Before you can get too deep into your digital marketing campaign, you must first take the time to understand your customers and locate new ones.
This is where market research comes into play.
Many brands make the mistake of assuming they know exactly who their audience is, but when it comes down to it, it is possible to take the wrong path if you haven’t performed the research and have the data to back up your moves.
Market research helps to determine:
- Who your prospects are.
- The best way to reach them.
- What they’re looking for from you.
There are many market research tools that can help you obtain this type of data and analyze it to better understand it.
With so many options available, where do you begin?
Let’s take a closer look at seven of the best and most essential market research tools you should be using.
1. Pew Research Center
The Pew Research Center offers a wealth of free research that can aid you in understanding your market at a higher level.
This is a non-profit organization that performs in-depth research and analysis across a wide variety of industries, such as politics, science, news and media, religion, technology the internet, social media, and public opinion polling.
Here, you will be able to gain access to insightful and transparent data that can be used to take your marketing research efforts to the next level.
All the reports in the database offer a demographic breakdown of the industry as well as graphics, which can help you understand the data itself better and how it may apply to your particular business.
2. Think with Google Research Tools
When it comes to uncovering trends in the market, gaining market insights, understanding the behavior of consumers, and more, Think with Google research tools can give it to you.
With this robust collection of tools — that are free to use, we might add — you will gain access to top-level insights, valuable statistics, and even marketing tools that you can use to your advantage.
With the information you get from this particular market research tool, you can better grasp the data with articles, highlight real-time trends, and find out what other companies similar to your own have been able to achieve.
One example tool available in this collection includes the Rising Retail Categories tool.
This tool is designed to show you some of the trending eCommerce categories. The data can be filtered based on the country, and it can be viewed on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis.
Another great tool you will find here includes the Market Finder, which will give you insight into which markets you should launch your products in.
Growthbar offers a quick and easy way to conduct market research.
This tool gives immediate access to various data points regarding your competition and the keywords and growth channels that are currently working for them.
You can tap into your competitors’ social signals, best-performing keywords, top-ranking keywords, top-paid keywords, backlink data, Facebook ads insights, and so much more.
You can try this tool for no charge, then it costs $29 per month after that. For such a comprehensive tool, this is a great price.
Statista is a research tool that provides consumer and market data for various industries.
It is a very user-friendly tool that can remit hundreds of data visualizations, market research reports, and statistical dashboards that are created from numerous sources.
For instance, if we use the term “goat milk,” it returns a long list of reports based on consumer activity over recent years, including production in certain areas, per capita consumption in various areas, and more.
From this data, you can gain access to survey sources, analytical dashboards, and similar studies.
This tool is great at helping you find valuable information regarding consumer opinions, demographics, market trends, and consumer behavior.
It is free to begin, although there is a paid option that offers more details.
Tableau is a collection of various market research tools that allow you to connect with almost any source of data and simplify complex data.
Unlike some market research tools, though, Tableau provides you with the data in easy-to-read tables.
You can visualize the data retrieved in a way that can help you communicate it effectively with potential investors and stakeholders.
This tool can extract data from numerous sources like PDFs, Excel spreadsheets, Python, and cloud databases.
It will take this data, analyze it, and present it on a dashboard that can be shared and interacted with. It uses colorful tables and charts to show variations and trends.
6. Qualtrics Panels
If you are using surveys to spark some of your market research, then you may have realized how difficult it is to locate the right participants.
If no one is taking your survey, then you won’t gather the data you need to inform your business decisions.
In enters Qualtrics Panels.
This tool gives you access to hundreds of thousands of respondents for opt-in surveys.
These individuals are both B2B and B2C and have been thoroughly vetted to determine their eligibility and qualifications.
Qualtrics Panels allow you to choose your target audience and gain access to a representative sample, increase the accuracy of your sampling, and gain support throughout the entire process.
7. Answer the Public
Since it can be helpful to know what questions are being asked online, the Answer the Public tool can be used to your advantage, especially as you embark on creating a strategic digital marketing and content marketing plan.
Entering your particular topic on the search page will display a list of different questions, common search terms, topics, and related subjects that can help power your campaign.
For example, if you enter the term “goat milk,” some of the data that pulls up includes the following:
- Are goat milk products good for your skin?
- Can goat milk be frozen?
- How goat milk is good for you
- What goat milk tastes like
- How to tell if goat milk is bad
- Which goat milk soap is good for eczema?
In many cases, this list will provide you with questions and terms that you never thought of using.
Using these questions and search terms can help ensure you are catering to your target audience.
You will attract your customers via search, and once they land on your website, you have the opportunity to turn a prospect into a loyal customer.
Oh, and did we mention it is free to conduct a couple of searches? After that, you’ll need to wait until the next day to perform another search or invest in the paid option.
8. Market Explorer by SemRush
No matter what kind of market research you need to do, data should be at the heart of it all. Unfortunately, managing all of that data can be pretty overwhelming, especially if you’re piecing it together from multiple sources.
Thankfully, Market Explorer by SemRush is designed to provide in-depth insight in digestible and easy-to-read formats. Tables, charts, and reports are all crafted to help you understand your data more easily. You don’t even need to be an experienced market researcher to tell what’s going on in these reports. They’re generated with the average user in mind. This simplicity also helps if you need to share research or reports with other people within your company.
There are three main categories of market research that Market Explorer delivers; here’s a quick breakdown of all three.
Market size and share
How large is your target market, and what is your current share of it? Even if you’re just starting out, you need to know where you stand against the competition. This overview can also help you understand how easy it is to expand and claim more of the market for your brand. For example, if there is little competition within your unique space, you can claim a bigger piece of the pie. However, if there are tons of similar companies in the marketplace, you have to work harder to determine your unique value proposition.
New regions or niches
One of the best ways to grow your business is to expand into new markets and niches. Before doing this, though, it’s imperative to research these markets and niches as much as possible. While it’s valuable to see how well the market looks overall, you must also see how well it fits into your current business model.
For example, are your current customers likely to buy these new products? Or, does your new market region have demographics similar to your current space? Remember, this is an extension of your existing business, so you have to consider how expansion will affect your bottom line.
Competition ranking and qualification
Knowing the size of a particular market is one thing, but it’s also imperative to understand the capabilities of your competitors. Market Explorer can help qualify each of your competitors, so you know how well they stack up against your brand. This data helps you focus your attention on beating the competition that affects your brand the most.
9. U.S. Census Bureau
The United States Census happens every 10 years, and it’s a big deal. The data collected by census takers is crucial because it tells the government where and how to allocate funding.
Some of the data provided by the Census Bureau includes:
- Populations – How many people live in each state, county, or city?
- Employment and Income – How many people are gainfully employed in a specific area, and what is the median income for that region?
- Business and Economy – What does the local economy look like? How many existing businesses are there, and how does that number compare to previous census numbers?
- Living Arrangements – How many single-family households are there, and how many people are renting units? What are the average living arrangements like (e.g., extended family, roommates, couples, etc.)?
All of these details are highly accurate and can provide unique insights into your target market. Even if your business exists online, you can use this information to develop more targeted marketing materials. For example, you can figure out where to run specific ads and landing pages based on census data to help increase site traffic and sales.
If you run a brick-and-mortar business, this data is even more valuable as it can show you where to set up shop in your area. Plus, if you’re expanding your brand and opening new storefronts, you can determine which cities or counties have the most ideal customers.
Best of all, the Census Bureau provides detailed and easy-to-read reports, so you can get a glimpse into your target markets. Overall, this option provides more raw data, so you have to be creative when figuring out how to use it. However, the details provided in these reports are often more valuable than what you can get from online searches.
When it comes to online trends and topics, BuzzSumo is one of the best market research tools out there. This program is used by many major companies, and it can provide a wealth of insights that you may not get anywhere else.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one tool that gives you all the market research options you need, BuzzSumo might be the best choice. This way, you don’t have to piecemeal your research, and you can look at everything on a single, refined dashboard.
BuzzSumo helps with all aspects of market research, including:
- Trends – See trending topics happening in real-time and compare them to previous topics from the last few months or years. This data helps your brand stay on top of current events and may allow you to become a trendsetter yourself.
- Content Research – You can access over 8 billion articles worldwide about a vast number of topics or ideas. These articles can help inspire new content pieces, or they can show you what works best for your target demographic.
- Social Research – BuzzSumo connects to all the major social media sites, so you can see what everyone is talking about in real time. Plus, you can see what your target audience is engaged with the most, including likes, shares, clicks, follows, and more.
Market research can be time-consuming, but you can set up alerts and notifications about specific trends or topics. This way, you’ll be up-to-date with these items without having to spend hours scrolling through reports or data batches. Plus, you can see new content as it’s published to ensure that it doesn’t impact your current posting schedule.
When launching a new product, market research is critical. The same is true if you are just trying to gauge a better understanding of your target audience.
With the market research tools mentioned above, you can determine who needs your product, why they need your product, and how you can improve your digital marketing campaign to ensure the new product launch is a true success.
This is all done through the collection of trends, metrics, insights, and conversations.
Don’t forget that an important step in your market research and being able to move forward is creating a buyer persona, which is a relatively fictional character that represents your ideal customer.
With an accurate buyer persona, you have the enhanced ability to create solutions tailored to your target audience, increasing your overall chance of success.
Need help building your buyer persona? Check out the Buyer Persona Generator!