5 Ways Market Research Can Improve Your Online Strategies

Sep 05, 2018 | 5  min
author Allegra Korver
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Clients frequently come to marketing agencies hoping for a Don Draper experience. They want that spine-tingling moment when the brilliant ad copy totally clicks, when the agency totally gets their customer. Few clients realize the work that goes into those moments. It’s not all whiskey cocktails and cigarette-fueled brainstorming sessions. In many cases, at least in Pyxl’s case, it’s a lot of market research.

Market research can improve your online strategies by grounding decisions in facts. Everything from design to copy to strategic choices on CMS, automation or social platform selection are most effectively executed when they’re based on historical successes and customer tendencies. To better inform your digital decisions and impact your investment and results, we’ve outlined what market research we find most valuable in key areas of the work we execute for clients…

Digital Marketing Research

Our development, design and copywriting teams all agree on and benefit from two foundational market research tools: surveys and interviews. By starting off, or rebooting, an engagement with clients, we find it especially useful to speak with customers and key stakeholders that can help us answer the following questions:

  • Who are your brand’s typical clients?
  • Why did they buy from you?
  • What are their challenges in learning about or acquiring your product or service?
  • What types of messages resonate most with them?
  • What attributes to they associate with your brand?
  • Where do they look for information or shop online?

Content Market Research

After initial research, two key forms of research can help inform content creation for your website, landing pages, blogs, premium content and more.

Google Analytics

If you don’t have analytics on your website, get it on your website. Today. Analytics provides marketers with a variety of useful information, including the demographics of your site visitors, what digital sources visitors come to your site from, what they do when they get there and so much more, including:  

  • What pages are users visiting?
  • What blogs are they reading?
  • What videos are they watching?
  • What buttons or calls-to-action (CTAs) are they clicking on?
  • What key resources are they downloading?

With this information, you can make informed decisions that reflect what’s currently trending on your site. What types of visitors are downloading that popular ebook? What blog topics are trending? Give the people what they want by writing content that matches what they’re already consuming.

Keyword Research

What else do people want? Research the keywords for which your content (or your competitor’s content) is already ranking. In other words, create content based on what people are already searching for online. Tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or Moz Keyword Explorer can help you discover what sites (yours or your competitors) are ranking for in both organic and paid keywords. They can also help you find related keywords that have high-to-medium relevancy/traffic and low competition – the holy grail of keywords.  

Email Market Research

While understanding market trends and proven strategies of email marketing will help you stay competitive in the inbox, email research is also an opportunity to gain key insights into the behaviors of your custom mix of email contacts.

Performance Research

Your most tailored market insights come from your own email performances. Reviewing how a captive audience of subscribers responds to and engages with your email marketing tactics can inform your overall digital marketing strategies. For example, by reviewing the variables (subject line, CTA placement, etc.) that yield the top and bottom performance metrics (click through rate, time on site, etc.), you’ll know what you should do more of (and what you should stop doing, entirely). These learnings can be applied to future email tactics as well as multi-channel strategies, such as social posts and display advertisements.

Pilot Campaign

If you don’t have historical email performance data to dig through, or are looking to test out new ideas, an email pilot campaign can be a strong resource for new insights. This discovery campaign can include segmentation strategies, A/B testing or personalization tactics to better understand what resonates with your mix of contacts. These campaigns are not intended to give you definite answers, but can provide insight on which strategies to explore further in your day-to-day email program. Moreover, some strategies may work well with certain groups of contacts and not others. Be prepared to follow these trends with future testing to confirm your findings.

Social Market Research

If we’ve learned anything so far it’s that digital marketing stops for no one. It’s always transforming thanks to new tools and platform features. Social media is certainly no stranger to these changes. The recommendations above apply to social too – relying on Google Analytics to make informed decisions, reviewing your audiences and A/B testing. But it also helps to research industry trends for building out a social strategy.

Platform Demographics

Understanding who is on all of the popular social channels is key for deciding what your presence will look like. For that, we turn to Pew Research. Every year the trusted team at the Pew Research Center surveys U.S. adults and how they’re engaging on the social landscape. Details like their household incomes to their level of education are all part of the market research. We find the results fascinating and best of all, we’re able to make well-informed decisions for our clients.

Did you know that 84% of the adults who say they use YouTube make over $75,000 a year?

Industry Trends

Understanding engagement benchmarks are also part of a great social strategy. Here at Pyxl, we strive to tell a story when it comes to reporting on social efforts. We look beyond an individual client’s performance and try to place it in the grand scheme of things. For example, a brand may panic if they see their Facebook reach drop 20% from the previous month. But, what if we took at 10,000 other brands and saw their reach dropped 30%? Now we’re not just talking about what you’re doing wrong, we’re seeing a seismic shift in how people are using the platform as a whole.

When performing market research to put your social performance into context, think about these details:

  • What’s industry average for reach/engagement/growth?
  • Are other businesses experiencing performance like mine?
  • What’s a good benchmark for my performance?

For finding answers to many of these questions we love Locowise. Their blog section is regularly updated with tips on influencer marketing, platform growth and engagement, and trending news. By the way, if your Instagram is reaching a 1% engagement rate, you’re doing just fine.

By now it should be clear that the best digital strategies are based on cold, hard facts. Comprehensive market research such as surveys can help you identify the most effective messaging for your brand, A/B testing your email campaigns will help you understand what works for your contacts and looking up industry trends will guide you on what you can expect from your efforts.

Of course, we know all of this is a big undertaking. If your business is looking to develop a digital marketing strategy we’d love to help.

Updated: Oct 26, 2020

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