4 Simple Tips: How To Do Online Target Market Research

4 Simple Tips: How To Do Online Target Market Research

Target market research is the first step toward a better understanding of your clients. The next step is creating the buyer personas, or client avatars, to represent your ideal clients.

You know you will then use these avatars to appeal to your ideal clients, gain their trust by providing solutions to their problems, and encourage them to buy your products/services.

But no one tells you how to do that in any clear way.

And without an effective strategy your research could be faulty, leading you to make a mess of your entire content marketing plan.

Instead, try these four easy, reliable methods for researching your target audience to take your marketing efforts to the next level.

Why Target Market Research Matters

Conducting target market research is required before you can create accurate client avatars to appeal to. Without this foundation, you are marketing in the dark.

First, realize that you can not — and will not! — appeal to everyone who comes across your website! It’s like the difference between preferring one brand of detergent over another while recognizing that they’re all pretty much the same in the end.

You must understand who your products/services appeal to most, and why. Then, give that audience a reason to select you from among their other available choices. You won’t stand out from the crowd if you don’t even know who’s looking for you.

You won’t stand out from the crowd if you don’t even know who’s looking for you.

You won’t stand out from the crowd if you don’t even know who’s looking for you.

To produce content your ideal clients will love, you have to know your target market intimately. Luckily, the World Wide Web makes conducting this research incredibly easy.

Your target market is on the internet right now telling the world who they are, what they like, and what problems they need solved. Use these ideas for researching them online.

Social Media

Explore social media to research your audience. Look at the individual profiles of people who follow your brand.

The most obvious site for doing this is Facebook, since it has such robust profiles. These profiles can tell you:

  • Who they are
  • What they like
  • Their jobs, locations, ages, and family
  • Their general opinions

A goldmine of information is available on social media. Also, view people’s posts to see what they’re interested in and what questions they ask. This can give you greater insight into their needs.

Google Search Console

Sign up for this free service from Google to review a wide variety of metrics about your website and the behavior of your visitors.

Google Search Console tells you what keyword searches bring people to your site, how much time they’re spending on each page, what links they click on, and trends over time.

This information lets you know how people are interacting with your website. For example, if people spend a great deal of time on a particular page, you know that this is the type of content they’re looking for.

Conduct Online Surveys

The oldest and most effective method for collecting data about a target market is to conduct surveys and interviews. This used to be a costly undertaking for companies back when they had to physically get focus groups together or convince people to talk to them over the phone.

But now it’s easy to do online. You can conduct surveys any way you have contact with your audience. Try using social media or email.

Approach people on online forums to see if they’d answer some questions. Using Google Forms or one of many WordPress survey plugins, you also have the choice to create questionnaires directly on your website.

If you keep your surveys short, asking no more than three to five questions, you’re more likely to get responses. For longer surveys, offer an incentive such as a free piece of content to reward people who take part.

Track Your Content’s Performance

The best way to learn about your audience is to start presenting them with free content and see how they interact with it. You’ll quickly see which pieces are most popular and which drive the most engagement.

For each piece that’s successful, try to determine what it was about the content that people liked and try to repeat that. When your audience ignores a piece, try to figure out why and don’t do it again!

Creating a Persona

Use all the data you’ve gathered to create a persona describing your ideal client. This is a single person to whom you’ll aim all your marketing efforts.

You may actually have more than one client avatar, but it helps to stay focused on a single type of buyer for the best results.

Putting it All Together

Now that you have a better idea of where and how to research your target market online, it’s up to you to put in the work. Gather the information and develop a plan – then use it to attract and retain your ideal clients!

Armed with your completed research and understanding of your target market, you have the foundation to build a comprehensive content marketing strategy.

Download your Content Marketing Strategy Workbook to develop the online marketing that will take your business to the next level.

Add to the conversation! Comment below to let us know about the tips and tricks you use to research your target market and develop buyer personas!

Email Marketing Matters: Make the Most of It

Email Marketing Matters: Make the Most of It

Email marketing is a cost-effective means of engaging with everyone from casual website visitors to your best clients. That’s why it’s still a smart strategy for businesses of all sizes.

Email has always been among the best methods of engaging with your clientele. There’s no better way to stay in touch with potential customers. Done right, it enhances positive associations and encourages brand loyalty. These are only a few reasons to make the most of this powerful marketing tool.

For one, your potential audience is growing by leaps and bounds. As of 2017, there are 3.7 billion email users worldwide. The 233 million email users in the United States is projected to reach nearly 255 million by the end of 2020.

At least 91% of those users check their inbox daily. But most check much more frequently! And 72% of US adults prefer email communications from the companies they do business with. So you’re sure to give a good impression with a well-managed email marketing strategy.

Here are five reasons email marketing still matters and ways to make the most of it.

It’s inexpensive.

There’s no doubt about it, sending email will not break the bank. Even if you pay a third-party service for delivery or hire a writer to create your campaigns, the overall costs involved with email marketing are relatively small. But when you consider the next item on this list, any expenses really should pay for themselves.

Return on investment (ROI) is huge.

Email marketing has been shown to return $44 for every $1 spent. That’s a massive bang for your buck! A solo entrepreneur working with a smaller budget could potentially see an even higher rate of return.

Email is direct.

Yes, most people have Facebook accounts, but reaching your particular audience is easier done with focused email. Unlike other marketing methods, email reaches your subscribers directly and is addressed to them specifically.

It’s personal and customizable.

Email is also very personal and is easily customized. Using names and other information subscribers voluntarily provide increases the likelihood of having your message opened and read. Knowing your subscribers’ location, interests, goals, and activities simplifies giving them the exact information they need.

Email can be selective.

Nowadays it’s almost effortless to create multiple lists and fine-tune your marketing. Available tools help segment customers according to the types of products they’re interested in. You can craft messages to subscribers based on the information that attracts them most. Where else do you have so much control?

Use smart email marketing strategies.

Before starting any email marketing campaign, have specific goals in mind. Know what you want to achieve, and make it convenient for your reader to take that action.

For example, when sending a reminder to finish checkout, have a button directed to the abandoned shopping cart. If you provide a coupon code, include a link to your landing page where it can be redeemed.

Have a budget and stick to it! If you need a service to help grow your subscribers’ list, don’t start with a lot of expensive add-ons. You can always move up to a more comprehensive plan as your needs grow.

Track your metrics to understand which campaigns work best with your audience. Test different approaches and measure their success in increasing your bottom line.

Use social media to amplify your messages. Announce giveaways, contests, and other content to drive new visitors to your website to sign up for your email list.

Now that 48% of emails are opened on a smartphone, be sure yours are mobile-friendly and responsive to any browser on any size screen.

In conclusion.

Doing all you can to ensure your subscribers feel valued builds brand loyalty. That’s a major reason why email marketing still works.

An email list is an incredible asset you wholly own. You don’t share it with anyone, and you can keep using it months and years down the road.

So grow it, nurture it, and get results from it!

Have you used email marketing successfully to grow your business? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Before Choosing a Website Designer, Read This

Before Choosing a Website Designer, Read This

Before choosing a website designer to create or update your most valuable business asset, there is a lot to consider.

Your company website is too important to leave to chance. It should be treated with the care and consideration it deserves.

Sure, you can do it yourself, but should you? Are you adept at design? Do you understand the platform you will be using? Do you intend to manage your business AND your website with equal skill?

If the answer to any of these questions is no or even maybe, consider consulting a freelance website designer.

Are you hesitant to put this most vital business investment in someone else’s hands? Read about outsourcing successfully here.  And be sure to download our FREE guide for even more valuable tips.

You may decide that even if you plan to manage the site yourself, the initial design should be handled professionally rather than left to your own devices.

For your website to be as successful as you need it to be, it will have to stay relevant and attracting a wide audience of your ideal customers.

In the end, they will be persuaded to use your services or products based on how they see you online.

So your website is the perfect chance to impress visitors and keep them coming back for more. They might decide to make a purchase, or even patronize your storefront if you have one.

Don’t turn web surfers off with an old-fashioned site that doesn’t solve their problems. They won’t stick around if your first impression isn’t exceptional.

Before You Begin

You should know your objectives and goals for the site. If you have no idea about what your audience needs, your designer will not be able to magically provide it for you.

To attract loyal visitors, you will most likely want to produce a regular blog and use email to maintain their interest in your brand.

If you plan to sell products or provide services online you’ll need an e-commerce solution with shopping cart and secure payment options.

So review a variety of websites, including your competitors, and even some that are not part of your industry. Of course you won’t be creating a direct copy of anyone else’s site, but you can get a good idea of how to use yours to its best advantage.

Figure out how you want your website to connect with your target audience and be able to precisely convey that to your web designer of choice.

Making an Informed Decision

Accept recommendations from friends and colleagues, but also take a closer look at the websites you most admire. You’ll usually see a citation in the footer naming the designer and/or maybe the “theme” used to build the site on.

Follow up with freelancers or design agencies whose work you like by checking out their business websites. This is where you should find testimonials and a portfolio of their previous projects.

Once you’ve done your due diligence you will be able to clearly describe your goals for the website. Now you’re ready to interview a few prospective designers.

What to Expect from Design Consultants

Take some time to introduce the issues you want your website to address.  A good designer will continue asking questions about your business objectives and your ideal clients. This information provides a vivid image of the best ways to attract and convert your visitors into loyal customers.

Ask how they plan to solve your problems and evaluate their responses. Realize not every prospect is a good fit, for you or the consultant. And make your final decision based on the value to be gained rather than the cost of the initial investment.

Red Flags to Avoid

No contract. Don’t even consider working with anyone on a handshake alone. Your chosen website designer must be able to provide you with a detailed contract spelling out timelines, milestones, and deliverables. Otherwise, neither of you has an accurate idea of the project’s scope or goals.

No communication. It’s key to collaboration, and your design consultant should keep you updated on every phase of the project. You don’t want to be surprised, and the designer doesn’t want to make never-ending revisions.

Requiring full payment up front. You and your designer should agree to a schedule of payments that is spelled out in the contract. Typically you might pay 30% to begin the work, 30% at an arranged milestone, and 30% at delivery.

No defined development plan. The designer with the clearest concept of how to best serve your ideal clients using a variety of design and marketing techniques is the one you should consider. After all, serving your ideal clients is the ultimate goal of your website!

Working With Your Website Designer

Congratulations! You’ve narrowed down your choices and selected the best website design professional for your business needs. Now the collaboration will depend on regular communication and complete understanding of the project’s parameters.

Trust your site designer, but don’t be afraid to offer helpful insights to minimize revisions.

And be sure to provide any information & assets that may be required on a timely basis. Don’t be the reason your project is delayed.

To sum it up, start with a clear goal in mind for your new website or site redesign, and be able to communicate your needs effectively.

Do your research. Establish how you plan to connect with your ideal clients. Verify which qualified website designer will best bring your vision to life. And continue to communicate regularly to make the most of your collaboration.

Investing in your website is a proven way to increase your online presence and help grow your business. Here’s to your success!

This article is part of an ongoing series on how small businesses can improve their procedures and processes to maximize their growth. Are there topics you’d like to see in the future? Feel free to offer suggestions in the comments!