Market Research Basics

Before developing a web strategy you should always do some market research to ensure your strategies are the most efficient way to achieve your goals.

Six important questions that you should keep front of mind when conducting your market research:
  1. What is our value proposition?
  2. What is our competitive advantage?
  3. Which market niche are we going to focus on?
  4. Which keywords and phrases are we going to use to target our niche?
  5. What will our conversion points be?
  6. What media mix will we use to drive traffic?

Value Proposition

A value propopostion is a marketing statement that summarises why a consumer should buy a product or use a service. This statement should convince a potential consumer that one particular product or service will add more value or better solve a problem than other similar offerings.

There can be many possible value propositions for a specific product depending on which aspect of the product you decide to focus on. Your market and keyword research will identify several potential product aspects that customers value and are searching for. The research will be accompanied by data showing the competition, relevancy and value of each product aspect to help you make a decision about which one to target.

Product & Competitive Analysis

Identify your key competitors on the web and analyse their websites with the above six questions in mind. Compare and contrast their offereings with yours to determine which aspects of your offering are more exclusive and more valuable.

Brainstorm all the keywords and phrases that describe your product or offering and analyse which of those each of your competitors tend to focus on.

Target Market Niche

A niche market is a focused, targetable portion of a market. A business that focuses on a niche market is addressing a need for a product or service that is not being addressed by mainstream providers. You can think of a niche market as a narrowly defined group of potential customers.

It is extremely difficult to jump straight on the web as a mainstream provider. Your best chance of success is to start with a very narrow focus and expand it as your web business grows. Market and keyword research will identify several potential target market niches, defined by the keywords they commonly use. The research will be accompanied by data showing the competition, relevancy and value of each market niche to help you make a decision about which one to target.

Customer & Market Analysis

You need to do some initial analysis of your existing customers and target market to determine how they might interact with your company and product on the web. Ask your customers what kinds of keywords they would use to describe your product and type into a search engine to find you. In addition, ask them why they use your product or service and which aspect is most valuable. A great way to do this is by sending out a customer survey but you can also gain valuable insight by talking to a few of your customers face to face or over the phone.

Seek out communities on the web related to your market. These places can include forums, blogs and social networking groups. Look at the keywords and language being used to describe your kind of products and compare them with those collected from your existing customers. Keep your eyes open for potential markets that you may not have been aware of.

Keyword Research

Keywords connect customers with products and are therefore the building blocks of web marketing strategy. Your product and competitive analysis and customer and market analysis should have given you a general idea of which keywords your existing market might use to find your existing product. The purpose of keyword research is to compare and contrast your keywords by competition, relevency and value to help determine your product and market focus.

Your keyword comparison and analysis will identify several potential target market niches and value propositions. Your target keywords will be those that connect your target market niche with your chosen value proposition.

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