The 4 Customer Development Questions I Use to Create Better Content
It doesn’t matter how well-written or flashy your content is, if it isn’t striking a chord deep within your readers, you might as well be on stage singing your heart out to an empty theater.
Each day the internet becomes more flooded as more and more quality content gets created each day. As content creators, we need to do all we can to avoid being a little drop in such a big ocean.
How do I keep my head above water? By creating content that caters directly to my customers, addressing their specific pain points and answering their most important questions.
How do I consistently do this with each blog post?
Well, I have tried-and-tested customer development questions that I use to create better content. By asking these questions before buckling down to write, I can pinpoint the topics that speak loudest to my audience and streamline my content to provide the exact information they need. Instead of writing about whatever I feel like at the time, I cover exact topics I know my audience wants to read about.
In this post I will give you the top 4 customer development questions I use to create awesome content. But first let’s understand why this is necessary and look at the three step process I use to consistently gain insights from my readers. Then, we’ll get to the 4 questions.
Why asking the right customer development questions is so important
I’ve had plenty people contact me listing the challenges they face when working with freelance writers. The communication is poor, the content is poorly written and the end result is just dismal. Their content isn’t converting and they are at a loss of what to do.
My answer to them is always the same:
- Hire better freelancers
- Ask the right customer development questions.
Whether you are writing your posts yourself or hiring a freelancer, providing value to your customer always has to be your number one priority.
I’m writing this post not because I want people to think I’m smart or cool. It’s because I want to help you.
What value do you want to gain from reading this post? What tips can I make stick in your mind? And what’s the best way I can package my experience and knowledge to help you create even better content for your customers?
I constantly ask myself how I can create a better experience for my readers. If I can entertain them they’ll appreciate me for a few minutes. If I can help them solve a big problem, they may appreciate me for a few months or maybe years.
Gone are the days of customer suggestion boxes tucked into forgotten corners of supermarkets or banks. In today’s digital age, customer feedback is crucial and if not actioned on, it can cripple your blog or business.
So how do you go about gathering and actioning customer feedback? Here’s my easy 3 step process which I will follow up with my top 4 customer development questions I use to create better content.
1. Build your email list
So, you may have a good idea of who your customers are, but how often do you reach out to them directly? Are your channels of communication open?
The internet is filled to the brim with distractions and competing content. Even if your readers enjoy your post and resonated deeply with it, they could easily forget all about it and in an instant, ride the next wave to an even bigger pool of content elsewhere.
They don’t call it cyber-surfing for nothing.
Your mailing list is your direct lifeline between you and your customers. It is a crucial tool of communication.
When I started my information marketing business I made the rookie mistake of not building my mailing list right from day one. It took me a while to catch up, but I did, and now building my list has become a priority.
To make sure my readers remember me, and to create a direct link between me and them, I encourage them to sign up for my mailing list. Here’s some tips on how you can get your first 100 email subscribers.
A very effective way of doing this is to offer something of value like a free e-book. Since doing this myself, I’ve been averaging nearly ten new email subscribers per day.
Give your readers the value you will provide them by signing up. Whether it is an ebook, a useful template, an email course, or a time-saving cheat sheet, they will be much more likely to cough up their email address if they get something in return.
The online world is a game of give and receive. If you want to get, you have to give first.
2. Connect with your mailing list with autoresponders
Once you have your ever-expanding mailing list, set up an email autoresponder to automate the process of engaging your readers. I use ConvertKit to manage my mailing lists.
In the welcome email of all my autoresponders, I include my customer development questions and encourage readers to respond with any other questions.
Keep your emails personal and friendly and encourage readers to respond with feedback on current content as well as suggestions and requests for future content.
If a reader takes the time to email you, keep up your end of the bargain by always responding to them with your best responses. Don’t think of them as annoying strangers, these are your future customers and ambassadors.
Just remember, your autoresponder should be about your readers, not you. It’s okay to sell, but make sure you are providing value in every email you send.
3. Use Asana to collect and record feedback
I use Asana, a web-based task management tool, to keep track of my readers’ answers to my customer development questions.
This way I can easily organize and prioritize their feedback. I can keep track of who said what and add context or other notes I might want to include in the article. I can set sub tasks, create deadlines and assign myself and freelancers accordingly to ensure that every bit of relevant customer feedback is slotted into a future blog post.
So, now that we know why asking customer development questions is so important and what the best method of requesting and recording feedback is, let’s get down to the questions…
The top 4 customer development questions I use to create better content
- What’s the biggest question you have about xyz?
- What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to xyz?
- Why would it make a difference in your life to have an answer to this question? What would it look/feel like?
- What questions do you still have about xyz after reading this post? (Follow up question after drafting or publishing.)
Listen to your customers and learn from them
Communication with you customers needn’t be limited to just e-mails and blog post comments. Every touch point with my target audience, whether online or out in the real world, is an opportunity for me to learn.
My ears are always open to complaints and suggestions and I try to incorporate my customer development questions into everyday conversations.
When I can admit that I don’t have all the answers and take the time to really listen to others, I am always amazed how much I learn. Sometimes I realize that what is easy or common sense to me is a pain point for others.
Stay humble, keep your ego firmly shut out and stoke your passion for helping others. The more you care about your readers, and I mean truly and deeply care, the more they will care about you and your content in return.
To create better content that speaks directly to your customers’ needs, you need to be asking them the right customer development questions. This will help keep you afloat as the sea of quality content online continues to rise. Here’s a quick recap of how to do it:
- Create a mailing list.
- Use autoresponders to ask your customer development questions on auto pilot.
- Use every interaction with your target audience, whether online or face-to-face, as an opportunity to listen, learn and find out what their needs really are.
- Use Asana (or your preferred task management tool) to track feedback.
- Turn feedback into awesome content!
In the spirit of this post, I would love to hear from you. Share in the comments below what top customer development questions you use, or let me know what questions you have about creating content.