The Daily Course

Never Run Out of Content Ideas With Sales Safari (Part I)

Online communities are the best place to find validated content ideas. Here's how to find your places to study.
Ramses Oudt 5 min read
Never Run Out of Content Ideas With Sales Safari (Part I)

Hey friend,

In yesterday’s lesson, we saw how to use the Two-Year Test to find content ideas in our past.

Taking yourself as a persona, the ideas probably have started to flow. But to build an audience and a business, you must ensure that what you create is also what others need, want, and buy.

For me, hanging out in online communities is the best way to get validated content ideas. And who knew? This is precisely what successful content (and product) creators also do.

In today’s lesson, we’ll learn the Sales Safari technique for finding ideas online. At the end, you’ll have everything you need to start learning directly from your audience.

Here’s what we’ll cover today:

  • What is Sales Safari?
  • Why do Sales Safari?
  • How to find places to study?

Let’s get started with what the heck Sales Safari is:

What is Sales Safari?

Created by Amy Hoy and Alex Hillman, Sales Safari is a framework to research what your audience needs, wants, and buys.

Instead of asking people directly, you go online and see they’re talking about “in the wild.”

Amy and Alex tell us to look for online “watering holes” where people have informal conversations, ask questions, and exchange advice. In other words, forums, mailing lists, social media groups, etc. Then, you read and take notes.

That means your audience has to be online, and you need to know where they hang out. And for the practice to be worth your time, your audience must also be willing to buy products that help them solve problems.

Sales Safari sounds simple but can get complicated real fast. So why would you go through the trouble of studying online conversations?

Why go on Sales Safari?

Amy and Alex teach the Sales Safari technique to help people start online businesses and sell digital products that solve problems (hence Sales Safari). We’re not there yet, but going on Safari also helps to get validated content ideas.

Sales Safari lets us learn about people’s challenges, the jargon they use, and their recommendations — without talking to anyone! After a Safari, you walk away with a list of real problems, potential ways to solve them, and the exact language to connect to your audience who needs your help.

Sales Safari beats customer interviews because you’re not getting any artificial answers. Besides, you don’t have any customers to interview without anything to offer! You have everything you need if you have a browser and internet connection.

By regularly going on Sales Safari, you’ll have unlimited content ideas. There’s always a new conversation or community to study.

This is where a little prep work comes in handy:

Before you go on Sales Safari, find places to study

Sales Safari helps to be intentional about where to get content ideas. After all, not everyone has your persona’s problem.

So, the first step is to create a list of places to study during your Safari.

Finding online watering holes is easy if you’ve done the Two-Year Test. You only have to think about the places you prefer to hang out.

Here are some examples to jog your memory:

  • Forums. The more specific the topic of the forum, the better. This also includes social media groups on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Mailing lists. You know, the kind that everybody can respond to. They’re also called newsgroups and are still popular for certain niches. But many newsletters run on Ghost and Substack also have valuable comments.
  • Industry blogs. Often overlooked, but blogs (with comments sections) can be amazingly useful communities. That’s why I have comments enabled on my blog, so I can figure out how to best help you.
  • Q&A sites. Places like Quora and StackOverflow are a wealth of questions, jargon, and recommendations.
  • Product forums and support groups. If you create content about a specific product, become part of the community where many of its users come to ask questions and share advice.
  • Amazon reviews. Last but certainly not least, 3-star reviews on Amazon! Pick any book you liked, go to Amazon, and read some reviews from people who gave it three stars. Often, they’re thoughtful and full of needs, wants, and other products to check out. The number of votes a review gets tells you much about what would make popular content.

If you can’t think of any specific sites to check out, take some time to reduce your persona to one sentence. Then, search for your persona plus a platform name from the list above: "persona" + "platform".

For example:

  • Male Stoic in his 20s loses weight forum
  • Solopreneur creating landing pages with no code mailing list
  • Email course ghostwriters for productivity creators Twitter

I could go on for another 1,000 words on places to study, but I think you get my drift.

Recap and what's next

Before we go on Safari, let’s take a break and recap so you can work on your list of online places to study.

Today we discussed:

  • What Sales Safari is. Online communities contain a wealth of information for creators. Sales Safari lets you learn from your audience and discover their needs, wants, and buying decisions.
  • Why go on Sales Safari. Instead of asking people directly what they want, need, or buy, you can best observe them in their natural habitat. Without the pressure from a researcher (you) directly looking at them, people are much more open and free to express their opinions.
  • What to prep before going on Sales Safari. Before you can learn from your audience, you need to know where they hang out. So, the first step on your Safari is to prepare a list of specific online channels you’ll study.

In tomorrow’s lesson, we’ll learn the nitty-gritty details of doing a Sales Safari and taking notes. If you cannot wait, scroll down to the “Further learning” section for a demo by Amy Hoy.

Prompt: What kind of Safari are you going on?

Before you can go on Safari, you need to list online watering holes to study. To find them, let’s write a query for your favorite search engine:

Name your specific audience and the places you're going to study.

First, reduce the persona you wrote about yesterday to a single sentence. Then, think of online places you like to hang out and you want to study.

Please share your list of search terms as a comment to this post. That way, we can all learn from each other.

Tomorrow, you’ll use your list to go on Safari.

I hope to read from you!


Further learning

Sales Safari in a Nutshell (
(4 minutes reading times)

This is a short introduction to the idea of Sales Safari. You can ignore most of it, but the cheat sheets at the end of the article are full of inspiration for search terms.

Amy Hoy - Sales Safari Demo - La Conf Paris 2013
(50 minutes viewing time, but the demo is from 14:00 to 33:00)

Even though this video is ten years old, it’s as relevant as ever. Amy Hoy shows everything we need to study an online watering for endless content ideas. I’ll link to this video again tomorrow as I explain more about how to do a Sales Safari, but I’m already posting it here in case you want to get a better sense of what we’re talking about.

More from Ramses' Blog

Ramses' Blog

Learn to create life-changing email courses with storytelling. Shipping 52 email courses in 2024.

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to Ramses' Blog.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.