It’s kinda like spying.

Social selling

Find your customers online when you tap into your inner Sherlock.

And 30 years ago, it required at least a day at the library…where you could find “approved” information published in a book or study or publication.

Nowadays, you can know EXACTLY what your ideal customer thinks within a few clicks of your keyboards.

You can get their completely unvarnished opinions.

You can even ask them questions directly. …

After all, in order to sell anything, you have to know what people want, right?

You also have to find the RIGHT people who can use your product/service.

This is true whether you’re a dentist, a dog walker or sell a SaaS product. So how do you find those “right” people and know what to say to them?

You hang out where they hang out.

In this post, you’ll discover 9 places you can find your target audience.

Use it as a blueprint to gather intel and make strategic decisions about your marketing – like EXACTLY what to say in your sales copy so your customers are eager to buy from you.

Sound good?

Great!

You’re about to discover the secret weapon successful copywriters use to generate thousands of leads and sales for their clients.

Let’s dig in.

Here’s 9 Ways to Gain the Insider’s Knowledge You Need to Be Successful

1—Market Research at the Largest Online Retailer

Amazon is a wealth of information about your target customers.

Go to Amazon and type your topic in the search bar. If you’re selling health coaching to the vegan moms then try typing in “health coaching vegan moms” or “vegan moms.” I get an assortment of vitamins, cookbooks and kitchen gadgets.

Or, I can narrow it down to books and this is the top one that appears.

find your target audience

What information already exists for them and what are they saying about it?

Look at the bestselling books – what’s in their table of contents?

Be sure you look at 3-7 different tables of contents at the minimum. Make notes about what you see and if you see any particular gaps?

Read the Reviews!

What do they say? The readers will tell you want they like and what they don’t. What can you gain from this?

Cut and paste any questions or concerns you see surfacing again and again. Keep them in Evernote or a Google Doc for easy reference later.

2–Facebook Groups

Personally, this is one of my favorite go to spots because the good ones are so active and you can quickly gain a ton of useful information.

You can find relevant Facebook Groups by typing in a topic in the search bar at the top of the page.

Facebook example target audience

There are thousands of Facebook Groups on any topic you imagine with thousands of members. You’re likely to find a mix of peer networking type of groups as well as potential customer pools.

You’re looking for a well-moderated and active closed group. If you were selling premium dog food, don’t you think that joining the Dog Food Nerds of Facebook would give you an interesting window into the thought process of potential customers?

Dog food

Keep track of the group(s) in your document. Spend a few minutes every day scanning them for questions.

Add the most frequently asked questions to your working document.

3- Run Facebook Ads

A well-orchestrated Facebook ad campaign can bring you dozens or hundreds of new leads.

Facebook is data rich due to their algorithm and relationships with various data mining companies. Between what we tell them through our actions and what they know through other means, they know more about us than most sources.

This is a huge topic unto itself and worth it’s own blog post.

4– LinkedIn Groups

You may be familiar with LinkedIn Groups. LinkedIn groups are best for B2B products or services rather than consumer driven ones.

There are broad groups like “Marketing Communications” and there are more specific groups such as Philadelphia Hubspot Users.

To find relevant groups, simply use the search function to type in relevant keywords.

For example, you’re looking for marketers in the SaaS space. To find the related groups, you simply type in “SaaS.” You’ll see a dropdown menu like this one.

LinkedIn Groups

I’ve circled “groups” for you. When you designate that, you’ll get a list of related groups. (See below)

Saas Example with highlighting

Once you have this list, you can click on each group to take a look, see how active they are and what they’re discussing.

This is great fodder for discovering some of the current hot topics and what insiders are saying about them.

You can even drill down into SaaS marketing groups only.

I hope you’re seeing the power! Once you become part of the groups, you can meet people there, just like you would in real life at an event.

But be careful, you don’t want to come bursting into a group and shouting and shoving your business cards into the hands of everyone there – virtually speaking of course. Yet, some people do.

Instead, it’s a good idea to hang back and first and get a feel for the community. Who are the moderators? Who are the frequent contributors?

Be mindful of etiquette.

Whether on LinkedIn or Facebook, you’ll see that each group has its own etiquette.

It’s a good idea to simply review them in the early stages. You don’t even have to comment.

Right now, you’re looking for frequently asked questions. You want to know the hot topics in the minds of your potential customers.

An hour or two spent doing this can be worth gold to you down the road.

But we’re not done yet. There are four more ways you can dig deep into your target audience to see what they’re really thinking.

5#Hashtags — A filing system for much of the social web, you can use #yourkeywordterm on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.

Go onto each platform and try different permutations of your term to see what pops up.

If you sell a SaaS solution to help hospital intake staff reduce the amount it takes process new patients and match them to their available health insurance records, then you might try #saashealth or #techhealth or #healthcare on Twitter.

#healthcoaching

6—Twitter Advanced Search

If your audience uses Twitter, there’s a good chance you can drill down into their communities fairly quickly with the advanced search. With it you can give a variety of parameters: this exact phrase, particular accounts, dates, etc.

Twitter advanced search

7 – Quora

Quora is a question and answer site. It’s another good place to find out what your ideal client is talking about. While you can look there for anything, in my experience its best suited for business related questions.

Users vote on the best answers. This means if you give thoughtful answers to questions in your niche, you’ll be recognized as a useful, contributing member.

Here’s an example, you may be familiar with Rand Fishkin, the “Wizard of Moz.” He’s a well-known SEO and always gives great information. So it’s no surprise that he has 13.2 thousand views on his answer to “What is the best SEO secret that you know?”

Quora example

You’ll see he’s received 195 “upvotes” which is where Quora users vote on the answer. What this means for you is if you see questions you can answer and you take a few minutes to give a good answer, then your answer can receive votes of confidence.

The key is that you provide answers without being salesy or pushing your own agenda.

You can also just read through existing questions and answers in your niche to better define your market.

8 – Niche Forums

These are interest specific and though they may seem a little “old school” to some, they’re still thriving.

There are SaaS related forums for a specific software product where users ask questions and offer help to one another.

There are bride related forums, WordPress, dog food, and thousands of niche specific forums that are alive and well.

The people who use these are typically rabid about the topic and that’s why they can be GOLD when it comes to discovering top concerns of your target market.

9- Industry Publications

Every industry has its trade blogs/journals and even private groups housed either on their own platforms (forums) or using tools like LinkedIn or Facebook – in addition to membership newsletters, blogs and physical publications.

These give you a snapshot of current trends in the marketplace as well as provide a forum for though leadership in the industry.

Conclusion

If you want to gather intel in a hurry, pick 2-3 of these potential gathering spots and start reviewing. You’re likely to discover something new about your target audience right away.

If you keep notes and review your top sources on a regular basis, you’ll notice shared values, interests and potential hot button issues that you can use to flesh out your ideal client profile you created earlier.

This gives you a dangerous weapon to wield in the marketplace.

When you know exactly WHAT to say to your target market, you’ll come across as authoritative and one of THEM…and THAT is a powerful place to be.