On some level, we all know that in order to grasp more market share, stay top of mind, reach the right people – dominate our industries – we must conduct research into what our ideal clients are experiencing, how they’re gathering information, how they make decisions, what they’re dissatisfied with… and so on.
Without this research, you’ll never gain a good grasp on how your target audience thinks, and will therefore never touch them on a level that will result in sales, referrals and brand loyalty.
So how can you fit this all-important research into your already-busy schedule?
You can follow these tips for developing your “Rapid Research Radar”, a quicker and simpler path to niche dominance for your small business:
Ask your target audience for a one- or two-sentence statement regarding your industry. Ask either a general question or something more specific like, “What do you feel is missing from service X?” This will give your ideal clients the chance to voice their opinions, whilst keeping the responses manageable enough to truly digest what’s being put forth. Examine the list for a) things you haven’t yet heard and b) things that are repeated again and again. These findings will provide insights into a) how you can solve new problems, b) how you can solve old problems in new ways and c) how you can satisfy the largest outcry with minimal research investment.
Read more about branding a business:
- Personalising a brand: Trusting the customer to take control
- Venus vs Mars: How gender impacts SME marketing
- Branding: Five steps to achieve business success
Instead of attempting to conduct all research in one swoop, start small and continue small. Narrow your subjects and use smaller focus groups. Incorporate findings into your branding and marketing strategies as you discover them – which will continuously and steadily improve your interactions with consumers. Too often, large, all-encompassing research projects tend to last too long, provide too much information to incorporate without completely redefining the brand and take too much time away from other essential brand-building activities.
Involve current customers and prospects in the launch of a new product, and get valuable information that is essentially research. When people know that their opinions are valued, they feel vested in your brand and are more likely to become loyal clients. This happens when they have input in the direction your brand will take with a new look, product or service. And the responses you’ll receive will provide valuable information for incorporation across your brand.
Plan ahead and record your process. Set up your research media. Gather a group of willing participants ahead of time. Schedule a time frame in which the research will begin and end. Devote this time only to research – stay focussed. Take notes and keep templates for future use. Planning ahead will not only ensure that current and future research goes more smoothly, it will make the process more digestible for you and your participants.
Research is the backbone of finding a branding and marketing strategy that works for your small business. Without it, you will be forced to rely on guessing – or what we like to call the Spray-and-Pray method, which never works.
Now is the time to know your market; the time to sharpen your Rapid Research Radar. You can do just that at our next Manchester, UK B.R.A.N.D. Building Bootcamp. How to Build a Brand is the world’s most valuable resource for entrepreneurs wishing to build their brands…fast. Learn more and register for the boot camp.
Written by Sammy Blindell of How to Build a Brand.
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