain.

    I love the keep asking why trick! I’m going to try that today.

    Sorry about the long comment, but I’m finally realizing how an important and focused goal, will motivate someone to move mountains to achieve it!

  • Your Message
    Yaro,
    This is awesome advice! “Getting inside your customer’s head” is absolutely critical not only to creating the products they’ll buy but also to developing that all-important bond and trust with them. I know that you, like most top marketers, have harnessed the power of surveys to do that. Too often, though, we forget to make those surveys FEEL like a conversation with our customers; we grab a bad template from Survey Monkey and put out a survey that ends up alienating our customers, instead of building trust with them.

    The way to solve that problem is to do exactly what you suggest: Think about your customer, think about who they are and what they want and how they want you to talk with them (notice I said “with” not “to”) as you write the survey and the whole process will be much more effective

  • Hi Yaro!
    Another great read – crazy question though (because its an interest of mine), what is your Magic: The Gathering site URL? .. mind you that could have been ages ago, but just curious if it still exists online.

    • @Calgary, If I am not mistaken, I think Yaro sold that website a long time ago.

      Till then,

      Jean

  • Another great post Yaro!

    Personally, the fact that we need to dig and dig deep into what our customers want is what I think I miss sometimes. I often times leave it at “they want to know about SEO” or whatever and never dig deeper into the actually why? Having been an engineer for several years, I should be better at that because they always told us to keep asking why.

    Again, great post Yaro. I am glad someone pointed me to your blog.

  • RUBBISH!!!

    well actually these are nice ideas. That was just a cheap way to get attention. And now that I have it, I’d like to say that these points rock. I really like the exercise to drill down the real “pitch” of you blog or any business idea with a couple of WHYs.

    Waiting eagerly for next posts in the series.

  • I believe there is no single and most effective way to learn how to understand your target customers. Every client has unique needs and wants. Every person in your FB friends list may not have the same frame of mind as you have. If you try to discover that one at a time, it would take years to finally realize that what you have may not be the one they really want all along. Things may get a little bit complicated if you get too personal, especially if it’s too close for comfort.

  • Great Post, Yaro! – Definitely expands my horizons on what is possible. I have been successful with a couple of sites where I did not do keyword research until later, too.

    I really like your suggestion here:
    •If you’re just getting started, charge $50 an hour for phone coaching and you’re basically getting paid to do research about your customers.

    I love educating people and provide so much free information, and I am always working on taking the step between giving lots for free and earning money from my knowledge/wisdom gained over many years! So I like that idea.
    Thanks!
    Diana

  • I guess I was a little bit of an anomaly. I started my first website in a niche that had no competion as I didn’t know any better. It’s a small market but I have been successful in it and learned a lot along the way.

    I think you’re right on Yaro. I use surveys for my lists all the time and am surprised how seldom I see others use them.

  • I never realized that I should think about the type of consumer in regards to keyword research and the psychology behind it.

  • Right! It’s always about catering to the right demographic. You gotta service what your clients need and that’s the only way for you to be successful. The thing is I think a lot of people lose sight of what they were originally out to do. So keep your clients’ best interests at hand and you’ll do well!

  • Yaro

    Great post – you raised some great points there which many of us lose sight of. Especially in the IM world people do tend to treat their email marketing lists like cattle.

    The helping bit I liked and making yourself useful – that is the part I am trying to overcome in IM

  • Hi Yaro,

    Thank you for an excellent article on understanding your customer which has given readers some great advice.

    I have especially enjoyed reading your overview of the industry and your experiences of planning and implementing your strategy. Even with the best home business ideas it is very easy to take action and achieve very little without the correct research and your article is a great resource for anyone starting out,

    regards,

    Mal Tindle
    Work From Home Gems

  • Thank Yaroo. it’s very important advice to me.. can’t wait your next article

    Thanks for great job!

  • Hi Yaro

    Great article, sure made me ponder a lot with many questions striking into my brain. Have always been trying to push traffic for my miniature painting blog, monetizing efforts has not been any success with average traffic. Do you still have your Magic Gathering site?

    Your 3 why questions, though its simple, but hard to answer. It made me realized the customer needs and the objective of my site. Will be pondering more… thanks! Cheers!

  • Yaro,

    Understanding customer psychology is always a great idea, that too without scamming them. Is there such as thing as a honest selling? I sure hope so.

    • That’s a great way of thinking about it, Pam! As an average consumer in our society, I’d like to know that my seller has my best interests at heart, too.

  • Yaro,

    This is great information for anyone who is selling online or offline. Many times people think they have a business, people will come, but it is not so. I am learning a lot. Thanks.

  • Quite revealing!
    You actually made mention of several factors that could lead to failure as one strives to make a living online.I think what appeal to me most is the Why questions.Obviously,without supplying the right answers to those vital questions it will be very difficult for any website own to carve out a niche for himself and eventually establish dominance in that particular niche.This is because he will not be able to have and maintain genuine followers.
    Thanks alot.

  • After watching several of your videos on Yaro.TV, I came over to read this post. What I was reminded of was that I need to remain focused on what my readers need, not just what I want to write about. Unfortunately, I veered slightly off center recently and need to refocus on specifically why I created this website in the first place.

    Knowing what readers want, how they feel, and what they really are looking for is definitely key in how successful a site will be. Thanks for this wake-up call to get back on track.

    You also reinforced a couple of other things I have been thinking about doing and now I realize how important it is to follow through with my plans for this site in the very near future.

  • G’Day Yaro,
    Enjoyed your post. I think that the business of really understanding your customer’s point of view is most important. May I add a couple of suggestions .

    When presenting your product or service present it in terms that the customer will find compelling, not what you think that the customer ought to find compelling.

    Be careful about how you phrase survey questions. Dare I disagree with the gurus who say you should ask clients and prospects what problems they have? Don’t ask about “problems.”

    Ask them what it is they’d like to be able to do better or more often of more precisely or whatever. Ask them what they’d like to be able to do that they can’t do. Ask them what’s stopping them doing the something or other they’d like to do or do more of. And ask them what they already believe they do well and what you could do to help them do it even better.

    You see, in our rush to discover what’s important to clients and prospects, we might forget a simple thing. The quality of the answers you receive is dependent on the quality of the questions you ask. Generalised questions about problems are low quality.

    Above all, make sure you have fun.

    Regards

    Leon

  • Very nice article there.

    Appealing to the customer is paramount in gaining maximum results. Knowing what they would like and bending your methods to suit them can give you far better results then if you just go by your methods only.

  • Thank you for listening and giving it to us in writing, and in depth to boot! You rock, Yaro! I find it amazing that you achieved what you did with no keyword research at all, but it goes to prove that if you have something unique and special enough to offer, and you’re able to appeal directly to your target market, you’re right on the money there.

  • How much have you won at poker??? Oh you say you know the person intimately???
    Then your saying, you know what’s in their hand!

    I say that you can know everything about the person except what is going on in their brain!

    Anyways, keep up the stories. They are good for a laugh. Why is the divorce rate so high? Doesn’t anybody listen to you??

  • Absolutely to the point there Yaro!

    Any student of marketing will tell you that customer research is the very basic thing to do before launching any product. However the best thing I like about your post is the ‘just get there and get going’ advice.

    A bit of keyword research is great to get on Google page1, and that’s the way to go for getting traffic. Yet niche websites like your proofreading ones are so so essential to making the money to keep you going.

    Thanks for a great post.

  • If you want to succeed online, it is very important that you exactly know who your potential customers are that you are trying to target

  • Yaro,

    Always keeping that attitude that you will never know everything about your customer is great advice. This keeps you hungry and gives you that edge to keep pushing for more.

    I like to use keyword searches coupled with markt research before creating a new product. It really helps to just listen to the chatter as well, to what kinds of questions people are asking and what kinds of things they are consistantly having trouble with… A real though provoking post.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire

  • Understanding your customer using methods such as Social Media are a great way to establish yourself as a pro in your marketplace.

  • The best way to know your customer is to ask questions and lead them to where they want to go. Anything else leaves a bad taste.

  • I like the fact you started your internet businesses without keyword research. You went into the market knowing what your target audience was looking for.

    The best advice given was to take action. It can be overwhelming when learning how to market online and many people, myself included, become paralyzed by trying to understand how everything works before getting started. You will learn as you go, and amazingly, people, blogs, websites, newsletters, etc. to assist you along the way will begin to appear.

  • Are You Your Customer? This is one of my doubts that rises when I come across some stats showing the bulk number of rising online business websites. Anyways, I would like to add to those people who get leads to their website, follow up the leads from your blog and networks, but never do so for instant results. Do it because you can help. If your service or product meets and solves a customer problem, then they’ll buy it.There’s no need for the hard sell. :)

  • Thanks for such a great post.

    There’s no substitute for talking to real people. While keyword research is very important, interaction with your prospective customers/clients is critical as you emphasized.

    A marketer can extract key concepts, symbols & terms (lingos & street jargon) as well as customer problems & frustrations. This makes it easy for a prospect to connect with any copy or message put out for them when the time to communicate the offer comes.

    Looking forward to more posts from you.

  • Hi Yaro
    Many deep thoughts here about knowing your customer and what your site is about!
    All I need to know about my visitors to my site is that they are looking for help and advice!
    It doesn’t matter whether they are male/ female , young or old.
    If they have a dog that is out of control and has just bitten someone, they need help to train their dog now – before the authorities put their dog down. (or they just need advice on caring for their dog).
    When they come to my site, it’s obvious what the site is about.
    Reminds me of Glen Turner in the late 60′s – K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid!)
    Lot of truth in that – even today
    regards
    Graham

  • Some great advive there.

    We’ve been doing some but not all of what you’ve suggested as yet but we’re still learning. We are starting to see some results though.

    Thanks
    Dance Singles

  • This is really great advice YARO! Thanks a lot, if was very very usefull :)

  • Dude, this is the kind of thing that not enough people part with enough these days.

    My career turned around the second that I started to place myself into the shoes of my market and asked myself “What is it that I really want?”, and “What is it that I am searching for”. I can promise anyone reading here that the second that you write for your market is the second that you start to make a difference.

    If you dont understand your customer, how can you even understand what it is that you are trying to do.

    Cheers Yaro!

  • Yaro, I agree with you fully. The customer is the KING and you have to deliver what he wants and not what the search engines want. Selecting keywords is one thing but what your visitors are looking for is a totally different thing. Keep both these things in mind and you are bound to succeed.

  • You make a great point Yaro, that it’s more than just looking at the keywords, but a deeper research that you need to do to make sure you are at your full potential. I like how you say not to assume, I mean if you look at corporations that are successful, they are not “assuming” what their market will do, but rather they research their market and see their trends and patterns, and then make their decision from there.

    Till then,

    Jean

  • This is an Great Post Yaro. Fantastic advice.
    No doubt Keyword research is very important part and can do wonders if done the right way. Thanks for writing this great post. Excellent work.

    Wally

  • hi yaro..
    i was learn more thing from ur website it so interesting topic ..

  • [...] Yaro talks about immersing yourself in your customer’s community (and all customers have a community, whether organized or not). [...]

  • x 100

    The greatest life-skill one can have is being able to sell their skills and services and underlying this is the ability to communicate and relate to ppl. Some call it being ‘relational’ (seems to be a buzzword over at copyblogger). Whatever really – point is, you may be the greatest web designer in the world, but if you can’t relate to customers you won’t be able to understand and clarify their needs. Good post.

  • Great article, though nothing new for me. I have already been caught up by the tornado of never ending E-Books that teach – “How To Earn Money Online” :-P My first blog was a big failure, because I didn’t researched for it and fell short of content in between. Poor Marketing added up to further fall of it.

    But as they say, you loose and learn. I have been researching for last 7 months now and I am all set to make a new blog, which I am probably sure would touch heights.

    Just wanted to ask one question – Is it okay to write articles and make a stock of them? And have you ever tried doing this Yaro? :O

  • I think the rule of “impress yourself first” is a golden one.

    Ideally, you are your customer and you know what a great product or service looks like. The challenge is when you are not your customer and you can’t quite relate to the real needs and you have to guess at it. It’s tough to make sense of the data or to prioritize when you don’t have enough empathy or first-hand experience to see the forest from the trees.

  • well i think U should study first the complete Crystal report area before giving solutions to other people.The solutions given are incomplete and nobody understands how they are done.Thanks

  • Hi Yaro, it’s very true that unless you know the product inside and out, you’re losing an edge to the competition. Nothing pleases a customer more than knowing that you are on the same page with him as far as passion and knowledge about the product. It not only creates a bond with that customer, but also fosters relationships with their contacts and associates when it comes to that product.

    Sandy

  • Yaro ~ I had no idea that you used to play Magic too! I hear John Choo used to play too! I wonder the proportion of successful bloggers to those that used to play Magic? Trade you a Lord of the Pit for some great blogging tips!?!

  • If I place myself in the position of my readers and ask myself: “what would I like to learn” then obviously it’s not me who’s going to deliver it. So there is a phallacy in the idea of serving the customer you are today.

    The proper way to put it is: what would I have wanted to learn when I didn’t know yet what I know now and what would be the best and fastest way to learn it. You have to vividly recall your own ignorant past, which is not always easy when you have become knowledgeable.

    Then there is the 80/20 rule: 80% of what you teach is in your comfort zone and 20% you’re actually learning something about the subject yourself while teaching, through investigation or responses.

    Then there is also the fact that very often customers do not know what they want, especially in a knowledge domain. They are waiting for inspiration and enlightenment, and the only way to achieve that is to spread your knowledge, even if people are not asking for it. Sometimes your message will hit home, very often no one will bother.

    I think one thing Yaro has demonstrated is that the path to success is laden with iterations, meaning trial, failure, trial, failure, trial moderate success … I’m reading many reactions though as if one single piece of advice will suddenly make that massive difference in success. It won’t. We’ll still have to try.

  • Hi Yaro!

    Interesting post. I’ve never really considered that the best way to understand what our customers want is simply just to understand them at all – simple really!

    Thanks for taking the time to explain this in such great depth.

    Keith

  • Hi Yaro

    ‘Develop an intimate familiarity’ with your customer – I love that! Too many online marketers forget there are actual people behind those keywords and their online search. Communicating online may seem quite detached, however, this only makes successfully connecting with your audience much more ‘essential.’

    Thank you :)

  • Yaro, Great post with lots of advices and learning material in there. I agree with you that the best way to test your methodology is to put something out there in-front of customers and then learn from it.

  • This is a great post, its always good to get to know your customers better, this way you can offer what they want and know what they are interested with. Knowing them in person and talking with them is very important for your business.

  • I like putting myself in the customers shoes to get ideas on what they are thinking and what they are looking for. But I agree, the more we actually talk and interact with real live people, the better we’ll know them and be able to deliver what they are actually looking for. This is probably one of my weakest areas and something I need to work on and implement more consistently.

  • Yaro, this is flat out a great post. Thanks

  • Would you recommend having some sort of familiarity with who is nor your target audience too? in order to, for example, disconnect form unfruitful business relationships with people and sites which are misleading for being directed to your niche audience, but are actually not?

  • The question “Are you your customer” is the most valuable lesson I got from this post. I totally agree that it is important to experience the product or service you are trying to sell, as what you have demonstrated in your card game example. Thanks.

  • Your Message Constant and ongoing research is key because not only can you never fully understand your customer, both your customer and the environment in which they make their purchasing decisions are in a constant state of change.

    Of all the marketing advise I recieved in my MBA program, the best is simply “try alot of things, keep what works”. Never assume you know what will or will not work.

  • Hey Yaro,

    Very informative post! This is a crucial part of any business and if this part is missed then you are surly going to fail…

    I walked away from your post today with a couple of gold nuggets that’s forsure…

    Thanks,
    Billee Brady

  • Thank you for the valuable insights Yaro. The longer I run my business the more I realize that it’s very helpful to clearly identify who my target customer is and keep getting to know them. It’s an ongoing process of defining and refining and then finding ways to connect with them. Business people can really benefit by understanding what their customers need and why they would seek them out for services or products. Ultimately, this process is about us learning who we are and what we offer. Then we can go looking for the people who will be interested in what we offer.

  • I really like your question: “are you your customer?” I run two sites. For the bigger one, I am certainly not. Given that I am an expert, I could do the work myself. But the other one is much closer. Being a language teacher assumes that I had to learn a language myself, so I can see both sides. I feel that it gives me a much better perspective of what people are looking for on my site.

  • Hi Yaro,

    Yes at one point I was my own customer. It was easier for me though because I worked in an environment where we provide outsourcing services for small and large sites alike.

    That became my teaching environment and it became apparent to me what worked and what did not. I wouldn’t have the guts in the first place to leave my comfy corporate work if not for the experience I gained.

    This time though, I’d like to expand my experience and extend this to the same people where I was before. The freedom I have now just can’t be measured in monetary terms.

  • Even if you are blogging for fun, what’s the fun if nobody’ has time to read it.

    Thanks
    Misbah Mumtaz

  • […] We cover the “why train” technique popularised by Toyota as a way to get to the root cause behind a problem by asking “why” six times (you can read more about the Why Train Technique here). […]

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