Market research is essential to the success of your business. And yet, it’s the one thing many online business owners don’t take the time to do properly, if they even do it at all.
Too often people get an idea, throw up a website and create a product, only to wonder why no one visits, and no one buys. They throw up their hands in failure and declare that internet marketing doesn’t work. A little bit of market research can go a long way to ensuring that you don’t fall into that pit of despair.
Here are 12 ways market research can help your business:
1. Market Research helps find your target market
Many people make products, and then try to find a market for them. However, the truth is that you should first find the market you want to work with, then create products for it. But, even if you skipped that, you can now find your target audience so that you can get your marketing materials right.
2. It also helps you get to know your prospective customers
The market research that you conduct will allow you to get to know your prospective customers better. When you know them better, you’ll be able to create customer avatars that help with creating content and marketing which really gets results.
3. It helps in developing new products and services
When you know what is going on in the marketplace you’ll get more ideas for products and services that your audience wants and needs. Checking out your competition and following industry news makers are just two quick ways to keep tabs on what's happening in your niche.
4. Marketing research can show you when your brand needs updating
Nothing stays the same, and online things can change literally overnight. So it stands to reason that over time your marketing becomes stale. Even though your audience doesn’t change who they are, they do change how they feel about things.
For example, what was acceptable marketing for companies in the 1960s isn’t acceptable today. Market research can tell you when you need to make changes to your branding and your message.
5. You can also find out who your competition is
Because things change so fast online, it’s important to know your competitors so that you can keep an eye on them and what they are doing. Sign up for their lists and purchase some of their products. Don’t copy them, but do use them as a standard bearer so you can improve your own products and services.
6. Market research makes you an expert in your niche
The more information you learn about your industry and the market for your products and/or services, the more of an expert you become. Reading, listening to podcasts, and attending webinars as much as possible keeps you up-to-date and knowledgeable.
7. Market research also shows you when you're on the right track...
... and also when you're not.
It’s important that when you have an idea or assumption about anything to do with your business, you do the research to determine if it’s right. Sometimes anecdotal stories are wrong; sometimes a result is an outlier and not true. Only market research can help determine what is genuinely right and wrong, what works and what doesn't for your market.
8. You'll also open your mind to new ideas and opinions
Keeping an open mind when doing your market research provides opportunities to discover totally new ideas and opinions you never considered. You may find during your research that they are wrong or you may find out that they’re right. Only proper research will help.
9. Market research also keeps you up with new technology
Keeping up with market research will also help you learn about technology as it happens. Every day new technologies are being discovered that can help you with your business. Without research you won’t know about it. It’s easy to get trapped within your four walls and not realize what is happening.
10. And you'll see new trends as they happen
As you’re doing your research, you’ll start to be able to identify new trends that are happening right now. These trends are things that you need to jump on because as fast as they come, they change.
11. It also helps you avoid serious marketing mistakes
Business owners who avoid market research are prone to making horrible marketing mistakes. They are at risk of believing their own biases.
12. Market research also lets you track your own brand
Many people don’t realize that during market research you’ll also be able to determine how you’re doing as a brand getting information out to the public. If you do not run into your own articles, interviews, blog posts and research while searching, then you need to start working harder.
Bonus Tip: Market Research helps you find where you fit
In a way, we come full circle with this bonus tip. We started out looking at defining your target market. But it's also about finding the place where you fit into the market. You have a unique message that deserves to be heard, and people who want to hear what you have to say.
Good market research will help you find where you fit, without having to change yourself or your message just to fit. Your audience is out there, and it's market research that will help you find it.
The fact is, without market research your business will not achieve its true success. Yes, some business owners do achieve success accidentally, but it’s hard to maintain that initial success without more research. Including market research in your initial planning sets you up for success before you even get started. Even if you’ve already built your business, a little more market research can help ensure you create the success you desire.
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