Size doesn’t matter. Businesses NEED market research to build a great website whether the company is large or small. Creating or redesigning a website involves a multi-step process that assesses the business’s goals, needs, customer base, competitors and budget. In previous blog posts, we overview all the steps to create a custom website. We also go in-depth to explore step one: the discovery phase. Now let’s dig deep into step two: market research.
What is market research?
Market research, also known as market analysis, involves performing a detailed study on your customer market. In web design, we refer to the customer market as your target audience. This is one of the most critical steps in designing a great website because your team needs to understand as much as they can about your target audience. Good web designers are always mindful that their priority is to please you, their client. But, in the end, you won’t be happy if your sparkly new website isn’t meeting your goals.
Why is market research important before building a great website?
If your customers aren’t taking the action you desire them to, there is an issue. The ultimate measure of website effectiveness is customer action. Market research before building a website is important because it gives you and your design team a better idea of how to drive customer traffic to your website. Most of all, you will know how to design your website as a one-stop shop that provides all the answers to your target audience’s needs. You’ll want to create a seamless experience for your customers, but you can’t do that if you don’t understand the details about who they are.
It’s the job of your website design team to get familiar with:
-who will be visiting your website
-what their needs are
-the need behind their needs
-what types of words and imagery will motivate them to take action
-how to make navigating your website easy for them
Your team will only understand these significant elements after performing thorough market research. Market research helps them to stay focused on the customers, conceptualize the customer journey and develop a high quality user experience. By keeping the design focus on your target audience, you’ll have an advantage in the competitive online marketplace.
When should you do market research?
At our web design agency near Houston, we have a predefined multistep process that guides us in building great websites. In our website design process, we begin by getting a deep understanding of our client’s business. After getting a firm grasp of our customers’ goals, objectives, challenges and business process, we move directly into getting to know their target audience. So, for us, market research is step two in building a great website. Essentially, the customer comes first. That’s why we put our customers first and theirs next.
Even if you are using a design service to build a template website for yourself, market research should be at the top of your priority list. After all, your business’s website is as much for them as it is for you.
How is market research used?
Getting the knowledge is of obvious importance, but what to do with it may not be so clear. Performing customer analysis requires some skill and lots of research. The goal is to organize all the information into a structure that will be used to direct the web design process. By doing so, you or your design team will be able to create a website that effectively reaches your target audience and meets your goals.
We take the following steps when designing a customer-centered website to create a research-based action plan.
Step One: Identifying your target audience
Tip: Use in-house knowledge on your current and past customers
Where’s the best place to start when identifying your target audience? It all starts with you. You, the business owner, are the first resource in identifying your customer base. You know who patronizes your business. Not only that, you know who you want to pursue as a customer. It’s an excellent idea to begin with reviewing the customer demographics of your past sales. These are the people who are most likely to support your business moving forward, so naturally they provide a good foundation for target audience identification.
Next, it can be very helpful to talk to your sales, management, and customer service team members. They are on the front lines of customer interaction within your business and they sometimes know your customers best. Your team can give details about who your customers are, of course. But, they have the best insight on the types of things that motivate your customers to make a sale. Maybe it’s personal service and being treated like family that makes your customers happiest. Perhaps discounts and sales inspire them to complete the transaction. There are so many different factors that can motivate your customers so incorporating your team can be instrumental in meeting businesses’ need for market research.
Tip: Use Social Media and Website Analytics
Social media platforms like Facebook give fantastic insight into the demographics and interests of people interacting with your business page. Facebook Audience Insights shows your customer demographics, the things they like and lifestyle details. Even if you don’t yet have a page established, that’s okay. There are social tools to help you analyze your competitor insights too. If you are revamping an existing website, take a look at your website analytics through Google. Marketing guru, Neil Patel, offers great tips on how to understand and use Google Analytics in your market research.
Here’s the type of customer information we gather when performing market analysis:
-Family/ relationship status
-How they spend their money
-How they spend their time online
Step Two: Creating buyer personas
Buyer personas are fictional people who represent a part of your target audience. Each business will have more than one buyer persona, but everyone is not going to qualify as a buyer persona for your business. Here is where we use the demographics we collected to create these fictional characters that reflect your real life customers. We do this by putting together common trends within their individual characteristics. For example, let’s imagine you run a business that sells massaging shampoo chairs to hair salons. Take a look at persona number one, Brittany.
By building a persona like Brittany, it helps us to remember that your website is for real people to whom we need to connect. Your business needs market research to be able to create buyer personas.
Step Three: Defining your customers’ online behavior
Take Brittany for example. We have defined her demographics, family status, income level and interests, but we want to be a little more thorough. Statista.com is a great source for information like time spent online daily by age group. Brittany is in the 35-44 and statistics show her age group spends just over three hours online each day across devices. We could assume that based on her age, she spends at least some time using social media, but your business needs market research to be sure. Thanks to Pew Research Center, there are solid statistics to point us in the right direction.
The work to define online user behavior shouldn’t stop there. It’s a good idea to data related to other social platform usage, like Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google. It’s also critical for your web design team to understand how your target custom makes purchase decisions. Determining what influences their decisions to buy certain products drives your website design. If, for example, Brittany’s age group relies upon customer reviews, it will help to display great testimonials in strategic places. In fact, the majority of Yelp users (35%) are ages 35-54. Of them, 64% have some college education. When we cross that with Facebook user data, we begin to learn a lot more about Brittany, the hairstylist.
Your business needs market research, but it takes a lot of work to do it well. Let our web design team near Houston do the hard work for you!
Step Four: Using data collected to enhance user experience
User experience (UX) is about how website visitors interact with your website. UX is all about ensuring your customers are able to perform their intended tasks with ease. When building a great website, your web designer puts time and effort into this aspect of web design. You have a desired action you want your customers to take, like: completing a sale, subscribing to your mailing list, or scheduling an appointment. If it’s not clear and easy, your customers won’t do it. That would make your website ineffective. By using market research we learn how visitors interact with your website (or your competitors). This helps the web design team build an effective website for you. Best of all, you can use all the market research collected to improve every other aspect of your business.
Stand out from your competitors with a customized website design and backed by solid research to reach more customers online than you thought possible.
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