"A Dream is Just a Dream. A Goal is a Dream With a Plan and a Deadline " ~Harvey Mackay
Learn everything you can about the landscape you need to navigate.
Seems so blah doesn't it? Research- oooh how exciting. Not.
But it really is a critical first step, and being a closet science geek- I think research is really more like a CSI episode. Or like a cowboy deciding his route through the landscape.
I will even go so far as to say research is sexy, like detective work to find the killer and save the day.
And with so much information available to us on the Internet, the opportunities are endless.
Which is really the problem isn't it? There is too much information! How do you not become buried and overwhelmed? Like with all new ventures, have a purpose and a process.
Purpose(s) of Internet Marketing Research
- See Your Business and Industry Through Your Customer's Eyes. Your customer's are not experts, so don't assume they know what you know. That is why they are looking to you.
- Understand Your Customer's Buying Modes and Motivations. Your customers really don't care how great you say you are. They do care about solving their problem, in their time frame and finding information easily.
- Differentiate from Your Competition. More than just the next guy who does what you do,but what other options do your customers have other than you to solve their problem? (Remember, doing nothing is always an option, so you will always have competition.)
Develop Relevant Content. Recent surveys found that buyers only find relevant content 42% of the time. A lack of relevant content reduces yourchance of closing the sale by 45%. When you understand your customer's perspectives, it is that much easier to develop a relevant and compelling content strategy and schedule.
A Process for Internet Marketing Research
- Business Uncovery. Based on the Johari Window of disclosure, business uncovery is a process that 'uncovers' what information you and your customers know about each other, or don't know about each other. This will change over time as your customer relationship is established.
- Business Topology. I first heard this coined by the Bryan & Jeffrey Eisenberg, two really smart guys. Business topology is just what it sounds like, the landscape. This includes your competitor analysis, your perceived business value, and other similar business models.
- Key Word Analysis. I know, it seems like I am beating that same drum over and over. And I will continue to do so until people stop typing their questions and needs into a search engine. Not likely to happen anytime soon. So use their key words, not your office lingo.