Marketing / Digital Marketing

How to conduct market research

Laura Dolan

Updated: Sep 20, 2022 · 5 min read

Toolkit for download in this article

how to conduct market research

If you’ve just started a business, chances are you’re also the owner of a brand new website that you must optimize to increase traffic and generate sales leads. It can be overwhelming, but the best way to start is to create an effective business plan by conducting proper market research.

Understanding how the market works and identifying your competitors is imperative for knowing how to structure your business and shape it so it will be successful in the long run.

Here are a few tips on how to do market research like an expert, even if you’re a first-time business owner:

What is market research?

Market research helps you better understand your market, who comprises your potential customers and determines their basic needs, interests and problems.

It also helps you pinpoint your target audience, which will help you structure your marketing strategy, generate leads and address your target audience with the right content and products.

To streamline the process, conducting market research can be broken down with the following steps:

1. Create customer avatars

Start your market research by creating customer avatars. There are many templates you can download that will help you determine what your target audience looks like. An avatar will also help you discover how to effectively advertise to them by knowing which social media platforms they frequent and spend money on so you know how to create your content and come up with better products that will fulfill your customers’ needs and solve their problems.

Creating a detailed profile of your ideal customer will yield the optimal ROI with sufficient data based on how they’ll respond to the right product at the right time.

2. Use social media to research leads

Facebook is a very handy market research tool that is cost effective and reveals user engagement that can help determine how your target audience behaves. This can yield a very effective ad campaign. Many businesses on social media allow easy access to their user data.

If you have a business account, you can access the audience’s demographic page and filter your research by gender, age, page likes, location, activity, household, purchases, etc., so you can determine different paradigms for different target audiences, allowing you to flesh out your customer avatars even more.

Facebook’s Ads platform lets you create custom ads to target very specific groups, or, you can create custom audiences by uploading your email list segments to Facebook and it will find your customers’ profiles on the site.

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3. Know what your competition is doing

What makes you a competitor with other companies is that you share the same audience, so once you complete a full customer avatar and get a better glimpse of who your ideal customer is, you can research how your competitors market to that audience and the strategies behind how to attract them.

We found some user-friendly online tools you can utilize to see your competitors’ site behavior and how they’re using their tools for optimum results:

  • Ahrefs:
  • Provides insight into how your competitors rank on Google. It adds features sporadically including competitive analysis, keyword research, backlink research, content research, rank tracking and web monitoring.

  • Buzzsumo:
  • Allows users to enter a keyword or domain of their competitor to determine how to generate more leads, create optimized content and identify other influencers online.

  • Moz Open Site Explorer:
  • Lets you create an account to download a comprehensive report on any competitor’s URL. It reveals spam scores, competitor backlinks, and broken links on your site, and it also helps you find opportunities for link building, lets you analyze anchor text and more.

  • Sprout Social:
  • Helps you understand how to best reach, engage and measure your audience’s behavior on social media.

  • SimilarWeb:
  • A market intelligence solution that assists businesses in making better decisions based on strategies, improving performance in their sales funnel, evaluating competitors based on investors, and more.

    4. See how experts are managing

    Learning by example is another great way to conduct market research. Noting what other businesses did to get to where they are today can only foster your efforts thus far.

    Many larger companies have printed their case studies and research reports and made them available for distribution. This market research provides a lot of information about how to best target your audience.

    Google Scholar is helpful in finding comprehensive scientific case studies and research conducted on businesses.

    Never stop learning

    Having a small business and nurturing it into something bigger and influential requires constant research and strategizing. Once you’ve determined your target audience and have come up with an effective sales pitch, you can’t rest on your laurels and expect your business’ success to continue on its own. Business plans have to be constantly developed and improved to prevent your business from going stagnant and offering items to your customers that are no longer relevant or useful.

    Keep a watchful eye on the market and an open mind to accept changes and challenges that will come with the ebb and flow of customer engagement. The trick is to never get discouraged, and to know how to use all of the available tools to experience the greatest amount of growth.

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