Five valuable things will happen when you do.
If you want to better grow, serve, or sell to your audience you need to ask them a simple question:
“How can I help you?”
I recently started to do this as the first thing I do when people give me their email address and discovered it unlocks some super valuable information.
Here’s what you’ll learn when you do it…
1. You Learn Who Your Audience Is
You don’t know as much about your audience, customers, or followers as you could.
While you may know their name, email address, social accounts, and some info about a product they purchased or consumed, you probably don’t know much about who they truly are.
But asking someone how you can help them creates an opportunity for you to figure that out.
Their answer will reveal things like what they work on, where their passions lie, and other details that will give you a clearer picture of whose attention you’ve attracted.
That’s valuable because the more you know about who you’re talking to, the better you’re able to connect with them.
2. You Learn How They Discovered You
People subscribe to my For The Interested newsletter every day from all over the world and while I’m able to see what page they signed up on, I know relatively little about how they discovered it in the first place.
But since I started to ask new subscribers how I can help them, I’ve learned a ton more about how people find me — and that creates two key opportunities.
First, when I ask new subscribers how I can help them they often reference the person who told them about my newsletter as part of their answer.
This has helped me not only to realize how much of my audience growth is driven by word of mouth, but also allows me to reach out to the specific people who drive that word of mouth — many of whom I’ve never had an interaction with before — and thank them for doing so.
The second opportunity this question creates is a way to measure how your promotional efforts are working and assess which levers are really driving audience growth and which may not be worth the time you put into them.
3. You Learn How To Communicate To Your Audience
I pay close attention to the words people use (or don’t use) and asking people how you can help them is a great way to learn how your audience communicates.
For example, are they more focused on the problems they want to solve or the goals they hope to achieve?
Do they talk about their “struggle with focus” or “not having enough time to get things done?”
Do they refer to themselves as an “author” or a “writer?”
These may seem like minor details, but they can make a major difference.
Because once you understand the language your audience speaks, you’re able to incorporate it into your communication with them and the ways you describe your creations, products, and offerings.
The more you speak your audience’s language, the more likely they are to resonate with what you say.
And one of the best ways to learn their language is to give them a chance to tell you what they need help with.
4. You Learn If You’re Attracting The Right People
Just because you have a clear mission doesn’t mean the people you attract are aligned with it.
For example, the goal of my work is to help creators produce, promote, and profit from their creations, but when someone first comes into my universe I don’t know for sure if that’s what they’re looking for.
No matter how clear my messaging may be, it’s impossible to tell just from someone’s email address or social profile if they actually fit what I aim to deliver.
But asking people how you can help them enables you to get a clear picture of whether the people you attract are the right ones or not.
If they are, that’s great.
If they’re not, then you can analyze where your messaging may be confusing or misleading, why people who are misaligned are connecting with you, and adjust accordingly.
5. You Learn How Best To Serve Your Audience
The final thing you’ll learn from asking this question may be the most obvious, but it’s also the most valuable.
When you ask your audience how you can help them, their answer reveals EXACTLY how you can deliver value to them.
And that value is what will turn them from casual observers into rabid fans and potential buyers into repeat customers.
The more you know about what your audience struggles with and what they hope to achieve, the better you’re able to solve their problems and create content, products, and services you KNOW they will want.
Asking people how you can help them is a cheat code that improves every element of your work, increases your chances of success, and speeds up your growth.
It turns a guessing game into a sure thing — assuming you actually address their interests and needs in your creations.
So what are you waiting for?
Go ask your audience how you can help them.