Simple Strategies, Free Tools
In this post, I'm going to give you an overview of a few simple strategies you can implement to find your target audience online, using free tools.
These strategies centre on two words:
Before you do anything else, create a spreadsheet to capture your findings. Set up a sheet for Places and another for People, each with three columns:
Name, Web Address and Notes
This will become your treasure chest of rich information and intelligence as you conduct your research and gather very specific information on your target market.
Need one that will give you this and a whole lot more?
I'm assuming you have a topic or keyword you will be using.
For places, some of the richest veins of gold will be found in blogs, forums and social media groups.
For finding those key people -- the ones your target audience already knows and trusts -- the best place to look is on social media platforms, like Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Another great source of information is iTunes.
Strategies for Places here. Check out How to Find the Influencers in your Market to find your People.
Blogs are a really rich source of information. They give you the added advantage of being able to connect with the owner and his/her community. It's easy to get this information. Go to your browser and type in:
blog: [your keyword]
And Google will automatically deliver up to you all the key blogs that are talking about your subject.
Just look at the first page. You'll find some useful blogs to examine further. You may even find a list post, which gives you even more blogs to explore.
Capture this information. Then check out the "Searches related to this keyword" at the bottom of the page. Explore those that are relevant or interesting.
Forums are another great way to find people interested in your subject. Again, use Google search engine. Type in:
forum: [your keyword]
And capture any results on the first page, and "searches related to" links that are relevant.
Social Media Groups
Facebook and LinkedIn are likely to be the best options for you. Depending on your market, choose one or the other. The process is similar for each:
For FaceBook, simply go to the search bar and type in your keyword.
From the results you get, scroll down to find the 'groups' category and make a note of those that have large and active communities.
By this stage, you should have upwards of 100 places where you can find your target market online.
Make sure you capture all this information in your Market Research Spreadsheet. You can download a template to use here.
We'll look at People in the next post.