Give Them What They Want
These immortal words were penned by Churchill, sang by popular hit artists, and recently applied to marketing. In the world of authorship and writing books there could not be a better mantra.
It took John Locke some time to find his audience. His first book had a LOT of one-star reviews. But, once he found the people that loved his book, he sold a million eBooks in five months!
Mark Joyner, in the Great Formula, said, “Find a thirsty crowd, and sell them a glass of water.”
The trick to producing a book or product that sells, isn’t in necessarily finding the “silver bullet” of a topic, as it is finding an “audience” and delivering what they want. I love the imagery that Mark Joyner employs, as he talks about finding a thirsty crowd, then selling them a glass of water.
Where is Your Thirsty Crowd?
Where are the rabid fans that want what you have to deliver? That can be a tricky question. You may have to find them a few at a time and create an email list to cater to their needs. This seems to be a very successful model.
However, getting to a point where you have a following seems to be the real catch. Where do you find your potential customers, and how do you discover what it is that they need?
Finding Your Audience
The Internet has natural pockets of people that share common interests. Usually you can find some of the biggest websites catering to specific interests just by doing Google searches. The top pages returned will often be the ones with the most traffic. You can also search for forums on your chosen topic. There are lots of forums out there.
Now that you have found people interested in your topic, how do you find out what they really want or need? That can be a tricky question also. I find that searching for the threads that have the most views and/or responses tend to let you know what is on the minds of those on the forum. My suggestion is to find the biggest ones, become a member of the forum, and join in the discussion. At some point you can ask, “what are your biggest frustrations?” You want to narrow down their biggest pain points, then you can begin researching how best to help relieve that pain.
Now Give Them What They Want
At this point, you should be very empathetic. You should know a little bit about your audience. You should understand the questions that they are asking, and with a little research you should be able to give them the best answers available at this time. Do a good job with the research—make sure what you give them is actionable, and step-by-step if possible. Focus on solving a single problem, one that can make a good book title, or good sound-bite. That will help build your brand and your name recognition.
Your goal as a writer is to connect to your audience, pull them in, and help them out. If you can do that you will have people returning again, and again to get more of what they want from you. Be sure that your answers are as thorough as they need to be. I have heard Barbara Ling say, ”sell them what they want, but deliver what they need.” I think that is an important point. Often customers have an idea of what it is that they want, but they don’t know exactly what it is that they need. You have done the research, you should know what they need as well, and you have to deliver that.
Writing a book or an information product that sells depends on finding your audience, understanding them well enough, to give them what they want and what they need.
That is the formula in a nut shell. Now go out and put it into practice.
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