Understanding Your Audience: 7 Powerful Consumer Research Techniques

by | Oct 8, 2023 | Lead Generation, Marketing

Consumer Insights, The Foundation of Local Business Marketing

All impactful marketing for local businesses begins with the ideal customer. As a result, using consumer research to develop a complete understanding of who is most likely to buy from your business, and what uniquely motivates them is the foundational stage in crafting a next-generation marketing strategy. As simple a concept as this might seem, it is also often overlooked.

Taking the time to really understand what drives your target customer provides the fuel for marketing content that mirrors behavior and builds influence. With this in mind, the following are 7 of the most impactful ways to learn more about your ideal customer.

1. Social Media Listening: Consumer Research in Their Own Words

While there are paid tools that can systemize this approach, the free version also works well. Simply go to Facebook and search for your product or service, like “Install a Fence”. Then, on the left click “Posts” and be rewarded with a wealth of information directly from individuals who are interested in this topic. What are they talking about? How do they make their decisions? What factors play a role? Which companies do they recommend? Much to learn, here. For a different audience perspective, visit Reddit and do the same. This social media listening technique is a goldmine for consumer research.

2. Answerthepublic.com: Consumer Queries Unveiled

Recently acquired by NP Digital, Answerthepublic.com still enables users to conduct 3 free searches per day and is invaluable. Search for any topic and be rewarded with the specific questions consumers are asking about that product or service. It is a direct window into what is meaningful to consumers when they’re making purchasing decisions. This tool transforms consumer queries into actionable insights.

3. Google Trends: Trending Topics That Influence Decisions

Here on Google Trends, you can see which topics related to your business are experiencing a surge in demand. Topics, Search Queries, Geographies, news, related images, and videos: all easily segmented and sorted. Google Trends provides a clear picture of what customers are searching for, making it a vital tool for consumer  research driven marketing strategies.

4. Google Analytics: The Untapped Potential of Consumer Data

This is the dataset that should be the standard in any customer analysis. As much as it is woefully under-utilized by local businesses, it is also brimming with data. With the launch of GA4, we now have access to even more ways to sort these various signals into useful and actionable insights. Dive deep into your customer’s online behavior and preferences through Google Analytics for unparalleled consumer research.

5. Meta Business Suite: Harnessing Social Audience Insights

With the installation of a Meta pixel on your website, Meta provides a wealth of data about your social followers through their Audience Insights feature. Demographics, Purchase Behavior, and Content Engagement are just a few of the insights that can be gathered. More important is the ability to build custom audiences and lookalike audiences to help better engage with consumers online. Meta Business Suite empowers businesses with comprehensive consumer research capabilities.

6. SparkToro: Word of Mouth, Measured

A deceptively powerful source for insights regarding the things consumers talk about online, SparkToro is invaluable for understanding both Consumers and Businesses (if the focus is B2B). Each search provides a list of the keywords most commonly used in social profiles, hashtags used, and phrases that are most commonly written in social posts. You’ll see the websites they visit, content they read, and the podcasts they listen to. The ways in which this data can inform content development and marketing strategy are impossible to overstate. The free plan provides users the ability to conduct 20 searches per month.

7. Talk With Current Customers: Your Most Important Resource

Last, but definitely not least; by actively seeking feedback from customers through feedback forms, automated emails, or phone calls, it’s possible to uncover unknown truths about your customer base. What do they do for a living? What motivates and inspires them? What do they most value? What is their family dynamic? What triggers them to make a change? Equally important, by engaging with the current customer base you’re in the position to secure both positive and negative feedback about customer experiences with your brand. Not only does this enable local businesses to craft an innovative marketing plan, it also promotes customer retention and repeat business. Engaging with current customers is a rich source of qualitative customer research.

Understanding the ideal customer is the cornerstone of effective marketing for local businesses. A seemingly simple concept that is often overlooked, its significance cannot be overstated. The tools and techniques detailed above not only have the power to refine marketing strategies, but also nurture customer relationships, encouraging loyalty and repeat business. In essence, the key to a successful marketing strategy lies in the continuous exploration and understanding of the customer’s mindset, fostering authentic connections and sustainable growth.

J.W. Martin

About the Author

J.W. Martin is a marketing expert with 25 years experience developing marketing strategy for local businesses. He can be reached at jw.martin@saasql.ai

NOTE: While all articles are written by our team, to provide the most robust and useful reader experience,  SaaSQL uses A.I. / large language models to assist with various aspects of content development. This includes research, sourcing and other content improvements.  

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