Understanding your market is the fundamental of every of your marketing activity, whether online or offline. If you don’t know who you’re speaking to or what your target audience cares about, you may not be able to resonate them with your message.
Market research enables you to gather and analyse data in order to gain your consumer insights, understand your market and make appropriate business decisions. You can gather information about your customers, competitors and target market.
You can conduct a research based on the information which is already published, this is known as secondary data or based on information which you must’ve specifically gathered for a defined business problem, this is known as primary data. Your research can be qualitative or quantitative in nature. The Internet provides the tools for gathering qualitative data, while online tools such as surveys and web analytics packages are ideal for gathering quantitative data.
With market research, you can define the content you create in your content marketing strategy, which naturally affects channels like email marketing, web writing, SEO and online advertising. Market research helps you find your audiences on social channels by indicating where they spend most of their time, and how they like interacting with your brand. It also helps you meet their needs by defining the touchpoints they expect from your brand, especially when it comes to creating web and mobile channels.
The more data you can gather about your audience, the better you will be able to optimise and improve your marketing efforts: market research is an excellent supplement to the quantitative data you can gather through data analytics.
So Where Do You Go Online To Learn About Your Audience? How Do You Learn About Your Customers Online?
Conduct Online Surveys
Surveys are the most common ways to conduct online researches. With technology, you can conduct a sophisticated but user-friendly online surveys. By selecting the right survey tools, you can create and manage your online surveys. Some of the major survey sites include:
- Kwik Surveys
- Google Forms (accessed via google drive)
- Pondering Panda (Mobile Survey Tool)
Some of these sites offer reporting options that can easily be exported for your personal use. Although such reports come quantitatively, you can utilize other third party tools for more qualitative analysis or you seek a support of an inbound marketing agency or you try out google ‘s consumer surveys tools which offer more aggregated responses.
Always try to avoid long survey and whenever you craft your survey questions, be conscious and precise to ask the questions needed to be asked. The longer your surveys, the higher your abandonment rate will be, so you need to keep it short and simple.
To avoid much abandonment, always get your audience informed ahead of time about how long your survey will take, it’s recommendable you place a progress bar at the bottom of each page so that participant know how much longer it would take to complete the survey.
You should know why you’re asking a specific question, whether you’re expecting a quantitative or qualitative response to it.
- Qualitative questions ask: ‘What’, ‘Why’ or ‘How do you’
- Quantitative questions ask: ‘Which’, ‘How many’ or ‘How often’
Utilize Online Focus Groups
You may decide to look out for people who are interested in a topic related to your brand and gather them in an online group where they interact as respondents continuously reacting based on their interested topics. The conversation between these respondents will eventually result in primary, qualitative data for your brand. With such qualitative data, you can create quantitative research questions too.
Online focus group can be conducted via a range of technologies. The use of a text messaging program or online forum has been the simplest approach, but there are more sophisticated tools that can allow for voice or video conferencing which will make it easy for you to pick up clues from your respondent’s voice and facial appearance.
Good Tools For Your Online Focus Group Include But Not Limited To:
Implement Online Monitoring
A great advantage of digital over traditional marketing is that you find it so difficult to learn what people are saying about your brand at offline basis, but fortunately the internet technologies have made this almost effortless online. Instead of conducting real-world surveys and interview, you can simply listen to the conversations happening about you. (Referencing: Essential Guide To E-Market Marketing By Quirk)
With the use of keywords being the foundation to categorizing and indexing the web, you can simply track conversations taking place online. The internet makes it easy for you to identify and use the same channels your customers use to track either your mentions or the mentions of your competitors. Ofcourse, you can track mentions of your business, your staff, your products, your industry and your competitors. This method is called online monitoring or online listening which allows you to use digital tools to find and tap into existing conversations. The tools then gather and collate all the mentions they find, so you can analyze such data for insights.
There are many different tools that monitor the web, and supply the results via email alerts or RSS feeds or a web dashboard. Google has several bespoke search services, and periodically adds more to the list. With the services below, an RSS feed is available for the search (Google Alerts sends weekly or daily emails with updates), so that all updates can be available through a feed reader.
- Google Alerts : Google Alerts will send an email when the keyword is used in either a credible news item or a blog post.
- Google News:. Google News searches all news items for mentions of a keyword.
- Google Blog Search: Google Blog Search searches all blog posts for mentions of a keyword.
- Google Patent Search: Google Patent Search allows you to keep track of all filings related to an industry, and searches can be done to see if there are patent filings which might infringe on other patents.
- Google Video Search: Video search relies on the data that have been added to describe a video, and will return results based on keyword matches.
There are several search engines that focus solely on tracking blogs, news and other social media, and can provide trends for searches. As well as providing regular updates of new postings, these search engines can also provide an overview over a certain period of time.
- Technorati:. Technorati tracks blogs and tagged social media.
- Socialbakers: Socialbakers provides a series of social media listening options.
- Flickr: RSS updates for searches on a particular keyword will reveal when a brand name has been used in tagging a photo.
- Delicious:. An RSS feed can be created for URLs tagged with keywords, or for new bookmarking of a URL.
Simple polls can be used in forums and on blogs to generate regular feedback. Polls as great tools for quantitative data often have the best research turn out. This is due to the fact that taking a poll can take a very short time as one seconf to complete of which keeping things short and simple will ensure a greater turn out than making it lengthy.
Conduct Keyword Research
Looking for a super easy, fast and free way to get a feel for your product or business demand? Conduct Keyword Research. It tells you what people are interested in, and in what relative numbers, and it reveals the actual language people are using when they think about those topics, which provides you with insight on how to converse with them via your blog.
The Most Common Keyword Research Tool is Google Keyword Planner.
The Google Keyword Planner helps you visualize how many people are searching for your business or product idea during any given time period. An added bonus is that this tool will provide you with various related keywords which can help you generate ideas around which words to use in your:
- Product name
- Blog posts
- Website as a whole.
Conducting keyword research will tell you what consumers are searching for all over the world.
On the other hand, if thousands of searches are being done for keywords closely related to your product, you might want to take the next step sooner rather than later.
There are other tools available to assist with keyword discovery. Some include:
Keyword research will also help you to determine who your competitors are. Keyword searches can be performed in any Internet search engine or in major social networking applications.
- Go to an Internet search engine such as Google or Bing and enter keywords related to the product you are researching.
- Use social networking applications such as Twitter or Facebook to see what users are discussing in regards to specific keywords.
Search & Monitor Contents Via Social Media
Social media is a great resource for you to get feedback and free marketing information. Social networking sites . Social media is a great resource when it comes to getting feedback and free marketing information.
Social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook are arguably the best ways of getting qualitative information in a very short period of time. Facebook and Twitter allows you to create lists that you may want to use for market targeting, Google+ has the “Circles” functionality, and LinkedIn is even getting in on this by offering better content targeting functions.
Use social networking applications such as Twitter or Facebook to see what users are discussing in regards to specific keywords when you conduct a search with such keywords.
Study Relevant QUORA Responses
Quora has been a great platform for research because it revolves around people holding in-depth conversations about a broad range of topics, from social media to startups and ethnic junk food. Type a keyword or phrase related to your product in the search box and you’ll be served a long list of conversations, at least some of which will reveal how your target market is thinking about things related to your business.
Search Competitors’ Activities
Searching your competitors online will help you to determine how your competitors are marketing themselves and who is mentioning your competitors on their own websites or blogs. Studying your competition’s web copy and blog content is another great way to identify what matters to your target market because the copy and blog content across your competitors’ websites will point you in the direction of things your audience cares about.
Gain Insights Via Posts’ Comments
There are a couple ways to use both blog posts and social posts comments for research. If you have a successful posts (blog or social media posts) that gets a number of comments per post, reading through the comments can give you insights into your target market’s key pain points.
You can also browse comments on popular industry blogs, articles relevant to your field or on your competitions’ blogs and look for common threads, such comments can be a gold mine of insights into your own target customer’s psychology.
Track Customer’s Activity on Website
When developing websites and online applications, usability testing is a vital process that will ensure the website or application is able to meet consumers’ needs. Listening labs involve setting up a testing environment where a consumer is observed using a website or application.
Conversion optimisation aims to determine the factors of an advert, website or web page that can be improved in order to convert customers more effectively. From search adverts to email subject lines and shopping cart design, tests can be set up to determine what variables are affecting the conversion rate.