Using Exploratory Market Research to Understand your Customer

When you’re marketing a product or service, it’s helpful to see how potential customers are  thinking. Some exploratory research can give you fresh ideas on how to communicate your value. Curiosity is your friend. If you are interested in knowing how your customers really think about your business, then one question will lead to another and you could gain unexpected insights. Finally, you can tailor your message to match the customer pain points you discover to highlight your business value.

Below are some free tools to get you started in your research. These are excellent launching points that will certainly lead you to niche websites and places where your customers spend time online.

Free Online tools for Market Research

Answer the Public

Answer the Public is a great starting place for web market research. It breaks out many common questions that people on the internet are asking about your keyword. You can even export questions as a spreadsheet for further analysis.

Google Search

This one may seem obvious, but no fancy online research tool is a substitute for actually using the website that most buyers begin their customer journey with….Google Search! It helps if you try to get into the mindset of a potential buyer. What might they search for first? You can also use the tools and other advanced search features to find the information most relevant to your search intent.

Google creates SERP, (Search Engine Results Page) features to quickly help people find answers. One example of these SERP features is “People also ask”.

Quora is a forum where real people ask and answer questions. This is a great place to spend time reading through and getting in touch with what people are really thinking. The site is laden with opinions, and you can even hop with answers that could lead people to your website.

Applying your market research

Exploring how customers are talking about your industry topics, or even your brand, can lead to a new understanding of how to relate to your customer. You can discover surprising circumstances, product use cases, and complaints you might have never considered. If you’re lucky, you could even find new online platforms, like niche forums, where you can reach your main demographic. Can you think of ways this research could change your marketing strategy?

Getting Started with a Worksheet

Here’s a worksheet we prepared for the Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails to supplement their entrepreneurship pillar.

Ava Shije

Ava Shije creates intentional website strategies that draw in new visitors and convert them into customers. Her focus is on web design, optimization and engaging website content.

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