Is your company’s growth slowing down? Have you reached a plateau? It’s time to refresh your marketing plan; but first, you need some effective marketing research tools.
Although marketing research and trends have changed, one fact remains true: Without concrete data, real-time trends, and reliable statistics, you could drain your marketing budget without seeing the new customer growth that you’re looking for.
Why marketing research is important
Many new entrepreneurs make the all too common mistake thinking that they already know their markets and target audiences. While this may be true, people are more complex than what we often realize.
Your target audience is made up of people — each with their own unique personality, characteristics, identities, and lifestyles. At one point defining audiences simply by demographics was enough, however, times have changed…
By performing original, in-depth research on your target audience, we are willing to bet that you will be surprised with the in-depth level of understanding and insights you discover.
So, if your company’s growth has slowed down, don’t panic. This is a great opportunity for you to try out some new marketing research tools — for free. These tools are designed to help you clearly identify your target demographic, understand who they are, and how to dig deeper into their lives. Find out how to reach customers effectively using these five tools.
5 free and affordable marketing research tools
1. Think With Google
Think With Google is an all-in-one resource that provides high-level insights, statistics, and useful tools —everything you need to explore customer demographics, trends, and behaviors. Think With Google also provides forward-looking perspectives and behind-the-scenes looks at digital campaigns — across industries, platforms, and audiences.
Think With Google has an editorial site full of marketing insights, which can arm content marketers with plenty of insider information to create better content and help increase readership, leads, and even company growth. For example, the YouTube ads leaderboard shows the top 10 most popular ads for the month as well as key insights, such as the number of views and the agencies that created them.
As content marketers, make it a habit to visit Think With Google at least once per month when planning your content marketing strategies, depending on your content needs, in order to make the most out of it.
2. Pew Research tools
From the Pew Research Center come three incredible tools for market research. It’s all free, which is good news for small to medium-sized businesses looking for inexpensive martech solutions.
The first is the dataset download area of the website, where you can access a whole treasury of datasets from a range of different categories. You can access data about U.S. politics and policy, journalism and media, religion and public life, Hispanic trends, global attitudes, social and demographic trends; or Internet, science and technology. You can discover in-depth data sets that can improve your understanding of your target market.
Another interesting area of the Pew Research website is the Interactives section. Here, you can take quizzes, check political trends, explore global statistics on various people groups, and view portraits of specific population segments within the United States. If you’re trying to gain a better vision of your audience so you can hone your marketing, you’ll find valuable information here.
In the Fact Tank, explore interesting blog posts about various historical events that today’s audiences are passionate about. Religion, culture, and background play a key role in your customers’ decisions, especially if your audience consists primarily of millennials.
Therefore, it’s important to understand movements and values that could affect buying choices; and the Pew Research Fact Tank is a great place to find that information. You can find facts about millennials, statistics about addiction, ethnicity and education, tax brackets, and much more.
3. Marketing research tools from Claritas
If you have the budget to do some paid market research, try Claritas segmentation tools. Their MyBestSegments program helps you identify your target audience and gain a crystal-clear window into their lifestyles and buying habits. With the free ZIP code lookup tool, you can quickly note the key consumer segments in your area; but to truly dig into their demographic information and other traits, you’ll need to go for the full paid package.
With Claritas segmentation systems, you can use customer profiles and geographic information to find untapped areas near you that are full of potential customers like the clients you already have. If you feel that your business is stuck, without much growth, it may be time to explore a solution like this. With this system, you can break out and expand your business without wasting your marketing money, because you’ll know exactly who to target, where to reach them, and what to say.
Minimalistic and easy to use, Typeform is a great choice when it comes to building surveys and collecting data. On the website, you can view examples of the quizzes, registration forms, knowledge tests and payment forms that you can make with Typeform. If you want to get to know your customers a little better, Typeform makes it easy and fun.
Build your form from scratch using your own ideas and skills, or adapt one of Typeform’s existing templates, including customer satisfaction surveys, market research surveys, branding questionnaires, post-event surveys, marketing surveys, demographic surveys, lead generation surveys and many more. The crisp white interface feels fresh and open, and the movement of the quizzes and forms is appealing and smooth.
Typeform allows you to use many of its options and form-builders for free. The extra upgrades at the Going Pro level are reasonably affordable for mid-sized businesses. Basically, the Pro-level system makes your Typeforms smarter, allowing you to personalize questionnaires or surveys and provide customized endings based on the users’ input. Hidden fields, uploads, calculations, and online payments are also part of the Pro-level package. With Typeform, you can design a whole range of data collection tools that will bring a wealth of information back to you at a very low cost.
4. Survey Anyplace
Survey Anyplace is another interactive tool that allows you to capture data on your customers and target audience by creating engaging surveys. What makes this tool different from SurveyMonkey or even Typeform is that it allows you to create extremely mobile-friendly surveys that hold your audiences’ interests through a graceful user interface. While not as pristine and clean looking interface, Survey Anyplace differentiates itself from Typeform by focusing heavily on allowing respondents to quickly input their answers on a mobile device.
You can also create and customize interactive surveys within minutes by adding your brand’s logo, color scheme, and other key information.
Need ideas on how to promote your surveys? Check out the Survey Anyplace blog to learn some ideas, tips, and tricks for getting your survey out there and in front of the right people.
Once you’ve gathered all the market research, it’s time to put a face to that target audience. Delivered by HubSpot, MakeMyPersona is a marketing tool that helps you create a visualization of your target buyer or ideal customer.
Click “Make My Persona” and name your fictional potential customer, like “Entrepreneur Ed” or “Hiker Harry.” Fill in the challenges, goals, social networks, reading material, communication preferences and other information for your persona. Then, give MakeMyPersona your email address, and they will send you your customized buyer persona. This isn’t a perfect or fully comprehensive picture of your ideal buyer, but it can help you visualize and clarify your target audience.
In summary, marketing research doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Some of the best tools are free and are available at your fingertips.
Regardless of whether you are a small or startup business on a shoestring budget or a medium-sized business, these are some inexpensive martech solutions available to help you spearhead and accelerate growth for your business.