Listening to Your Target Audience — And to What They Don’t Say

You know you need to be listening to your target audience.  But did you know you need to be listening to what they don’t say?  Now, I know what you’re thinking.  “If they don’t tell me what they need, how do you expect me to be able to help?”

listening to your target audience

Sometimes one question is enough

To some extent that is certainly true. Say you see a man wearing one shoe and crying.  You can probably figure out what’s wrong, but you ask anyway.  And he tells you that he only has one shoe.  Now you know how to help this poor man. He needs a new pair of shoes.  (Or at least a mate for the shoe he has.)

Sometimes though, what your audience does not tell you is more important than what they are communicating. Let’s say you are in the weight loss market. You have a list, and when you survey that list the number one request is to lose 25 pounds in 3 months.

You go to work, writing blog posts and creating information products that help your audience do exactly that. Then something strange happens. You don’t make any sales. What happened?

The important thing here is exactly what your audience is NOT telling you … the “BIG WHY” behind their motivation to lose weight. A woman may realize that her wedding day is just around the corner. She knows this is a once-in-a-lifetime event (hopefully), and wants to look her best so the pictures taken be perfect in every way.

Sometimes you need to ask more than one question

You may think it is that person’s fault for not telling you her intimate reason for wanting to lose weight. That is incorrect. You are the person they came to for help. You didn’t ask deep enough questions to get around to the real reason weight loss was desired.

Ask your audience deeper questions. Don’t just ask them if they want to lose weight, ask them why, keep digging down to the core emotional need. When you satisfy this deep desire for change, rather than what is expressed as a surface desire, you’ll gain yourself a customer because you will have solved her problem.

Listening to your target audience . . . and to what they don’t say

So how do you put all this into action?  Focus on engagement.  Build your list, not merely to have a group to sell products to, but also to have a community of people interested in your niche.  Analyze what emails get the most reaction.  When a subscriber communicates with you, consider that an invitation for open dialogue.

Engage on social media.  Don’t just send out your tweets and Facebook posts.  Interact with your friends and followers.  Listen to what they are telling you and follow up with questions to discover what they aren’t saying.

Treat comments on your blog the same way.  Blog comments are a great means of listening to your target audience.  Connect with your readers, request and welcome comments, and respond to them.  Consider every comment an exercise in market research.

Make listening to your target audience a top priority.  And when you do, ask yourself what they aren’t saying.

And now I want to listen to you!  How do you listen to your target audience so that you can learn what they aren’t saying?  And what are your experiences as part of a target audience when your favorite bloggers listen to you?

And if you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends and followers on social media.