One of the first and most critical elements of any digital marketing strategy is knowing your target audience. These are your potential clients – the people you want to bring on your website or in your store and persuade to buy your products and services. The problem is that people change, so what you knew about your clients’ lifestyle, needs and interests does not stay the same. For this reason, you need to use various market research tools to stay up to date with their behaviour and demographic data.
Aren’t Market Research Tools Expensive to Use?
When you think of market research, you are probably imagining specialised companies that estimate the global market growth, the shift in consumers’ preference at country or continent level and so on. It is true, these companies use highly sophisticated and expensive computer software suites and tools.
However, the market research tools we have in mind are easily accessible to any small and medium sized enterprise. Some of them are free to use. They are also easy to use – you do not have to learn new skills and be tech savvy in order to collect and interpret information.
Why Not Rely on Analytics Data from My Website Alone?
The data collected by Google Analytics shows you only a fragment of the picture – data about people who land on your website. But do they represent a true image of your ideal customer? To a degree, yes.
However, there are other online channels you are using to interact with potential clients. Some of them never reach your site. Worse, you may not reach out to a significant consumer group, because your content and tone of voice are not tailored to suit their preferences and needs.
These being said, here are some of the best market research tools you should use constantly to stay up to date with your customers’ lifestyle changes:
1. Google Trends
Just like any other Google product, this tool is free to use. At the present, it is capable of processing over 100,000 searches per second, aggregating data from all over the world. What does it do and why is it on our list of market research tools?
Take a look at the example we generated for the purposes of this article. It shows the evolution of searches for “leather shoes” in Australia. The results are structured in several useful categories:
- The chart of interest in the keyword over time
- The interest in the keyword by sub-region
- Related topics to the keyword
- Related queries to the keyword.
Thus, Google Trends is not only useful as a market research tool, but also as a source of inspiration for new keywords and content ideas.
2. Australian Bureau of Statistics
How does a government body get included in a list of market research tools? The answer is simple: here you can find relevant and up to date demographic data for free. Looking at the census data by topic, you can select from a variety of useful categories:
- Education and training
- Household and families
- Income and work.
These data are extremely useful if you want to figure out who the people in your area are, how they live and how much money they have available to spend. These are core elements of your customer persona and, thanks to this tool, you can add real life data instead of figuring out and making assumptions.
Statista is one of the most reputable platforms that aggregates various official market research and global statistical data on…almost everything. With a free account offers you access to:
- Two premium statistics
- All basic statistics
- Download function.
You can also opt for a single account priced at US $39 per month, billed annually, which gives you access to:
- Over 1 million statistical data
- Complete source information, with background details
- Ability to download data as XLS, PNG, and PDF files.
Apart from being one of the most useful market research tools, Statista is very useful if you want to write reliable and authoritative content, backed by trusted sources of information.
4. Facebook Page Insights
All companies should have a Facebook page. It is one of the most popular social media platforms for reaching out to potential customers and converting them to leads. Despite being plagued by various scandals, Facebook continues to have nearly 3 billion monthly active users.
It also offers one of the most detailed analytical data platforms – the Page Insights section. This is where you find almost everything you can know about your followers within the limits of data privacy laws:
- Location (by country and by city).
You can also access information to potential audience – the number of people you may reach based on your targeting criteria. The details are also broken down by age and gender and location, but also by other similar pages that these people are following. Thus, you can also gain insights on your competitors, as well. Oh, and did we forget to add that this tool is free to use?
5. Think with Google
We are back at Google- indeed, you cannot say digital marketing without including the tech giant in the equation. So, what is Think with Google and how does it help you with market research?
Think with Google is a huge library of resources, organised in several categories:
- Consumer insights
- Marketing strategies & innovations
- In-depth reading
We recommend you to explore the entire platform, but since we are speaking of market research tools, we recommend Find My Audience, a free service you can use in the Tool category. To use it, you have to select your business category and choose from:
- In-market segment – people who are actively looking for your products and services
- Affinity segment – people who have similar interests and habits to what you have to offer.
Finally, we add this survey platform to our list of market research tools. Why? Because one of the simplest way of knowing how your customers feel about your business is asking them directly.
With SurveyMonkey you can create customer satisfaction surveys to be sent at critical moments during your client journey. This is one of the best ways of increasing customer retention rates. People are happy when they notice that businesses care to know their opinion and actually implement the suggestions they receive.
The best plan for SurveyMonkey is the Advantage Annual plan priced at US $39 per month, billed annually.
Market research tools do not have to be complex and expensive. Our selection is both affordable and easy to use by any business owner who wants to stay up to date with their customers’ needs and problems and provide effective solutions to them through the products and services they offer.