Have you ever thought to yourself, “Sure, I’d love to start a business…but how do I know if people will buy from me/if my idea is good/what to say to get potential customers interested.”
All of us have thought these things at one point.
Today, I’m going to show you how to use “brain hacks” to get inside the mind of potential clients and figure out if they actually WANT what you have to offer. This stuff is so good, people who read your marketing might even say things like:
“Holy crap! You read my mind!”
You’ll appear psychic. Or at least really smart.
I’m even going to show you private notes I’ve taken as “surveillance” on my own businesses over the years.
How We Validated Busy Mom|Skinny Jeans
Before you launch any new idea, you have to know what your prospective clients want — and even more importantly, you have to know what makes your service/product/idea DIFFERENT.
This is called a USP (Unique Selling Proposition).
I created a great USP when I was working on one of my first products ever — a fitness product called Busy Mom|Skinny Jeans.
I’m going to spare you the actual video clip. You get the idea…
The idea started pretty simply: It was 2010, and workout videos like P90X and Insanity were still CRUSHING it.
(They are doing well now, but 2007-2010 was amazing)
I saw this and knew that I could create something that would sell — but I also knew I needed a unique angle.
I asked myself 3 questions:
- What group of people was the most motivated to get in shape?
- What group of people would a home exercise product serve the best?
- What group of people was underserved by the current in-home exercise craze?
And then it hit me.
Moms, especially those who’ve just given birth, are often looking for ways to get back in “pre-baby” shape as quickly as possible.
And they are usually spending a fair amount of time at home.
But for some reason, there’s no in-home fitness program just for them — which leaves them to try programs that are made for other “everybody,” but may not be a great fit for them.
All I would need to do was modify existing home training DVDs and brand it specifically towards moms for it to catch their attention.
KEY INSIGHT: Sometimes, all you need to do is give your product/service a strong, definitive position, even if your product itself is very similar to what’s already out there.
For example, if you were going to start a line of athletic socks — but wanted to specifically appeal to dancers, you could produce two identical pairs of socks. Label one pair, “Designed specifically for the feet of the world’s best dancers.”
What do you think would happen?
Your sales among dancers would naturally increase because the positioning speaks right to them. It targets the intended demographic specifically. Even if they were the EXACT same as other socks. Make sense?
The “Busy Mom” positioning accomplishes the same effect. And the “Skinny Jeans” addition is aspirational. It identifies what the mom is looking for.
So Micah and I (my biz partner) thought we had a winner on our hands…but we still had some research to do in order to determine if our idea was viable, and figure out what potential customers were saying. This is where the psychic stuff comes into play.
Taking notes on the forums
Moms are all over different forums asking each other for help, ideas and inspiration. We dove in head first head first here and took literally pages and pages and pages of notes. Specifically, were were looking for:
- Common struggles/pain points that seemed to come up often
- The way moms described what they were going through in first person
- The advice they gave to each other
- What they were already trying that was working
- What they’d tried that hadn’t worked
- Their specific emotional keywords around weight, exercise, eating, etc
I literally have an entire hard drive full of notes on this stuff…
I know way too much about the mom brain now…
KEY INSIGHT: Don’t just assume you know your target demographic’s thoughts and feelings. Even if you are IN the target demographic. Especially if you are in the target demographic. Do some digging, validate your idea and figure it out.
Here are some interesting insights that I got — straight from the moms themselves. These are quotes pulled directly from various message boards:
I don’t know how other women do it, but I feel like I’m making this up as I go along. Trying to find the right balance between raising my kid, working, cleaning house, having a relationship with my husband, finding alone time and staying sane is impossible. I really think it is. Impossible. Granted, it’s a juggling act, this I knew. But, damn. I’ve tried doing things in small amounts, like being sure to clean the kitchen after breakfast, actually starting one load of laundry before leaving for the playground or squeezing work in after my daughter’s bed time. You know what that results in? Being burned out. Then it’s non-stop responsibility. And, invariably, I forget about the wash and a few days later I’m washing it again, soaking it this time to because it’s sat there wet for days on end. URGH.
And this one…
I never wanted my picture taken with my daughter because I hated how I looked with extra weight. I know when she is no longer a baby I will want those kind of pictures.
Or ones like this…
When I realized my jeans were getting too tight and my favorite skinny jeans no longer fit. I also started to eat too much at work (I’m a cook) and it didn’t help me. So finally at the beginning of the new year SO stepped into a gym and signed up. I went every day after we enrolled and have not stopped.
Again, these aren’t my quotes. They are direct, personal words from my target demographic. What AMAZING intel!!!
(Think: Where could you go to hear from your potential clients directly??)
At this point, I knew Micah and I were definitely on to something — and now we have the EXACT words from our target group to start crafting the marketing. We don’t have to guess what we should say. We can literally take their words and craft them back into our message. When the moms read this, they’ll know that we DEEPLY understand them because we are speaking their language. We are basically psychics.
But we don’t have any special powers. We just know how to do great customer research 🙂
Putting the all the information together and validating
From this intel, we made a customer avatar — a statement that encapsulates the sentiments/mindset of a prospect and helps you find the right voice and position to market to them with.
The idea is to write the avatar AS IF you are the prospect. Then, identify 4 elements:
- What the prospect fears
- What’s frustrating the prospect
- What the prospect hopes for their future
- Who/what the prospect aspires to become
I used all the research from the forums, and the hours and hours of pouring over different mom-related websites…and here’s what I came up with:
I am a 34 year old mom of two. There’s no getting around it. My life is hectic. I have two children who need me for everything and are still growing, all the responsibilities of running the household and all the responsibilities that come with being a good wife/partner if I have one. It’s not that I don’t enjoy doing all this. I love being a mom and a wife. The problem is that sometimes I end up dead last on my own list.
I’ve tried to get in shape in the past, but it was short lived, I didn’t feel motivated and I didn’t feel like it fit with my busy lifestyle. I also feel guilty about giving myself attention when I know that other people need me all the time. If I could get in shape I would, but right now I just don’t seem to have the time or energy with everything else that goes on. They have to come first.
I’m scared that if I don’t start some type of fitness program now, I’ll never start and I’ll never be healthy, but I don’t know where to begin or how to get motivated. I’ve been frustrated with past attempts and I don’t want to try something that doesn’t work again. That will just make me feel more like a failure. I’m afraid that my SO will think I’m ugly and fat, even if he never says anything. Eventually he’ll stop being attracted to me and leave me. I’m scared that I won’t be able to stay healthy, I’ll die early and I won’t get to see my kids grow up and turn into great people. I’m afraid to dislike myself. I’m afraid that one day I’ll just “wake up” with a disease like diabetes or morbid obesity and not know how I got there. If that’s already happened, I’m frustrated because I don’t know the steps to get away from that.
My hope and aspiration is for a body that I’m proud of. One that I can show off and that my husband/SO will yearn for, as well as give me confidence and peace of mind that I’ve made my health a priority. I also hope to set an example for my kids by showing them that I take health seriously and so should they. If they see me doing it, they will copy me. It’s my responsibility to set the tone for the family, and it starts with my actions.
This isn’t about getting “extreme” or “insane” it’s about looking great, feeling healthy and being the best mom to my kids.
With this document, we were able to get 100% clarity on who our target was, what they needed from us, and how we would approach them. We knew with certainty that the idea was a “go.”
How can you use this insight to learn more about your target customers? Ask yourself a few questions:
- Where are they located online (blogs, message boards, membership sites, FB groups, etc)?
- Where do they work in real life?
- What types of people do they hang around?
- What clubs, social circles and organizations do they belong to?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you can start doing targeted research, figuring out what problems you can solve, and developing an avatar that allows you to truly understand them.
At that point, you’ll be sure that your product or service is a good fit.
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