Customer Discovery Tools and Tips

Congratulations! You have an absolutely BRILLIANT idea for your startup – or you have built a magnificent business already – and you’re ready to let the world know about it, to invite Users to discover what you’re building and give you feedback to help solidify your roadmap.

So now the question is: how do you find your audience in order to open dialogue and start tapping into the real world needs and desires of your ultimate Users?

By identifying your target audience properly (and thoroughly), you will have the benefit of understanding the language, images, video, color, tools and processes you need to include in order to provide your User with the experience they are after.

For a startup, that understanding of your audience will help you build effectively, and put you in a position of acquiring Users efficiently to demonstrate to investors the fact that your startup is delivering value that resonates in the marketplace.

If you are an established business, your customer discovery process might help you with branding, positioning, messaging or new product rollouts.

Below are a number of tips and resources to help you find people to reach out to…some take a bit of investment, all take a bit of time.


Identify Valuable People on LinkedIn

By using LinkedIn’s awesome, powerful Advanced Search features, you can quickly identify people who may be interested in what you are building. In this brief video, you’ll see the simple steps for doing an “Advanced Search” with filters applied – then, how to leverage a browser tool like the one authored by Hunter.io to harvest email addresses for people of interest who you find if you are unable to connect with them through your LinkedIn account.

By using filters to hone in on your target audience, you will likely find valuable connections to make with people who can provide feedback as you build. Just remember to try running multiple searches and applying a variety of filters in criteria – adding different keywords, different job titles, seniority levels and so on can yield vastly different results to expand your pool for outreach.


Tap Into Facebook Groups for Connections

Another fantastic social media tool we can use is digging into the data provided by Facebook Groups to identify connection and feedback opportunities. By running different searches using variations of search terms, we can identify groups of people who may be interested in what we are creating – or who may be open to providing validation or improvement opportunity guidance along the way.
Once you identify Groups to join, simply click the button to join them and become a member…which will open up a world of participation opportunities!

Search the Twitterverse for Connection Opportunities

Last simple tip here is to tap into Twitter to uncover people and companies to reach out to for Customer Discovery – and to invite Users when the time comes.
If yo have a large Twitter following, the first and easiest thing to do is to ask your followers relevant questions – invite the people who already follow you to provide feedback and insight. It’s free, fast and easy…and be sure to try making your request multiple times, at varying times of the day and using various phrases and words to reach people at different times and in different ways. Twitter is a firehose of information, so people may or may not see your Post at any given time – making redundancy key.
The second powerful way to use Twitter for outreach and Customer Discovery is by searching relative hashtags to expand your audience. By applying even more filters in an Advanced Search, Twitter can reveal a vast treasure of people and/or accounts to reach out to. Plus, when your search results are displayed, you can click across to see Top and Latest Posts, plus People – all of which reveal different accounts to explore for your outreach.
Advanced Twitter search can reveal many opportunities for Customer Discovery outreach

Invest in Advanced Customer Discovery Tools

In addition to these free resources, there are countless other resources available that provide rich, robust tools for your customer discovery activities.  Your list of paid tools is vast and wide – including powerhouses like Salesforce, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and more. The simple fact of the matter is that these tools can be incredibly powerful to perform discovery and research at scale – but when you are starting out and working with limited resources, leveraging free opportunities like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can provide you the opportunity to begin your Customer Discovery process effectively – and, importantly, very personally as you will be communicating with people in very direct ways.
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