Do you have what you need to turn your goals into action?
Every leader has a goal for their organization. It might be a simple as “turn a profit” or “give help where it is needed”, but the first step of setting a goal is a natural one. Moving beyond that first step, however, means moving from the conceptual and into the real world of competing forces and contingencies. Building a successful marketing strategy requires a detailed understanding of those factors. The good news? We are in the midst of an information revolution. Never has there been as many incredible – and free – tools at the disposal of every small business leader.
What questions have you been asking?
Organizations queried in Statistica’s 2018 survey listed information gathering at the top of the list of their biggest challenges (right after hiring and retaining great employees).
There are plenty of questions you might have as you are building out your digital marketing strategy.
- Do you need to know more about your customers in order to create content that attracts them?
- Do you need to understand what your customers want most in your products?
- Do you want to understand where you can best reach your customers?
While large organizations have large budgets and teams devoted to these questions, small business owners need to be nimble. It’s dangerous to rely on your “gut” for the answers, as instincts are formed by the people you come in contact with on a regular basis. If you want to grow your business, expanded marketing information is critical.
Helpful marketing information repositories, some in plain sight.
Once you identify what information you need to start turning your goal into reality, it’s time to explore the resources available. There are large ecosystems of data published every year, just waiting to be put to work.
- Do you sell products to consumers? Amazon.com is great place to glean product information. Have you ever reviewed Amazon’s Best Seller Lists? They are organized by category, and easily searchable. You can also check product reviews for direct customer feedback, either informally by scrolling through or by using an SPSS data scraping service to pull information for deeper review.
- Do you sell services to business? LinkedIn has helpful insights into B2B questions. Trending posts, thought leaders and customer reviews of businesses will show you what services are trending. Their Content Suggestions feature helps you quickly find hot topics in your industry.
- Do you need to understand what potential customers in your region want from a business like yours? In a previous blog post, we outlined how using Google’s free Keyword Planner tool can give you insights into what customers want, and how detailed queries point towards buying intent.
- Do you want to explore what social and business trends are important to consumers right now? Google Trends is not only up to date and informative, it’s fun to explore.
- Do you need to find out where your target customers get their information? The Google Consumer Barometer is based on two large consumer surveys conducted by Google to understand consumer’s information gathering and shopping habits. (Read here for a full, techy breakdown of the surveys). They have published the studies in an interactive Graph Builder format that allows you to quickly browse the data. The data is high level, and hasn’t touched every single consumer out there. But it is a helpful place to start when you need to answer some basic questions about your business goals. It’s so powerful, we’ve put together a video tour to show you how to dig deep into the data.
Information gathering doesn’t have to be expensive, but does require an investment of time.
At Bombastic, we have a phrase: “Beware the Bubble.” In order to find new customers and new product ideas, it’s important to expand your thinking beyond your normal day-to-day. Keep an open mind and you’ll find new opportunities, we promise.