Yesterday, we started organizing our Sales Safari research by describing our audience (in the form of a persona) and their goals.
Today and tomorrow, we’ll continue to describe our persona by answering some questions about their experiences in the (online) world. This will help us understand where our persona is right now in life before getting into how they want to think and feel in the future (which we’ll get to on Friday).
In this lesson, we’ll focus on the See and Say parts of the Empathy Map Canvas:
It may seem strange to combine the See and Say steps. But considering we’re doing online research, our persona mostly sees others via the text they write, and whatever they say also tends to be via text.
Let’s get started with where our audience starts:
What does your persona see?
We can interpret seeing in the most literal way possible. What does your persona see when they look around them? And what does their online environment look like?
Assuming our persona searches online for answers to their problems, they probably first see other people’s opinions.
During Sales Safari, we wrote down jargon (specific language) that people use to describe their challenges and recommendations from people in online communities. This is also what our persona sees, so it’ll help to put some quotes on the empathy map.
Yesterday’s lesson had many extra prompts to get our thinking gears going. But today, we’ll stick to just the ones from the Empathy Map Canvas:
What do they see in their immediate environment?
Yesterday’s prompts challenged us to picture a specific person in our mind’s eye, including name, age, and location. Now, we’ll sharpen that picture a bit by adding some details. For example, what does your persona’s workspace look like, and what about their online watering holes? Your previous research should serve you well here.
What do they see others saying and doing?
During Sales Safari, one of the things to look out for is the recommendations in online communities. When just starting, our persona will likely first look for simple (free) solutions to their problems. Know the most common techniques and resources recommended to beginners in your niche.
What do they see in the marketplace?
When tips and tricks are not enough to solve our persona’s problems, they’re likely to look for a product to solve it for them. Based on your research into recommendations, you probably have a sense of what’s already available in the market and where opportunities may lie. Note those down on the empathy map.
What are they watching and reading?
What are the most popular information products that help your persona solve their problems, and where are they lacking? Because we’re focused on creating (email) courses, this is where we may find our golden opportunity to create something new.
But our persona doesn’t just see things online; they also say more than enough themselves:
What does your persona say?
By answering the Say part of the empathy map, we get a better sense of our persona.
Our persona will see lots of advice online, but we can only see what they think by reading their reactions.
Here are two prompts that help organize our research:
What have I heard them say?
To answer this question, dive into your Sales Safari notes and dig up the questions your persona has been asking. What challenges do they encounter, and what words do they use to describe these struggles? The more direct quotes you can get with clear questions, the better.
What can I imagine them saying?
After reading what your audience (persona) has been saying, you can probably imagine what else they might say. Like yesterday’s assumed goal, write down some things your persona might be saying to ask or give advice. Later, you can validate this during user interviews.
But as always, there’s stuff that people leave out.
For example, if you spend enough time in a single community, you’ll see the same people ask the same question repeatedly. They may not mention they’ve asked this question before, but a little detective work into what an account has posted often reveals similar questions (one click on someone’s profile in most communities).
It’s interesting to dig deeper into why people ask the same question. Often, it reveals things they’ve tried but weren't a success.
To save yourself some time and start connecting with your persona, you might send these “repeat askers” a private message. This could easily roll into a user interview (but that’s out of scope for now).
Recap and what’s next
These are more than enough prompts for now! Hopefully, you can answer them all with your Sales Safari research. If not, it’s time to go on safari again.
Before we go, here’s a quick recap of what we covered today:
- Know what your persona’s (online) environment looks like. Whatever we see in real life or online influences us. So, it’ll also affect your target persona. Know how they shape their physical and online environments.
- Know your persona’s alternatives. Every niche has multiple experts, and you should know who your audience is already reading or watching. This will also show you potential opportunities (because no expert can teach everything).
- Know what your persona isn’t saying. See who is asking the same (type of) question in the communities you hang out in. What have they tried but hasn’t worked? You could ask them directly by sending a private message…
As always, please share your thoughts as a comment or by replying to this email. I’m more than happy to give feedback or answer your questions.
I hope to read from you!