Market Research: The Tool to Leverage to Increase Your Sales
What is market research?
Market research is the process of gathering information from potential customers about what they want, what they don’t like, and why they choose one product over another. It’s important because it helps companies understand who their target audience is, where they spend their money, and what they think of their products.
The most common types of market research are:
1. Pre-market research – this involves collecting data before a new product or service launches. It gives marketers an idea of whether people will be interested in their product or not. For example, if you’re planning on making your own perfume, you can ask friends what they think of perfumes, test out different scents with friends, or do focus groups. This type of market research could help you decide what scents would appeal to your audience and how much you should charge for each bottle.
2. Post-market research – this includes regular monitoring after a company launches a new product or service. You might survey customers to find out if they had any problems with the product or service. If there were problems, you’d know what changes you need to make to improve your business. This post-market research can also include using customer feedback tools such as surveys and social media sites, so that you can see what works well and what needs improvement.
3. Benchmarking – comparing your product against competitors’ offerings. Using benchmarking, you can determine which other businesses have similar products and services. You can use these comparisons to figure out what benefits you offer that others don’t, and to better understand your competition.
4. Competitive analysis – finding out more about how your current customer base compares to your competitors’. This lets you know if you’re meeting their expectations, or if you need to try something new to capture new customers. By gaining insights into your competition, you can gain a competitive advantage by offering a unique selling proposition (USP) or differentiated value proposition (DVP).
5. Brand research – understanding brand loyalty and perception. Brands are important because they represent a company. They communicate personality traits and values, and they help consumers identify trustworthy products and companies. Brands are important because many consumers buy brands based on emotion rather than on rational thinking. So when deciding which products to promote, you must consider the emotional impact of your marketing message.
6. Audience segmentation – identifying and profiling customers. Identifying your ideal customers means figuring out who they are and helping them meet their needs better. This lets you create targeted campaigns for specific audiences instead of wasting time and resources advertising to everyone.
7. Customer satisfaction – gauging consumer reactions to your business practices and policies. When you learn about what your customers think of your business, you’ll know what you need to change to get positive reviews. For example, if some of your customers complain that they have trouble getting hold of you, maybe your voicemail system isn’t set up properly. Or, perhaps your employees aren’t answering calls promptly enough.
8. Online reputation management – learning about online reviews and ratings of your products and services. Consumers often trust reviews posted by previous customers. But negative reviews still hurt sales because they discourage prospects from buying your products or visiting your website. So it pays to monitor and respond to negative content, and even encourage good reviews.
9. Pricing strategy development – determining whether prices are too high or low relative to your market. To maximize revenue, you should develop pricing strategies that address both price sensitivity and brand awareness. What does “price sensitive” mean? Well, it depends on what type of product it is. Some people prefer lower priced products – but they won’t pay much attention to an expensive item. Others are price insensitive and will only care about the quality of the product.
10. Product positioning – defining the core attributes of your products and services in comparison to those offered by your competitors. The right positioning allows you to appeal to buyers’ emotions, desires, and motivations. Too many sellers forget that marketing is all about emotions and feelings.
11. Website design – developing effective websites. Websites are powerful tools that allow you to deliver information quickly and easily. Many small businesses rely solely on social media marketing, but a well-designed website can also improve your conversion rates and conversions. Use this checklist to make sure your website meets your goals.
12. Content marketing – creating compelling content that engages users. Great content keeps visitors interested in your site. And once they become fans, they’ll return again and again. To increase traffic to your blog, write a lot of articles! And to keep readers engaged, provide interesting information that answers their questions.
13. Social media strategy – leveraging social media channels to reach your audience. Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and other platforms offer great opportunities to build relationships with prospective customers. If you’re not already active on these sites, go ahead and sign up now. You can also use social media to share news about new products, link to blogs written by industry experts, and communicate company events and promotions.
14. SEO (search engine optimization) – improving search rankings on major search engines. Search Engine Optimization involves using keywords in titles, descriptions and article text so that you appear higher when visitors perform searches for related terms. To rank highly on Google and other search engines, optimize title tags, meta descriptions, page headers and alt images.
15. Conversion rate optimization – increasing conversion rates at your business website. Increasing conversion rates leads to more profit for your business. How do you do it? By testing different landing pages, headlines, calls to action, layouts, and forms until you find the conversion rate that works best for your particular business model.
16. Branding – identifying your company’s primary messages, values, personality, and culture. Good branding makes your company memorable. It distinguishes your business from others, encourages repeat visits, and builds loyalty among your clients.
17. Data analytics – analyzing data collected from your website to determine how visitors interact with your site. This lets you know which parts of your website work well and which need improvement. For example, if more people visit certain pages than others, then you may decide to include links to those pages on your home page or even create special landing pages for them.
18. Email marketing – engaging email campaigns that encourage customer interaction and lead generation. Effective email marketing includes having an identifiable list of subscribers; segmenting lists based on interest, location, gender, age, hobbies, and more; using customized subject lines and opening greetings; including a call to action at the end of the message; and sending relevant offers based on subscriber actions.
19. Mobile app development – developing apps that function on mobile devices. Apps help users accomplish tasks faster and easily and they can be useful for any kind of business. If you’ve developed a successful app, consider incorporating it into your overall online presence.
20. PPC management – choosing paid advertising methods such as pay-per-click (PPC), sponsored ads, display ads, and social media marketing. With PPC, advertisers bid on specific keywords and are charged only if their ad appears when someone searches on those words. Sponsored ads appear above organic search results, while display ads accompany blog posts. Social media ads provide interactive features, allowing consumers to “like” and comment directly through the advertiser’s content. These ads can have an impact on traffic to your website without costing much. However, you’ll likely make less per click through these ads compared to organic listings.
How to Find New Customers and Increase Sales
Market research can be used to find out what people want from your business, whether they like it or not. It’s also great for finding out who your customers are, so you can target them better.
To take advantage of market research, you first need to identify a target audience. Once you’ve identified this group, think about what will appeal most to them. Determine where they hang out online, read books, listen to music, watch TV, get news, and what other activities bring them pleasure.
You should also use social networks to learn about potential customers. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr… there are hundreds of ways to connect online in order to build relationships with new customers.
Which product/service offer is unique?
Why would anyone care?
What benefits could I provide?
And finally, how could I make myself known and trusted by potential customers?
Once you have an idea of what appeals to your target audience, you can start researching consumer trends. There are many resources available to do this, but one of the best tools is Google Trends. Simply enter a keyword related to your industry and see how often people search for it.
Once you understand what people are looking for, you need to figure out who they are. To do this, collect demographic information from your existing and prospective customers. You can do this by asking them questions such as, “What is your age range?” “Where did you go to school?” and “Do you prefer watching television over reading magazines?” By studying this information, you can begin to tailor your messaging specifically to distinct groups. For example, if you sell car insurance, you might focus more on younger drivers because they tend to be riskier. If you sell gym memberships, you may want to emphasize health and fitness.
Now that you know who your ideal customer is, you can create promotional campaigns designed around their interests. Use email marketing or direct mailers to communicate relevant information about your products or services.
If you don’t already have a mailing list, you can contact companies in your field and ask for permission to send emails to their subscribers. Many businesses use lead generation software to automatically generate a list of prospects based on criteria specified by sales reps. Companies also hire individuals to conduct research to develop lists of prospective clients.
Another trendy way to increase sales is through referrals. Referrals are especially useful if you are providing some sort of service and want to earn repeat business from satisfied customers.
Researching your target audience can help you decide what kind of message you want to deliver. This knowledge will allow you to create messaging that is meaningful and engaging. When done correctly, research can help you convert leads into actual customers.
Ways to improve your business with market research
Market research is not only useful for improving your business, but it’s also free! If you want to find out what people think about your product or service, then you can simply ask them. This is called qualitative research. Qualitative research involves asking people directly about their opinions and experiences. It can be done through surveys, focus groups, interviews, or one-on-one conversations.
Qualitative research has been used extensively throughout history. Aristotle was one of the first thinkers to study people’s perspectives. He believed that people were born with certain ways of thinking and acting. In his time, he studied human nature using observations, experiments, and case studies. However, since there was no concept of data collection at the time, the results were limited.
In the 19th century, psychologists began focusing on quantitative measures. They wanted to quantify people’s behaviors, so they could better predict future actions. For example, they would ask people to estimate quantities like weight, length, or speed. Their goal was to determine whether specific circumstances affected behavior; for example, if somebody was hungry, thirsty, tired, angry, etc.
In the 20th century, researchers became interested in how people made decisions. Using experimental methods, they found that people tended to make choices based on personal preferences. For instance, people prefer warm beverages to cold ones, so marketers have focused on producing hot drinks with added flavors.
Today, marketers have access to extensive amounts of data. Researchers can examine consumer buying habits, evaluate competition, and track purchasing trends. Data allows marketers to test different messages, advertisements, promotions, and pricing strategies. But before you can analyze any data, you must first compile it. There are many resources available today to gather and store information.
The best place to start when gathering data is online. Websites provide both qualitative and quantitative information. Some websites offer statistics and demographics, while others collect large amounts of data (e.g., Netflix). Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter provide a wealth of information about current events, customer satisfaction, and other relevant topics. With these tools, you can reach an enormous number of potential customers.
There are many software programs designed specifically for market research. One popular option is SurveyMonkey. You may already use this tool for sending emails and making phone calls. Simply log in to SurveyMonkey and click “Create a New Project.” After creating a new project, select the type of survey you want to conduct. Then, enter the questions and the answers you want to collect. Once completed, you can share your survey with anyone via email or save it to print later. For more tips on setting up a survey, check out our step-by-step guide.
One of the most important aspects of market research is collecting accurate information. To achieve this, you need to understand which method will be most effective. The following sections discuss several options for conducting market research.
Quantitative research uses numbers instead of words. Quantitative research includes surveys, questionnaires, tables, graphs, and charts. Surveys are conducted by either filling out a form online or printing off paper copies. Questionnaires require respondents to fill in the blank spaces. Tables show results from statistical sampling. Graphs compare two sets of data. Charts display patterns over time.
The dominance of the customer
Market research is all about understanding what customers want. It’s not enough to understand what you think they want; you must ask them directly. This means getting out into the field and talking to real people.
Marketing plans are not something that should be created behind closed doors. They represent the future of your organization and its success. If you don’t let people know what you’re planning, there will be no one around to help you when things go wrong. To create a successful marketing plan, you must begin with a solid customer profile. What do buyers like? What do they dislike? How often do they buy from you? These questions will help you better target your audience. Once you’ve identified your ideal client, you’ll need to find ways to attract her attention. You can use traditional forms of advertising, such as newspaper ads and television commercials. But these media just reach a small portion of your potential customers. To capture the largest possible audience, you must advertise where your prospects spend their time—and social networking sites are perfect places to do so.
Market research helps you understand what customers want from your business. It’s important to understand where they are coming from, so you can find out where they might be going next. This will give you a better idea of what messages you should be sending them, what products they might like, and what actions you should take to keep them engaged.
How to do market research
Most companies have limited resources to devote towards market research. However, if you’re serious about growing your business, then investing some money now could pay dividends in the long run. Here are five best practices for doing market research:
1. Create a clear strategy
2. Be realistic
3. Do your homework
4. Find partners
5. Think outside the box
What to look for
When assessing any market research process, make sure that the findings are relevant to your specific situation. In other words, don’t just accept vague generalizations because they sound good. Instead, dig deeper and ask yourself how the findings apply to you. When you’ve found the right fit, you’ll have a much clearer picture of what needs to happen next.
How to start
Begin by developing a detailed questionnaire that asks questions specifically related to your industry. Don’t assume that everyone has the same perceptions and feelings about your product or service. By asking open-ended questions, you’ll learn more about why someone may choose to purchase your services over competitors’.
Another tip is to conduct your own interviews. Ask an acquaintance who works at a competing company what his or her opinions on your company are. Then follow up with another interview. While it’s tempting to rely on third-party research, this method doesn’t always yield accurate results. For example, you might ask 10 different people at your competitor’s office what they thought of your company. Each respondent would only provide one response. So when all you end up learning is that each person had a negative reaction to your company, you won’t get very far.
Instead, try conducting surveys yourself or enlisting the help of a professional survey agency.
1. Conduct multiple interviews
2. Interview a variety of individuals
3. Use an expert panel
4. Test your hypotheses
5. Repeat interviews to track changes
6. Track key performance indicators (KPIs)
7. Analyze qualitative data
8. Consider nonverbal cues
9. Look beyond “traditional” demographics
10. Incorporate social listening into your market research
Use the Voice of the Customer for More Resonant Ad Campaigns
Market research is one of the most important tools marketers have at their disposal. It allows them to understand what consumers want and how they feel about different products and services. This information helps companies develop more effective advertising campaigns and product lines. Marketing professionals use market research to create advertisements that resonate with consumers and generate sales. But there’s a catch — they need to know what consumers want before they can craft successful ads. That means marketers must first collect valuable consumer insights through market research.
Voice of the customer
The voice of the customer refers to the opinion of consumers as expressed via direct responses to marketing communications. Companies regularly employ this methodology to identify the attitudes and preferences of targeted groups of potential buyers. It also provides insight into whether a particular message resonates with consumers.
In fact, many marketers consider the voice of the customer to be the single most useful tool for increasing sales. Why? Because it lets marketers determine directly and objectively if a given campaign was successful or not.
The good news is that collecting the voice of the customer isn’t difficult. You just need the proper tools and techniques. Here are five steps to doing so effectively:
- Identify the right audience
Gather input from customers and prospects
Collect detailed information
Analyze the data
Apply findings in creative ways
Step 1 – Identifying the Right Audience
Start by identifying who exactly you’re trying to reach. If you’re selling refrigerators, don’t talk to people who live in the Arctic Circle. On the other hand, if you’re trying to sell cars, don’t target small children. Once you’ve identified your primary audience, you need to define the demographic profile of that group.
To do this, you’ll likely want to use both quantitative and qualitative methods to gather information. Quantitative studies involve asking questions like, “How old are respondents?” and “What type of car does he drive?” Qualitative surveys allow respondents to discuss why they think a certain brand appeals to them.
A combination of these two approaches offers the best opportunity for getting the right answers. In addition to gathering data, it’s helpful to let participants share their views freely. People will often say things they wouldn’t normally admit without being asked. And some may even make offhand suggestions that seem unrelated until afterward.
Once you’ve gathered information, look for trends that emerge across the board. These patterns reveal which attributes appeal to consumers within your specific market segment. For example, if you find that many women liked the cars you were working on but few men did, then maybe you should focus on making your models comely, rather than powerful.
Step 2 – Gathering Input From Customers and Prospects
You now have an idea of what your ideal customer looks like. Next, get feedback from actual customers. Ask them about the products and services they bought recently. What made them purchase those items? How could you improve your offerings to better meet their needs?
When conducting interviews, keep in mind that people generally answer questions in order of importance. So ask your interviewees what makes them happiest, followed by what concerns them the most. Then, when presenting recommendations, point out how each suggestion addresses the problems they care about the most.
When doing surveys, avoid leading questions. Instead, simply ask respondents what they really think. For instance, instead of saying “Do you like chocolate ice cream?”, try asking, “Which flavors do you prefer?” By avoiding bias-inducing prompts, you can gather more accurate insights.
Step 3 – Collecting Detailed Information
Once you know what consumers really want, you need to collect the facts. To do this, you can conduct further research or simply ask customers directly. But whichever method you choose, make sure you follow up after every interaction to ensure you’ve captured all the relevant details.
For example, if you’re planning to promote a new line of clothing for little girls, start with a survey to determine which colors would be most popular. You can also ask potential customers what kind of accessories they already own so you can identify any gaps in product availability.
If you decide to conduct further research, consider using consumer panels. A panel is a large collection of respondents who agree to regularly provide detailed feedback regarding their purchasing habits. When compared with traditional public opinion polls, panels offer several advantages. They typically include more individuals per company, thus allowing you to achieve greater statistical significance. Plus, since members pay for their participation, they tend to give honest responses.
While you might initially require extensive training to run a successful data collection campaign, ongoing support and consistent follow-up will help maximize the efficiency of your efforts.
Step 4 – Analyzing Results
Now that you’ve collected enough input, it’s time to analyze the data. First, compare the results with competitor research. This lets you see whether your assumptions are correct. If not, why not? Once you’ve answered these questions, use the findings as a springboard for future marketing campaigns.
One final note: remember to validate your work before sharing information with others. That way, you’ll be able to take full advantage of the insight gained through your research.
Learn More About Consumer Behavior Through Data Collection
Using market research techniques like those described above can dramatically increase the effectiveness of your sales strategies. With just a small investment of time and resources, you can discover exactly what consumers want. Thus, you can create products and promotions that better satisfy their needs and lead to increased revenue.
The key to achieving success with email marketing automation is to know the difference between passive and active subscribers, and then segment them appropriately. Active subscribers are the ones that actually open an email from you, click on links within it, and view content – all vital components of getting your message across. Passive subscribers don’t engage but may still receive periodic emails from you depending on your settings. Remember, passive users aren’t necessarily bad; it’s just that many people won’t do much until prompted. The other thing to keep in mind is that when it comes to passive subscribers vs. active, there are a few differences. One key difference is that passive subscribers often haven’t yet made up their minds about whether they’ll stay subscribed with your brand after they’ve opened the email. In other words, they could opt out of receiving future communications without telling you first. So, make sure to set appropriate expectations around this factor and remind yourself of the value of having both types of subscribers.
Measure the effectiveness of your marketing
Market research allows you to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts by tracking what people are doing online, offline, and through social media. It’s important to understand where your target audience comes from, so you can tailor your message appropriately.
The Internet has changed the way we shop. It has also changed how retailers advertise and sell their products. For instance, e-commerce now accounts for over half of retail sales and growing at a rate of 20% each year. E-businesses have been proved to have higher customer satisfaction levels than traditional businesses. Online shopping provides some benefits such as the ability to comparison shop or search for items instantly. However, it also means that there is potentially less face-to-face interaction between buyers and sellers. Therefore, it is more difficult for customers to assess product quality and customer service. With the advent of electronic commerce, market researchers must ensure that their methods provide unbiased data collection and analysis. Consumers trust websites that offer secure transactions and reliable shipping services. In addition, marketers must consider user privacy concerns when collecting data using these sites. Because the Web is constantly changing, marketers should regularly evaluate their approach to finding consumer behavior patterns.
If your business involves selling things (such as clothing) to others, you might be interested in building a website that enables customers to easily return items they no longer want. This will help reduce losses due to defective merchandise, while enabling you to focus on new opportunities. If you’re going to build a site to enable returns, you’ll need to consider several factors before beginning development.
Identify new opportunities
Market research will give you insights into what people want, so you can focus on creating products and services that meet those needs. It’s important to remember that not everyone wants the same thing, so don’t assume that your customers all want the same things.
To get an idea of what people are buying, visit stores that sell related products. This will allow you to see what consumers gravitate toward and identify any trends that exist. You may find that certain categories of products perform better than others.
Focus your content strategy
Marketers should know why they’re writing a particular piece of content. Is it written in response to a trend? What problems does the article solve? Why do readers care about the topic? You shouldn’t just write about anything, and you certainly shouldn’t write about topics that aren’t relevant to your company’s mission statement.
You’ve already heard plenty of advice that says you shouldn’t be afraid to share your opinions. However, you should only express yourself if you genuinely believe it. Be sure you understand the points that you’re making before you make them. You wouldn’t call up a friend and say something like “I think I’m pregnant,” would you? Instead, you’d first ask another friend who knows both of you well enough to tell you whether she thinks you’re pregnant. Only then would you feel comfortable saying it aloud. Asking someone else for confirmation isn’t rude; it’s smart. When it comes to sharing information online, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Always seek permission from a trusted third party before disclosing sensitive details. If you’ve got your eye on a specific item, and you start talking about it with friends, try asking one of them to put you in touch with the store owner or manufacturer. That way, you won’t have to wait until you’ve confirmed it with your own sources.
When companies go through organic transitions, they often experience a decline in brand loyalty, which results in a loss of customers and revenues over time. With this in mind, brands are working harder than ever to maintain loyal customer bases throughout the sales funnel—from initial acquisition, to consideration, trial, conversion, and finally, retention and advocacy. Market research can be used to find out what people want and need from your business. It’s also useful for finding out if customers will pay for something, and whether they’ll buy it once it’s available. Market research is a great tool to help you learn about your target audience. Once you know your audience, you can use that knowledge to create marketing strategies that work for them. If you want to increase your chances of getting leads, you need to provide a free service or product. People love free stuff, so make sure you offer something valuable. Don’t rely on low quality lead magnets though, as this is where most marketers fail.