If I could put my time machine into reverse, I'd go back to June 2021 when I made the disastrous mistake of launching my brand new sparkly offer and it not selling.
If only someone had told me the secret to creating an irresistible offer, I'd have saved myself weeks of work and tons of disappointment. So, today that's exactly what I'm going to do — tell you!
The single biggest mistake the I made when I started my side business - and I still see others make - was blindly creating an offer that that I thought my audience wanted and was prepared to pay for, without actually validating it with them. So when I launched it, it got crickets.
But once I went and got feedback from my ideal client through market research, I was able to tweak it and it sold like hotcakes.
Why the hell is market research so important?
1. It gives you clarity on exactly what your ideal client needs to help them solve their problems and hence exactly what they're willing to invest in right now. It almost doesn't matter what YOU think because you're not your ideal client. The only thing you really need to understand is what looks amazing to them? They're the ones who are investing, so it needs to be created specifically to solve their problems.
2. It gives you confidence that your offer will sell, because you've already checked with them that they want and need it. You do not ever want to be second guessing your offer. You want to be super confident when you're talking about it and for it to be an absolute no brainer for your ideal client.
3. It helps you get up close and personal to your ideal client, meaning you can listen to the actual words and phrases they use, sense their tone of voice and get to the core of what's holding them back. You can use all of this language in your offer, website and other marketing so that when they read it they think 'How did she get inside my brain'?
4. It gives you ideas for new products or services. Once you get your ideal client talking, they'll give you feedback which will not only improve your current offer, but spark ideas for other ways you could help them too.
5. It help you build relationships with potential future clients. 99% of people you get on a call will have some form of interest in you and your services. That means they are open to hearing about your services in the future. So market research calls are a lovely, easy way to get potential clients on a call without any pressure to sell to them.
6. It can result in sales. Sometimes a market research participant can be so impressed with your offer, that they sign up then and there.
My top tips on doing market research well
Get your ideal client on a Zoom call
Some people ask if you can do market research via a survey, but in my experience there's no substitute for actually speaking to your ideal client. This way you can probe deeper into their answers and build relationships with them all in one go.
The easiest way to get people to agree to a market research call is to answer the question 'What's in it for them?'. So find a way to incentivise them with something they'll find valuable, like a complimentary troubleshooting call or a coaching call to achieve XYZ, etc. Ideally it should be something you can do ‘live’ within the call, rather than having to go away and do work for them afterwards.
Structure the call so each of you benefit
Schedule a 60-minute Zoom call and spend the first 30 minutes asking them your questions and then the second 30 minutes helping them solve their problem.
They HAVE to be your ideal client
There’s no point getting your friends and family on a call unless they are actually your ideal client. Because what's the point? If they aren't potentially in the market for buying what you have to offer, it's a total waste of both your time. So before you do anything, you need to be super, super clear on who your ideal client is.
Use your network to find people
If you're reading this thinking 'That's great, but I don't know anyone' then don't worry, that's the first thing my clients usually say to me. Take 10 minutes to brainstorm all the people you know in the following categories:
Friends (think work, school, university, parent, etc)
Family (think Immediate, relatives, In-laws, etc)
Work (think colleagues, ex-colleagues, networks, suppliers, etc)
Social (think Whatsapp groups, sports / wellness groups, people you know through hobbies, etc)
And the key to this is not thinking about these people just in terms of whether THEY are your ideal client or not. The magic is actually in who THEY KNOW. So ask them: 'Who do you know that fits this bill?'
Keep your message brief
As you're essentially asking for a favour, you want to keep it brief and attractive. Use something along these lines:
When approaching an ideal client directly:
Hey XYZ, [insert niceties], I wondered if you might have time to jump on a zoom call with me to help me with my market research. As you know I’ve recently started a business XYZ and I’ve created a new offer, which I’d love your feedback on. In return I’d love to offer you a complimentary XYZ
When asking someone if they know of anyone:
Hey XYZ, [insert niceties], I wanted to pick your brains about something. As you know I’ve recently started a business XYZ and I’ve created a new offer, which I’m looking for feedback on. I'm looking to speak to [insert description of ideal client and their main struggle). In return I'm offering a complimentary XYZ. Who do you know that fits that description?
Facebook Groups work well too
If you run out of steam in your own network, then posting in Facebook groups also works. But make sure to be really specific about exactly WHO you want to get on a call so you don't waste your or their time. Craft a really short post detailing:
Who you're looking to speak to (and specifically the challenge they're facing)
What you're offering as an incentive in return for feedback on your offer
So hopefully that's helped you realise the difference between an offer that gets crickets and one that sells like hotcakes. And it really is a no-brainer. Why WOULDN'T you want to take the time to speak to your ideal client? They're the ones you created this business for, after all. Right?
If you want help growing your side hustle faster, without having to constantly show up on social media, then my 121 coaching is for you. Together we co-create a strategy that works for you, to get you those paying clients and on your way to quitting the rat race for good.
So if you're ready to start building that business and finding that freedom and flexibility you're dreaming of, then let's talk.
Business Coach & Side Hustle Queen
Hi, I'm Lauren. I burnt out from the corporate world, hit rock bottom and used the experience to create my dream life. I now help passionate and ambitious women start and grow businesses. I'm living proof that you can - and deserve to - have it all.