11 Kick-Ass Market Research Tactics to Really Get Inside Your Customers' Heads
Market research is the first and one of the most important steps in launching an ad campaign, selling a product or marketing a blog. Getting to know your audience is crucial to the success of whatever it is that you’re selling, so be sure to complete this step before anything else. The success of your product, blog, or ad campaign depends on it.
The good news is, market research isn’t that difficult and there are a lot of ways to go about it, so you can just stick to the strategies that you and your audience are comfortable with. (Of course, the more market research approaches you try, the more data you’ll collect. That’s why you are encouraged to look into as many tactics as you can.)
Below are a few things that you can try to really get to know your audience and what they have to say:
Conduct surveys - Known as one of the most traditional, not to mention direct forms of market research, surveys allow you to collect information and feedback from users. The survey questions format could be in the form of multiple choice questions, wherein you can easily quantify the data, or they can be open-ended wherein you’ll let users directly type in their thoughts.
We recommend going with the former, because it requires less work on the part of your users, but if you REALLY need to get their thoughts in their own words, then go with the open-ended questions.
Have focus groups - If you have the resources to do so then consider conducting focus groups. Another form of traditional market research, a focus group would entail rounding up a group of people to discuss a particular product or issue. Doing so helps you gain deeper insights on what your customers think about your product.
Hearing live discussions about your product or website can give you valuable information about how people perceive it and what you can do to improve it.
Ask them to respond to your emails - If you send out regular newsletters to your subscribers, then be sure to always include a call to action with every email. Sending them content or links is great and all, but if you want to get to know your target market, then ask them to respond to you.
Tell them that you’d love to hear from them. Ask your subscribers what they think of the email that you just sent or what types of content they want to see more (or less) of. This will help you gain more data about your audience and it will also help you serve them better, so that they’ll keep subscribing to your newsletter and keep buying or sharing your product.
Ask them to respond to your blog posts - The same thing goes for the blog posts that you publish. Don’t just write the article then hit submit without including a question or call to action. Always invite your readers to comment. Ask them what they think about the stuff they just read, or ask them to share their own opinions in the comments.
By doing so, you’ll increase engagement on your site while getting reader insights at the same time.
When giving away free material (such as ebooks, e-courses, etc) follow up by asking them to submit questions or comments - Giving away free stuff like ebooks, courses, white papers, and the like is an effective strategy that can reel in more users.
If you’re already doing it then great--but why not taking it a step further by asking your audience to share their thoughts. Once you’ve sent them the freebie, follow up after a few days and ask them what they thought of it.
Tell them to email you any questions or comments that they may have. If you receive positive feedback, then you’ll get good ol’ testimonials. If you receive some not-so-positive comments then at least you’ll know what to do to improve it. Either way, you get to know your audience a bit better.
Hold webinars - Webinars allow you to educate your audience and establish yourself as a thought-leader in your industry. (As long as you provide valuable information of course.) Aside from that though, webinars also give you an excellent opportunity to connect with your audience.
During the event, open the floor for questions from the webinar attendees. This helps you get first-hand information on the issues that are bothering them or the concerns that they may have. And in turn, you can use that information to craft better products, campaigns, or content.
Find them on LinkedIn Groups - There are LinkedIn groups for just about every category and sub-category out there, so you won’t have trouble finding groups that your audience belongs to. Scour the professional social network for these relevant groups and join them.
Once you’re in, check out the discussions going on and see what insights you can gain from them. The questions or conversations in these groups are goldmines for information about your target market so pay attention to them.
Post questions to Twitter or Facebook - Here’s a quick and easy way to grab insights from your audience. Post a question on Twitter, Facebook (or whatever social network that your audience is active in) and watch out for their replies.
This may not be the most comprehensive form of market research, but it’s a quick, easy, and fun way to get feedback.
Find relevant message boards - Like LinkedIn Groups, there are forums out there for just about every industry, and there’s a good chance that your audience is a member of some type of forum or message board on the web.
Find those forums and read through the threads to gain as much information as you can about your market. What are the things that they usually talk about? What are their most common problems or questions? How do they express themselves? The answers to these questions will help you fine-tune your offers to make them more attractive to your target audience and get them to do your desired call to action.
Find out what they’re saying about your competition - Read customer reviews or feedback about your competition and use them to improve your own product, service, website, or campaign. You can find such reviews on Yelp or on the Facebook Page of your competition. You can also search LinkedIn Groups and message boards for discussions pertaining to companies or websites similar to yours.
Take them out to lunch or grab a cup of coffee - If you can get a hold of a member of your target audience and meet up with them in person, then by all means do so. You’ll be able to learn a ton of things from face-to-face interactions so if you have the opportunity to meet your target customer in person then grab it.
Image credit: dierk schaefer on Flickr