You hear the phrase ‘market research’ tossed around a lot… But do you actually know what it means, how to do it, or—perhaps most importantly—how to fit it into your already-crazy schedule?
That’s probably a hard NOPE.
While most entrepreneurs recognize the importance of understanding who our audience is made up of, the reality is that far too many people build their entire marketing plan around an idea of an ideal client… rather than actually digging deep to figure out who their ideal client really is.
Sometimes, people can skate by on those assumptions during the early stages of developing our business.
But when you’re ready to grow, scale, and start creating passive income with digital products, there’s no room for hazarding guesses about who you might be selling to and what they might-maybe-possibly be interested in buying from you.
That’s where market research comes in.
What Is Market Research?
At its most basic definition, market research is just the process of finding out who your ideal customer is and what they need—and it’s something every single business owner needs to do, especially if you think you don’t.
The reality is, we’re told to teach what we know. Great advice! But this can lead to basing our ideal client on a past version of ourselves. There are two big problems with doing that.
Basing Our Ideal Client on Ourselves Creates Rampant Bias.
You don’t see yourself how you actually are/were. None of us do, so it’s nearly impossible to look at our own journey objectively. When we think about what our ideal client may want from the perspective of how we think we felt at some abstract point in the past, we aren’t looking at the market logically.
Our Ideal Clients Are Their Own People
Even if we could remember, with perfect objectivity and clarity, exactly how we felt when we were ‘in their shoes’, treating our ideal clients like our past selves ignores the fact that our clients are unique individuals. They have their own beliefs and experiences. Neglecting that means neglecting a whole series of pain points, failed attempts, and internal beliefs that may differ from our own experiences.
Market research helps us overcome all of that bias. It empowers us to make marketing decisions based on actual evidence and data, rather than strictly on our emotions or recollections.
And contrary to popular assumption, it doesn’t have to take hours a week when you approach it from the perspective of micro strategies.
What Are Micro Strategies?
Micro strategy is a fancy term for “a small, easy way to do your market research.” Because the concept of market research can sound pretty huge and overwhelming, I find it helpful to break to approach it from a series of small, doable actions.
Everyone’s market research approach will be a little different. Personally, I like to break mine into the following three micro strategies.
Snoop in Facebook Groups
Facebook Groups are a goldmine for market research—and all you have to do to take advantage is figure out which groups your ideal client is likely to hang out in. Then, you can join and observe. What are your ideal clients talking about? What kind of conversations are they starting?
Hashtags are a great way to dig really deep into what your ideal clients are talking about, relatively quickly. To get started, choose about 10 hashtags that you believe your ideal client is using. Then, see which other hashtags are being used on those posts—and follow those hashtags to see what your ideal clients are posting about. Think of this as following a rabbit trail that leads to some of your most valuable marketing messages.
Use SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Don’t panic! I’m not asking you to become an SEO expert. All you have to do is take advantage of the data that’s already being collected. One of my favorite tools for doing this is AnswerThePublic.com. You can easily search your primary keywords to figure out what kinds of problems/questions people are searching for.
How Does Market Research Influence Your Digital Product Strategy?
When we’re creating digital products, our goal should be to create a SOLUTION for a common problem that our ideal client experiences. Market research helps us cut through personal biases to figure out what our ideal clients actually need from us.
In doing your market research, your goal should be to answer these 3 questions:
- Who is your ideal client really?
- What problems are they currently facing?
- How are they talking about their problems?
When you can focus on creating solutions for problems you know people are experiencing—rather than basing your products on solutions you see other people already offering—it becomes much easier to create high-demand, easily scalable digital products.