audience-mind-readingOne of the most common themes in content marketing (and really marketing in general) is that you should provide your audience with what they want.

That makes sense, of course. But there’s one problem…

How do you figure out what they want?

The classic suggestion is to run a survey. That way your audience can tell you directly what they are looking for. Right?

Well…there’s just one problem with that.

People Don’t Know What They Want

People don’t really know what they want. So they can’t really tell you.

Henry Ford famously stated that…

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

And, in one of his emails the great Drayton Bird says…

The fact is, people can tell you:

-What they know
-What they think
-What they believe
-What they understand
-What they don’t understand
-What they like or dislike
-How they decide
-What they think you want to hear
-But not what they will do

So a marketer’s goal is not to figure out what people want, but rather what action they would actually take when it comes to making a decision.

Get People to Act

The best way to figure out how people would act is to actually make them take an action and do something; make people make a choice.

A survey allows people to think; to give you the answer they think is right, or think they want, or think you want to hear.

One of the easiest workarounds is to give people options and get them to choose one with the promise of information on the other side.

Instead of asking them what they want to hear, make them choose which information they want to consume.

This is easily done with custom campaigns in Google Analytics.

Custom Campaigns and Choices

I’ve recently launched a new project. Rather than asking the audience what they want to know more about, I sent out an email with choices.

When faced with the choice, people are going to click on what they really want to know more about.

The options were:

1. Generate more leads on a consistent basis

2. Convert more (and better) clients

3. Increase revenue and income

4. Get more time for an actual life

These are all things that the new training program will offer solutions to. But it gave me the insight to know which of the four problems that people are REALLY facing – because they clicked the link!

By the way, the different options all linked to the same page. But by tracking which link people clicked to get to that page, I was able to “read their mind” and see which issue was the biggest on their plate – which one I should focus on.

Note: This is invaluable information for sales pages and email campaigns.

Create a custom Campaign

Creating a custom campaign like this is actually ridiculously easy.

The first thing you need to do is actually create options for people to choose from.

From there, each option can lead to a unique page…or they can all lead to the same page (like mine did).

The key is to make each link unique for tracking by attaching a tracking code onto the end of it. And this can be done with a bit of code that is readable by Google Analytics.

If you don’t like writing code have no fear. Google has a URL Builder tool that allows you to create custom URLs that are trackable in Google Analytics:

You can access the Google URL Builder here.

Once your links are done, simply provide them to your audience and watch the magic happen.

Google Analytics will automatically track this custom campaign (assuming your have Google Analytics account set up that is).

To find the stats, simply go into your Analytics account and navigate to Traffic Sources > Sources > Campaigns.

The page wills pit out the source you assigned to each link and show you what people have clicked on.

You have just taken thought out of the equation and made people make a choice. You’ve figured out what they are actually interested in…mind reading made simple.

photo credit: atomicjeep