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Digital Marketing Bootcamp Blog: Research

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Given the current state of marketing, it is apparent to most business owners that having a digital presence is a must. The options to approach this range from hiring a digital marketing agency, to deciding to go it alone. Regardless of the method, the first step in establishing credibility when turning your company’s online presence into high-performance marketing is to conduct market research. 

 

Research is not the most appealing term, and it sometimes is the last thing conducted if it is ever done at all. Research is one of the most important steps to ensure that your company: knows what the competition is doing, understands its audience, and knows the relevant tactics to reach them. This segment of the digital marketing Bootcamp will focus on why research is important and what role it should play in your company’s overall digital strategy. 

Work Harder and Smarter

Understanding what competitors are doing from a tactical standpoint helps guide your company’s digital focus. Unless the company is extremely niche and unique in every way possible, there is no reason to try and reinvent the wheel. Competitive analysis shows exactly what the competition is using to drive their online presence. Using the right tool to discover this information is key, as it will show what tools a company uses for its website, what keywords it is using to target consumers, what type of content they are using, and other features. Knowing this information will reduce the legwork of finding the right tools, keywords, and platforms on which to build a presence.

  

Keep it simple and use what they are using.  

 

Some entrepreneurs have limited resources and need to be extremely efficient with their efforts. Researching the competition reduces the need for a larger team that can waste its efforts on activities with little or no return. Lastly, research will enable your company to better understand how to position its online presence in market gaps. If a competitor is not using a highly searched keywords, or a highly used social media platform and it aligns with the business, that presents a window of opportunity to build a presence with less effort. Once the competitive analysis is complete, the focus turns to understanding the audience. 

Getting To Know You

Knowing the competition and their digital strategy helps formulate a plan on how to appeal to the target audience. Contrary to belief, not every business should have a presence on every social media platform. It would be out of the ordinary to see a senior living community more focused on a tik-tok presence than Facebook. One social platform caters to a younger demographic and the other caters to an older community-centric group. This is just one example of how understanding your audience can influence the digital strategy.

  

What is does the ideal customer look like? Where do they shop? How do they consume their information? What is their preferred method of communication? All these things should be answered prior to developing a digital strategy. Again, focus is the goal and research helps accomplish that goal. Only after understanding the competitive landscape and consumer preferences, should a company engage in digital tactics. 

So Many Digital Tactics Such Little Time

Given all the potential digital strategy options, it’s sometimes hard to decide where to start. The good news is by this point you’ve done your research and have a good idea on how to approach each aspect of online marketing. Below is a list of tactics and how to allow research to guide your approach:

 

Website – What is the norm for your industry regarding the purpose of a website? It could range from being your most effective sales tool, to a brand building opportunity that establishes your company as a thought leader. In either case, it will take research to better understand which use case is most effective for your industry. Research will also tell you what consumers expect from your website regarding user experience.  

 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – This tactic helps search engines find your website, which will drive more users to you preferred landing page. Research is helpful here because it provides information on what questions consumers are asking about a specific industry. As the research provides feedback, the website can cater to the questions being asked and enhance the user experience. 

 

Content Marketing – This tactic ties into search engine optimization as well as the research conducted to better understand the needs of the audience. How do users prefer to consume information on your subject matter? Do they prefer video format(vlogs) written format (blogs) or is it a combination of both? It is possible that social media is a great pathway to guide people to your content, but without research this is a guessing game at best. 

 

Email Marketing – Whether your industry’s online email marketing approach is promotion heavy, or content heavy, email marketing will be essential to tying everything together. Some businesses will send promotional information to help influence the consumer to buy more frequently, and the longer sales cycle industries rely more heavily on nurture email campaigns. These nurture campaigns are designed to lead the customer down a purchase path eventually pushing a call to action. Only after researching industry trends, the competition, and audience preferences will this direction be revealed. 

 

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) – How much should you be paying to drive a lead to your website? What type of ad-copy works best to convert the leads? These questions can be answered by trial and error also known as A/B testing. The results lead to data that can be analyzed when comparing trends with the competitor ads. 

 

Social Media Marketing – The example provided earlier in this article is an example of why research is so important when deciding which social media platform to choose. With over 103 social media sites, it is easy to see why a company would need to have a targeted approach. Research helps businesses understand how their target audience prefers to communicate. If the product lends itself to a community approach, sites like Tik-Tok and snapchat are not the best approach. Executing tactics with a concentrated effort is key when using social media.  

 

The algorithms reward consistency and quality engagement which require targeted organic and paid campaigns. One way to achieve this is to prioritize social media platform selection. Quality only comes with a focused effort on fewer platforms, unless your business has access to automation tools which can reduce effectiveness. Ultimately, researching the audience is the best way to make this decision.

At Ease

This segment of the bootcamp might be the most intense due to its nature being research, but let’s get to the point of it allWhen properly used, research provides insights that enhance your overall digital strategy. Enhancing the digital strategy means playing more efficiently and being more efficient means doing more with less. In the case of companies that have a one-person digital marketing effort, this more with less approach is paramount. In the end, it boils down to how much money can you afford to throw away by “winging” a digital strategy? If you prefer to get the most out of your resources, do yourself a favor and do your research, or hire someone who can. 

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