How to do Market Research Using Online Platforms: Start with the information that aligns with your marketing goals.
All too often, companies spend substantial time, money, and effort to set-up a great business. Products and services offered are perfect; pricing is unbelievably competitive, and you’re ready to reap profits from all the hard work. Six months later, your website may have good traffic, but very few sales or conversions. You are probably spending thousands of dollars a month paying SEM/SEO experts, and your website blog has excellent content. What happened? Why aren’t sales jumping through the roof?
Ninety percent of the time, online businesses end up connecting with the wrong audience and rank low for the right Google search results. The main reason for the setback is that companies haven’t completed proper market research, working with the wrong set of data, and don’t understand the needs of their high-potential target markets.
These days many companies look for immediate returns and end up copying the mistakes their competitors make. The same mistakes are repeated, with no results or guarantees or ROI on your expensive marketing investment. What you end up doing is tracking website visitors or leads that will probably bounce. It’s essential to build a solid foundation of reliable information before investing thousands of dollars into digital marketing and advertising.
This article discusses how to do online Market Research arming you with the right information, aligned with your marketing goals, deliver a solid ROI on your investment, and successfully grow your business. Market Research Information Systems ensure you are working with information that are not mistakes copied from your competitors.
Step 1: Develop a Marketing Strategy Used as the Basis of All Information to Take Forward
An effective marketing strategy combines all the goals and objectives designed to promote a company’s products or services sold to make a profit and gain a competitive advantage within a target market. To develop an active strategy, start with identifying top target markets by completing a comprehensive industry analysis.
The analysis should confirm all industries with the highest income potential that buy your companies, goods, and services. Consider these industries as top target markets, and understand whether these are growth markets, and how your company fits into the supply chain as an innovative leader or contributor. The industry analysis should confirm the market income and expenditures, average company size of potential customers, and counts of companies you will sell to based on geographic location.
Online market research platforms provide all this information as part of market research reports or industry directories. Smart industry and business directories allow you to enter your marketing goals and objectives as part of your company profile. Smart lists search and evaluate thousands of possible matches, allowing you to quickly review results without having to search the internet spending days or weeks obtaining similar results. Outputs of the industry analysis include:
- Income and profit potential for each target market and growth potential
- Your potential market position and target pricing compared to competitors
- How you compare to competitors within the target markets
- Industry income and expenditure trends
- Substitute or alternative products potential customers use
- Geographic locations targeted for advertising
- Possible transportation and operational costs
- Preliminary cost of acquisition for new customers
- Understand how potential buyers qualify suppliers. Whether you need to plan for Master Service Agreements (MSA) or other ways to engage new customers
- Demographics of new potential customers
- Bargaining power of suppliers and suppliers
- Advertising strategy and cost estimate
Step 2: Execute and Refine the Marketing Strategy
Include the results of the industry analysis into a Marketing plan document. Execute, refine, change, and track progress on your marketing strategy based on further market research. At this point, you have enough information to identify critical risks that may impact your ability to be successful. Complete a SWOT analysis to understand your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Plan to capitalize on opportunities and strengths and refine your plan to address gaps and threats as part of your long term marketing strategy. Confirm you can satisfy success factors with minimal risks and have contingencies in place in case you run into unexpected issues while executing your plan. The following are suggestions to refine your marketing plan further:
- Make a list of relevant keywords that will help with digital marketing
- Confirm your branding and companies value proposition. Be prepared to emphasize the value proposition when designing your advertising campaign and to have your business development team reach out to potential customers.
- Develop a preliminary list of potential customers that you can reach out to conduct market surveys. Smart Directories will automatically provide records of high potential customers that want to buy your goods and services.
- Confirm your target pricing for goods and services you will be selling.
- Finalize how you will advertise and introduce sales promotions that take advantage of your strengths.
- Meet with the sales and marketing team to finalize your sales approach.
Step 3: Voice of the Customer: Reach out for Feedback
Take the preliminary list of potential customers and complete surveys to confirm your marketing strategy. Either send out inquiries or contact potential customers directly to obtain feedback. Modify your marketing plan based on this invaluable feedback from potential customers. Expand your list of potential customers using Smart Directories. Import the sales prospect lists into a CRM to keep your sales pipeline full of high potential prospects.
If you are running digital advertisements, refine your keywords, and build your ads to be prepared to start sales campaigns. Use the geographic locations and business intelligence collected about your high potential markets to execute highly targeted sales campaigns. Taking this approach will make your sales campaign original and not rely on copying mistakes your competitors have made.
At this point, compare your plan to competitors to validate your marketing strategy and get the most from your research. Be prepared to use your Marketing plan to approach lenders if you’re looking to obtain a business loan or approach investors. A good MRIS contains information obtained from reliable sources that will impress lenders and investors.
Step 4: Execute the sales and marketing campaign
At this time, you are ready to execute your sales campaign. Follow your plan and make adjustments as needed to make improvements. Using a good MRIS will pay for itself tenfold in the time you will save with your Market Research. Also, you can develop several marketing plans simultaneously using the results to track the progress of your marketing and sales campaigns.
Technology advances have made the use of Market Research Information Systems a very affordable option to complete very comprehensive Market Research projects. MRIS platforms can complete multiple market research initiatives simultaneously and efficiently customized to your business market development goals. Before these technology advances became available, only large organizations could afford to achieve such a comprehensive analysis.
Today, the technology is open to all size companies and customized to specific business development goals. Using MRIS platforms ensures accuracy of results and solves the problem of relying on competitor research and highly targeted to your marketing goals and objectives. The challenge marketers face with processing overwhelming amounts of data is addressed by MRIS platforms. Automation is available and ready to benefit business development professionals.
Additional Market Research Information
Industry Directory – Extensive knowledgebase, providing economic data for over 500 industries across 1061 NAICS codes
Business Directory – Database containing over 20 million establishments distributed across the United States. (Businesses, Government Agencies, and Organizations)
AllBizOps Explorer – Register to receive daily email notifications about new sales opportunities
AllBizOps Memberships – Affordable membership subscriptions to complete Market Research