4 Easy Ways To Do Market Research For Your Business
When you brainstorm new ideas for your business or start writing content, do you know who you're talking to? Have you done the market research, tested it out, and looked at the results?
Do you have an idea of the person who’s reading your future Instagram post, or are you just throwing darts hoping they’ll land on the bullseye?
If it’s the latter, it’s time to start doing some market research for your business.
What is market research?
Market research is gathering data on your community - their needs, pain points, goals, dreams, preferences, lifestyles, etc.
Whether you're a seasoned business owner or in your first year, it's important to stay up-to-date with your market research and your clients / customers.
Things like current trends and the Internet are constantly changing, so you want to make sure your keeping up with the demands and interests of your clients, customers, and community. If you don't know what their pain and pleasure points are, why they're following you, and what's working (as well as what's not), how are you going to continue to create valuable content and deepen the relationship you have with them?
Your job is to help them make their lives better by being a guide and resource in their lives, and the best way to do that is to do market research for your target market.
Here are 4 easy ways to do market research for your business:
Not sure what's currently working in your business? Take a look at the numbers. The data will tell you.
What blog posts are getting the most interest? What pages are getting the most pageviews? What Instagram posts get the most engagement and comments?
Someone once told me that “the numbers tell a story” and it’s so true. What story is your data telling you?
If you’re a travel blogger and you’re getting a lot of interest in your “Top 10 Places To Eat In (City)”, then you should continue writing those. You can even go a step further and create a downloadable list for them and have them sign up for your email list in return for that.
From my own analytics, I saw that lists like my 45 self-care ideas and 24 life lessons did extremely well last year.
So at the beginning of this year, I created my list of 20 personal growth books that I’m planning on reading this year.
The result? That list brought in tens of thousands of pageviews in January, because I knew New Year Resolutions were going to be trending.
So not only did I create something I knew my existing audience would love, but I aimed to attract new readers to my site and blog as well.
Pro tip: While it's important to get in front of new people, make sure to take care of those that are already in your community.
2. Ask someone who’s your ideal client / customer / community member.
It could be a friend or past client. It can even be yourself. But make sure it's the right fit.
What kind of help did they need in the beginning of their journey? What do they need help with now?
You can send them an email, a TypeForm survey (because they’re so clean and pretty - am I the only one that thinks this?), or get on a video call with them!
Sometimes, it’s hard for others to think at the top of their head of things they’re struggling with, so you want to come up with some questions beforehand to help get the creative juices flowing.
Remember, when you’re asking others for help, make it easy for them to help you. If it feels like a chore or another thing they have to add on to their ever-growing to do list, you might not hear back from them.
And if you don’t hear back, follow up with them! People get busy. (I wouldn’t recommend following up more than 2-3 times when it comes to this. Sometimes people change their minds and they don't want to anymore. It's okay - there's plenty of people out there you can ask.)
If possible, do something in return for them, especially if they’re giving you their time and attention.
3. Email list - survey
If you have an email list, ask them! I mean - they signed up for your email list for a reason, right?
(Also, if you don't have an email list yet, I highly suggest starting one. Like yesterday.)
They want to hear from you. They trusted you enough to give you their email, even if it was just to download a freebie.
And if that’s the case, then it’s even better because it means they’ll be likely to want more content from you!
If you cover a variety of topics, create a poll within your survey (I use TypeForm to send out all of my surveys) and ask them what categories they find most helpful and would like to see more of.
There’s nothing quite like asking people who are a. reading your blog and b. opening up your emails.
(Or maybe they’re not reading your blog at all. You can ask them where they're most connected to you; maybe it's through Instagram, Facebook, or email.)
I recommend doing this at least once a year. Many businesses and bloggers call it an end of the year reader survey. It also shows your email list that you’re actually interested in what they have to say and think. Win / win for everyone.
4. Instagram polls
My new favorite way to do market research! It’s easy and quick to do, and you get immediate feedback. And most importantly, you can actually see who’s looking at your Instagram stories and replying to them.
If most of your community are connected with you on Instagram, this is a perfect way to do market research for your business.
Plus, I think most people like answering polls anyway. (Pro tip: Add GIFs to them. It makes it more fun and engaging.)
If you have a series of questions to ask, I would suggest planning it out. Speaking from experience, there have been a few times when my IG poll stories looked a bit… well, let’s just say out of order. So get out a piece of paper and start brainstorming!
Doing market research for your business provides many great benefits like having brand clarity (which helps with brand positioning, messaging, and visuals), creating content that people actually want to see and consume, and planning future project plans that actually resonate with your community (rather than just hoping it goes well).
Share with me in the comments below: Are you doing market research for your business?
Photo Credit: Kirsty Su
Molly Ho is a branding and graphic designer for photographers and creative entrepreneurs. Her mission is to help you create a brand that will give your dream clients the confidence and clarity they need to hire you.
She believes in being (and becoming) the kind of person you want to see more of in the world, because change starts with you. And you have the power and capacity to become the person you want to be.
On the blog, she talks about topics including branding, marketing, social media, body image, and personal development.
Here's where else you can find her on the Internet: