As a content marketer, you know that creating high-quality, engaging content is key to attracting and retaining customers. But how do you ensure that your content resonates with your target audience?
The answer is customer research.
Customer research is the process of gathering data about your customers and their needs, preferences, and behaviours. By conducting customer research, you can gain valuable insights into what your customers want and how they consume content. This information can inform your content marketing strategy and help you create content that truly resonates with your audience.
Looking to master customer journey mapping?
Here’s a link: An essential guide to customer journey mapping
In this guide, we’ll cover the importance of customer research in content marketing and provide step-by-step instructions for conducting your own research. We’ll also discuss how to use the insights from your research to inform your content marketing strategy and provide examples of customer research in action. Let’s get started!
Define your research goals and objectives:
Before you begin your customer research, it’s important to define your goals and objectives. This will help you focus your research and ensure that you gather the information you need to achieve your desired outcomes.
Some questions to consider when defining your research goals and objectives include:
- What do you hope to learn from your customer research?
- How will you use the information gathered from your research?
- What specific questions do you want to answer through your research?
For example, let’s say you’re a content marketer for a beauty products company. You might want to conduct customer research to learn more about your target audience’s skincare habits and preferences. Your research goals and objectives might include understanding the types of products your customers use, how frequently they use them, and what factors influence their purchasing decisions.
Choose your research methods:
There are several different methods you can use to conduct customer research, including qualitative and quantitative methods.
- Qualitative methods: This method involves collecting data through more in-depth, open-ended methods such as interviews and focus groups. These methods allow you to gather rich, detailed insights into your customers’ thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.
- Quantitative methods: This method involves collecting data through more structured methods such as surveys and online polls. These methods allow you to gather data from a larger sample size and analyze it using statistical tools.
You can also use mixed methods which involve combining both qualitative and quantitative methods. This can give you a well-rounded understanding of your customers and provide a more complete picture of their needs and preferences.
Conduct your research:
Once you’ve chosen your research methods, it’s time to start collecting data.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to conducting customer interviews:
- Determine your sample size and identify potential interviewees.
- Develop a list of interview questions that align with your research goals and objectives.
- Reach out to potential interviewees and schedule a time for the interview.
- Conduct the interview, either in-person or via phone or video call.
- Take thorough notes during the interview to capture the interviewee’s responses and any additional insights or observations.
- Repeat the process with additional interviewees until you have reached your desired sample size.
Here are some tips for creating and distributing surveys:
- Determine your sample size and identify potential participants.
- Develop a list of survey questions that align with your research goals and objectives.
- Create the survey using an online tool such as SurveyMonkey or Google Forms or TypeForm.
- Distribute the survey to potential participants via email or social media.
- Analyze the survey results using statistical tools or by manually reviewing the responses.
Use your research to inform your content marketing strategy:
Once you’ve collected and analyzed your research data, it’s time to use the insights to inform your content marketing strategy. Look for key themes and insights that can guide your content creation and distribution efforts.
For example, let’s say your customer research revealed that your target audience is interested in natural, environmentally-friendly products. This insight could inform the topics you choose for your content, as well as the tone and messaging you use. You might create blog posts or social media posts that highlight the natural ingredients in your products and the sustainability of your manufacturing processes.
It’s also important to keep in mind that customer research is not a one-time effort. It’s important to regularly conduct new research to stay informed about your audience and ensure that your content marketing strategy remains relevant and effective.
Examples of customer research in action:
Here are a few examples of how customer research has been used to inform content marketing efforts:
A company that used customer research to inform its social media strategy.
A clothing retailer wanted to increase their social media engagement and sales. They conducted customer research to understand their target audience’s social media habits and preferences. The research revealed that their audience was primarily interested in fashion and style inspiration, rather than sales-focused posts. Based on this insight, the company created a social media strategy that focused on providing style inspiration and tips, rather than constantly promoting its products.
As a result, they saw an increase in social media engagement and sales.
A content marketing team that used customer research to create a targeted email campaign.
A content marketing team wanted to increase their email open and click-through rates. They conducted customer research to understand their target audience’s email habits and preferences. The research revealed that their audience preferred shorter, more visually appealing emails and was more likely to engage with emails that offered valuable content and resources. Based on this insight, the team created a series of shorter, visually appealing emails that provided valuable content and resources.
As a result, they saw an increase in email open and click-through rates.
Common pitfalls to avoid when conducting customer research:
When conducting customer research, it’s important to avoid common pitfalls that can undermine the quality and effectiveness of your research.
Here are a few pitfalls to watch out for:
- Not defining clear goals and objectives: Without clear goals and objectives, it’s difficult to focus your research and ensure that you gather the information you need.
- Failing to properly analyze and interpret the data: It’s important to use statistical tools or other methods to accurately analyze and interpret your research data. Otherwise, you risk drawing incorrect conclusions or missing key insights.
- Not acting on the insights gathered from the research: Conducting customer research is only valuable if you use the insights to inform your content marketing strategy. Make sure to incorporate the insights from your research into your content creation and distribution efforts.
Tips for making the most of your customer research:
To get the most out of your customer research, consider the following tips:
- Involve stakeholders across your organization in the research process: Customer research can provide valuable insights that can inform not just your content marketing strategy, but also your product development, sales, and customer service efforts. Involving stakeholders from different departments in the research process can help ensure that the insights are used effectively across the organization.
- Keep your research current: It’s important to regularly conduct new customer research to stay informed about your audience and ensure that your content marketing strategy remains relevant and effective.
- Use a variety of research methods: Different research methods can provide different types of insights. Consider using a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to get a well-rounded understanding of your customers.
Resources for conducting customer research:
There are many resources available to help you conduct customer research, including online survey tools, customer interview guide templates, and customer persona templates.
Online survey tools:
- SurveyMonkey: A popular online survey tool that allows you to create and distribute surveys, analyze the results, and export the data.
- Google Forms: A free online survey tool that allows you to create and distribute surveys, analyze the results, and export the data.
Customer interview guide templates:
- User Interviews: A library of customer interview guide templates and resources to help you plan and conduct customer interviews.
- User Testing: A library of customer interview guide templates and resources to help you plan and conduct customer interviews.
Customer persona templates:
- HubSpot: A free customer persona template that allows you to create detailed profiles of your target audience.
- Buyer Personas: A library of customer persona templates and resources to help you create detailed profiles of your target audience.
Customer research is an essential part of any successful content marketing strategy. By gathering data about your customers and their needs, preferences, and behaviours, you can create content that truly resonates with your target audience.
There are many methods and resources available for conducting customer research, so be sure to find the approach that works best for your business. And remember, customer research is not a one-time effort. Regularly conducting new research can help you stay informed about your audience and make informed content marketing decisions.
Here’s a list of other customer journey mapping guides that you can read:
- Guide to Customer Research in content marketing
- Guide to Customer segmentation in content marketing
- Guide to Customer journey analysis in content marketing
- Guide to Customer touchpoint mapping in content marketing
- Guide to Customer experience optimization in content marketing