July 9, 2014 Research what you want your readers to know

By Natalie Khoo

Remember that what your potential customer finds on your website is extremely important. Not only does it reflect your business and make a lasting impression, but more significantly, it’s usually the deal-breaker when a customer chooses not to contact you.

So, it’s important you recognise what your customers are looking for. Whether you’re just getting started or your company’s sales are falling, invest in research to identify what they want.

By researching what people are saying online, you can:

  • acknowledge what your customers want and create information accordingly

  • scope out your competition and see what other similar businesses are doing

  • check out what customers are saying about other products and services in the marketplace, and

  • quash any doubts or concerns that your customers may have about your products or services by listening to their feedback and providing them with solutions.

This simple but effective idea will increase your conversion rate and drive your sales figures in a positive direction.

Find out what people are saying

There are many ways you can discover what people are saying online. The easiest of all these ways is to sign up for Google Alerts. Google Alerts monitors specific search term(s), and sends you email notifications on your chosen topic directly to your inbox. You’ll be sent coverage across all media forms including blogs and video. As a subscriber, you don’t have to worry about time spent on independent research – the news will come to you.

But don’t stop there – there’s always more to check out. There may be some useful discussions happening under the radar. Search online for community-oriented websites where users can post comments and share ideas and reviews. This is forum crawling – you can find some really valuable information that you’ll want to use when thinking about your next advertising campaign. A good place to start looking is magazine-based websites. For example, if you’re interested to see what people who like kickboxing are saying, check out the forums on International Kickboxer Magazine.

One of the most undervalued resources online is Yahoo Answers. Yahoo Answers is a great way to see the latest questions that people are asking each other. If you are in the business of providing customers with financial planning advice, navigate to the Business & Finance category of the site to discover what people want to know. You can even go one step further and address their questions, answering them on the spot – you may even generate some additional leads!

Ask people what they think

On the other hand, Yahoo Answers enables you to do research by posting questions online such as, ‘What bothers you the most about…’, ‘What do you think is our coolest product and why?’ or ‘How would you know where to look for…?’

Doing this kind of research encourages discussion and helps you identify your consumers’ thinking process when they purchase your products. It also allows you to research what other factors may affect your sales.

Another way to compile objective market research is to send out questionnaires. Used by some of the biggest companies in the world, SurveyMonkey is an easy (and almost free) way to collect data. SurveyMonkey sends out your own customised questionnaires into cyberspace and collects responses for you.

Lastly, there is one obvious and easy way to generate discussion: social media. Twitter is a great way to interact with other enthusiastic professionals online, perfect for those who want to source feedback and get ahead in the business-to-business field.

Alternatively, if you have a Facebook account, quiz your friends by typing out questions in your status update; sometimes finding out what customers really want is as simple as asking your friends and family.

Provide lots and lots of useful content

With a staggering number of websites being created everyday, businesses are finding it more and more difficult to draw traffic to their site. In addition to this, viewers are spending less and less time on each site as they search for something that captures their attention.

To get people interested, provide lots of useful content. Why? Because people like to seek answers on the World Wide Web. To do this:

  • make sure your web content provides more information than what’s on your standard brochure, and

  • write as many practical how-to type articles as you can on topics related to what you do.

Articles and blog posts not only help with SEO, but also provide engaging info for your reader who will stay on your site for longer. It shows you are a credible authority in your field – that you care about what your users’ concerns are, and a person that values communication.