As businesses work on their digital marketing strategy for 2019, one question that marketers often fail to examine themselves is whether or not they are adapting their marketing strategy to match the way people research and buy products and services today.
Nowadays, buyers are doing more research online before parting with their hard-earned money. What does this mean for your business?
Consider the following statistics about consumer behaviour in 2018:
- 75% of mobile phone owners rely on a search engine initially to resolve immediate needs, according to 2018 data from Google.
- Emails that don’t display plainly or adequately on mobile phones might be deleted within 3 seconds, according to 2018 data reported by HubSpot.
What does an online marketer do to make sure your buyers find you quickly online?
The answer is simple — be where your buyers are! This may be oversimplifying things, but how well you understand precisely where your purchasers are doing their research study and what is influencing their decisions are undoubtedly crucial factors. That is where market research comes in.
Whether you’re a rookie or experienced with market research, this guide will give you a plan for carrying out a comprehensive research study of your product, target market, and how you fare in your industry.
There are two significant types of market research that businesses perform to collect the most actionable details on their products or services.
Primary Research study
The primary research study is the pursuit of first-hand information on your market and its customers. You can utilise focus groups, online surveys, phone interviews and more to gather fresh information on the obstacles your purchasers deal with, brand awareness and perception of your products or services.
Primary research works best by segmenting your market and developing your buyer personas. This research study falls into one of two categories:
- Exploratory Research: This kind of primary market research is less concerned with measurable consumer patterns and more about possible issues that would be worth tackling as a team. It is usually one step before any specific research has been carried out and can involve open-ended interviews or surveys with a small sample of respondents.
- Specific Research study: This sort of primary marketing research typically follows an exploratory research study and is utilised to dive into problems or challenges the business has already identified as essential. In particular, a company can take a smaller or more precise segment of their audience and ask questions focused on solving an identified issue.
Secondary research is conducted by gathering published information which is available to the public for free or for a fee. This information consists of trend reports, market statistics, market content and sales information you can gather related to your business. The secondary research study is particularly helpful in analysing your competitors.
Here are three examples of secondary research sources you can look into:
- Public Sources: These reference sources are your premier and the most accessible layer of material when carrying out secondary market research. Being free to find and read (most of the time), reputable and publicly available sources of information online are of great value to businesses.
- Commercial Sources: These sources often can be found in the type of market reports, including market insight assembled by a research agency like Pew, Gartner, or Forrester. Because this information is so detailed, there is usually a cost to procure the report.
- Internal Sources: Internal sources should have more credit for supporting market research than they generally get. Why? This is the market information your organisation already has. Typical income per sale, consumer retention rates and other historical data on the health of old and new accounts can all help you decide what your purchasers may want today.
The web marketing research process
Specify your buyer personality
Before you plunge into how customers in your market make buying choices, you should initially understand who they are. This is the start of your primary market research where purchaser personas come in handy.
Marketing personalities or what we call buyer persona are fictional, generalised representations of your ideal clients. They help you imagine your audience, simplify your interactions and appraise your methods.
Some key information that must be reflected in your research for buyer persona include the following:
- Job titles
- Family size
- Common issues/challenges
The concept is ultimately to use this persona as a guide for reaching out to the right audience in your web marketing strategy
Decide on an element of your buyer’s persona to engage with
Now that you know your buyer personas, you’ll need to find a representative sample of your target consumers to understand their actual characteristics, challenges, and buying routines.
These must be people who have recently purchased (or purposefully chose not to make one), and you can reach them in a number of ways:
- online surveys
- Individual phone interviews
- focus groups
When picking whom you want to engage with to conduct market research, begin with the characteristics that apply to your buyer persona. This will differ for every single company, but here are some additional guidelines that can be used in practically any circumstance:
Aim for 10 participants per client persona. We advise concentrating on one personality, but if you feel it’s necessary to research diverse study personalities, make sure to choose a different sample group for each one.
Select people who have recently interacted with you. You might wish to concentrate on those who have finished an examination within the past six months– or up to a year if you have a longer sales cycle or niche market. You’ll be asking extremely in-depth questions, so it is necessary that their experience is recent.
Aim for a mix of individuals. You wish to recruit individuals who have bought your item, people who purchased a competitor’s product and a couple of people who decided not to buy anything. While your clients will be the simplest to find and recruit, sourcing information from others will help you develop a balanced view.
Engage your market research participants
Market research firms have panels of individuals they can pull from when they wish to perform a research study. The difficulty is, a lot of private online marketers don’t have access to the same, and that’s not always a bad thing. In reality, the time you’ll spend recruiting specifically for your study will frequently result in much better participants.
Consider the following when assembling your market research participants:
- Extract a list of customers who made a recent purchase. As we pointed out before, this is typically the most convenient set of purchasers to study. If you’re utilising a CRM system, you can run a report of offers that ended within the past six months and refine it for the characteristics you’re trying to spot.
- Draw a list of customers who were in an ongoing assessment, but didn’t make a purchase. It would help if you got a mix of purchasers who either bought from a rival or chose not to make a purchase. Once again, you can get this list from your CRM or from whatever system your Sales group utilises to track offers.
- Look for participants on social media. Try connecting to the folks that follow you on social media, but chose not to purchase from you. There’s a chance that a few of them would want to speak with you and inform you why they eventually decided not to buy your item.
- Leverage your network. Get the information out to your coworkers, former associates and other pertinent connections that you’re conducting a research study. Even if your direct links don’t qualify, a few of them will likely have a colleague, friend, or relative who does.
- Time is valuable so make sure that you prepare a reward for your participants. Think about how you will encourage someone to invest 30-45 minutes for your research study. The reward doesn’t have to be money and you can provide exclusive access to content instead.
Prepare the questions for your research study
The soundest way to make sure you capture the most out of your conversations is to be prepared. You must always develop a discussion guide– whether it’s for a focus group, online survey, or a phone interview– to ensure you cover all of the top-of-mind concerns and use your time wisely.
Your discussion guide needs to be in an outline format, with time allocation and open-ended questions allotted for each area.
The use of open-ended questions is a golden rule of market research and is followed by many reputable online marketing agencies. This is to avoid leading the participants to answer with a yes or no as that puts you at risk of accidentally swaying their thoughts by leading with your hypothesis. Asking open-ended questions also helps prevent one-word responses which can be difficult to infer from.
Ask the purchaser to give you a little background info (their title, the length of time they’ve been with the business, and so on). You might be able to record necessary information such as age, place, and job title from your contact list. However, there are some individual and professional challenges you can find out by asking questions.
Ultimately, you need to understand how they initially realised they had a problem that had to be fixed without getting into whether they learnt about your brand name yet.
Consider asking the following questions:
- When did you realise that you required that particular product or service (not necessarily yours)?
- What obstacles were you handling at the time?
- How did you recognise that a product or service in this niche could help you?
- How familiar were you with different alternatives on the marketplace?
It would help if you got very specific about how and where the buyer looked for options. Plan to dig deeper for more information whenever necessary. If you feel that the answers did not come naturally, ask about search engines, sites went to, individuals spoke with, and so on.
Continue to probe with the following questions:
- How did you discover that source?
- How did you utilise vendor sites?
- What words mainly did you search for on Google?
- Who offered the most (and least) useful information? What did that look like?
- Which of the sources you explained above was the most influential in driving your decision?
- What vendors made it to the list and what were the pros/cons of each?
- Who else was associated with the decision? What function did each of these people play?
- What elements ultimately affected your final decision?
5. Take Note of your main rivals in the market.
Competitor analysis is an integral part of marketing research. However, remember competition does not have to be “Business A, versus Business B”. Sometimes, a department of a company might compete with your primary services or product, even though that company’s brand may be spending most of their marketing efforts somewhere else.
From a content standpoint, you might take on a blog site, YouTube channel, or similar publication for inbound website visitors although their products don’t overlap with yours at all. A business that sells dental care products, for instance, may compete with publications like Health.com or Prevention on particular blog site subjects related to nutrition, even though these publications do not offer oral care items.
Identifying Industry Rivals
To recognise competitors whose service or products overlap with yours, figure out which market or markets you’re pursuing. Start high-level, using terms like education, building and construction, media & entertainment, food service, health care, retail, financial services, telecommunications, agriculture, and so on. Find an industry term that you identify with, and utilise it to develop a list of companies that likewise belong to this industry.
You can build your competitor list the following ways:
Review your industry quadrant on G2 Crowd
In certain markets, this is your best initial step in secondary marketing analysis. G2 Crowd aggregates user evaluations and social data to create “quadrants,” where you can see companies outlined as contenders, leaders, specific niche, and high performers in their respective markets.
G2 Crowd focuses on digital content, IT services, HR, e-commerce, and complimentary business services.
Download a business report
Firms like Forrester offer both free and gated market forecasts every year on the suppliers who are leading their industry. On Forrester’s website, for instance, you can pick “Most current Research study” from the navigation bar and search Forrester’s most current material using a variety of criteria to narrow your search.
Browse social media
Social networks make fantastic business registers if you utilise the search bar correctly. On LinkedIn, for instance, select the search bar and go into the name of the market you’re seeking. Below “More,” select “Companies” to narrow your results to just the businesses that include this or a comparable market term on their LinkedIn profile.
Is it a competitor? Yes or No?
Search engines are your buddies in this location of secondary market research. To discover the online publications with which you compete, take the overarching industry term you ascertained in the segment above, and come up with a handful of more specific market terms your company relates to.
Now that you have your competitor list, it is time to do the following:
- Google it. Don’t ignore the value in seeing which sites come up when you run a search on Google for the industry terms that explain your business. You might find a mix of developers, blogs, magazines, and more.
- Compare your search results page versus your buyer persona. Keep in mind the buyer personality you produced throughout the primary research study stage, earlier in this short article. Utilise it to analyse how likely a publication you discovered through Google could steal website traffic from you. If the content the website releases seems like what your buyer personality would wish to see, it’s a prospective rival.
- After a series of comparable Google searches for the industry terms you identify with, look for repeating in the website domains that have turned up. Analyse the first two or 3 outcome pages for each search you performed. These websites are respected for the content they create in your industry, and ought to be examined carefully as you construct your library of videos, reports, web pages, and blog posts.
Summarise your findings
Now it is time to correlate what you have found in your market research with your company objectives. To make the process simpler, attempt utilising your favourite presentation software to create a report.
Your summary must include the following:
- Your intentions and why you conducted this study.
- Whom you talked with. An excel file serves well for this purpose so you can break groups down by personality and customer/prospect.
- What were the most exciting things you discovered? What do you propose to do about it?
- Describe the familiar triggers that lead someone to enter into an evaluation.
- Offer the main themes you revealed, along with the specific sources buyers utilise when conducting their assessment.
- Paint the image of how a decision is indeed mad, by including individuals at the centre of impact and any item features or details that can make or break an offer.
- Action Plan. Your analysis probably revealed a couple of projects you can run to get your brand name in front of buyers better. Provide your list of top priorities, a timeline, and the impact it will have on your business.
Performing marketing research can be an incredibly eye-opening experience when it comes to web marketing in Sydney . Even if you believe you understand your purchasers quite well, concluding the research study will likely yield brand-new channels and points that will benefit all areas of interaction with consumers.