Strong branding begins with a strong understanding of your target market. If your business has never really made an organized effort to understand what sort of buyers it wants to sell to, now is the time! This is often called “primary research” and is an invaluable starting place for creating a cohesive marketing strategy.
With the right knowledge in hand, advertising, sales, and customer service can all benefit. Here are some of the most effective ways to research a target market and find the important details.
Organize Your Past Customer Data
Many businesses have a trove of useful market research already waiting – their records of past customers. This is useful to review because this audience has already proven willing to purchase from the brand, and their information can reveal more about what the business already knows about its target market.
Even basic customer data can show things like what zip code customers were from, what payment methods they used, the dates when they purchased (are they more likely to purchase on weekends, for example?), and if they made repeat purchases or only one. All of this starts to build a picture of the target market and is a good foundation for the types of research brands can plan for the future.
Find Out Where (and Why) Your Current Traffic is Coming From
Web traffic to a brand’s site is also very informative: Reviewing analytics can help show where traffic is coming from (and so what ads or platforms your target audience seems to be interested in). Organic search data can even provide information about keywords and search intent. Google Analytics also has a tool called Audiences that can help reveal valuable demographics information, such as where visitors are geographically and what other interests they seem to have.
Look for Social Media Data
Speaking of demographical data, social media research should also be part of your brand’s strategy. Some social platforms are very direct about this: Facebook’s Insights tool has a section dedicated to “People” that can help brands find out useful information about those interacting with their Facebook pages and ads, including what other topics they seem to like. Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social sites can provide similar information.
Create Surveys and Plan Interviews
One of the best ways to research a target market is to talk to them directly. Research should always include online surveys, focus groups, interviews, or other ways of directly reaching out to current customers and finding out more about them. The key is to understand the right kind of questions to ask – questions that will provide valuable information and fill knowledge gaps in the brand’s current understanding. Blue Atlas’ digital marketing services can be helpful here when your brand is ready to start asking the right questions!
Study Buying Patterns
While customer data as a whole can be useful, brands should also take time to study specific buying patterns, especially for their website, to see if they can uncover any interesting information about their target audiences. Are there any particular times of day that customers prefer buying – and what does that say about them?
Do they buy products in bundles, and if so, what do they prefer to bundle? How do they use discounts or coupon codes? Do they leave products sitting in their cart or do they purchase in a single session? The answers to these questions can help put together a picture of your target audience’s buying habits, and what tends to get in the way of them completing a purchase.
If your brand is interested in collecting information like this more reliably, we encourage you to explore Blue Atlas’ website development services: We can help your brand create a site that’s attractive to visitors while also providing valuable data on the back end.
Watch What People Are Saying
Brands don’t always have to ask their customers questions – in many cases, customers will provide data based on their own experiences, in both reviews and customer service complaints. Don’t treat reviews as just a positive/negative mark in the book: Instead, look at what reviews are saying.
See if there are any products, services, or specific behaviors that reviews are regularly mentioning, as these are indicators of what your customers value most. If there are negative reviews or complaints, see what sort of things customers are bringing up…which can show a common theme about what’s important to them.
Final Note: Explore Your Industry’s Target Market Research
With the right information about your target market, your brand can begin creating more targeted content, personalized advertising, and effective marketing that will help conversions rise. However, we wanted to leave you with one last bit of advice – make sure to consistently follow industry news.
Your brand isn’t the only one working on target market research, and others may publish useful findings on surveys or research that they have done on customer groups very similar to your own. Incorporate those findings into the overall picture of your target market.
When ready, it’s a good idea to turn market research into specific examples like buyer personas to help your team put the findings into action!
Want to dig even deeper? Our in-depth exercises can get you started on planning your website redesign. This guide will help you establish the purpose for your website and ensure it helps support your customer service and sales staff.