Any effective marketing strategy requires just that –– strategy. Therefore, the first steps in your digital marketing campaign include strategic research that informs how you approach the project.
Linchpin SEO’s experts explain using digital research to make the most of your marketing efforts in this article.
1. Audience Research
Audience research is typically the first step marketing teams take before crafting a specific campaign or project. Digital marketing is all about connecting with the consumer. To know your audience and what marketing efforts will prove most effective, you must conduct audience research. Because audience research is so crucial to your marketing, we will spend time breaking down this subtype of marketing research.
Audience research allows you to discover insights that help you deliver desired results from your marketing campaign. And good audience research enables you to find out or anticipate obstacles to your project’s efficacy.
Most digital marketing teams create buyer personas at this stage of the campaign. Buyer personas help you determine the best ways to engage, endear, and convert your audience, allowing you to meet your marketing objectives.
When conducting audience research, you’ll gather three types of data to create your buyer personas: demographic, psychographic, and behavioral. We outline each data type below.
Demographics are the black and white facts about your audience and include information about their social aspects and place within society.
- Marital status
- Where they live
- Educational background and more
Psychographics are more complex than demographic data and include the beliefs and lifestyles of your audience. This subtype of audience research helps you pin down your target customer’s specific desires and aspirations.
Psychographic data can include activities, interests, opinions, attitudes, values, lifestyles, and loyalties.
Your marketing team needs to know how users interact with your products, website, and other media. Behavioral data allows you to understand what people do and how they behave online. Access to this data helps you understand their perceptions and experiences to improve your marketing efforts.
Behavioral data includes
- Online activities, like social media use
- Site visits
- Product use
- Content engagement
- Typical customer paths on your site
2. Audience Listening Tools
Your customers and potential customers are online talking about your brand, your products, and their experience with your business. Additionally, they’re vocalizing their needs, frustrations, and opinions about your competition. By utilizing the audience listening tools, you can learn what your audience wants and needs and what they don’t.
Social media allows you to get inside your audience’s mind plus the audience of your competitors. Consumers have no problems voicing likes and dislikes on social platforms. You can quickly analyze social data and monitor conversations to best shape your marketing efforts with social intelligence tools.
Third-party research firms provide quick digital insights and strong data. Sometimes, these marketing reports are free; other times, a subscription is required. You can also choose to commission market research specifically for your business.
Having access to concrete data saves time on your research and gives you hard facts regarding your market. However, it’s likely your competition is accessing the same reports. Therefore, this public data may not provide the insights or innovation you expect because it’s easily accessible by others within your market.
Surveys allow you to engage with and learn from your current audience. Online survey platforms are inexpensive and let you conduct specific research with ease. If you can ask the right questions, surveys can be powerful tools for gaining insight into your customer base.
3. Cultural Research
Understanding your audience’s cultures empowers you to create marketing campaigns that connect and engage. Below are the top tools for conducting cultural research that informs your digital marketing.
Your users are on social media connecting with others who are part of their culture. Facebook groups, Twitter communities, hashtags, and influencers provide insight into user cultures that might differ from your own.
Understanding culture and how it drives buying decisions allows you to shape marketing strategies that target your desired audience.
Scholarly research on specific cultures, cultural groups, and sub-cultures provides in-depth data about how brands can succeed when targeting individuals within a specific culture or sub-culture.
Accessing your audience’s unique cultural interests gives you an inside perspective into what marketing and branding connect with them. Following the consumer journey through content on dedicated platforms puts you in the user’s shoes.
This aspect of cultural research takes time and energy, but it allows you to understand what values, likes and dislikes, priorities, and preferences inform specific cultural groups. Finding niche websites, influencer accounts, dedicated apps, forums, and bloggers helps you better know and understand the culture of your target users.
4. Competitive Research
Competitive research lets you examine and understand the competition in marketing, branding, message, and reception.
Competitive research empowers you to understand the competitor’s strategy and approach to marketing and their message and branding. By developing a robust knowledge of your competitors, you can see what works and what doesn’t, then strategize your digital marketing efforts to set yourself apart.
You have access to many platforms that guide your analysis in conducting competitive research. We work through them below.
As we’ve explored above, social media provides excellent insight into how customers perceive and interact with a brand and its products. In addition, monitoring tools allow you to track what your audience says about your competition, which informs your marketing and your product development.
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. First, visit your competition’s site and take in all they offer: reports, content, online events, etc. Then, position yourself to better understand the buyer’s journey to learn what engages your audience.
Keywords drive your search results. By analyzing searches, you can know the user’s problems and the terms they’re searching to find solutions. With search tools like SEMrush, you can see the keywords your competition ranks for and how they differ from or align with yours.
5. Industry Trend Research
Knowing the ebb and flow of industry trends helps you anticipate change and prepare to meet new consumer needs. In addition to a proactive approach, industry trend research allows brands to create a digital marketing strategy that defends against the competition.
Keeping up with industry trends allows you to
- Speak the same language as your audience
- Work in and publish on effective platforms
- Identify opportunities and threats
- Plan marketing efforts
Utilizing research tools like search analytics, market reports, academic research, and social media monitoring gives you an informed, holistic understanding of your industry and your brand’s place within it.
Digital research empowers you to create effective marketing campaigns. And effective marketing campaigns are the key to increasing engagement and traffic and reaching your goals.
Contact the team at Linchpin SEO today to learn how our digital marketing pros can help you make the most of your marketing.