Marketing research is crucial to the success of a company's search engine optimization and content marketing strategies. Deep dives in particular can offer a much more well-rounded view of the data and allow companies to garner more insights from the information they have collected – and to pinpoint what kinds of content or ads are gaining traction. This collection and in-depth analysis of data is essential for businesses to see a return on investment for their digital marketing campaigns and other efforts to reach their target audience.
There are many approaches businesses can take to gain this necessary information, including gathering customer feedback, examining Google Analytics data, and researching what universities or other businesses have published. But which of the available market research options offer the best returns for your time and money?
To find out more, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) to share what systems they use for their deep-dive market research. Here are the approaches and tools they use – and why they prefer them.
"Ahrefs is a tool for search engine optimization experts that has become the second-most active web crawler in the world. You'll have full access to data regarding what people search for online, what they actually click on, who's running ads, what type of content competitors are creating and so on. It's the most powerful tool for reverse-engineering your (future) competitors." – Karl Kangur, Above House
2. American FactFinder
"If you're looking for demographic info as part of your market research, American FactFinder is the way to go. It culls data from the U.S. Census, and you can filter your searches among a variety of different demographics." – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
3. Customer feedback
"In the past, we have performed a great deal of primary research – that is, asking our current or potential customers for feedback. When you go directly to the source, you will be able to generate the most accurate and viable data that is very specific to your business and service offering. We monitor this data over a period of time through multiple checkpoints in order to make good business decisions." – Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.
4. University research and industry publications
"If I'm working on a marketing project for a client and I don't know enough about the industry, then Google is my go-to. There is a lot to learn from research and publications that are available online. All you need to do is ask the right questions. Universities publish research, [and] industry-specific publications release whitepapers and thought pieces, all of which give a good picture of a market." –Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure
5. Think With Google: Marketer's Almanac
"Think With Google: Marketer's Almanac is a great market research resource, especially for anyone in the e-commerce space. It provides insights on what's trending in your market, what your potential customers are searching for online, shopping and purchase behaviors, and more." – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
6. Google Analytics
"Content is king in 2019, and looking at who's actually visiting your website, how long they stay there and what they click on is the most important information you can get. Use Google Analytics to gather demographic info and tailor your new content to fit that audience. Add more blog articles or site pages that relate to your most successful topics. A heavily trafficked website is productive." – Jeff Pitta, Medicare Plan Finder
7. Harvard Business Review
"Harvard Business Review employs some of the best writers in their industries to share guest posts on several different topics. You get an inside look into data, statistics and studies verified by researchers. It's difficult to find research that's reputable and recent, but HBR continues to publish content with relevant, up-to-date information." – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
"Quora can give you information about hot topics in your niche, making it an excellent resource tool. You can see all the most shared articles surrounding your keywords, and see how much traffic they are generating. This information gives me a general idea regarding the type of content I should create and what kind of results I should expect." – David Henzel, LTVplus
9. LinkedIn for B2B
"LinkedIn can be a phenomenal tool to learn about business-to-business decision-makers and influencers. You can easily dig in and quantify demographics, background, skills, education, roles and responsibilities in the company, as well as uncover other decision-makers and influencers (through their connections). Sales Navigator makes it easy to find folks who match certain criteria." – Andrew Kucheriavy, Intechnic
10. Pinterest Analytics
"I find Pinterest Analytics to be very helpful for micro and macro marketing research for product development. The analytics available provides specific detail on our online audiences, which helps us draft copy that resonates with those target audiences." – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media LLC
"When I want to do serious market research that really digs deep into data, I often turn to SBDCNet analytics. Here, you'll find a wide breadth of industry profiles that show how different industries are changing and growing. It also shows who their customers are, as well as the costs associated with creating startups. They also have a helpful list of market research resources." – Shu Saito, Godai
12. SEO toolbars
"When I want to dig deep into data, I rely on my SEO toolbars. The toolbar contains many features, which allows it to be used for a large number of different purposes. For instance, I can research the links and content of my competitors or research the consumer market. There are a lot of different toolbars to choose from, including some great free options." – Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers P.A.
13. Social media
"Social media makes researching your market easier than ever before. There are countless groups spread across every niche full of people willing to discuss their goals, pain points and ideal product. You can use this information plus data from your business social media page to make informed decisions about your audience." – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
"Statista is filled to the brim with statistics about different industries. Our media team needs research to write articles and guest posts with accurate data, and Statista is one of the few that publications across the board accept. You can learn about social media, marketing industries and much more to add to your content so it's more credible." – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
"Old-school surveys are still one of the best tools for doing market research. They allow you to gather the information you need on each market segment and then parse it out in a myriad of different ways. For finding the specific answers you need for successful product development, it's hard to beat a well-designed survey." – Keith Shields, Designli
"Tableau is a great tool in order to not just organize data, but to also analyze it and visualize it in a much more business-intelligent way. This helps you acquire and process data with interactive charts and tables that let you share your dashboard. For marketing research, it works great across industries, giving optimal results while ensuring a great user experience." – Abeer Raza, TekRevol