Help Your Business: The Guide to Conducting Research Online
The Internet has provided us with so much information, that we don’t know what to do with it all. This can be a problem for anyone, but especially businesses who use the information they find to make business decisions that affect their future.
If you are a consumer, and you find some information that later proves to be false and incorrect, it ends up being quite a frustration. However, if you are a business owner, or have a contribution to business decisions, then using information that is wrong to form any marketing strategy or business plan could be devastating.
That is why it is important to several types of research before you start proposing change or making business decisions that you hope will improve your sales or service.
There are a number of ways in which you can achieve this. This guide will give you a few pointers in using the right forms of research:
If you are an online business, you may already know the importance of using keyword research to establish product areas and search terms online.
There are a number of ways in which you can go about performing keyword research, and this include; using online tools such as Google and Bing, using social media platforms or outsourcing the work to marketing agencies such as Realia.
Just as important as the keyword research above, competitor research can help you gain an insight in to what your nearest competitors are doing. This can be achieved through a number of offline and online techniques.
For online, you can simply visit the website of our competitor to have a look to see what they are doing. This could be anything from promotions to new product launches. You can also use a number of online tools such as opensiteexplorer.org, where you can see what links the website has and how these have grown over time (this is especially good if you have the correct skills to understand and use the information that has been supplied). Another good way to collate information about your competitors is to sign up to their newsletter via the website. This way you can see what they are talking to their customers about, what products and services they are promoting and what may be coming up for them in the future.
You can also perform competitor research in a number of offline ways. These would include research techniques such as; visiting them at exhibitions, picking up literature and calling their customer service or sales telephone lines.
Of course the best options are to compile as much information as you can through both methods.
This is probably the most important of the three, as you get to listen to and understand the customers that have used your products and services already. You can gain their insight in a number of ways, such as; surveys, questionnaires, focus groups or feedback forms.
Again, you can use a number of online and offline techniques to gather that information, it is all about getting the best, and most honest, response that you can.