Category: research

How to arrange and conduct a successful interview

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Since I write magazine articles and blog posts, I occasionally have to do interviews with business owners and experts. I’m an introvert, so I’m happy to get away with email interviews. But, sometimes it’s better to do a phone or Zoom interview, or there’s no choice but to actually talk to the person.

There are a lot of great books, websites, blogs, etc. with information on conducting interviews. Here are some strategies I’ve followed for conducting a successful interview.

  1. When reaching out, state your name, referral contact, and the reason for the interview.
    • Explain that you won’t take too much of their time.
    • Flatter the interviewee with sincere praise.
    • Explain the importance of doing the interview.
    • Leverage your time with whatever authority you have.
  2. Let the interviewee select the best date and time – give them some options that would work for you as well.
  3. Arrange the interview with a lot of lead time.
  4. Be prepared! Do your homework to set questions.
  5. Be on time.
  6. Write down key facts – record the interview at the same time so you can go over it later.
  7. Establish rapport with the interviewee.
    • Ask questions about them, put them at ease.
    • Show interest in their answers.
  8. Record the names of the subjects, and make sure to get correct spelling and facts.
  9. Show appreciation for their time – thank them and send them a copy of the article or blog post when done.

Additional tips: Eight ways to get more out of interviews

I hope that helps you get more out of doing interviews. If you need help with your writing, let me know –


Identify your ideal client in five steps

brown wooden staircase
Photo by Ralfs Eglitis on

Some time ago, I read Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch, which is one of the best marketing books for small businesses and solopreneurs. The first chapter covers identifying your ideal client, which is necessary for growing your business. If you don’t identify who would be most interested in buying your products or services, then you will waste a lot of time and resources on selling to the wrong people, or making less money than you should.

So, how do you identify your ideal client?

  1. Determine the characteristics of clients (demographics) that currently buy from you. Some might be more important than others, but that will be determined when you put the information together. Demographics can include everything from age to industry to geographic location, and should also consider their emotional characteristics (i.e., what they need, want and like).
  2. Determine what bothers your target market – identify their problems or needs.
  3. Answer the following questions when trying to find your target market:
    Do they want what you have to offer?
    Do they value what you do or what you are selling?
    Will they pay a premium for what you have to offer?
  4. Determine if the market is large enough to support your business.
  5. Once you’ve done this, create a simple yet descriptive profile of your ideal prospect. It should be comprehensive yet easy enough to relay to someone who wants to know about your ideal prospect.

Track your ideal prospects using database marketing. Keep this information on file so that you know as much about your prospects as possible. This way, you can easily identify quality prospects and talk to others about the types of prospects you would like to meet.

My ideal clients in general are companies that product content on a regular basis – publishers, advertising and marketing agencies, training firms, etc. I can narrow this down further by focusing on companies in specific markets – human resources, corporate training, rental housing, branding firms (these are my current clients, so I understand them better than others). I could focus on just one of these areas, such as corporate training, and determine what they need and what they value. I can then focus on contacting people in these industries (through LinkedIn or people I know in related firms) and discuss how I can help them to achieve their goals.

Who are your ideal clients, and how do you go about determining how to address their needs? Let me know –

David Gargaro

Conducting research and doing NRA marketing

adult biology chemical chemist
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When doing research on your customers, you need to understand two key elements – demographics and psychographics.

Demographics can help you to indicate the differences between customers (or companies) based on observable characteristics, such as race, age, location,industry, size, etc. In my case, I would use the following categories:

  • Publishers (large, small, corporate, educational, math)
  • Trainers, companies that provide training products
  • Authors (fiction, non-fiction)
  • Corporations (insurance, law firms, financial, other)
  • Designers (web, graphic, companies, agencies)

Psychographics can help with indicating the differences between customers (or companies) based on psychological factors, such as motives and needs. Again, in my case, I would use the following breakdown:

  • Need an experienced editor to lead a team
  • Need an editor to support existing staff
  • Need a writer to provide expertise lacking in organization
  • Need security of knowing that materials are clear, accurate and professional

NRA marketing involves using different strategies to find customers, make an impression on customers, or even exclude competitors. This involves two different approaches:

  • Target or rifle marketing involves marketing my message to very specific potential clients or companies. This could involve sending emails or postcards to a list of companies in a niche, or crafting a marketing message that only appeals to certain types of customers. For example, I provide math editing, and I can focus on companies that publish math materials only with this approach.
  • Shotgun marketing involves advertising my message to everyone and anyone, which will attract some potential clients but most of the recipients won’t be interested. This could involve Google AdWords, which is a bit more focused than typical shotgun marketing, as many people will see it but only interested parties will click on the link.

What marketing approaches do you use in your business? How do you research your target markets? Let me know –

David Gargaro