Dipping into market ethnography
If a representative part of this group meets on the Internet, I want to find places where they meet online. The more expression of their social customs is present, the better. I want to find the places where community members relax and speak their minds. I'm looking for a group whose members have been together long enough that discernible patterns have formed. Alternatively, if I can find one that's been marginalized by society, that is an extremely powerful galvanizing force.
Brandon Savage, a participant in Amy Hoy's 30x500 class that teaches a method of market ethnography, used blog analytics, Twitter, Quora, Stack Overflow, and other forums to do his research leading to his decision to write Mastering Object-Oriented PHP.
When I find this group, I read what members are writing and mine it for key information:
- Cultural themes or issues
- Goals and aspirations
- Conflicts within the group, or between group members and others outside the group
- What they currently buy
The Wikipedia article on ethnography lists some helpful procedures for conducting ethnographic studies.
Now I find a need experienced and voiced by people who are spending money in this community, and create a solution to this need. I will systematically search and destroy each objection to a purchase, building trust by teaching members of this group that I understand their problem and can solve it. Sean D'Souza's Brain Audit lays out a framework for persuading people of this.
A pattern that often works to begin serving this community with a solution for their need:
- Each fear or threat becomes a topic that I cover with a blog post and email.
- An email sequence leads users through an overview of the free content, putting it into context and beginning to apply it to the subscriber.
- A small paid work connects the dots, organizing all the information and going deeper into applying it.
- Further services such as workshops, seminars, or kits allow people to pay for thorough solutions.
- A masterclass and/or personal coaching are available for those who want to really nail it.
- I build an ecosystem of products to create recurring, more passive revenue from solving the needs.