Archive for the ‘Market Research’ Category
Thursday, January 12th, 2012
There is an interesting article that comes from an Australian university examining the rise and fall of Starbucks in that country. This article is one that should be read by anyone already in business and looking to expand into new markets. It’s also worth reading for any brick and mortar business that is considering adding an online store. While we can sing the praises of Facebook, Twitter and the many other opportunities there are for marketing a business both online and offline, a business’ success still comes back to the basics.
In Starbucks’ case, they failed to undertake the most important element of any major business move – market research. The end result is a business that tried to push an expensive coffee into a very strong coffee market, and that market basically rejected the move. Starbucks also misread the market. When they first arrived, like all curious people, Australians flocked to their stores to see what all the “hype” was about – they left very disappointed and failed to return.
For any business, market research is highly important. For new businesses, it’s a must. You have to be able to judge the mood of your potential customers, and of your competitors. Developing an online presence is no different, you have to develop an online strategy that can help steer your business to success. Social media sites like Facebook can be useful for market research and eventually helping you develop your brand.
To be successful, you have to have the right product at the right price targeting the right people in the right places – that’s the basics of a successful business. Market research will help you identify many of those areas, however, it’s then your decisions, and your marketing that will ultimately determine your success. The one important lesson to be learned from the Starbucks experience in Australia is to never assume anything – always do your market research.
Wednesday, August 10th, 2011
Crowdsourcing is a relatively new term. A concrete definition hasn’t been settled on, but many people who use it generally use it to mean the “outsourcing” of work generally performed by an employee or a contractor to a business’s customers or the general population. An organization puts out an open call for volunteers and receives input, feedback, and ideas into the production process.
So now that you know what it is, can you use crowdsourcing for your small business?
I don’t see why not.
There are some dangers to crowdsourcing, however. You have to be careful that you don’t spend too much time (and money) on the production process. You also have to be sure that you don’t lose control over the process – and your product or service. That’s fairly easy to do.
The Web, however, has introduced some new technologies and services to help make crowdsourcing a more palatable process. One of those is Amazon.com’s Mechanical Turk.
But another way to maintain control over your small business crowdsourcing is to limit your “open call.” You don’t have to open it up to everyone on the planet. If you serve a local clientele, you can just issue an open call to your local community or your most active customers. Do it early enough in the process and you could see wonders in how your volunteers help you improve your systems and resources.
Sunday, November 29th, 2009
There’s no doubt that if you ignore Google as a webmaster you will likely find yourself not getting much traffic to your website. Google is, after all, the No. 1 referrer for most sites. However, there are a few websites that report Twitter being No. 1. Those sites are a rarity so don’t think you can just go out and Twitter your way to heaven.
I’m not saying Twitter isn’t important. I’m just saying it hasn’t arrived at the same level of importance as Google.
But has Google perhaps overstayed its importance? Has the moment of truth finally come for the search engine?
Yesterday I blogged about a Hitwise report that still shows Google as the No. 1 website for most industries online. In fact, many industries rely on Google so much that their growth in traffic from October 2008 to October 2009 was in the double digits. And Google still has 70% of the search share overall.
Bing is up 7% to almost 10% of the search share overall. And I think it is quite possible that Bing could grow even more. But will it take share from Google? That remains to be seen.
Yahoo! sits at 16%. If Yahoo! and Bing complete their partnership then that would effectively give Microsoft a total of 26% of the overall search share. That would put them in the competitive game.
Yet traffic is the name of the game – targeted traffic, specifically. And it matters not where that traffic comes from. With sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube growing in stature, it’s quite possible that one of these sites could give Google a run for its money in the traffic game.
The percentage of category traffic for most industries in Hitwise’s report hover around 20%-30%. That leaves lots of room for other players to get in the game and stay there. When you consider that the percentage of category traffic from search engines is between 25% and 40% for the industries listed in Hitwise’s report, there is a huge playing field to roam around in for social media networks.
I think we could see a day in the near future where someone is giving Google a serious run for its money in the traffic generation game. Who do you think it will be?
Friday, March 13th, 2009
In our current economic challenged times, you may be trying to cut every corner possible, and while that’s one way to save money, in marketing, you may choose to take a different approach. Small businesses oftentimes stay in business because they have something unique to offer. Why not take that one step further and ask yourself what’s your specialty?
One thing I’ve noticed is that while many businesses are hurting, others are thriving. Why? They have what people want. And believe it or not, not all customers are looking for the cheapest Many are willing to pay a higher price to get a premium product or a specialty service.
What products or services do you get the most feedback on? What gets the most word of mouth advertising? That’s your niche. Take the time to develop that area of your business and then watch the results. Do you notice a response?
Consider starting a second website just for your specialty line. If you’ve learned a lot about search engine optimization (SEO), you may welcome to chance to create a website from ground up–choose your domain name based on your niche service or product and with specific keywords that set you apart from your competition–and then post your website on search directories. Remember, you can link between the two sites and point to content you’ve created that features both sites.
It’s ironic, but it just might work. Instead of tightening the reigns, narrow your focus.
Promote what you do really well.
Market to the segment of the market you fit,
You may just find that your small business will begin to flourish–by specialized marketing.
Saturday, February 28th, 2009
Small business websites can benefit from including government sources in their content.
There’s plenty of public domain information, and you’ll be surprised to find relevant content that your readers will find helpful. Updating your webpage with content and important keywords is the fastest way to improve your rank on search engines.
But what about copyrights?
Much of the information is public domain and copyright free.
Public domain government sources are generated with your tax dollars–so you have every right to access this content.
Do a search on public domain government sites and you’ll find a vast array of subjects such as transportation, maps, psychology, photos, statistics, education, finance, engineering, art and entertainment, and the list goes on…
Some uses for public domanin, government sources are: for marketing research, as a statistic to prove a specific trend, as fun facts, or for data gathering in a particular area or field.
One word of warning: Some information is outdated and can be riddled with errors or biased opinions–not that other web content articles don’t contain similar discrepencies–but check the facts and strive to be as accurate as possible.
Look for copyright and permission notices on U.S. Federal Government publications and websites, but if you don’t find one, don’t assume there isn’t one.
You can check public domain use by visiting the Copyright & Intellectual Property Working Group (CENDI).
Many government sources offer articles, statistics, and graphs written directly on a webpage or placed in an Adobe Acrobat PDF file.
If you find information you’d like to use that’s in a PDF file, you should consider converting them to a webpage. Why?
Because Web pages load quicke
You can place a liink from that document directly to your site
Keywords are picked up by search engines in web pages
PDF files don’t rank well on search engines
Some government sites that aren’t public domain are:
The U.S. Postal Service is exempt (you may not use).
Some governmental works were writen by private individuals and companies and are copyright protected.
Certain governmental organizations such as the NTS (National Technical Information Service) has a five-year copyright protection, so check the dates.
Sounds like a lot of rules? Not really. Not when compared to the mammoth amount of information available.
By doing a simple search on public domain content, you can find great information for your small business website, build content, and improve your website ranking.
Sunday, February 22nd, 2009
Linkage is no doubt the most important component of building Internet exposure for your small business website. Google, Yahoo!, MSN and other search engines determine the ranking of your site, in large part, based on how many people link to your website.
Launching a linkage campaign means you’re serious about requiring links and you’ve made a plan. There are less than scrupulous ways to achieve links, but there are also methods to acquiring good links–and search engines will take notice.
Small businesses need to focus on building a reputable online presence.
What most people don’t know is that there are many benefits to a linkage campaign that reach far beyond simply gaining links.
The Benefits of a Linkage Campaign:
â€¢ You find other similar sites, which lets you know who your competition is.
â€¢ You find out what other businesses are doing right–and wrong.
â€¢ You are introduced to the web community and can begin online networking.
â€¢ You can find and connect with partner programs and other promotional avenues.
â€¢ A linkage report is stored as an HTML file and becomes your map to other key sites.
Behind each link is a website, and behind each website is a media contact. Over time, you start to communicate with each other, may even meet each other at a convention, and these connections can alter the course of your career. You never know what may happen in the future, and keeping lines of communication open benefits everyone. Hey, you never know when you might be looking for a job!
Start solid and strive to add 3 new links a week. Send simple emails, appropriately referred to as “link letters,” and compliment their site–and ask to be added as a link and tell them you’ll reciprocate. Create a links page on your website. Then, follow up–no one likes being used. Consider an email update or exchange of an e-newsletter as a courtesy call–remember those? When a sales person would actually stop by and chat? It’s the same principle.
Your linkage campaign is based on consistency. As a small business owner, you give yourself a huge advantage by linking with others and utilizing this great networking tool.
Monday, December 22nd, 2008
The entire point of marketing your small business is to bring in sales. So, is your marketing campaign working?
There are a lot of mistakes that you might be making, but as long as you have the basics down, you should be able to see higher sales. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind for your marketing.
Know your target audience. If you created a product without anyone specific in mind, you`ll probably make a few sales, but nothing like you would if you focused on a very specific portion of the market.
Understand your competition. Ignoring the competition isn`t going to give you any edge, so be sure you pay attention to this area. By looking at what they are doing, you can adjust accordingly for better marketing.
Marketing isn`t just about blindly advertising, it requires strategy, so be sure to understand what you`re doing and why you are doing it.
Saturday, December 6th, 2008
Just because your business is already up and running doesn`t mean you should stop all market research. It`s very important to know your audience at all times, especially since it could end up changing. For example, it is quite possible that your target audience made the switch from VHS to DVD, which would change the way they look at things and what they buy.
You can never have too much information about your target market. Every little bit helps you make connections with them and it`s far easier to promote your business if you have done your market research and know precisely what people are looking for from you. Give them what they want, solve their problems and you`ll end up with a very successful business.
Market research is commonly thought of as something you do before you set up your business and this is certainly when it is most important. However, you need to keep in mind that this is not the only time that you will need to find out about your target audience, so don`t leave market research by the wayside!