It used to be that customers relied on salespeople for guidance, information, and advice on choosing the products or services best suited for their needs.Today, customers often research Google, Amazon, Social Media, and online review sites to aid in their purchasing decisions instead.

According to marketing expert Adam Erhart, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Why? Because now billion dollar data collection agencies are constantly working to provide you with more consumer information than you ever thought possible. And guess what? More often than not, it’s totally free!

Check out the video below for 5 resources that will help you give your customers what they want before they even know they want it.

 

 

Here’s a recap of the 5 tools Adam mentions in the video, and how they can improve your market research:

1. Google Trends – “One of the least utilized and most valuable tools available in determining current market trends is none other than Google Trends,” says Adam Erhart.

This tool allows you to track the keywords that are growing increasingly popular and offers suggestions for other terms gaining in search volume.

This valuable tool is largely ignored, which means you’re gaining valuable insights that your competitors probably aren’t using.

2. Google Keyword Planner –  Another way to learn what customers are thinking is by using Google’s Keyword Planner.

You will need to sign up for a free Gmail address and Google Adwords account, even if you don’t plan to use it for advertising. Simply type a keyword into the Planner to receive the number of searches for that keyword, as well as a list of suggested keywords that people are looking for online every month.

3. Facebook Insights – Use this tool to learn what kind of content appeals to your target market.

Of course, you’ll need a Facebook business page, but it’s a good thing to have if you don’t have one already. After you’ve set up your Facebook business page, post a variety of different content (that’s relevant) to it and see which posts get the most engagement.

This will help you decide what types of content your audience is most interested in so you can continue to create relevant material. Already have a small Facebook following? Set up and run a simple Facebook Ad campaign to test your ideas and headlines.

4. Twitter Audience Insights – Twitter also has a powerful tool called Audiences.

Like with Facebook, you can use this tool to gauge the types of content and headlines that deliver the highest audience response. Adam Erhart’s page, for example, draws audiences interested in entrepreneurship, marketing, and technology. Additionally, he can also see that they like exotic food, are typically online buyers who like premium brands, and enjoy fresh healthy food.

These types of details are just a few examples of the types of information you can extract from Twitter Audiences. And that doesn’t include all the ways you can use this information to gain a better understanding of your customers and followers!

5. Google Alerts – “As the most used search engine in the world, Google is well positioned to actively understand consumer trends, behavior, and online activity,” claims Adam.

While the four previous tools mentioned will help you uncover thoughts, trends, and other messages that resonated with customers in the past, Google Alerts gives you the power to monitor what is happening with customers right now.

Simply enter the keyword you want to track into the search bar at the top of the page and Google will email you when this keyword appears online as it happens (once a day or once a week, depending on your settings).

You can also use Google Alerts to track your business name, the industry you’re in, your competitors, and whatever else you can think of.

Conclusion

“Using even one of these tools can help you gain a better understanding of your customers,” says Adam. “But when you combine all 5, you’re really able to create a clear and compelling picture of your customers wants, needs, and behaviors.”

About Author

Sherene Funk

Sherene Funk is the author of the contemporary romance Autumn in Your Arms and the eBook The Small retailer's Ultimate Guide to Increasing In-Store Sales. She is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime (but that doesn't stop her from collecting more). A graduate of Brigham Young University, she has published several humorous non-fiction articles and worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current position as a writer on modern retailing at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with other small business owners through informative articles that address their unique needs.

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