When was the last time you conducted market research and analysis? If you’re like most business owners, executives, and professionals, you probably haven’t revised or updated your market analysis since creating your business plan. That’s not surprising considering the stigma associated with conducting research and analysis; it’s boring, stressful, and demanding.
Regardless of how you feel about marketing analysis, it’s crucial to the success of your inbound marketing to continually update and revise your results. You can’t know how to reach, serve, and please your audience if you don’t adapt to the ebb and flow of the market.
Common Methods for Conducting Market Analysis
Remember back in business school when you performed a SWOT analysis at least once a week? There’s a good reason most universities and business departments place emphasis on students learning to conduct effective SWOT analysis; it works. It’s a simple, effective way to list out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing your business.
4 Common Types of Market Analysis:
- Competitive Comparisons. Websites, social media accounts, audience size, products and services, customer service, expertise, and branding are just a few of the many aspects you can study during your analysis. This is a great way to identify areas of your business that competitors are doing better. Ask yourself how they’re succeeding and how you can emulate their success within your organization.
- Monitoring Social Media. Examining social media activity is a powerful tool in your market study arsenal. It allows you to listen to your audience, gain perception of their interests, and gather valuable feedback on how they view and interact with your brand.
- Email Marketing. This is a great way to focus on quality over quantity. Email marketing turns leads into customers 40 times more effectively than Facebook or Twitter. You can’t do much better than that when it comes to inbound marketing. Find your toughest competitors and sign up for every email campaign they have. Take note of their frequency, content quality, voice, branding, and much more.
- Content Marketing. You can have the greatest marketing plan in the world, but if your content sucks the entire plan will fail. Market analysis will help you find ways to constantly improve your content strategies by observing and forecasting audience preferences.
Using Analysis Results to Improve Inbound Marketing Opportunities
The greatest benefit market analysis offers to your inbound marketing is the ability to focus on qualifying leads. You want to remove unqualified leads and prospects from progressing too far into your funnel. This is accomplished by gathering as much information as possible from prospects and leads. Leads that show interest in your products or services should advance in the funnel, while those that show little-to-no interest should be removed. The more qualified your leads are, the better your inbound marketing strategies will perform.
3 Important Factors of Inbound Market Analysis:
- Create Specific Goals. Where do you want your traffic to come from? How big is your target market? How long will your campaigns run for? These are all important questions. Create goals based around the answers to these questions that will help you implement more effective inbound strategies.
- Measure and Segment. There’s no better way to discover the behaviors of your audience than to segment your market. Specific target market segments will improve your inbound targeting ability.
- Define Distribution Platforms. Where will you distribute your inbound marketing message? Using the platforms where your audience segments spend the most time will add significant value to your market analysis.
Streamlining Your Evaluation
It can be hard to know where to start with market analysis. Simplifying your process without sacrificing the quality of work and data will substantially impact the quality of your analysis. Focus on the essentials to start with. Create a basic outline that hits the major points you want your analysis to cover, then start filling in the blanks.
Once your basic outline is completed it’s time to beef it up with more detailed data that can be used to increase efficiency. Start by following these basic functions:
- Align inbound marketing strategies across all channels to increase the chance of attaining goals.
- Find automation programs that can efficiently improve processes and eliminate wasted time.
Comprehensive market analysis is a huge asset to your business when it’s approached strategically. Take the time to consider what your research needs to focus on and what outcomes you would like to see. This will help you attain results that can be used to optimize and improve the overall inbound marketing strategy and benefit your entire company.