Even if you have an established business or are starting a new one, there are some steps that you have either taken or need to take, to ensure that your marketing is successful and generates business. The first step is to conduct some market research. Most of this research can be done online, or indeed you may already have a lot of the information that you might need. Irrelevant to the data source, collating and sorting the data into a structured plan will help guide and focus you to the tasks that need to be completed.
Firstly, define your objectives!
Clearly define what you want to learn from your market research. This could be understanding customer needs, gauging market size, identifying competition, or testing product ideas. Consider sources of this information and ensure that data is accurate and specific.
There are two types of research – primary and secondary – these gather data in different ways. Primary data is gathered directly through surveys, interviews, or observations. Secondary data is collected from existing sources like industry reports, government publications, and academic studies. For primary data, consider contacting past and current clients and potential clients. There are lots of social media groups where you can also submit questions and polls to gather information.
Selecting your Research Methods!
As a small business owner, you may choose to go straight to quantitative methods, where you gather a lot of data via surveys and questionnaires. Email and social media have made this type of research an easy option. Quantitative methods however do not give you the opportunity to ask those more specific questions and motivations behind the answers, so for some topics you may choose to utilize a more qualitative form of research such as focus groups and interviews.
Who is your Target Audience?
The best way to identify your target audience is to look at your current client base. Consider who they are based on demographic information such as age, gender, income, and location. If you only sell to other businesses, consider the type of people in the organization who are your key decision makers and of course the types of businesses you sell too. It is crucial to understand the “personas” of your customers.
Understand who you are Competing Against!
This list can be long or short. If are a local brick and mortar business that only works with clients who are close by, only look at similar businesses that are local to you. If you are an online e-Commerce store or a business whose clients can be worldwide, you will need to widen your geographical search. Understanding who your competitors are, their strengths and weaknesses, market positioning, and strategies, will help you find your niche or competitive advantage.
Putting what you have Found into Action!
Process the data you have collected and pull together the patterns and trends that can give you meaningful insights into your audience and messages that you need to use in your marketing activity. data to extract meaningful insights. Look for patterns, preferences, and trends that can inform your business decisions. Use the insights from your research to make informed decisions about your business strategy, product development, marketing, and more.
MONITOR – REVIEW – REVISE!
As we know, nothing ever stays the same. Customer needs change, industries change, and of course the financial standing of the country and world can affect your business. Stay updated with industry trends and changes. Regular research can help you stay relevant and competitive but make sure you also review the effectiveness of your market research strategies and adjust as necessary.
Remember, effective market research is an ongoing process. It’s not just about gathering data, but about understanding and applying that data to make better business decisions.
About the Author
Alyson Stasek is the owner of The Little Web Design Shop, LLC based in Mount Olive, Mississippi. The Web Design Shop works with small businesses to help them with their online identity, website, social media, marketing, and search engine optimization.
Essentially, The Web Design Shop helps small businesses to grow, succeed and to develop an online identity and brand that will take them into the future. This can include helping right from the beginning and the initial concept for a company. Services include designing of a logo, writing a business plan, domain & hosting purchases, email, and set up social media accounts, in addition to web design, development and marketing support.
The road is long, and full of distractions and hazards. Let The Little Web Design Shop help guide you and support you.