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The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well, that the product or service fits him and sells itself” – Peter Drucker

Customer is THE KING, goes the adage.

And this is truer today than ever before.

A successful marketer is always trying to generate leads and make effortless conversions. While statistics show that sales leads often stagnate at mere 3-4 per cent each year, a good way to find what customers are thinking is to start with solid online research – one that goes beyond generic and transactional analysis.

Marketers now work across various customer platforms to draw a psychometric patterns on what customers need and how they behave online – to help define the exact needs of their customers.

customers online

 

Following are some proven ways of online research that can help you build a strong customer network.

 

 Using social media platforms

 

More than 80 percent of internet users are active on at least one social media site and spend an average of 20% of their time on social networks. The new Social Media Monitoring techniques (SMM) and Social Media Relationship Management (SMRM) are tools in social media that help marketers gain insight on newer market opportunities and create complete customer profiles through social network sharing.

 

                 Active Users by Social Platform (January 2014)

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Source: www.digitalmarketingphilipines.com

 

LinkedIn groups, Facebook pages, Twitter search, Pinterest and Google Plus communities offer enormous amount of data pertaining to customer preferences and reviews. SMM tools such as Social Crawlytics and BuzzSumo can provide exact statistics of social shares of any URL.

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For instance, you can draw simple inferences for iPhone 6 on Buzzsumo. While users are not happy with the display screen, many of them from Vietnam seem more curious about this product. This kind of a customer profile can be further drilled down to the level of individual customers.

 

Blogs

 

Blogs help communicating with potential customers. You cannot underestimate the power of a good blog!! Here is an intercept of a business intelligence blog that predicts the shopping plans of customers in detail. Also by looking at the comments section, one can analyse what customers are seeking, are they happy or what are the prevailing sentiments.

 

Keyword Research

Keyword research reveals a heap load of information about what exactly customers are looking for and the different phrases though which they find their desired products. They also tell you of product niches that you might have missed so far and your competitors who are offering those products. Keyword word search engines such as Word Tracker and Trellian’s Keyword Discovery estimate the most “often used phrases” and tabulate them against the demographics of the people using the phrases. Top keyword word search engines in the market are

 

A quick keyword search on Christmas yields all the things people around the world are looking for during this festive season.

 

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Competitor Research

If knowing what your customer thinks about your product is important, knowing what your customer thinks about your competitor is mandatory. Competitor analysis is a great way to obtain the perceptions of your customer.

Let us take an example of how Semrush helps you in competitor profiling. When an online megastore Amazon decides to watch eBay here are the following data that it can obtain and this data can be compared to your own.

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Online Surveys

Surveys and polls may sound old school but a whole set of new digital survey tools have made the process easy, interesting and a lot less tiresome. The results can be obtained real time and can be shared, analysed and stored. Some of the popular easy-to-use online survey tools are

 

Online discussions and Review Forums

Did you know that 79% of the customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations? Online forums are places where customers do not share just their preferences but also their grievances. Customer review forums teach you what your products has to be and what it does have to be.

The good thing about these forums is that the people posting their views have sufficnet information about them recorded on the website. This makes profiling even easier.

 

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, Rockethub, Fundable and Indiegogo represent a classic entrepreneurial phenomenon where you get people to pay for idea upfront. If people are ready to use your idea then you know your product is under the right shaping else you “learn” what exactly your customer are looking out for.

If knowing what your customer thinks about your product is important, knowing what your he thinks about your competitor is also crucial. Competitor analysis is a great way to understand perceptions of your customer.

For instance, look how Semrush helps you in competitor profiling. When an online megastore Amazon decides to watch eBay here are the following data that it can obtain and this data can be compared to your own.

 

Paid Market Research services

A number of paid market research techniques have been doing successful rounds in the markets. These techniques deliver to you the most precise results of what you are looking for

 

Web Analytics tools

So yes, you have now collected hell a lot of data from different sources, paid and free. But how comprehensible is the information you have in hand? How are you going to use this information to strategize your marketing investments? This is where web analytics tools come to play a key role. These tools optimize web traffic and campaign ROI. The top 5 web analytics tools in the market are

 

Access to secondary data sources

Expert research organizations and market reports talk a lot about the latest trends and market dynamics of online customers. Paid reports from Gartner, AC Nielson, Frost and Sullivan have proved to be a good place to start with for predicting market trends.

To conclude, the World Wide Web offers numerous tools and platforms that allow marketers to conduct good quality research and analysis of their online customers and more often for free. Marketers and business owners need to take the time out to choose the most innovative ways to target customers and they are sure to find a chest full of useful resources and data.

 

Other Featured Articles :  How to Create “High-Impact” Content for Your Business Blog

5 Smart Ways to Kick-start your Social Media Strategy

 

 

 

Vroom describes the act of purposefully operating a motor-vehicle to create loud-engine noises for everybody to hear.

That’s exactly what marketers believe in doing with their Social Media Content Strategy.

VROOM_ce28bb_312234

 

Being symbolic of the generation that is marked by social conversations, it has become almost impossible for a business to succeed – without heralding a vroooooming social media strategy.

Social mediums, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, Twitter, Instagram etc. have become eminent tools for entrepreneurs, who have their first morning tea with a dose of twitter post, and call it quits for the day with a reply on their Facebook page.

Let’s look on how to get your social engines pumping high and loud —

Social Media Content Strategy # 1 – Smart titles that work as great conversation starters

Contradictory to the popular theory of Shakespeare – ‘What’s in a name’, social media marketing is always on a look out for attention seeking headlines, that can immediately grab a share or tweet.

While doing this, one needs to understand the power of right words, which would catch the eye of the readers. For a Blog post, for instance one can weave words like ‘surprising’, ‘how’ ‘science of’ and ‘critical ways’, ‘smart’ in their headlines, and be amazed to see the traffic that comes to the blog.

captivating headlines

Similarly, tweets are likely to be re-tweeted if one uses words such as ‘top’, ‘free’, ‘media’ ‘please’, ‘check it out’, ‘in case’, ‘how to’.

Digital content1

And on Facebook, the status updates that are most likely to be shared are ones which does at least one of these – ‘inspires’, ‘warns’, ‘advises’, ‘amuses’, ‘amazes’ and ‘gives’ (offers, discounts/deals).

Social Media Content Strategy #2: Strategize as per the audience

As an entrepreneur, it’s also important to understand who you’re trying to reach and why.

For example, a social platform such as Linkedln, which is entrusted of handling 300+ million professional identities, the trick is to design your content in a way that is useful in someone’s professional life. For instance, a recent blog by Jaspreet Sethi on Linkedln reads – ‘Your Career Should Not Come At the Cost of Your Life’. The simple eye-catching headline does empathise with the lives of many professionals, and thus calls for an interesting read.

Concurring with a similar view for a different site like Facebook, develop your content with a colourful content and high quality pictures. Users access Facebook with a hope to find something refreshing and vibrant, and that is where your role as a social-media-marketer comes into picture. Updating your Facebook album regularly with pictures and adding crisp content not only breaks the monotony, but insists the user to keep coming back to check what’s new on the block.

Social Media Content Strategy # 3 – Address Any Negative Feedback with Due Respect

Make your social medium a platform to display your professional, service-laden and courteous outlook. Always remember that customers come back to those who are patient to listen to their feedback. One wrong word about the company can spread in the market, and jeopardize your image.

Also, you could appoint a social media manager, who can monitor the reputation of the company online. In case of some big mishap, send an apology email to the user to make-up for the loss to revive his confidence.

Social Media Content Strategy #4: Goal alignment with Google+ and Facebook

Don’t forget to be active on Google+, which is one of the fastest growing mediums for determining search engine rankings. According to survey conducted by Moz.com, leading marketers believe that Google + plays the second largest role in assessing the rankings of search engines. Even, YouTube users are unable to comment on the platform without being opted for Google +.

Another important marketing tool is Facebook marketing.

Let’s take the example of ‘Cheese & Burger Society’, sponsored by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. Their facebook page promotes Wisconsin cheese and its benefits by talking about something that people really love such as – burgers and grilled foods. One practise introduced by them is ‘Fan Gating’, wherein visitors are invited to become a fan of their page, and in return find access to special discounts. Furthermore, to increase engagements with their fans, Cheese & Burger Society created a Send to a Friend app, which allows user to send a cheese burger to their friends.

You can also Read : How to Create Compelling Content for a Boring Topic

Social Media Content Strategy #5: Track and Measure Your Content at One Place

Set aside your time to review the number of posts, views, followers, clicks and see if its matching up with your business targets. This might be a time-consuming process, and one can also track using free tools like Google analytics, bit.ly, TweetReach, Social Mention and Hootsuite. Such kind of tools helps to monitor and gauge your performance, such as seeing where the traffic is coming from and track your social reputation online.

So what is your next Vroom strategy ? :)

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