A step guide to understanding the exact questions asked by your B2B tech audience
Inbound marketing is "a methodology that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. Inbound marketing forms connections they are looking for and solves problems they already have" (source).
As a content marketer, identifying what problems and questions your prospects and customers have is key to your job. And on top of that, understanding how your audience thinks is one of the first tasks to do before creating a content strategy.
But how to really get inside the heads of your prospects and customers? Fear not. Here are X
steps — both qualifiable and quantifiable — to understand how your customers think.
1. Start by talking to your customers
At the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, speaking to actual customers is the fastest way to understand what challenges they face, what their level of knowledge is, and how they think.
You can talk to customers through a number of channels. If you are doing a case study, you can speak to them directly. Making time to go to events or sitting in on sales calls are also great ways to get an inside understanding of their thought processes.
However, speaking directly can be difficult to organize and unpredictable in its frequency. So the next best place to go to understand your customers is your customer-facing colleagues.
2. Next, speak to your product, account management, and sales teams
Your customer-facing coworkers are a great source of qualitative information about what kinds of challenges prospects and customers face, what their level of knowledge is about certain topics, what the competitive landscape is like, and so on.
Salespeople can talk you through the common questions they get during their sales pitches.
Account management can talk about challenges to retention and upsell, as well as why they lose customers.
Product managers can tell you how your products are viewed by the market, what the sticking points are, and what your competitive advantages are from a customer perspective.
Speaking to these three groups will help you gain a varied and in-depth understanding of what prospects and customers ask at different stages of the customer lifecycle.
Bonus x 2
While you are at it, you may also want to:
Check with your support team colleagues to see what the most common support ticket questions are.
If you have contact forms or chatbots on your website, go through a few months of questions to see if any common themes emerge.
3. Validate your information on Quora and Reddit
By now you should have a decent list of questions that prospects and customers ask your business. But are these questions genuinely frequent within the niche your business operates?
Perhaps, perhaps not.
To ensure that these topics are genuinely frequently asked, you can search sites including Quora and Reddit to find out:
a) if similar questions are being asked by other people, and
b) if these questions are gaining significant engagement and traction.
If there are a number of questions, topics, posts, and so on that closely align with the information you already have from your internal research, you are starting to build a comprehensive picture of what your audience thinks.
But to get the specific wording right, there is still one step to go....
3. Fine-tune your ideas with "People also ask" in Google
If I type "how do B2B content marketers understand their audience" into Google, it obligingly provides me with a list of related questions that people search for.
With your wealth of information about your audience's common questions, you can now utilize this handy, free feature to create content that is based on extensive research into how your target audience thinks, and which directly aligns with people's search intent.
Bonus x 3
I mention "People also ask" because it is easy, fast, and free. But of course, there are a number of other ways to augment your research. For example, you can:
Check your site search analytics for the most commonly searched keywords and phrases.
Check site analytics and Google Analytics for content that drives the highest organic traffic, and cross-reference against your research.
Use SEO tools to identify which questions from your research have the highest search volume and/or lower competition. Please note that this is veering into SEO territory, which is not the focus of this post!
It's time to work on your strategy
With this research done, you should have a comprehensive picture of the key concerns and questions of your target audience. Next, it is time to talk about content strategy!