User Research: How To Get More Leads From Your Content
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They said you need a blog, so you built one. They said you need regular content, so you hired content writers. They said you’d get more traffic if you did SEO, so you hired a pro.
Now, you have thousands of visitors but there’s still one problem: your business is not growing. You have no more leads than you started with. You have invested time and money, but aren’t getting results.
So, how can you solve this problem?
The answer is not more content, or more SEO- it's user research.
What is user research?
Let’s first understand the difference between user research and buyer personas.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data from existing clients. Buyer personas provide insight through demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals.
User research focuses on understanding user behaviors, needs, and motivations through observation techniques, task analysis, and other feedback methodologies.
In other words, user research is based on your buyer persona’s activity and engagement with your content. It’s a task that requires digging deeper, to better understand your audience, and selecting only the best-fit customer. Good user research provides:
- A clearer idea of who your customer is
- More effective, engaging, and targeted content
- Insight into your best content marketing channels
By doing proper user research, you stop writing for the sake of regularly updating your blog, and start publishing content that boosts your business by responding to your ideal client’s needs.
How to do user research the right way
I want to clarify one thing before going further: user research is an ongoing activity.
Although you only create buyer personas once, writing content based on old user research data won’t get results. Your readers have problems to solve and pains to treat, and user research give you an advantage over your competitors. You’re no longer looking at your old buyer persona data, but fresh Insights gleaned from watching your readers’ activities.
User research can be performed through surveys, interview, and keyword research. Let’s go over it step by step:
1. Surveys Surveys will always be a great way to collect data on your users’ behaviors and challenges. Use a tool like SurveyMonkey to pop up a question each time a reader arrives at the end of an article. Two straightforward questions are all you need:
1. How did you find this blog post?
2. What topic do you want us to cover in our next article?
It’s simple, but effective. Because this is a friendly ask, you’ll get a ton of valuable data. The first question gives you an overview of the content channels your audience hangs out on, and the second saves you the hassle of finding topics that are likely to wow your audience!
Pro tip These two questions also work in white papers and e-books. A great example is Semrush.com: download one of their e-books, and take a look at the final page. They use this technique very effectively.
2. Meetings and/or phone calls
A great way to get users on a call is simply by checking your social media accounts. Sort out your most engaged followers, and send them a private message. Remember that people want to be rewarded for their time, so explain why they should jump on a call with you, what it’ll be about, and what’s in it for them.
Tell them that you’re writing epic blog content with them in mind, and you can’t do that without understanding their challenges first. If you struggle to attract participants, consider offering them a reward- an e-book of their choice, or an Amazon gift card, for example.
Pro tip I find that my audience loves to talk with me in person, so, as a reward, I add 10-15 minutes to the user discovery call. Once my questions are done and I’ve got the data I want, I invite them to ask me whatever they want. This is a great way to add value and gain trust.
3. Keyword Research
Last but not least, check your search analytics. Each user who arrives at your site via a search engine uses keywords to find you, but each has different needs. Using Google Analytics on your site can provide valuable insight.
For example, someone looking for how to create a marketing strategy is very different to someone searching for how to retain customers. Both searchers might be marketers, but they’re at different stages: the first is a newbie, the second is more advanced. By digging deeper into the keywords your audience uses to find you, you will get detailed insights into who they are and what challenges they’re currently facing.
Over to you
You now know the benefits of user research, and have three ways to do it. However, you decide to apply the information your research provides, remember to measure your results to complete the feedback circle, and inform your next round of strategy adjustments.
So, how do you do user research? Do you have additional ways to the ones I mentioned? I’d love to hear your input. Tweet at me!