Seven Ways to Hear Your Transformational Consumers

Jeevan Sivasubramaniam Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.

Seven Ways to Hear Your Transformational Consumers

In Tara-Nicholle Nelson's latest book, she discusses how to appeal to and profit from transformational consumers--consumers who are focused on improving their health, wellbeing, and spirit.

But how do you listen to your consumers and what they want? Tara-Nicholle Nelson lays out seven ways to do just that below:

1. Read comments. These can be blog post comments or Facebook comments, and they don't even have to be from your blog or social media accounts. Read comments on competitors' blogs or on media outlet articles related to your subject matter.

2. Check reviews. What are they reading and buying? Read the reviews of those books and products. Amazon and Goodreads are your friends. But any e-commerce channel that they frequent—especially your own and your competitors'—are potentially rich fodder for reviews. Mine them to determine what needs haven't been met. This will, in turn, surface opportunities for you to serve and engage with them.

3. Ask questions. Conduct a survey. If you have your own user base, awesome. Send them a Survey Monkey poll, or just ask them a question on Facebook (like we did here). If you don't have a user base, or your target audience and your current audience are not the same, take a look at services such as Survey Monkey Audience, Google Consumer Surveys, and Qualtrics Panels, which get answers from people who meet your specifications at varying costs.

4. Review content performance. What posts perform well on your blog and social media channels? What about on your competitors' or other outlets'? For example, sites like The New York Times' blog, Well, Popsugar, and MindBodyGreen all show the number of shares (both via social media and email) for each post. Use that as a directional insight into what your users want to read.

5. Search trends. Learn to love, use, and frequent Google Trends. Bruce Clay does a great job of explaining how to use Google Trends to understand your market and audience here.

6. Leverage your sales team. I got into this business as a real estate broker. I kept spotting patterns in my customers' questions, fears, and dreams. Paying close attention to these patterns and identifying the content that solved their issues was the fuel I used to publish the most-read, single-authored real estate blog in the world for years and then plunge into marketing whole-hog with Ask Tara @ Trulia.

Salespeople know what customers care about at a more intimate level than most other employees. They know what objections they get, which concerns they hear over and over again, what problems people come to your company to solve, and what life events trigger people to need your offerings (or even stop needing them). So, tap them as a resource. If your company doesn't have salespeople, find subject matter experts who deal directly with your target audience for a living and hire one to consult.

7. Listen in. Discussion boards might seem passé, but they're alive and well. This is especially true when it comes to subject matter around health and career/lifestyle design. Don't believe me? Take a look at the forums on MyFitnessPalBodybuilding.comthe Fitness Subreddits. The list goes on. Your audience is there talking to each other. They might even be talking about your product or brand. So listen.